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 kids, 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.
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.
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
Amazing 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.
One 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