Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Swaziland Day 5 - All Different Directions

Well, we are now at Wednesday on our trip.  This day was a bit unique because our team was dispersed to various locations.  We started the day by sending off the guys to Nsoko.  Holly was going to do some teacher training at one of the carepoints, and Abby and I were spending the day helping Kriek with some office work.  

At the carepoint where Holly did her teacher training
 This cracked me up!
 This Is Africa!  A common sight we see.
 Teachers are arriving
Holly and Kriek
 Holly has done teacher training for these women 6 times on 6 different trips!!  She had developed a relationship with them.  As we were preparing for this trip, we were told they had missed Holly and her training days.
These women will teach as many as 60 children without much help!
 Goody bags of supplies and treats Holly put together for the women
 The teacher training lasted for several hours.  Holly did icebreakers with the women.  Listened to their concerns and struggles as teachers and helped them problem solve.  She brought along very practical activities and the supplies for those that the women can use in teaching their preschoolers.  They ate a yummy lunch of chicken dust.  The time went really well!!
After dropping off Holly, we made a stop at the Corner Bakery for a cream doughnut!
Delightful as always!
 Rick, Chip and Joe headed to Nsoko.  They had plans to visit some carepoints there and do some home visits.  At the home visits, we always deliver some basic food and essential for life.  It is always so impacting to sit down with someone at their home and hear their story.  
Chip and Joe with the home visit supplies

Speaking of stories, I would like to introduce you to Fortunate.  We heard a bit of this woman's story 3 1/2 years ago.  Rick and I connected with her and hoped to meet her.  When I heard her story, it gave me a possible glimpse of Isaiah and Laila's Swazi mom.  These two women are the same age with many of the same life circumstances.  I believe Fortunate is a good representation of many women in Swaziland.  She is sick, has a family she loves desperately, and they have great needs.   
Fortunate 3 years ago when Rick and the team met her
They took her a blanket and food supplies for their home.  I think everyone on that trip was impacted by their time with her
 We weren't even sure if she would still be alive.  She was so sick when they visited her 3 years ago.  Guess what?  She is and she seems to be doing well.  Rick was so thankful for the opportunity to connect with her and her family.
 This is a good view of a typical Swazi homestead.  
 The guys also visited some carepoints.  This is one of them.  
 A carepoint is a place for children to come, receive food, have some physical needs met, sometimes get an education, learn about Jesus and be discipled, and be a part of a community rather than on their own.  It is a safe haven for them.  Women, called Gogos or Bomake prepare the food for the children.  Many of these women have even taken children into their home to care for them.  

In the afternoon, the guys met up for a mini pastor's conference at the Bible college with 28 pastors.  This is a group of men that Rick has been investing in for 6 years.  It is always a time for encouragement for Rick and the pastors as they connect about their ministries, their lives, their struggles, and their joys.  There is just something about that common bond of ministry that crosses cultural barriers.  It is a calling that connects us regardless of where we live.  Rick, Chip, and Joe were able to invest in those men, and be invested in by those men.  I do not have any pictures to share of their time.  Rick didn't take any on his camera.  Rick came away encouraged by the opportunity to relaunch this ministry and hopes to continue to connect with these men on future trips.  

While all of that was going on, we were at Kriek's house doing some work, too.  Kriek is over all the administrative details involved in the ministries to the carepoints.  It is a lot of work.  We were able to assist her with some projects for the day.  
 Abby is working on samples for the carepoints to use when they do an upcoming craft project.  
 I love spending time with these two!!
We had a little lunch date.  Clara had her first Grapetiser.!!  This was Abby's favorite drink on the trip.
 I had quite the drink.  I cannot tell you what it was called, but it was like an appetizer and drink all mixed into one.  The only way I know to describe it is a salad of apples and cucumbers in a club soda with some lemonade and passionfruit.  It was REALLY YUMMY!!
 That night we went to my new favorite place to eat in Swaziland.  It was a pizza place and the atmosphere was out of this world.  The food was pretty good, too!!  Best pizza I have ever had in Swaziland.  We were sitting outside with this as our view!
 I don't know what it was about these trees, but I absolutely love them.  
 It was so peaceful and tranquil, and at one point, there was even a monkey moving around out there!
 The whole crew!  
 Oh, did I mention that they had dark chocolate breadsticks that you dip in vanilla ice cream?!?!  Oh, yes they did!!
The girls! 
 It was so great that the missionary families had girls for Abby to hang out with at our evening meals.  
Can you see why I said this trip was so much about relationship?  That is one of my big takeaways.  God showed us how 7 years of investment develops relationship beyond just acquaintances or "come in, help, and leave" type relationships.  I would call many people in Swaziland my friends.  That leads to trust.  That leads to deeper community.  That leads to reciprocity in ministry which we experienced more than ever before.  That makes it even harder to say good bye!

Don't worry, the trip is not over yet!!  I still have 2 more days of ministry to share!!

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