Until next time Enaleni….

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.

day8phone-2Today 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.

day8phone-4We 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.

day8phone-7We 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.day8-45

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.

day8phone-9I 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

17 thoughts on “Until next time Enaleni….

  1. ❤️❤️❤️ Well done, Swazi team. Imagine in Glory….you will truly know what will be reaped from the seeds you have sown. Enjoy your safari, safe travels home to us.

  2. The smiles on those children’s faces says it all! Your work has touched the hearts of many lives and brought joy to those around you. Be proud!

  3. My Heart is filled with joy for all of the Swazi Team 2017 members as you rejoiced with Gods presence.
    Your presence will live on unto the next visit.
    Enjoy your Safari!!. I pray for your safety during the safari and a safe passage home to share your wonderful experience with everyone. I cannot wait to hear all about it Keri.
    Love Daddy xoxo

  4. Thank you for sharing the delight and love you are experiencing. I am praying for your journey to continue safely and joyfully in the remaining days. Love and Blessings to you all!

  5. Sad to see the time end. We loved hearing about all you were doing. Have a great time on the safari and have a safe journey home.

  6. I just want to say you are all an inspiration to anyone that is following along on your journey back here in Canada. Even though we only get small snippets of what your day is like you can truly see the love, compassion, joy, and raw emotion on all your faces. It has been such a pleasure to read this every day and imagine what you must all be feeling.

    To my love. I know you have had such an amazing time and I want you to know that I will always support you in every decision you make even when it sometimes doesn’t make sense to me. When you first brought up this missions trip I was steadfastly against it, you could say my heart was stone (no pun intended) as I didn’t want to miss you as much as I have. After some time to think and talk about it again I knew in my heart that this was something that was pulling you to it in such a powerful way that I had to put my own feelings aside and ensure that you had my support. It has been (and still is till Friday) and very hard time without you, with sleepless nights, renovations, running a business and keeping the kids entertained, I’ve hardly had a minute to think. However in those moments, especially in the evening when the kids (finally) go to bed, you are all I think about which makes it very hard to let go and fall to sleep. I love that we have been able to keep in touch (however briefly) as without that I’m not sure I could have made it these two weeks without losing my mind.

    I can’t wait to see you again soon. x

    1. Well written Scott. I cried when I read this. Keri Ann you are a lucky lady in all areas of your life and I’m very thankful to have you and your family in our lives.

  7. Wow!! What a great way to end the trip at enaleni and bobakazi. You all did such an awesome job and I hope that you know that! Mommy and joshee I love you so so much and can’t wait to hear about it!!!!! I pray that you see some very cool animals in Krouger park( hopefully some cheetahs fo you bro) and for safe travels home. I love you and I miss you mommy and joe my bro. See you soon;)
    Love Gracie❤️

  8. Oh, and great job josh on being one of those top three in swimming;) Hope there was no
    Sicknesses in the water😬. Well I love you joshee and will see you soon. Love you to mom:)
    Love Gracie

  9. Wow!!! just WOW!!! I am so encouraged and inspired by the love and emotion that was in these last few days. the cuddles, the faces, the hearts that have been left on the plains of the African Soil. I cannot even put into words the love that has been shown. Enjoy your final day as a team exploring the rest of “Gods Kingdom” May you all be filled up in so many ways. God will fill you all up to overflowing. Thank you TEAM SWAZI, for the love the encouragement the gift of laughter and tears on this journey. It will be remembered. My mission is to attend in person next year with my sissy! I cannot imagine the experience and I am intrigued to start saving and be there next year in person. Be well, all of you, And once again, have fun creating more memories. xox ((( hugs across the miles))) Can’t wait to hear about the trip, and hug my sister in person!

  10. Thank you again for sharing, posting, loving and letting us into your God journey!! We love hearing everything!! Ok Jordan & Cole! (and whole team!!) Time for you to lead worship at all 3 of our sites now!! (Bring that Swazi worship time back here!!) Praying for you all as you finish your African journey and come back into the God adventures in store for you back here in Winnipeg! Much love all!!

  11. And!!! As I was posting this I was hearing the tunes of “Collective Soul” on the radio singing a song called “Shine”. I just googled the lyrics of it and was caught by the line “O heaven let Your light shine down”….. I really feel that’s exactly what you all did as you were in Swazi. You all invited the presence of Jesus into the places you were and that is truly a beautiful thing. “Oh Lord we invite Your presence into all the places we walk!”

  12. You ave obviously impacted everyone associated with the 2 care points in Swaziland deeply. It is very obvious.
    Brenda, I guess you were caught this day. Looks like you didn’t know the pictures were being taken or you couldn’t escape. I saw 4 today! Yeah! It is remotely possible that I may have missed some. It was only today that I figured out how to negotiate looking at the pictures bigger than thumbnail and then getting back to the original site. I am finding it much more difficult this time round compared to other years. Having said that, it is more than likely I am missing something. I usually do, miss many somethings!
    Beautiful pictures, beautiful children. They all look so vibrant, healthy, and at least while they are with you, deleriously happy. It is obvious to me that you impact the children, long after you are gone, as demonstrated by Brenda’s visit to the prison. Her special friend thought he would never see her again. He didn’t forget her, and Bren, you showed him, that you hadn’t forgotten about him. God uses us in so many ways to fulfil His purposes.
    Enjoy the safari, and praying for smooth “sailing” home.

  13. Well, I feel like this comment is long over due. I should have posted much much earlier. We are proud of you all. We love ready the blogs, following along on your journey and hearing how you are influenced, inspired and impacted.
    While I respect your leaders (Jon & Carolyn) immensely and wouldn’t change them for the world I feel like you should’ve been warned early on in your adventures. Jon is the worst at buying snacks. His chips and chocolate choice are horrendous and don’t even get me started on his pizza selections. I did not have the privilege of having Carolyn on our trip to Swaziland, but since the poor choices are still being made, I can only assume that she is compliant in Jon’s decisions. There are enough of you veterans there to make positive changes and this still goes on. Such a shame. On behalf of everyone else… I’m sorry.
    Oh well, enough of that. Thanks all for sharing your experiences and letting us in a bit. It is so appreciated.
    See you all soon.

    And J.C. … I still love you.
    Your friend,
    P.S. Hot pineapple is gross.

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