4Oct

Our Team Photos

2Oct

The Long Awaited Team Leader’s Stories

Good morning friends!

I apologize again for the delay in getting our team leader’s stories to you. Internet was extremely spotty where we were and posts were unfortunately not possible last night. But the time has finally come!! Our team leader’s stories! It’s been a wonderful week in eSwatini and we are about to depart on our 16-17ish hour flight to Atlanta before catching another flight back home to Salt Lake. We are exhausted, somewhat sunburnt, but with full hearts and full minds and a lot to process as we head home. Here is a snippet of some of that for you to start getting an idea of where our team leaders are at least at. I’m sure you will hear the rest of the stories in time.

Here is the combination story from Derek and Brian:

Blog post:

  • Team recognition: Taking a team of individuals to the other side of the world brings up ‘opportunities’ where every person may not see eye to eye. After long days in a different country and different culture there inevitably comes a point where it’s very easy to think of yourself first, in some way. We’ve been very thankful to have a group that has acted and spoken with servants hearts. This has had such an impact on our ability to lead and to enjoy every moment.

 

  • Greater appreciation for the providers

The fact that you are reading this means there is a good chance you’re aware that there are more than 200 children we help support at Mkhombokati.  That’s at just our CarePoint.  There are 40 CarePoints in eSwatini where roughly 8,000 children are cared for.  That takes a small army of caring providers.  From missionaries to shepherds (the young Swati’s who run each of the CarePoints), to the Swati grandmothers, or Bomake, who cook each day for the children.

This trip provided a unique opportunity to empower the shepherds through the medical conference.  As our ministry partnership continues to grow we (Capital) are gaining greater understanding for how valuable our role can be in encouraging and supporting every one of these individuals.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.”

Hebrews 10:24

 

Encouragement, it can be an easy thing to do, but I’m not sure any of us realized just how much weight it can carry.

Please pray for our Missionaries, the Shepherds, the CarePoint Coordinators (CPC’s – a new position held by young Swati’s), and the Bomake.  It’s still hard for us to grasp how much each of these individuals is giving of themselves in order to serve.

One way you could be praying for the shepherds is for the emotional weight they carry. Many of these young Swati’s are the counselors for the children they serve at each CarePoint.  They know these kids stories, they know their pain, but that doesn’t mean they can do much, if anything, to change the home life for every child.  That is a heavy weight to carry home each night.  Please pray for the shepherds that they are not discouraged, but encouraged knowing they are positively impacting lives for Christ as they serve at the CarePoints.

 

Encouragement to Sponsors.

We aren’t sure how to say this correctly and emphasize it enough.  If you sponsor a child, if you have a special friend… Write Them!  Include pictures of yourself and of your family. Encourage them.  You literally have NO IDEA how great an impact you may have on that child’s life by doing something that seems so simple.  For them to hear that they are loved, to know someone is praying for them, to feel valued means the world to them.  You have that capability.  Don’t take it lightly.

 

We want to thank you all for following along with us this week and for all your continued prayers. They did not go unheard. The bibles you signed for the children meant a lot to them and being able to see their faces when receiving a bible from their special friend and seeing a message from you meant even more. So, please, continue writing those messages and sending those letters and pictures and small presents. They may seem small and insignificant to you, but they mean the world to them.

In closing, here is a picture with the team and the bomake, our carepoint shepherd, Wilile, and our carepoint Coordinator, Celiwe on our last day at the carepoint. Please enjoy it. This was a very unique trip in many ways and we are excited to see how God uses this trip and others in the future to further his kingdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace and Peace!

30Sep

Fun Day Update

Good morning friends!

We have made it to Kruger National Park. As promised I will be sharing pictures from Fun Day that we had with the children yesterday, once I am able to upload them. Sadly, you will have to wait one more day for stories from our fearless leaders, they weren’t quite ready to share their stories yet, they are still in the process of getting their thoughts in order, but those stories are still coming. Tomorrow. I promise. For tonight, I will just leave you with wonderful little stories from Fun Day.

Along with the Sports for Christ Ministry that AIM has in eSwatini, we were able to have a bounce house for the younger children and do an obstacle course, using chalk drawn out on the basketball court. Derek and Brian looked awesome running around on the court showing the children how to do the obstacle course, then standing at the finish line to catch them. There were also other team-like games that the older children got to do, including a game that had music were the children would go into the middle and jump out and if they were in the middle when the music stopped and they got caught, they lost.

I apologize for not having pictures, but we were sadly unable to load them tonight.

I’m going to head to bed, 5:00 AM comes awful early for someone who relies on coffee to function on a regular day. We will see you back here tomorrow, hopefully with some pictures.

Grace and Peace!

29Sep

Medical Training and the Day We Gave the Children Their Bibles

Well it’s Saturday. We are wrapping up our week here eSwatini and it has been a wonderful week. Filled with medical training, some medical treatment, and lots of hugs and fun at the carepoint. We even gave out the bibles that you were able to sign for your special friends. They loved getting to read the messages or having them read to them, those messages meant so much. Thank you for writing those sweet messages.

At the beginning of the week, if you recall, we did a two day Medical Training. We ended up having a total of 68 shepherds attend the training during the two days. Today we have our team Doctor, Erin, sharing her story along with pictures from the training and pictures of children reading their new bibles. Tomorrow, we will share pictures from the fun day that we had at the carepoint today, including a bounce house, games, and a yummy meal including meat, beans, and pop (which is ground up corn, that is common for them to eat).

Here is Erin’s story:

To understand where we are going, we must understand where we have come from, and acknowledge that the thread of God’s plan has been woven throughout the story of the world by faithful servants for years.  As I reflect on my (now) third annual medical mission trip to eSwatini and consider the answered prayers and trust that continues to develop between the Capital community and the AIM staff (which includes Swatis and missionaries), I am humbled and overwhelmed by the decade of answered prayers and relationship building between Capital and Mkhombokati communities; these relationships were in place long before I had set foot on this sacred ground. Without those many years of people being obedient to Christ and answering a call to serve, I would not be able to participate in or witness the revolutionary efforts of this Fall 2019 team.

 

After moving to Salt Lake City in 2015, my husband (Zack) and I were blessed to find Capital Church on our first Sunday in the city. Shortly after my Capital introduction, a church leader shared information about Capital’s many-year partnership with Adventures in Missions (AIM) in eSwatini at a specific place called Mkhombokati CarePoint. The Capital leader spoke of a hope to answer a medical need at Mkhombokati at the request of the AIM staff in eSwatini. As a doctor with an interest in teaching and reaching the unreached and a decade-long interest in global health with a particular emphasis on health in developing countries, let’s just say I was very interested in this opportunity. Zack and I ended up leading a medically-focused trip to eSwatini that following Fall of 2016, and on that trip and the one that followed in the Fall of 2017, I lead the medical efforts at Mkhombokati. At the request of AIM staff and with the help of many amazing nurses, therapists, a dentist, and other faithful team members, we were able to address acute health needs in the children and some adults within the ministry on those two Fall trips, as well as provide some basic health education to the children at the CarePoint. In 2017, a small amount of time was also spent educating the AIM shepherds about some common medical issues. That time invested to execute an acute care clinic in 2016 and 2017 was both useful and meaningful, because it addressed a need that was requested by the people on the ground who care for these kids and this community daily. But in a country with the highest rate of HIV in the world, with limited access to clean running water, where tuberculosis shortens too many lives, and where puberty, hygiene, and disease transmission are not publicly taught, pop-up medical clinics are not the long-term answer to the future of improving healthcare. Knowing this, I was both thrilled and honored to hear that for our 2018 Fall focus, the AIM staff were requesting our time be spent NOT doing an acute care clinic. Instead, we were tasked with extending what was started in 2017 and providing much-needed health education to the shepherds and AIM staff. These men and women are the Christ-following future leaders of eSwatini. What an honor to be able to educate them on healthcare topics that would improve the care of the 8,000 children currently in the CarePoint system, and potentially (God-willing) impact the future health of the country!

 

In preparation for this 2018 medical conference for the AIM staff, we were given topics to teach at the request of the shepherds. Just weeks before our departure from the US, I learned that we would be teaching not just a handful of the shepherds, but that the training was being made mandatory for all the AIM staff. We ultimately trained 68 AIM staff members who were transported in, from around the country, for a two-day medical conference. Praise God! The AIM staff learned about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, hygiene, cholera and other types of diarrhea, skin infections, and the most common cancers in eSwatini including any preventable actions that can be taken to decrease risk. We educated about asthma, and discussed puberty and what can be expected. Through interactive stations we taught about appropriate use of materials within a first aid kit, and how to wrap wrists, knees, and ankles after a sprain. We also discussed the emotionally and culturally difficult topic of recognizing signs of abuse in a child or adult, including small group practice to address those challenging conversations.

 

Those attending the conference were extremely engaged and interested in learning. They took notes on their handouts; they asked dozens of questions throughout any given topic. They enthusiastically participated in interactive sessions and small group discussions. In short, they were a teacher’s dream! Care Point Coordinators and Shepherds have shared their gratitude for the time spent teaching them, stating that they had never been formally taught about these topics. Many who attended the training have reached out to me to share how “relevant and useful” they found the information to be. Multiple people have separately shared with me that they believe the information on topics that are common and a growing issue in eSwatini will lead to “improvement in the future healthcare of the children at the CarePoints”. Another female shepherd shared that the information that was taught will not only allow shepherds and staff to care for children better, but also for their own families.

 

Our investment in the education of the future leaders of tomorrow has been a groundbreaking step in the AIM and Capital partnership, allowing us to indirectly love on not only the kids at Mkhombokati, but also the kids at the other 39 CarePoints. God has used our Capital community to serve his kingdom this week by giving us the opportunity to invest in the 68 adults who give of themselves daily to feed, disciple, care for, and encourage the children of eSwatini, and I am privileged to have been able to witness this.

 

Erin McAdams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday we were able to hand out the bibles that were signed by all of you for your special friend before we came here. Simply put, they loved them!!! One, to get a bible was a very special gift and two to open them and to see a message from their special friend from the states made it even more special and amazing! One girl even jumped for joy at the sight of the message from her special friend in the front cover.

Thank you all so much for following along with us this week. Tune in tomorrow, before we head back home for pictures from our fun day and a final blog post of a wrap up and a couple final stories from our team leaders for this trip.

Without further ado, are some pictures from the Bible handouts that were done yesterday.

 

28Sep

Labaligugu Children

Good morning friends! We have finished our fifth day in eSwatini and third day at the Carepoint, as well as, third day working with Labaligugu or Treasured Ones. The team was able to hand out the bibles that you were all able to sign for your special friends and they all loved being able to read your sweet messages. We will be able to share some pictures and more details on that tomorrow. Today we have stories from Brandi and Chaliece, who had the very unique opportunity to work Amy McAdams and Labaligugu this week. A program centered around special needs children and their caregivers here in eSwatini. Brandi is a Pediatric Physical Therapist and Chaliece is a Licensed Massage Therapist, they were able to go around to homesteads with Amy and work on the children and teach their caregivers how to do exercises, stretches, and different massage therapy techniques that can help the children become stronger, more flexible, and more independent.

Here is Chaliece’s story:

I wasn’t finished when I left last year, after the last medical clinic, that I knew for sure. At the time, I just didn’t know what that looked like. Did that look like picking up my life and moving 4000 miles away from home or another short term mission trip in the future? At first, when I got back home in 2017, I felt that the answer was picking up my life and moving 4000 miles from home to become a long term missionary. Then I learned through prayer and conversations that it wasn’t for me.

I just had no idea that 3 short months later, a conversation at lunch with a close friend would turn into the reason I’m here today. That conversation turned into an idea, that idea turned into a plan, and that plan turned into a pitch. That pitch was then accepted by AIM and not a moment too soon, because Brandi and I found out the week before applications were due for the trip that our plan was accepted.

That brings me to the plan for the trip. Last year I met a woman, who you may have heard me mention a few times in previous blog posts, by the name of Amy McAdams and her husband Steve McAdams and their children Ellie and Maggie and their foster daughter Mumu, who has Cerebral Palsy. Why do I mention that, you ask? I mention that because once Steve and Amy started fostering Mumu, they would take her on homestead visits and they started seeing children that they hadn’t seen before, most of them with Cerebral Palsy, like Mumu, or other similar disabilities that they hadn’t seen at care points prior to this. Amy soon realized that this was a Demographic that had never been reached before and it was one that needed to be, so she started Labaligugu or “Treasured Ones”. It is centered around disabled children in eSwatini and their caregivers.

This year, as a Licensed Massage Therapist, along with Brandi our Physical Therapist, I got the amazing opportunity to go to the homesteads of 11 of these beautiful children and work on them and teach their caregivers how to do different massage strokes and stretches to help their children with circulation and relaxation in their muscles. The caregivers have all been so grateful and excited to learn.

The first time I felt like I could help was last year when Amy spoke to the Fall 2017 Team about Lababligugu during our trip. I have personally worked with Special Needs children in the past and had also done massage therapy for the Special Olympics. So when I got the opportunity to do something for them I didn’t even have to think about it, at that point there were just some logistical things to work out. Like when during the week it would happen, with the medical training being during the beginning of the week for ALL of the shepherds and would AIM even agree to it initially. Well our God is great and both worked out perfectly! AIM loved it and timing worked out perfectly for us to work with Amy in the latter part of the week.

You may be asking why this is such a big deal? They are children, maybe a little different, but still children and still God’s children and in eSwatini, they aren’t quite seen like that. They are almost seen as outcasts in society and treated as such. Families don’t bring them out much when people come over, fathers will leave or request that the child is left with someone else in the family. So to have a chance to reach out to and show love, in any way, to this demographic is a very big deal. There have been amazing day and emotional days and everything in between.

 

I’m so very blessed that God called me, not only once, but twice. These people and this place are very special. Labaligugu is an amazing program for very special children, as well as their caregivers. It’s not easy task taking care of a special needs child when you have first world health care around the corner, let alone when you live here in eSwatini. My heart breaks for these caregivers and I also have immense respect for them. If you would like to learn more about Labaligugu and their mission you can go to: https://www.eswatinirising.com/programs/disability

 

Here is Brandi’s story:

I have attended Capital Church for 3 years, and every time they would pray for, show photos of, or give updates on the Swaziland, now eSwatini ministry, it touched my heart and I thought someday I would go. Throughout Physical Therapy school, my passion for pediatrics grew and God began placing a desire on my heart for medical/therapy related missions. However, as a graduate student, the time and finances deferred me from going.

Last winter I started hearing about the fall medical mission trip to Swaziland and felt God tugging at my heart. I was trying to ignore Him, thinking I would go in 5 years, when I was more established as a therapist. I then heard about Labaligugu, which was a special needs ministry that was started in eSwatini. I also learned that this trip would be education based, which would provide unique opportunities for growth, ministry, and could help empower the local people. I began praying and the Lord made it clear that I was supposed to go!

Throughout this week Chaliece, Amy, Sibongile, and I have been driving through the rugged mountains of Eswatini to visit the special needs children who are a part of Labaligugu. This experience has brought a new understanding to me of God’s enduring love, for many reasons. I have been humbled by the amazing Gogo’s (grandma’s) who take care of these children to the best of their ability. Going up to each homestead, we never knew what situation may present- but all of the Gogos and bomakes (plural for mothers) were very involved in therapy sessions, asked questions, and were engaged. The entire family would sit with us, and watch and learn.

One particular special experience was going to see Magwaza, a young 8 year old boy who suffers from an undiagnosed condition which causes muscle weakness and mild ataxia. His mother was away during the visit, but his 5 siblings helped carry him outside to us. While working on his coordination, his siblings would clap and cheer each time he successfully completed a task. They assisted and encouraged him while taking steps with a walker. Magwaza’s infectious smile was enough to understand the enduring love he felt from his siblings.

I have been edified by both Amy and Sibongile, who have started this incredible ministry to share Christ’s love with those who are unable to physically come to the care points. I am so excited for the future of this ministry, and how the Lord will continue to provide for its growth!

I will never forget the joy in each child’s face as we were able to love them, encourage these families, and give them hope from God. One phrase I have been repeating to myself this week to bring me peace is from one of Troy’s sermons: “Life is not fair, but God is not finished”.

 

 

We are excited to share more with you tomorrow about the Bible sharing with the children and share pictures on that and more about the medical training from our team Doctor, Erin. This week is quickly coming to a close and it’s amazing how fast the time flies when you’re doing God’s work and enjoying every emotional and wonderful second of it. But I don’t know that any of us would trade it for anything.

We will see you right back here tomorrow!

Grace and Peace!

27Sep

Persevering Through it All

Good morning friends! We have finished out day two at the Carepoint and day four here in eSwatini. It went wonderfully, again. We also finished day two of working with Amy McAdams and Labaligugu, Brandi was able to see four children and Chaliece was able to see one with Brandi, more details to come on that tomorrow.

Today we will be sharing stories from Alyssa, one of our first timers, and Danielle, one of our returners. Both are nurses that came on the trip this year.

Here is Alyssa’s story:

I grew up going to church, seeing people going on international trips, and hearing their stories. I always knew I wanted to go on and felt the pull, but timing never worked out. 

Since attending capital, every time a team goes to eSwatini or we hear about their trip, my heart yearned to go and found my self in tears. I have always had a passion for helping others, especially when it comes to children.

This year, god paved the way wide open for me. I am a nurse and have the medical knowledge I can bring to the table. I was easily able to take the time off work, …

Teaching 

On the second day I taught the asthma section. It was amazing to see how eager everyone was to learn. The questions after asthma teaching showed they understood and wanted to know how to better care for people with asthma. 

Carepoint  

There are no words for the carepoint, it is amazing, incredible, loving, and full of fantastic staff!! The kids just want to be held, loved, and payed attention to. 

I wish I had 8 arms to be able to carry and hold hands with more of the kids! 

Here is Danielle’s story:

Some might ask why go to eSwatini or why return to eSwatini?

Why spend so much money, vacation time, and travel a day and a half around the world for a week with Swati people, only to leave shortly thereafter. What impact does it make? Does it do more harm than good? My first trip to Swaziland was 5 years ago, in 2013. I felt led to come back this year for so many reasons. But the main reason was what I experienced at the Carepoint yesterday and today.

Yesterday and today, I got to see and experience the legacy of love, enduring love that has been poured out over the years and is making a huge impact in the lives of these kids, their families, the community. For example, Welile is the current Shepherd at our Carepoint. 5 years ago she was still a sponsored kid; she was actually one of the first sponsored kids at our Carepoint. And now she is in her first year of being a Shepherd and wants to be a nurse when she is done. I heard about the different team projects each year with Capital updates. But yesterday and today I got to play for hours with kids on the monkey bars and slides that were on the playground that the June 2017 Team helped to build and saw the mobile computer lab that the June 2018 Team helped put together, being used by Swazi kids that were learning how to type. And spent hours on the leveled out field playing futbol with the boys. And yesterday, 2 of the kids I was holding, were so trusting of me, they fell asleep in my arms. These were not little kids either, 7 and 9 year old boys, but they felt so comfortable and loved because of so many teams and attention from over the years, they knew we were safe and could be at peace and rest in our arms.

Yesterday I met my special friend for the first time. She is a 9 year old girl, and she had the biggest smile on her face as she and her friends kept looking at my name tag and me and then pointing to her name tag with my name on it as well. Unfortunately shortly after meeting her, she fell and scraped the palm of her hand. I was able to clean up her scrape and use the supplies from the first aid kit that we filled this past Tuesday and put bacitracin and a bandaid on her to keep her scrape clean. In the process of this, another girl around her age said I need to look at her friends arm. Her friend had a large abscess near her elbow that no one would have known. But because of a small scrape, we learned of a serious condition that needed to be addressed. Today, with Erin, our team doctor, I helped to assist in draining out the pus from her abscess so her arm could heal properly without infection. She was scared and afraid even though we had some lidocaine to numb her arm. But after being able to pray with her about her fears, she calmed down and I was able to hold her hand and Erin was able to do what she needed to and then bandaged up her arm.

The word for one of our team devotionals today was Persevering. God’s persevering, Hessed love. This is what is leaving a lasting impact and why it is so worth it to invest and to come and to give. Persevering love is intentional, relational and is what lasts and brings hope to these kids when many of them do not grow up with parents who tell them they are loved and valued. On average 1 Swati supports 13 other Swatis. It is the pereserving love of God for each of these kids, through special friends, through tangible love shown by each team member, through the Bomake and Shepherd feeding them and teaching them about God. That is was gives them hope and leaves an amazing impact. Welile, the Shepherd, said that she wants to pour into these kids what was poured into her, so much care and love poured into her from all the years she herself was taken care of and loved at a Carepoint. How beautiful and what a privilege has it been this week to see these kids survive and thrive from love from so many of you at Capital.

Thank you for everyone who has a special friend, who has given time, money, and energy into this ministry, and gone on these trips. These kids do remember and experience your love for them, ask about you all the time, and have so much love, hugs, tags, smiles, and laughter to send your way. You matter to them so much more than you can realize, more than I realized. And for those of you who have never been or come here only once, you’ll just have to come and experience all this for yourselves. Because there is a ton of love to go around and you are filled to overflowing and then some.

Grace and Peace!

26Sep

Happy Wednesday Friends!

Good morning friends back home! We have finished up our first day at the carepoint and are excited to share two new stories with you of a couple more of our team and a teaser of another fun, exciting, and new opportunity we get to do on this trip. First up, we have stories from Lori and Shelli.

Here is Lori’s story:

 

What brought me to eSwatini?

I have always loved all children, especially children who were in harms way or who thought that they didn’t matter, were not loved, or important. We are all important to God. Even when we feel that no one else cares for us in this world, God cares. He sent His only son to die a brutal, humiliating death on the cross because He loved us so much and wanted us to spend eternity with Him.

Being a mother who has lost her only son at the hand of another, I can imagine (just a little) the pain of our Father. Also, being a child that believed I wasn’t important, I understand the pain of a child who feels like they don’t matter. That being said, I want you to know that I believe that one of God’s greatest gifts are God’s children! We can learn so much from them, how to trust without hesitation, how to love without condition, and how to forgive totally and completely.

I have always dreamt of going to eSwatini and being able to show the children who have great needs that they are valued and loved not only by other people, but by our King. I never imagined that God would open the door wide and make this trip possible for me. I’m not a world traveler and have never had a lot of money, but I do have a lot of responsibility, with running my own business and taking care of my 5 grandsons who live with me. So you can imagine how coming to eSwatini seemed almost an impossibility.

When I first heard about the trip, I started to pray, asking God if it was His will in my life to open the door for me to go and if it wasn’t, to close that door tight. Well a few weeks before the applications for the trip were due, I was given a gift that was almost half of the total funds that we needed to raise for the trip. I was so excited that I cried tears of joy! From that point on, God continued to open doors to continue making my dream a reality.

Now I am here in eSwatini and I can’t wait to see what He is going to do next and what He will continue doing while we finish out our week here.

 

Here is Shelli’s story:

 

“What Can Stop You?”

This is the question that was presented to me today. After two busy days of providing medical education training to the Swati shepherds, today was our first day at Mkhombokati Carepoint! Excitement, nervousness, anticipation, joy, gratefulness and love were strong emotions as our team began our day. We excitedly looked forward to finally being able to step on that Holy Ground.

Today I had the profound opportunity to speak with the Swati Children’s Choir Director, Lhondiwe. Her faith in Jesus and love for the children flows from every pore on her body. She praises God in nearly every comment she makes and song she sings. She shared about her childhood, explaining that her family lived in severe poverty. She frequently did not have shoes and too often went to bed with an empty belly, as food was severely lacking in her homestead. “Despite these circumstances”, she stated, “there was no reason to stop talking to God and thanking him for all we had”. In this life, she has experienced loss. She has felt the pangs of hunger, far worse than most can imagine. She knows the difficulty in walking among rocks and thorns daily with no shoes. Yet she continues to praise God. “WHAT CAN STOP YOU?”, she stated. “In this life, there will be sorrow, but if you have God, you will never lose joy”. She emphasized how much each child cherishes a letter or picture from their Special Friend. She frequently sees those letters hung on the walls of their mud huts. The children long to hear they are loved. Loved by their Special Friend and loved by our Savior. “Those letters mean more to each of these children than you will ever know”. Today, I challenge you with the words of Lhandile: “What can stop you?”…from writing a letter to your Special Friend, from praying for them, from making the decision to come to eSwatini, hug them and remind them that they are special; they are loved. The obstacles and challenges may appear big, but our God is bigger. “What can stop you?”

 

Today, two members of our team, Chaliece, a Licensed Massage Therapist and Brandi, a Pediatric Physical Therapist had the chance to work with Amy McAdams who heads up the program, Labligugu (Treasured Ones in Siswati), a program that serves the disabled children of eSwatini and their caregivers. They got to the homesteads (homes) of a few of these children to help work with and teach the caregivers how to do exercises and different massage strokes for the children, to help them get stronger with the abilities they do have. We will have more on that, come Friday after we have had a chance to finish working with the rest of the children we have planned for the next two days. Keep an eye out for our stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you all for following along with our journey this week.

Grace and Peace.

25Sep

Day Two of Fall 2018’s Medical Clinic

Good morning everyone!

 

Today is Day two of our Medical Clinic and we are well underway. Today we have taught the 82 shepherds about many common forms of cancer that are found in eSwatini, the top three most common being Cervical, Kaposi Sarcoma, and Prostate Cancer. We have also taught the shepherds about tough subjects, such as abuse and puberty (which we are currently on as I type this). We even had the wonderful chance to interview a few of the shepherds to get their input on what they were most looking forward to at the beginning of the medical training and what they have gotten from the medical training now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow we will be at the carepoint working with the children at Mkhombokati and helping out in the new computer lab and have some other fun surprises going on.

We do also have another story from one of our first timers this year, Stephanie, who has been helping out with our sponsorship and worship committees.

 
Here is her story:
 
It doesn’t really make sense that I’m here in eSwatini right now, but I knew I needed to be. I originally went to info meetings for both Guatemala and Swaziland (back when it was Swaziland) simply because I was intrigued by Capital’s strong missions focus. I left both thinking, “That’s cool, maybe later I’ll think about going. Definitely not now, though.” When the info meeting for the September trip rolled around, I wasn’t going to go until a friend (who’s on the team with me now) encouraged me to come on in, just because. A couple hours later, I left the café with this thought, “Okay God, I’m going aren’t I?”
 
God made it very clear from then on that I was supposed to go serve in eSwatini for some reason unknown to me. This would be my first time going on a mission trip with a church community, rather than a volunteer trip with another type of organization. I’m a fairly new Christian, as well. I was saved seven years ago in college and baptized four years ago (my rebirthday is my favorite day!). Right at the beginning of prepping for this trip, I switched jobs and took a pay cut, but I trusted that God would provide everything I needed. And He did, just like He always does.
 
Weeks leading up to our send-off, I prayed incessantly about why I specifically was going on this trip. This is a medical mission trip and I am definitely not a medical professional. Comically, I get queasy during most of the casual medical stories my teammates swap. I’m a teacher, but I have minimal experience teaching about health topics. I asked God why I’m here, but the answer wasn’t even remotely clear to me until I was actually here.
 
The team and I have been in eSwatini only a few days now, but I’m finally realizing God’s purpose for me here – serving, and only serving. What do I mean by that? Well, I mean that this trip has nothing to do with me. I’m not here to pass along medical knowledge, I’m not here to run the show logistically, and I’m not here to teach, like I assumed I might be. I’m here strictly to serve others, which is incredible! Giving up myself and my wants in order to love perfect strangers and, of course, my teammates is a truly beautiful thing. I’ve tried to practice selflessness before, but not like this. God works in crazy ways. He’s brought me halfway around the world to obey Him, love others, and learn to not make life all about me. He is faithful and predictable – just like Troy has preaches. I pray the Jesus helps me continue to obey and be more like Him! This trip still holds many opportunities for obedience and imperfect practice of selflessness, and I’m so excited to see what He keeps doing through this team. And I can’t say enough how glad I am that I trusted and obeyed the first thing God told me in regards to this mission – GO!
 
 
Feel free to hop over to the blog for some additional information about the Medical Training from today and some pictures.
 
Grace and Peace!
24Sep

Day One For Fall 2018 Trip

Good morning everyone back home! It’s afternoon here in eSwatini! We have kicked off the first part of our two day medical conference and it’s off to a wonderful start! We will be doing things slightly different this year. While we will still be doing updates about the trip itself (as we can), we are also doing stories about some of our team members regarding why they chose to come in this trip, what got them here and now that they are here, how they see that God has chosen to use them.
Today we have stories from John and Greg.
 
Here is John’s story:
 
My wonderful wife 😉 and I have been partners with the capital swazi team since the beginning of our thirteen year marriage. Our first friend was a teenage boy named Cicelo, who after a few years aged out of the program. Next we had Mandla, and for the past couple of years our friend has been Prince. It has been great seeing them grow through the pictures and letters as the Mhkombokati carpoint also develops. We remember pictures of the tree the bomakes originally cooked under; fund drives for the well, buildings,playground, etc; and as a church, it has been awesome to send off the Babbs to plug in as full time missionaries. I have wanted to make this partnership personal for a long time and join in serving on the ground, but with growing kids, now 7 and 9, and an evermore hectic life schedule it just doesn’t make sense, at least for the next decade. We love the partnership Capital has in Eswatini but my logic could not figure out what it has to do with me. This year though a couple urgings spoke to me. I started considering how to make it work, and stopped justifying why it couldn’t. I am being more deliberate with my priorities, and considering how to invest my talents not just where it makes sense, but where I am called to. I am trying to listen closer. There is never a perfect time, but when you hear the spirit’s urging, you can be certain all things will be perfect in Him. I’m so glad that I was able to find that mindset and hear his calling. I also glad that I am here. I don’t know what will happen on this trip but I know that it will good, because God is good.
 
Here is Greg’s story:
 
Maybe I Could Paint
While attending Capital Church I heard about Swaziland/eSwatini mission trips every year and they sounded interesting. But I had never been on a mission trip and wasn’t sure what I could offer since I wasn’t a teacher or doctor and didn’t really think of myself as a “missionary type” person. Since retiring a few months past, I had been trying to develop an “outward” focus – being sensitive to the needs of others and how I might be a blessing to someone each day, so I was warming up to the idea of going on a mission trip. I had been keeping busy painting the interior of our home, so “maybe I could paint” came to mind when thinking about what I could contribute to a mission team. When the Fall 2018 mission trip was announced, men in particular were encouraged to apply. With the only qualification “being male”, and since I was both “needed” and “qualified”, I felt like now was the time to attend an eSwatini informational meeting to find out more. As I started interacting with other team members, I began to see that it wasn’t so much about my resume, but about my life experience as a believer in Christ, my heart for people, and my desire to be caught up in a great work God is doing in and through His body of believers at Capital Church. As the team prepared, I felt a sense of both excitement and unity, it just seemed like we would be a team that would work well together. And I felt like everyone was pretty chill. Today is still only day one at the AIM office, this new “outward” focus feels really good and I’m excited to see what God does the rest of the week and how He will stretch us.
 
Check back in with us as we will be sharing more soon as we can. 
Please enjoy some pictures from Day one of our medical conference. 
 
 
We are so excited for tomorrow to see how the rest of the medical training finishes out. The shepherds are so excited to be learning all of the medical knowledge that Erin has prepared for them. More information to come on this in the next few days as well. Keep an eye out for these updates.
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