Goodbye Bhobokazi.

wed2-15Well….we have just finished up our final morning here in Swaziland and are currently on the bus en route back to South Africa where we will spend the night.  The bus is quiet and many are sleeping. We feel collectively like we have invested much of ourselves into this and I can sense the breath of air being taken in as we just allow the experiences of the past two weeks to sink in. We had a great morning with the kids and taking the Gogo’s from both Enaleni and Bhobokazi shopping for their annual trip to the mall! They loved it SO much. How fun to bless these women who give so so much of their time and energy to caring for the hundreds of children every day.

The goodbye’s were both joyful and filled with tears. We take joy in the connections we have made….into the love we have been able to give and the countless greater love we feel like we have received. It has been such a meaningful experience for us as a team. We are so grateful to God that he has met us here….that he orchestrated so many things for us….and most of all that we were privileged enough to be his hands and feet to so many that he cares about so deeply.

We are on our way for an evening as a team to enjoy one another, to gather around a bonfire tonight….and to share stories and laughter together. Tomorrow morning we will leave at 5AM to take in a morning safari drive at Kruger National Park where we hope to see a few animals to finish of our experience. We will try and share a few of those with you from the airport.

Stay tuned for some final reflections….some updates on our travels for our families to hear…and for a few more photos to surface. For now….thank you for being with us. In a few short minutes we will cross over the border of Swaziland…..but we feel as though our hearts are remaining behind. – Jon

tues2-39Another amazing trip with another awesome team! It has been a privilege once again to journey half way around the world to join hands and partner with our Swazi family. I have loved working and playing side by side with old and new friends! Each year I go home having met new friends – both on the team and here in Swaziland.

For the past 3 years I have a tradition with my special friend — Scel’mpilo. We take photos together under the banana tree. We make funny face photos as well as smiley face ones. We include some other friends as well. This year I go home with the start of a new tradition (hopefully)– I asked Scel’mpilo if he would like to say hi to my girls on video and he agreed!! He asked me to write the girls’ names on his hand so he could read the names as he greeted them.

He greeted my girls on the video and then said he would like to sing a song for them! He sang Jesus Messiah for them!! “My boy” has a difficult life here in Swaziland (at the age of 15 he has lost all of his family members) but still has such a sweet spirit! Again I am going home with a heart full of mixed emotions. Sala Kahle (Good bye) – Brenda


17 thoughts on “Goodbye Bhobokazi.

  1. Praying for all of you, the children, and the Gogo’s as you soak in the memories of a life changing time… praying God’s comfort, refreshment, and a wonderful bonfire tonight!!

  2. Wow team so proud of you! We have been praying for you! We loved reading your updates! See you when you get back.
    Mark and Melissa Toews

  3. Any roebuck, I didn’t forget about you. I just want to say that I have been praying for you these past 2ish weeks. You are such an amazing role model in my life. I can’t wait to hear all about your amazing adventure and to hear what amazing things God has done through you and your team. We have miss you at youth and I am excited to see you again. 🙂 have a safe flight home. 🙂

  4. Way to go team! I look at the smiles, and the relationships and my heart is bursting with mixed emotions. I’m sure it’s only a tip of the iceberg compared to where you’re at right now.

    I just wanted to cheer you on, and let you know how much this trip means to me here across the pond, and I’m pretty sure that it’s life changing for each one of you. Please come home and help our hearts change the way yours have. Lord, teach us to love Your people like You do. Amen.

  5. Tears in my eyes and a big lump in my throat as I look at these “goodbye for now” photos! Ingrid is that our little guy? Such beautiful children!! The joy of the Lord is all over you as you serve! Praying for you all as you journey home! God is with you and so are we!

  6. I’m at a loss for words! (okay Murray, no comment required). My thoughts are so with all of you. A dream of mine is to go on one of the Swazi trips, but it just hasn’t worked out. I can so see the Love of Jesus in everyone’s smiles! You go Swazi 2014 team! Safe travels home! Love, Dodie

  7. It’s been really lovely following along on the blog with you guys. So exciting to see all the work you’re doing and all the love you’re sharing with all those kids.
    Deb — I’m excited for you to come home, and to hear more about your experience in Swaziland. I miss you! But I’m really glad you decided to go on the trip. You look positively radiant in all your pictures, such a bohemian goddess 😉
    Carley — Seeing you on this trip feels very reminiscent of my first years going with the church to Mexico. I couldn’t be more proud as your former youth leader and as your friend, to see you taking such a big step out of your comfort zone and into a life of serving. You are amazing!
    Andrewchristmasttree — Cute braids!! You’ll have to teach me how to do my hair like that when you get home.
    Juanito — Fantastic pictures, as usual! You have such a talent for capturing the spirit of the trip.

    Much love,

  8. Amazing that the trip has gone by so fast, and I was only reading from afar! Hope the care points were a blessing and a place that will stick with you the rest of your lives! Enjoy the last few moments in Africa, and the trip home to decompress from what you have all experienced. Definitely looking forward to hearing about the whole trip in person.

  9. Ingrid, Two more sleeps till we get to see your face and hear all the stories in person. Thanks again swazi team. Way to go. Safe travels and we hope you have some really cool experiences over the next few days. Take Care.

  10. thank you so much for all your sharing and all the pictures. I’ve looked forward each night to read about your day and all that you’ve experienced. Have a great safari–may you have some rest as you travel home. Many blessings–love to all of you and to my son Jon. Sue C

  11. Hey Team! Our Elder’s Team (John, Max, Shelly, Jay, Todd, Jerry and Laurence) are just sitting here at the Elder’s table a couple of hours before you get up to leave on your safari. Together, we’re marvelling at what God has accomplished thru you all and thanking God for you! Way to serve!…and way to lead us as a church further into justice, compassion and service! You are a stellar team and we’re so proud of you all! Praying you all the way home! – The Riverwood Elder’s Team

  12. Wow! I can’t believe it is over almost. What a wonderful job you all have done. Well done good and faithful servants. You all have surely made the Lord smile, maybe even grin from ear to ear. I imagine you have left that place yet again, and left hurting children with a sense that they are loved, that you have left the Gogo’s with a sense that they are valuable and their work is noticed and appreciated by their Canadian friends, you have left the families of the children that attend the carepoints with understanding of what happens when their children attend. I have the sense that you have conveyed to everyone who, whose paths you crossed, that they are important to God and so loved by Him and by the white folks from Riverwood, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Praying for a safe, uneventful, quick trip home.
    cheryl Mc

  13. Wow what wonderful pictures and to see the joy and delight in the children and adults brings me such joy. If it brings me joy can you imagine what our heavenly Father must be feeling. I believe he would be saying well done my good and faithful servant. It has been amazing to journey with you and Ingrid that one photo with you making the funny faces is just so funny I couldn’t stop laughing. Bonnie I can’t wait to hear what God has done through you, you rock.! Paul there have been many pictures of you painting and I am not sure if you got more on yourself or on what you were painting, LOL! Enjoy the safari and I will pray for a safe trip home and that you will get sleep as well!

  14. I thank you all for sharing your very special experiences with us all every day over the past 2 weeks. You are all amazing people. May your travels home be safe and may you relish in your adventures for a lifetime. God Bless!

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