Stadiums and Tiaras.


I don’t think we could have dreamt up a better result to our day today.  It was remarkable.  It was memorable.  More than that so many of our kids have been made to feel special, loved and like they are worth the effort and energy of what happened today.

The boys (plus Amy & Stacey) parted ways with the girls of the team and headed off in different directions.  The girls made their way to Enaleni for the big princess party while the boys made their way to the big stadium in Swaziland that we had rented for the day.  Most of the boys would never have had the opportunity to visit the stadium let alone play in it!  It was SO fun to see their excitement as they arrived on buses.  We fitted every boy with a soccer jersey, shorts and socks.  They looked fantastic!!  Then Xolani and his sports leadership team put on a soccer clinic for the boys teaching them skills, giving them chances to practice their strikes and getting a chance to play against a celebrity soccer pro in Swaziland.  He is the vice-captain on the Swaziland national team.  The boys were in their absolute glory!  They had a chance to hear a message from the soccer pro as well as from the sports ministry team and they were challenged to look to God to fill their lives and to make them who He wants them to be.

We ended the day with a big soccer match pitting the Swazi workers against the older boys from both care points.  The Canadians joined in to the action and the boys ended up winning 5-4.  All the smaller kids watched from the grandstands cheering on.  It truly was a remarkable day for the boys.  What a privilege for us as a team to get to be a part of this day both with the girls at Enaleni and with all the boys.  We feel humbled & satisfied.  The team is tired….but hanging in there and investing so much of themselves.  We have a couple of big events over the weekend as we throw a family day at both care points.  We appreciate your prayers for these days as they are a bit of an experiment but will hopefully connect many of the caregivers to the Swazi staff and give them connections that could be very meaningful.

Thanks for following along.  It means so much to know we are sharing this experience with so many.  Enjoy a few photos from the day.  I will see if I can find a few more from the princess party to post for tomorrow….for now all the girls and their cameras are sleeping.  I bid you a goodnight from Swaziland! – Jon


Manicures. Pedicures. Tissue Paper Flowers. Decorating Mirrors with jewels & ribbons. Beautiful Dresses & New Shoes. Fancy Cupcakes. Princess Music playing in the background … a day of pampering fit for our precious Enaleni princesses; all done in a beautifully decorated church … thanks to our Decor Queen – Debbie Schwartz. Don’t tell the guys but we did miss our “decorating crew” from yesterday. Hanging the balloons and streamers from the rafters was no easy feat but with someone standing on a chair on top of a bench we were able to pull it off.

Friday-5Miss Swaziland couldn’t make it today but Charlene once again did a marvellous job of conveying how God knit these girls together; how He made them beautiful. And then our own Princess Sylvia came in to hand out the scrolls which said – “I am a Princess because my Father is the King of Kings.” Through her expressions & movements you would have thought she came right out of Disney World. The girls were captivated! It is our prayer that aside from all of the fun and pampering, they would be captivated by God’s love for them and listen to what He says about them.

To all of our Riverwood sponsors – thank you for the dresses! The girls looked amazing! It was a beautiful sight to behold! – Carolyn



What an amazing day playing soccer with the boys! I have been so excited for this day as soon as it was mentioned in the team meeting in Winnipeg. It felt like Christmas morning with the anticipation and nerves. Will it go okay? What will be my role? How will they react to having a woman play?

The stadium was amazing! It was so fun coming out of the tunnel onto the pitch to set up for the day. I kept pinching myself and repeated if I feel this way, how must the boys feel when they pull up and walk onto the pitch? The joy on their faces and the excited chatter really hit my heart today.

Playing in the scrimmage with the AIM team against some of the older boys was a real treat. Those boys have so much skill and some real stamina. It was amazing to see this skills in motion and the graceful way that they play the game. It was wonderful to hear the cheers from all the younger boys in the stands when a goal was scored for either team. It felt like you were at a real game.

Friday-1-2But the real highlight of the day was when my special friend came over to me after the game and shook hands. “Good game.” You see he wasn’t playing the game, he was one of many in the stands. He is pretty shy and I didn’t want to overwhelm or smother him with “you are my special friend” so I didn’t really talk to him much today, just a quick hello when he arrived. To have him come over and greet me, and ask that we take a picture together is huge. We were able to talk for a wee bit before he had to get on the bus, and I thank The Lord for this opportunity to begin this relationship with my special friend, Mfundo. I pray that when I see him again at the care point in this coming week that the ice has been broken, and that we will be able to converse more. – Amy


14 thoughts on “Stadiums and Tiaras.

  1. Thanks team for doing such an amazing job with two days of princess parties and a huge soccer clinic today. Thru the love and care you are showing I am sure the kids will be able to feel God’s love and care for them. Praying for a good rest for everyone tonite in preparation for the family events over the weekend and that good connections will be made with the children’s caregivers. God Bless!!

  2. Wow!! How fantastic! As the president of a community center I know very well the value of sporting events in the lives of children. This was a truly inspired idea. Well done, folks. They look great. Any chance of a 2X-Large jersey making its way back? Just kidding. (But is there??) Haha. God bless you all. Great job. Jos

  3. This is awesome!! What a cool opportunity. Way to go Amy! You would be in there like a dirty shirt… But you didn’t look dirty… In there like a clean shirt that just jumped in… Ummm , I’m going to stop now :-). Way to go Stellar Swazi People. Love it!

  4. I cannot think of what those boys would have been thinking when they got to the soccer pitch, I love sports and I was excited for them. These memories will last a lifetime and for those boys if it gets them closer to God and growing in Him that is truly priceless. Seeing all those beautiful girls in their dresses was really touching and it is so true that it is how God sees that is truly important and He sees them as priceless beauties. For all the hard work I pray God will strengthen you and give you peace and a joy beyond measure. Bonnie I know that God is using you and the things He has in store for you are beyond what you could even imagine. I have been praying for you and I cannot wait to see all the pictures you have took, is the memory card on the camera full yet, LOL!

  5. I can only imagine the excitement that the boys felt and also every one of you as you waited to see the reaction from the boys! I can’t wait to see the beautiful princess dresses from Enalani. Bryan – it’s so wonderful to see you getting in there and connecting with the boys. I know you are so busy building but I know how much those children mean to you. I will be praying as you all connect with the families. I hope that the families enjoy getting their first family portrait done. You guys are doing such an amazing job and we are all cheering you on. I love reading the days adventures to my kids – we look forward to it every day. God bless you all with deep fulfilling rest ~ KeriAnn

  6. What a fantastic day you all must have had–it sounds wonderful and so meaningful for both you and the children. thanks for sharing it with us in words and pictures. Love to all–hope you rest well. Sue C

  7. I love hearing your beautiful hearts. You make us fall in love with people we’ve never even met! Praying for continued team unity, love for each other & our swAzi friends, & that God would blow your minds yet this week so we can stand in awe & say how awesome is our God!!!

  8. HEY TEAM! You’re making a bunch of eyes all moist and leaky over here! WOW! i have to say…i love the faith each of you have grabbed onto and ran with! You had faith to say ‘yes’ to God’s nudge to embrace this mission! You had faith to raise money…get needles…train and plan as a team…get on a plane…fly half way around the world…and, in so many ways…you had no idea what you were getting yourself into. All you were doing was what you felt God had put in your heart to do. Well, as a church…we want to say ‘Thanks!’ i mean…these moments (a few of which you have been able to capture and send back to us in words and pictures)…would never have happened…EVER!…if it wasn’t for your willingness to be ‘clay in the Master’s hands’! LOVE the soccer photo! (Q: Who thinks of ordering hundreds of jerseys, socks and shorts…getting them custom printed…and flown half way around the world…just to tell a kid “You matter and God loves you!” A: Jon! Way to lead with vision and passion! LOVE all the princesses! (Q: Who thinks of getting hundreds of special dresses sized and donated, sending someone (who will remain unnamed) in their little Smart Car on 39 errands to pick up supplies…and overpacks 100’s of pounds into suitcases and drags them half way around the world…just to tell a girl living in poverty in rural Swaziland… “You matter and God loves you little princess!”? A: Carolyn! Way to see things others can’t and being crazy enough to believe the impossible…is possible…and the moments are worth it! But Team…NO OF THIS WOULD HAPPEN…without you!!! Way to serve and give your lives away for the Cause of Christ! Loving and missing you all! – t

  9. My momma, Deb, the “decor queen”, who would have ever thought 😉 I see you’re trying to keep JF happy by taking the stairs!! I am so proud that you followed your heart and signed up for this trip!
    Swaziland team 2014, keep up the amazing and beautiful work. It’s been inspiring to follow your journey!

  10. Such beautiful princesses of the “King of Kings”. I also love the “Happy Birthday Your Majesty” marquee on the stadium! How fitting! So glad to see the smiling faces of the guys in the uniforms! We continue to pray for you all on this God journey!! 🙂

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