Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Swaziland - Day 2 - Worship in Many Forms

As I have spoken to people in the last couple of days since we returned from our trip, I have been asked what my favorite thing about the trip was.  I honestly cannot answer that question.  Each day held its own joys.  I couldn't possibly pick a favorite when each place we went had its own unique aspect to what makes this country so special to us.  The second day of our trip was on Sunday.  No trip to Swaziland would be complete without a visit to a rural church.  We have visited the church at Timbutini on every trip, and I walk away every time so blessed by worshipping with God's people.  

Most of the service, I don't even understand the language that is being spoken.  We did have an interpreter for the message(Thanks, Ncobi!), but even with an interpreter it can be challenging.  Often the speaker will continue to speak while the interpretation is going on.  Not to mention that I am a bit hard of hearing to begin with.  
Abby and I with the church building in the background 
 We don't take pictures during the service.  We don't want to do anything to detract from the worship that is taking place.  Every time I go, I literally close my eyes for long periods of time as I listen to the amazing voices all joined together in worship of God.  I am convinced that the Swazi people have the best voices in all the earth!  Man, what is Heaven going to be like?  I am pretty sure I got a glimpse of it that day.
The view outside the church
(not that different from Colorado Springs)
During the service, we were asked to come up front and introduce ourselves.  While we were standing there,  a little boy, about 2 years old, came up and stood by me.  He then followed me to my seat and ended up spending the whole service with Abby and me.  He eventually fell asleep in my arms.  I don't know why, but I have that effect on Swazi children.  

One of my favorite parts of the service is the offering time.  It is so joyful and challenging to see everyone giving when they have so little.  We were also given the opportunity to pray over people who came forward with various needs.  I was deeply humbled to be specifically asked by one of the Gogos(Swazi Grandmothers) to pray for her family after the service.  When I looked into the eyes of that woman, I saw so much wisdom and life experience.  She was so grateful for the prayer and I was so blessed by the opportunity. 
 Chip(or Pastor Fish and Chips, the name he earned on our trip) 
next to the soccer field just outside the church.
 The service lasted about 2 1/2 hours.  We had the opportunity to see some friends.  That was a treat.

Once we left church, we headed straight for the Halfway House.  This place is very special to us.  This is where Isaiah and Laila lived for 5 months before we adopted them.  So many emotions attached to this place!
There are currently 22 children here, a 13-year old, a 7-year old and the rest 5 and under.  There are 3 caregivers that take care of them.  They do the best they can, but there is only so much of them to go around.  The conditions of the home are rough.  The children have lots of obvious signs of poverty.  The most obvious need is their need for touch, love, and personal attention.  I don't think they get many visitors.
They were so excited to see us pull up. 
 I have lots of pictures from that time.  These are only a few of what I have.  I just have to share the pictures of these beautiful children.  I believe God has a plan for them.  If these pictures stir your heart, will you pray for them?  I so wish that each one could have a family!
 I could do this all day

 The expression on this girl's face broke my heart. 
She is the oldest girl and was not very responsive at first.
Before we left, we had her smiling!
 This one really liked Abby
 Ms. Maureen and her babies.
I wonder how many children she has mothered over the years?

 Joe and little man
 The youngest one, 7 weeks old.
The bib says it all!

 Maureen looking at pictures of our family.
She could not believe how much Isaiah and Laila have grown.
 This little one did not want to have anything to do with us!
 Another Gogo who cares for the kids
 I do believe this place was Abby's favorite of the trip
 Chip taking pics and showing them
 Be still my heart

 Gideon, our buddy.  
He has been there since he was a little guy.  He is 13 years old and has some disabilities.  
We love this little guy!
 On our last trip, we sarcastically called this one "Little Miss Sunshine" because we could not break through her shell.  She would not smile at us.  She would even roll her eyes at us.  
Not this time.  We got lots of smiles on this trip.

 They liked playing with Abby's hair
 Words can't even express how hard it is to leave this place.  The kids were emotional.  We were emotional.  Knowing that we had another visit scheduled later in the week made leaving bearable.

We left the Halfway House and headed out to some land that has become the Miracle Campus for The Luke Commission.  God is using Harry, Echo and all those involved in their ministry in amazing ways in Swaziland.  They do mobile medical clinics in the bush and meet the medical and spiritual needs of people who would never have the opportunity to see a doctor.  Now, they have a piece of land that they are transforming into their permanent headquarters.  We got a tour from Echo.

Our night ended with steaks grilled by Jumbo and a wonderful opportunity to spend time with the Vanderwal and Gerber families.  I love hearing the stories of what God is doing with The Luke Commission!!  And for those of you who don't know, Jumbo and Kriek's cooking never disappoints.  We enjoyed lots of laughter and some good discussions around that dinner table.

It was a day packed full of worship, desperation, excitement, overwhelming odds, and hope.  It is sometimes hard to process the contrasts of what we experience.  We can go through so many different environments and experience so many different emotions all in the course of one day.  Let's just say my head hit the pillow exhausted after all that we experienced on day 2 in Swaziland.

1 comment:

  1. Well look at little miss sunshine!!! She's so beautiful! So glad she warmed up to you this time :)