Well….after 30+ hours of travel & a welcomed night in a real bed in Johannesburg, we awoke quite well rested as a whole and ready for the day. All but one of our 50 bags arrived with us. The missing bag belongs to Kailey who ironically has been in the same situation here before and after Carolyn did some wheeling and dealing, the bag is en route from Amsterdam to be delivered to us as we speak. Funny thing was she travelled the plane in slippers only and has no other shoes, so early this morning I hit the local shopping centre and did my best to pick out some new shoes that Delta has offered to pay for. I ended up buying 4 pairs fearing size and style incompatibilities and thankfully one pair meets the standards so she is good to go!
We boarded the bus and headed back to the airport to pick up our last remaining team member arriving this morning and then hit the road for Swaziland. After a quick stop for lunch surrounded by a herd of zebras, we had a very smooth border crossing and arrival in Swaziland at our team home. Along the way, we discovered that one of our team members had some fun while packing and keeps pulling out strange things from her bag of tricks….today it was a pair of mini hands. I am sure they will be surfacing a few times over the next week. The team was pretty happy to finally be here and to be finished with all the travel for a while.
We met our hosts, Greg & Michelle and spent some time with them getting oriented to the place and with the plans for the week. We are looking forward to spending the next couple weeks with them! Greg & Michelle have been serving with Hope Chest here in Swaziland for the past 3 years.
The rest of the night has been busy unpacking, sorting through all our bags, and getting prepared for our first day at Enaleni tomorrow. Everyone is pretty giddy & full of anticipation. We spent some time sharing about what God has already been speaking to us and praying for one another and for our day tomorrow. Right now, the place is beginning to settle and quiet down as team members slowly make their way to their beds. Our bodies certainly don’t know what time it is yet but we are hopeful to get some rest tonight!
Landing here again has arisen many emotions. Together as a community we have collected almost 10 years of experiences, memories, friendships, and change. Even as we stepped out of the airport at Jo-burg, seeing the familiar face of Elliot waiting for us at the airport, who has been our bus driver every single year, makes us feel instantly at home here. It is a reminder to me that we are not as much visiting as we are returning to a place that has grown so deeply into our hearts and become home. We look forward to seeing what God wants to orchestrate through this experience and collectively resolved ourselves to serving with a posture that is open to his hand moving both in our lives and through them.
For now we say thanks for all the support & prayers. We truly do view this experience as a communal one shared not just with the 22 of us here, but with our church family and everyone else following along. Until tomorrow!