As we drove home from the carepoint today with the realization that this was our last day, we all shared the same emotion. We can’t believe it is over already. In some ways it seems unreasonable to think that we have shared so many experiences, so many emotions, and felt so many deep connections in such a short time frame. Every day feels like it was relentlessly meaningful and full. We leave with very full hearts but at the same time sad ones as many have been so captured by this place and these people. To leave feels like a loss for us as being present with both Bhobokazi & Enaleni seems to provide us a sense of life and perspective and joy.
Today was a really special day at Enaleni. We presented gifts and circled around the Gogo’s to pray over them after sharing some things that were put on our hearts to encourage them. Every moment we stand with these ladies it feels like their presence is larger than life and simply sharing the same ground with them challenges us to our core about what grit & commitment means in our calling to serve others and to care for those in need.
We had a great chance to connect well with the kids today…whether that was playing play-dough on the ground, weaving friendship bracelets, through card games or through painting giant banners, we took in every single moment we could.
We had the chance to repeat the same programming as we did yesterday with Bhobokazi and took time to talk to both the older boys and girls separately about their sexuality and how they can live healthy and whole lives as God intended them to. I was reminded again how important it is to talk about these things as we look over the questions they submitted to get answers to. We may take for granted the education we receive back at home, but many of these young men and women need positive voices in their life just to be able to answer the basic questions never mind how to navigate the brokenness that exists here. Our time with them today was really significant.
We also had the chance to send home every school aged and preschool child with their workbooks they have been using all week long drawing and colouring and writing down things from the story of Joseph that they have be learning. Each booklet also contained a note written to them personally by their small group leaders that were with them all week long. How meaningful to hear these being read to the kids as notes of encouragement and hope.
There are a couple of highlight moments today that stand out. First was our second round of singing time just at the end of the day before we said goodbye. These children sang with such exuberance it went straight into our souls and marked us permanently. Truly this is the case. What a gift to be “all in” in the room together giving everything we had to one another. It was moving.
Secondly, right at the end our time together, we created a circle of Canadians around the sea of children and took some time to pray over them. We prayed fervently for their safety, their schooling, their homesteads, and just that God would remain close to them and they would know how very special they are!
We will reflect more on our time here but as the entire team has now retired to their beds before an early wake up call tomorrow to head to our safari, my heart is bursting with pride for this team. They have truly left it all here. Their sweat, their tears, their joy, their sleep, and their hearts.
I am also proud of the 3 of us that made it to the end in our commitment to jump into the frigid waters of the pool every single day we were here. We lost many along the way, but 3 of us stayed strong to the end. Tonight’s swim was pretty fun as we came down off the emotions of the day. There were a few people pushed in fully clothed and an aquacise class led by our YMCA team member to attempt to avoid hypothermia. We will check in after our safari and hopefully share some pictures of a few animals spotted before we begin our journey back home.
Good night from Swaziland. – Jon