I write this with a cramped leg and a sore body….weary from the effects of a long leg of travel as we make our way home from Swaziland. Funny….we have pushed our physical bodies quite hard, deprived ourselves of sleep, and emptied the wells of our emotional energy on a daily basis….but it is now that we are forced to sit for extended lengths that I feel the most weary. Perhaps it is because the experiences we have given ourselves to have been so meaningful, that it in a way re-energized us.
As I reflect back to the experiences of the past two weeks, it catches me off guard that year after year I feel like we return with something of a sacred moment in time that has been shared together. It is not possible to capture into words the so many moments that have shaped our experiences in Swaziland. It also seems like it has been so much more than two weeks because every day has written so many stories that they don’t seem to fit in that time period.
I hope you have been able to journey along on the blog, and have tasted some of the stories that define our team for 2015. The one overarching theme that has shaped this year for me is a markedly deeper level of community, trust, and vulnerability we have experienced with the two communities we support. Even as I write that, I am reluctant to define this as communities that we support because it is my opinion that we have received as much support from them as we have given. We had a dream when we began this journey 8 years ago….a dream that two communities could be tied together….could be linked by more than simply a stream of resource. Year after year, this has become more of a distinct reality. Communities connected by friendship, by unconditional love and acceptance, and by a shared sense of our connection with Christ.
I am incredibly grateful and humbled by this team that I sit beside. I am proud of their vulnerability….both with one another and with their hearts that were thrown wide open to embrace each and every child with a mutual love that was shared. I am proud of the risks that were taken to allow our own lives to be exposed and challenged by those we encountered. God has spoken into our lives collectively and in shared community. God has spoken through our lives to the children, grandmothers, and staff at our two community care points. I have been struck especially that this year has not been defined by what we had to offer….what we had to distribute….but has been defined by a true sense of friendship….of level ground…and of trust with those we are connected to at Enaleni & Bhobokazi. They are a part of our community.
I believe whole-heartedly that we are called to support and be generous to these communities and to use what we have to respond to the desperate needs that exist for basic human necessities in rural Swaziland. To respond to the fatherless and orphans. To defend the widow and the powerless. This is our responsibility to the gospel. However, what feels sacred about this experience is that we have not allowed this to be defined by that help….but have allowed ourselves to demonstrate our own need for the resources that they have for us. They expose our poverty as much as we resource theirs. That is the experience of vulnerability.
Faith, I think, is much more meaningful & genuine when it is experienced in action. So often our faith is experienced in the realm of concept….on paper….in debate. When we simply put ourselves in motion to work out our faith in real, tangible, risky, and vulnerable experience….it is then that I have personally seen it come alive….both in my own life and in the lives of others. This has been the story of 17 of us that are now beginning to shift our thoughts towards home and re-entering our lives as we left them just a short two weeks ago. My prayer & hope is that we will take what God has revealed to us….some quite intimately….and weave them into the very fabric of our lives. I believe that vulnerability has given us a gift. May we care for it and honour it together.