Friday, June 17, 2011

Thursday Happenings

One word I would use to describe our time so far this week would be, "smooth." Really, I cannot complain at all about how things have gone.

I think after 5 years, the staff here have really streamlined everything and done an incredible job making things run well. We have also learned from our previous trips and have developed systems for executing the ministry that have proven effective.

Above all of that, of course, is God's Hand leading, guiding, and protecting. We do not take that for granted!!

It has truly made for an enjoyable and encouraging trip for all of us.

Yesterday was a great day!

I spent the morning with Amber and Kriek planning out a fun day for Saturday with the D-team. We had breakfast and ran some errands. I will share more details once Saturday is over. Our activity is a surprise, and I don't want to spoil that by writing about it here!

Rick, Marty, and Zach spent the morning leading about 30 pastors through a morning of teaching and discussions on how trauma and stress affect leaders and how to develop networks of support and encouragement for each other. It was a good time of ministry and encouragement with a great group of pastors. One pastor and his wife walked 3 hours to be there!!

One of their highlight moments was being able to give the pastors suits, shirts, and ties. The men LOVED them and were so blessed. We have been bringing them clothing for 3 years and the men are always so grateful. This was our first year to bring full suits!! One pastor shared that he still has the shirt he got at the conference 3 years ago!

In the afternoon, we had our annual Gogo Appreciation Lunch. We had Chicken Dust Meals. These consist of chicken, pap, and lettuce. It is called chicken dust because it is grilled on the side of the road. It was yummy and the women enjoyed eating it along with soda to drink.

Once the meal was over we experienced one of my absolute favorite things, watching the women sing and dance. Truly it is a taste of what heaven will be like!!

A few of us shared some Scripture and encouraging words with the women. Then we gave them gifts of medial kits. They clapped and cheered when we gave them their gifts. Marty gave them a basic first aid lesson explaining how to use the items in their kits.

Our day ended with a very special time of dedication of the school building that we are building in honor of David Hames. Our team gathered together inside the partially constructed school building that we have been working on this week. We spoke of memories of David and lifted prayers of dedication. We prayed for Renee and the boys as well. We each held red balloons that we released at the end of our prayers. It was a very emotional time.

Cody and Lauren are doing great. I have been surprised at how they have just jumped right in and engaged whatever ministry we are doing. They have both been given Swazi names by some of the men who are driving us around. Cody is "Koko" which means, "hero." Lauren is "Thulile" which means, "peaceful." What a treat it is to give them firsthand experience into this calling that God has placed on our family.

Prayer Requests:
1. Safety and Health for our team
2. We are winding down for our final days of ministry. Pray for strength and rest to persevere to the end.
3. Pray for our families at home. It is hard to be apart for so long for many.
4. Pray that our time with the D-team will be lots of fun and an encouragement to them.

Today was an amazing day as well. I will share more later. It was definitely the most emotional day so far. God did something amazing and answered a HUGE prayer of mine!!

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