Until next time Bhobokazi. You have our hearts.

As our last day at Bhobokazi was winding down, I found myself in a quiet moment leaning up against a fence post just outside the grounds of our care point. While quiet reflective moments are certainly not plentiful on these trips, this moment seemed to grab a hold of me. The noise of kids and adults laughing, playing, singing was hanging in the air and yet there was an almost silence that hovered over the valley of Bhobokazi nestled in between the mountains.   My heart erupted with emotion as I considered where we have been and how far we have come.  I was moved to tears as I considered how amazing it is to be a part of this and the words that rang through the air amidst the beautiful hum of activity were “God I am amazed at what you have done.”  It seems to me that moments like this define for me the most intimate worship experiences….where action & faith intersect and we are given a glimpse of how God’s hand moves in the midst of that.

Today was emotional.  It was our last day with our kids at Bhobokazi.  It still amazes me every year how significant a connection can be made in such a short time.  It was tough to say goodbye.  We again encountered a few heartbreaking stories of children whose innocence seems to be stolen by an oppressive force around them.  Stories of young teenagers forced to raise a family alone on a homestead.  Stories of a mother who lost 5 of her 6 children due to the effects of poverty.  When we literally come face to face with these stories we cannot help but have our hearts broken for them.

At the very same time, in the middle of the heartbreak, we are overjoyed.  If there was a better word for overjoyed I would love to use it because that doesn’t do justice to what our hearts feel.  There are so many incredible things happening at Bhobokazi.  Today we were able to watch the graduation celebration for some of the older kids that have completed the Ngesikhatsi training, a program designed to teach teenagers how to deal with grief.  It is having a massive impact on them.  We are so thrilled to see Mduduzi (the care point Shepherd) investing so much into the children.  Again, a story of a child that emerged from the care point and was invested into.  Now he is leading them.  What a picture of how our help can resource a local solution.  Swazi’s helping Swazi’s.

Once again our team did amazing.  They invested everything they have.  Every drop of sweat, every tear shed, every hug held a little longer, every smile exchanged.  These children were loved.  It is an incredible gift for us to be given the opportunity to represent you all in this place and to count ourselves as the faces and touches of each of our sponsoring friends back home.  To all you reading that invest into monthly sponsorship, please hear us as loud as you can….thank you.  It is making a huge difference.

Tonight we enjoyed a rather competitive and intense game of Skip-bo where some of our team saw a side of their pastors that they may not have known about.  We are doing well….we are tired but the fulfilled kind of tired.  Tomorrow we put our all into our final day here on the ground at Enaleni before turning our eyes to home.  Can’t believe we are almost done….it just goes to fast. – Jon

5 thoughts on “Until next time Bhobokazi. You have our hearts.

  1. Thank you for those impacting words Jon! Thank you team, for representing Riverwood; for loving on those children, being obedient to His calling.
    Blessings on you all, at your last day at Enaleni CarePoint tomorrow. Travelling mercies to you all, as you return to Winnipeg with heavy hearts, filled with many emotions. Soak it all in tomorrow!! 💜🌸💜

  2. Team, I am in awe of the hard work you have put into loving these children. Thank you thank you thank you for pouring into these little lives, for hugging and playing and dancing and singing with these children on behalf of all of us. You have represented all of us so well, proud of you. I’m praying you have another incredible day at Enaleni. As you read this you’ll be done that final day. Remember to process, take some time to write down the impact of this experience and know that these days will stick with you long after you step off Swazi soil. Hambe kahle.

  3. Thank you so much for taking the time to try and capture the depth of what you’re experiencing there, to express it in words and pictures. It has been so meaningful to follow your journey on the blog and to see all of the incredible pictures. It is because you invite us into that place of your ‘faith intersecting with action’ that we have the privilege of feeling a part of your journey. What a privilege to pray for all of you.

    We so appreciate the pictures…what precious faces of people who have been in our hearts for many years. We continue to pray as they endure heartache and difficult situations; we continue to trust; and we give thanks and glory to God as we see and hear all that He is doing.

    Blessings on all of you. Praying for you as you say goodbye and begin your journey back home. Thank you again for sharing this all with us.
    Rod & Rena

  4. Hi team,
    It’s been another successful year. The children come and go, but many are the same, the team members are different, but many are the same, the stories have the similar themes, love, laughter, some tears, love, laughter, sweat, sometimes blood, comittment, relationship, lots of benevolence, and as the trip comes towards the end heartache and at times heartbreak……..and the pictures that tell us what the story looks like. Amazing. Thanks Jon. Bren, loved the one of you and the group. Miss you my friend……a lot. Can’t wait to see you.
    Love cheryl

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