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.
Miss 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.
But 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