Overwhelmed. Surprised. At home. Sad. Overjoyed. Accepted. These are a few words that were used to describe our stories today at Enaleni as we debriefed. It truly was a meaningful day for us! God was at work.
What a privilege to watch as this team invested themselves wholeheartedly into these kids today. Enaleni was full of kids…many familiar faces and quite a few new ones too. And the moment we stepped off the bus they were hanging on us, jumping into our arms, and greeting us with excitement and hugs.
We spent the day playing sports, doing activities, in conversation, and taking every opportunity we could to make these children feel loved and special. Of course we had a spirited time of singing together. We were able to communicate to the children that no matter what situation they faced that Jesus would never leave or abandon them. Kailey shared a personal story that I’m sure meant a lot to them.
There were many moments that stand out today. But I wanted to share that as we stepped back onto the grounds at Enaleni for the 8th year now, it became so clear the difference this place is making in these children. Often times the stories can be found in the subtle things. Agnes shared with our group tonight how she watched a 6 year old come to the empty cooking pot after eating his huge bowl of rice and veggies and scraped every last ounce off the bottom of the pot. We know well enough from our kids at home that this is a picture of what this child has access to at his home. Even though for me being at the carepoint almost feels “normal” now that we have been coming for so many years, a moment like that grips me instantly are reminds me that this place is literally the lifeline for so many children. It is not just a place they come to…but a place they depend on. It is a place that gives them opportunity. Opportunity to live….to be healthy….to receive education…to have the potential of a future.
I’m so proud of this team and how they invested into these kids today….giving them a memory of love and care that will last with them. Thanks for your prayers & for following with us. Please read through the reflections of few of our team members share their experiences today and of course some pictures from our day! For now, I will take my cue from Jos who is on the couch across the room from me and pack it in for the night 🙂
Today started out for me with a pile of nerves mixed with some moments of doubt of whether or not I would be able to succeed at the task of really giving my all on this entire trip. The morning portion was a bit discouraging as the morning went on and none of the children seemed to instantly gravitate to me as they had to the other team members. My guess is they were confused by my skin colour and didn’t connect the dots that I had in fact come with the team from Canada, but in turn thought I was a local. Discouragement started to settle in just a bit when I felt something tell me to stay positive; there was a reason why I felt the calling to be a part of the 2015 team. So after throwing the negative feelings behind me, the darkness in my heart almost instantly turned to light when I decided to sit and have a conversation with one child. Needless to say, that opened the floodgate of many crowding around which then turned into an overwhelming amount of joy. The day continued with a small soccer game of myself and one other volunteer with five children, followed by me alone being bombarded by almost 25 of the children who all wanted to play with the few small cups of play-doh. Not only was I pleasantly surprised and definitely relieved that today turned out much better than anticipated, but my excitement for tomorrow is beyond measure. This also showed me that not only did God send me to work with the children at the care points but he sent me to work on myself so that I can in turn be a better servant. – cherry
I was excited about returning to Swaziland (was part of the team in 2009) but was completely taken aback by my feelings when we arrived. It was almost like…I’m back…I didn’t except to feel so intense about returning! I was looking forward to this day with great anticipation as I was going to meet my ‘special friend’. Words cannot describe how I felt this day but I’ll try! I LOVED meeting her and spending time with her. And then, halfway through the day, I found out I had a home visit arranged with her family! I had been forewarned about her living conditions but wasn’t prepared for what I was going to see! Such poverty! Her mom was so friendly and gracious. She quickly had two of her girls bring a mat for us to sit on as she was carrying her 6 month old baby. She has twelve children. Her only source of income is making a certain type of hat. I can’t even imagine how hard her life is, especially after seeing her home! I managed to keep it together until we returned back to the care point and then the feelings were too overwhelming and I couldn’t help but break down. I’m still processing all of this and need to focus on just loving my ‘special friend’ and the rest of the kids during the short time I’m here! And Brenda, when I get back, get ready for a Swazi enunciation lesson! I can say your boy’s name! – karen
As a first timer on the Swaziteam, I had no idea what to expect coming here and had no real expectations. All I had was a calling from God, a heart that was ready to love and hands that were ready to serve.
Coming off of a long and eventful trip here, I was still filled with anticipation getting onto the bus towards Enaleni this morning. Mesmerized with the beauty of this country I stared out of the window and the surrounding conversation began to fade. My mind began to wander and I distinctly heard the Lord whisper, “Jo, you have come with your whole heart, now pour it out.” Man, I just sat back and had a glorious moment with the Lord.
Soon enough we arrived at Enaleni and in moments I had a child in my arms, one holding my hand and one hugging my leg. In that moment, I knew my heart was at home. Today was glorious. A few highlights of the day were; singing with the kids, taking funny-faced selfies with them, helping feed one of the preschoolers lunch and having a good conversation with one of the teenage girls. I was struck with the personalities of the kids that came out within moments of meeting them. Its end of day one and I am writing this overwhelmed with the goodness of the Lord. I poured my heart out today and I left filled with more joy than I could ever imagine. – jo