Swazi Church, Knitting & Thunderstorms

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.  img_6280Before 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

Team blogs…..

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.blogsunday-4

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.

blogsunday-8At 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. blogsunday-9

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

12 thoughts on “Swazi Church, Knitting & Thunderstorms

  1. Carolyn

    I am enjoying your blogs & reading them every day! I am amazed at all the photographs & love the smiles that I am seeing despite their daily challenges. We went to Elm Creek today & the weather is beautiful. I can’t wait to hear all about your journey. I pray for you & the group daily, that god will give you the strength & the help you need. I love you & miss you!

    Mom

  2. Carolyn, so love the picture of you with your girls! ❤️ Looks like Sunday was a day filled with many blessings. Praying for you and the team daily as you give 110% of yourselves! Play hard. Love deeply. You guys are awesome!

  3. Reading your stories, seeing your pictures, recognizing faces, and hearing of the life Enaleni Church is bringing to their little patch of Swaziland never get’s old!

    Andy!…i loved reading the journey you have been on…and what you are experiencing there! So powerful!

    Allison!…you missed ‘Dancing Jim’…and ‘The Hug Song’!?!?! …hopefully you still got in on the ‘dance-to-the-front-with-your-offering’ moment! 😉

    Carolyn my love!…seeing you standing next to Ncumcile and a few of her family is a truly moving picture! You remember the first time we saw that little girl and said to each other “let’s choose her as our special friend and sponsor her!” Now look at the young lady she is becoming! Incredible to have been a small part of her life-story!…and i’m so glad you were able to spend some time with her!

    OK! Stay strong! Praying for you…without ceasing!

    – t

  4. Hello Everyone!

    Nice work team! — Meaningful and inspiring mission you are on out there. While you were blessed with a thunderstorm, we were blessed with +17 temperatures here this weekend. Be gritty! Rest is found ultimately in Christ, and so we hope that the Lord is rejuvenating your souls, as you pour out yours into the care points. Keep working hard for the sole purpose of making much of His name!

    Praying for you all!
    Blessings,

    Dawson (Cole)

    Hi Allison! I miss ya! 🙂

  5. This sounds amazing, even though it was read in a terrible computer voice by the Mac that doesn’t understand punctuation. The stories of how God has been working through y’all are so amazing! It’s exciting to hear that our church has been moving the lives of people overseas. Y’all are doing great work, and from what I saw in the video, which was very little, the people there seem to be enjoying it as well. Have an amazing time in the rest of your time there! I’ll pray for y’all as you continue the work there as well as for safety on the way home.

    Hi Allison! I miss ya! 🙂

  6. yo perry my boy!!! imma just chilling over here without yah, and imma miss’n yah like a jolly bowl of jelly….. you know what i mean man. anyway i was justa thinking about you and your boy and whatcha up to… you know what i mean man, its like just craaazy over here up in the peg city man. so when yall get back we gonna hit up that dons life and watch a packer game with yall, you know what imma talk’n about home slice. anywho, yall stay safe out in dat wilderness yo, imma be praying for all yall, and hoping you make change in that village like none other fam. i love yall like a brother. like a horsefly on a big o’l dead animal. if yah know whatcha imma talking about. anyway perry you stay strong out there brotha, we need yall to preach the word!!! man!!!!

    your boy B-rock is signing off….
    Hi Allison! I miss ya! 🙂

  7. So great hearing about your Sunday. It’s hard to believe things are almost wrapping up . Allison, we can’t wait to have you home. We are so proud of you and praying that you can finish strong. BT Dubs, my Dominion winning streak has increased to 3.

    Love the pictures and seeing the joy of all our Swazi friends.

    Hi Allison! I miss ya! 🙂

  8. Way to go team!

    I especially want to say thank you to Andy for writing so honestly about what many of us experience but never speak out. (((HUG))) Thank you for your challenging post.

    I am thinking that there are going to be some high school grads in the carepoints coming up. We should talk about what we can do to make those extra special!

    WOW, they went to Mozambique!!! I would love to hear their stories of that adventure. God is certainly spreading the small impact we can have as a team of 20 people, to affect hundreds of others. Looking forward to seeing that ripple effect expand more and more!

    Today, it’s like summer again. 30 years ago today we were in a blizzard, but today – I’m off to run my errands without a fall jacket. Weird. Hope you guys are managing the heat all right, and I am continuing to pray for you.

  9. Hey Team! Did you miss me??? Sorry I’ve missed commenting. I love reading about your adventures and while I have neglected commenting, I have not been neglecting to pray for you all! I’m so excited to see so many of those precious little faces complete pre-school! Andy and Allison, thank you for sharing so vulnerable. I miss being at Enaleni church. I thought of you as I sat in church this weekend. Did anyone fall asleep during Jon’s message?? Love you all, thanks for continuing to give it all you’ve got! – Zach

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