Sundays in Swaziland are always great days. The opportunity to join in with the Enaleni Church community and to experience church in Swaziland is something we are always moved by. Today is no exception. I will let the words of a couple of our team members paint you a picture of what we experienced. Before I do….Laura you commented in on how proud you were of David….we couldn’t be more proud of him too. He has really embraced the Swaziland culture and taken up a new hobby in the meantime. We are not sure what he’s making but he sure is focussed. – Jon
The day at Enaleni church today I found was special beyond any words I can say. Many who know me personally may find it hard to believe that I don’t have the words. Throughout this adventure I have been shocked at times at how there were no words that could be said to ease pain and most of the time express overwhelming joyous emotions.
As soon as we arrived at church our Swaziland friends quickly and warmly welcomed us. After a few minutes of hugs and conversation we made our way over to the church.
Today was a special day for those at the church because there was a graduation ceremony to be held for the preschoolers from the Enalani care point. The service started off with a joyous chant from the back of the church, “Hey Riverwood” as the preschoolers performed a well-choreographed dance up to the front of the church.
The confidence and skill each of these children displayed throughout their elaborate routine was incredible. Once the performances were completed, the entire congregation celebrated each preschooler’s accomplishments. They were each awarded with certificates of graduation while they stood in front of us in their full graduation gowns. This moment was priceless and familiar, much like most of us at graduation ceremonies or spring concerts for our own children.
After we finished the ceremony we started the church service raising the roof. Wow, when participating in the singing and dancing I just realize how filled with the Spirit I felt and yet so ever short on soul when looking at how stiff and out of sync I was. The sermon preached by Jon was something that had great meaning to me and for others I saw around me. A small synopsis of the sermon was that God often provides us signs. Seldom will we see flashing lights kind of signs but subtle signs we shouldn’t question or challenge God for a bigger sign.
At Riverwood several years ago I was moved with the Swaziland mission trip stories shared with the congregation. I thought to myself how that would be such a shake to the core experience that I would like to do but I was too afraid to commit. Sometime later I met with someone for lunch from the church discussing how I wanted to be more involved with the church and the people within. Looking for an epiphany I was so disappointed yet today I realizing now it was the best thing I could be told. “Just go out and get involved”… try things out; small group, volunteer and you will find yourself part of the community of the Riverwood believers.
I dabbled in volunteering yet didn’t serve, I got involved in small group and it is great yet I still had a pull for Swaziland since the very first time I heard of it at church. I decided it was time to just do what I have been called to do some time ago.
Today halfway around the globe I am writing a blog of my experience today at Enalani and how listening to God’s calling for me here has enriched me and filled me will so much new found faith. I believe I have received far more than I have given. I thought God called me to help others but yet I think God called me here to help me and through me now I can do more for him than before.
At the end of the church service we all were very honored by the gift we were given by the Enelani church. We were all presented a traditional garment but this year it was not the Swaziland flag. It was a traditional flag from Mozambique. This was a change and it was so significant because Enaleni church did a missions trip of their own in this area, taking the lead from Riverwood and what we have done for the Enaleni care point. God does amazing things when we listen to the call and pay attention to the signs. – Andy
Today was a day of mixed emotions for me. Or perhaps I should say that it was a happy day interspersed with bursts of sadness. A bittersweet day. Church at Enaleni was wonderful as always. It is such a privilege to worship with our Swazi friends. But among the gladness I missed some things that I had come to take for granted. Jims (the old man who dances) was up before we arrived, and there was a song I was looking forward to that we did not sing. I don’t know what it’s called, but it involves hugging everyone you can see while singing “I am hugging you in the name of the Lord”. There are other verses too along the same lines (dancing, singing?…etc). Maybe that also happened before we arrived. It’s funny actually that I’m missing it now after how horrified I was while experiencing it for the first time in 2012.
After church we got to share a meal with the congregation, and I was able to sit with my special friend. However, as we left Enaleni today we were saying goodbye to him, and to a lot of the other high school kids. Since they are in school now and writing exams so many of them have been unable to make it to the carepoint on weekdays.
Finally, we had a fantastic thunderstorm this evening – complete with a power outage. I was eating dinner on the enclosed patio enjoying the storm and feeling grateful for the show and for the rain that this country so desperately needs. On the other hand, I can’t escape the knowledge that there were people unable to lay down to rest because their homes could literally collapse on top of them.
That’s the reality of these trips for me though – a rollercoaster of joy and heartbreak. I think it’s appropriate, and God willing I’ll keep on coming back for more.
Jordan, I can’t wait to see you again soon. Good job on the laundry and give our boys my love. – Allison