How God moves through prayer & arm-curls.

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Every year we say the same thing….it is hard to find the words to express how full our hearts are even after one day. We have had a remarkable day of connecting, sharing, playing, singing, dancing and praying with the precious kids of Enaleni. Once again, they have captured our hearts so quickly.

Our day began at the Hope Chest office with Jumbo (the country director) giving us an overview of the work they are doing in Swaziland. That description sounds a bit too formal as it was a very moving time for all of us to hear some incredible stories of how God is growing this ministry and impact throughout Swaziland! Our team was inspired and grateful to be given the bigger picture of what is happening here. We left feeling grateful that we get to be a part of that story!

Then we were on the bus and off to Enaleni. Stepping off that bus felt like arriving home to some of us….and to those that hadn’t been there before it didn’t take long before the same emotion was felt. The morning started a bit slower as the older kids are still in school and didn’t arrive at the carepoint until after lunch, but we spent our time with the pre-school enaleni1-11kids, the go-go’s, Pastor Peter & Precious, and the staff.

I must say our team takes the prize for most creative play-doh craft time with the pre-schoolers (although I think the kids appeared to be more like spectators). A big cheer to Agnes & Mary who got elbow deep into the pots and pans alongside the Gogo’s sharing in their routine of life & laughter.

Once we were swallowing the last bites of our lunch the first kids starting arriving from school….within a few minutes the carepoint was coming to life! A steady stream of kids walked through the gate (well many ran through the gate :-)) and we greeted both old and new faces with joy. Before we knew it, the grounds were packed and we were in full swing. What an incredible privilege it was to watch our team dive in fully to this experience. So many beaming faces and smiles being shared. Games & hugs & conversations filled the air. Again, it is so difficult to capture in words but it simply felt like all guards were down our hearts were fused together.enaleni1-19

We sang our hearts out, shared stories of hope, we played hard, and every one of our team members was covered in children.  At one point I think Adam had 6 kids suspended in the air, Andy had a few on his shoulders, and Dave was doing arm curl reps with a couple of 5 year olds. One thing I know for certain, these children knew they were loved today. Our team held nothing back. We shared numerous stories of God moving among us today….of following God’s promptings and of being the recipients of his grace through our experiences.

The kids look so healthy. They have grown up so much. They are being well cared for and there are so many new faces now!  It is a humbling thought to know that through the generousity and faithfulness of so many back home, these vibrant kids can know what it means to live life and to have the opportunity to thrive.  What a great day. Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement.

One other thing we are grateful for and truly is an answer to prayer is that it has been on and off raining for the last few days. Last night it rained through the eve and night and we woke up to a drizzle as well. It cleared for most of the day but right after we left the carepoint we had another solid few hours of great rain. This is so needed as Swaziland has just endured the worst drought in a century. There is a sense around that it is finally lifting. The sounds of rain truly is the sound of life here at the moment. We are so grateful!

Feel free to browse the photos and hopefully catch a bit of the spirit of our day! – Jon

The one thing that stands out to me today is the times of prayer with both adults and kids alike! Before we got off the bus we read a verse in 1 Thessalonians 3 – Paul sent Timothy to the people to strengthen them, to encourage them in their faith and to keep them from being shaken by the troubles they were going through. I felt we were sent to Enaleni today to do just that – to strengthen, to encourage, and to keep these precious kids from being shaken by the troubles they have been facing lately; especially since the passing of one of the kids there. The best way I know to keep people from being shaken by trouble is to pray for them and so we took the opportunity to do that today!  What powerful moments of bringing our Enaleni friends before God’s throne of mercy and grace.  We began the morning with our team surrounding the Bomakes and Shepherds, asking God to give them a fresh strength, comfort and peace.

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We ended the day dividing the kids into groups with a team member or two joining each circle and praying over the kids asking Jesus to shine light into the darkness.  Then there was the moment when a team member who was talking to a small group of kids, felt a prompting from God to pray for them right then and there. He followed that prompting, not knowing at the time that these kids recently lost their father in a tragic car accident.  God was moving amongst us today and we continue to pray that Jesus will comfort and heal hurting hearts. – Carolyn

enaleni1-12Amazing day!!!!!! The Lord is working in so many ways. Our team is a great group. The seasoned members are a blessing to those of us who are first timers. The looks on the children’s faces at Enelani today is something I will never forget; especially those whose special friends were able to connect with each other. It was priceless and breath-taking. I can hardly wait for tomorrow at Bhobokazi Care Point. The Lord is good. – Kim

What a wonderful day! Within minutes of arriving at the care point I encountered an old friend of mine and learned that she is the new shepherd at Enaleni care point. Her name is Hlangiwe, and she is the older sister of my special friend Mthandazo. It was great to be able to spend time with her and see her interact with the kids. Her enthusiasm and love for them and for us was a blessing to our entire team.

enaleni1-51One of the things I have been most looking forward to on this (my 4th) trip to Swaziland has been to continue building on my relationship with my special friend and his family members. In this way Hlangiwe’s presence was more than I could have asked or imagined. Mthandazo (my special friend) could not attend the care point today because of school, but instead of waiting hopefully for him all day I was able to know exactly what to expect and send a message home with him. There are so many other things I could say, but as I sit here pondering them all I am becoming overwhelmed and there is still lots to do before bed. Thank you so much to everyone who has been following along on the blog. Your words of encouragement and your prayers mean more than I can say. – Allison

20 thoughts on “How God moves through prayer & arm-curls.

  1. Team! These pictures are soaked with joy!

    I didn’t really need to read the blog post to know that all of you poured out all the love the Lord had in your hearts for these amazing kids and people today- love for them was expressed so much in your faces. It’s such an encouraging thing to see…. and I am sitting here living vicariously through all of you wishing that I was there pouring my heart out too! I will continue to pray for rain and energy and for your hearts to be so overwhelmed with the goodness of the Lord as you walk through these next few days. As I have been praying for you all, the resounding thing I have felt the Lord say is BE PRESENT, cherish each and every moment, be real with what He is showing and teaching you and what you are feeling. Let that be an encouragement as you continue the journey.

    And Davey…. I am oh so proud of you. You, my brother are in your element. It is such a blessing to watch you experience Swaziland and I am so excited to hear all the Lord is going to teach you and show you. My heart is so overwhelmed with joy for you.

    With lots of hope and prayers,

    Jo

  2. pumped for you! So blessed to be able to follow somewhat what adventures and challenges, expansions of your hearts (and muscles!), and to see the interactions and impact you are all having on one another. Praying peace and comfort as you see and move about these precious people and taste a bit of their journeys. Praying courage as you dare to enter more deeply with your hearts, minds, bodies into the daily lives of Swazi and are making a deep impact.

  3. So very happy for everyone there. The team. And happy to hear the kids are doing well. So many happy faces. Awesome job

  4. So incredible! Jon, when you said you all felt like you were arriving home as you entered Enalani, we felt something similar. After watching each trip since the beginning, having a team there and being able to journey along through stories and pictures really makes us feel like we’re there as well. Thank you! AND TEAM! We are so proud of each of you! Although we don’t know all of you personally we are very blessed to have such an amazing team representing our church! Way to love those kids unconditionally!
    Last of all, Mama Duck!! We are so proud of you! Way to lead and love all our friends at Enaleni today! We know that when you are there you give 200% of what you have and we are praying for an incredible amount of strength and rest for you. We love you so much!!!
    Love Soul Daughter and Booch (your other soul daughter) (no she’s not) (shut up Amy!) (we think we’re really funny right now)

  5. Daddy (Adam) I miss you very much and I’m happy that you did not die yet. I had lots of fun on Halloween and I got lots of chocolate in my bag for you to eat. love you. From Charlie
    Daddy I miss you very much and hope you have fun in Swaziland. love you. From Rylie
    Adam, it’s great to see you with the kids. You look joyful.
    Love, LeeAnn

  6. What a joy to see the pictures and hear the stories. Love to all. Jon i’m sending my love from your Mom–so proud of you and the team.

  7. Hi Team,
    It is soo good to see you all the the kids! They all look so happy and healthy. I must admit I got a little emotional when I saw those faces. ( I so want to be there too).
    Love the kids hanging off everyone! Don’t forget to play Skipbo with the older boys for me.
    I have been praying for you often.
    Bryan please give our kids hugs!! I am doing fine and taking it easy. Connie came over last night and handed out candy for me. We had a great time. She dressed up like a hot dog. Way to funny one one the little boys said “hey you are a hotdog” she looks shocked at him and said oh no I thought I was a hamburger! He didn’t know what to say and she said you are right I am a hotdog.
    It was really funny ( maybe you had to be there)
    Bryan missing you already.
    Don’t hold back, leave it all on the field.
    Till next time.

  8. Team! I loved reading about your first day at Enaleni. Your attentiveness to God’s moving is so apparent and needed, way to go! I wish I could be there with you all right now, but alas I cannot, and so I’ll continue to live vicariously through these blog posts. As you read this you’re back in the team room after Bhobokazi and I CAN’T WAIT to read about it. Wasn’t it awesome? Thanks for representing us so well. Proud of you all and I can’t wait to see more pictures and hear more stories! Carolyn, you look right in your element back with your Swazi friends. I’m so glad you are back there. We’re missing you at the office, but things are moving along (oh and we miss you too Dad, I mean, Jon)! Oh! And Carolyn, I can assure you Todd hasn’t made any crazy purchases in your absence… so far anyway haha. Kim, that feeling when you step on the ground in Enaleni is pretty unforgettable. You said it perfectly, breath-taking. Allison, so glad to see you back with the kids, can’t wait to see how you continue to connect with your Swazi friends 🙂 I’m continuing to pray for all of you! For safety, energy, rest, fresh revelations from God and even more impacting moments with our special little peanuts at Enaleni and Bhobokazi.

    Love you all!

    Zach

  9. How wonderful to see these children in the arms of my friends from Riverwood again. Jesus’ love just radiates in every picture. God bless you guys. Take your time and take advantage of the time. Lots of love.
    Jos Gatien

  10. Hey Team! You got my eyes all wet and leaky as i’m reading your stories and seeing your pictures! (And Adam…i echo what Charlie said!…”…i’m happy that you did not die yet!” (Gee! Didn’t even know that was an option being talk about!) i look at the church building…and the faces…and the Carepoint…and my heart is flooded with so much stinkin’ emotion! i love what each of you is bringing…what each of you is giving…and your developing part in the continuing story of each of these kids! In all honesty…i was never any good at the whole ‘letting-kids-hang-off-of-me’ or even communicating thru the language barrier…but i look at each of you…and you are doing stuff i never could! (That’s probably why you’re there and i’m here! 🙂 Keep it up! AND…way to take time to pray with the leaders and kids! What a powerful way to minister God’s love, hope and power! Love you all and cheering you on! (…but love one of you more than all the rest!) 😉 Have a remarkable, safe and awesome Day #2 team! – t

  11. Thank you so much for the posts and the pictures! Here the grey finally broke and we had some sun peaking through at last. I see the smiling faces, and the beauty shining through these kids. How I wish I could be there to lend hugs too. I will pray for you that God would continue to lead you through His Holy Spirit, and guide our prayers to be the most effective.

    Cheering you on!

  12. Thanks so much for bringing us along on your adventure. What a joy to see all the love being poured out on the children. We are cheering you on and keeping you in our prayers. Hugs.. Cheryl McMillan

  13. I’m a little short on words, which doesn’t happen often. I love the pictures.

    Thanks to all of you for being there!

    – Jordan

  14. Hey Team!
    I am obsessed with getting updates. I’m usually on the other side of this conversation, sitting where you are and soaking in the day and listening to all the encouragements. It’s kinda hard, I don’t know how Carolyn, Brenda, and Allison, did it last year after being on the trips so many years in a row.
    This being said…. I am so proud of each one of you! It looks like you are all having a blast! And pouring love into those kids.
    Kim, it is so great to hear your side of things, to see the carepoint with fresh eyes.
    I love seeing photos of the kids, they are growing so fast and look so healthy.
    I can’t wait to read about Bhobo, and what the day looked like there. And meeting the bomakes… especially Gracey!
    If any of you remember to love on my girls at both carepoint, it would be much appreciated.
    OH and if there are single girls on this trip…. make sure you don’t settle for less then 30 cows!!!!
    And Brenda are you eating ok???
    Love you all! Make sure you leave everything out there!
    Kailey Enns

  15. Hey all!! Just want to say your faces are truly BEAMING!! I love seeing your smiles, your warmth, your friendship and your exuberance in every pic! You are truly exactly where God wants you to be right now! We are with you all.. praying for such an overflowing of joy as you give your hearts away!! much love! Rhoda

  16. Bryan, I read the blog daily -lots of great pictures!! Ten of us met for lunch in Morris on Monday-good 2 hours. Auntie Tina plans to spend Friday at our house. Am praying for you all. Love, Mom

  17. I am so glad for the rain!!! And all you! New comers and those returning alike. God is so good! How he brings two separate, far apart communities together as one with so much love and trust…it’s just so beautiful. The pics show how love is just draped over everyone there! Praying and cheering you all on 🙂 Go Team!

  18. Rachel! Be safe! Love those little children and give them lots of hugs! Stay sharp! Praying that Jesus uses you and the team over there to spread the WORD and His love!Love you lots!

    – Josh and Jade

  19. Hi Dina and Kamila. Hope you are having a wonderful experience over there. We love reading about your adventures and I can hear you both laughing and see you interacting and playing with the kids over there. Be safe and know that we are praying for you and your time in Swaziland. 🙂
    Tammy

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