13Sep

A Day Late, but by no Means no Less Important

I can’t believe this weekend is already Send Off Weekend! How is it already here?! Then we leave next Friday for eSwatini and all our beautiful babies and get to meet all the wonderful shepherds and build new relationships that we haven’t had a chance to build before. Yet here we are! It’s here! And without further ado, I give you our fearless leaders for our spotlight this week! They are incredible and have done so much to bring out team together and provide us with amazing support, did I also mention that they are the first team leaders that are BOTH male? Yes, everyone this is definitely a year of firsts and we couldn’t be more excited about it!

Please join with us in prayer as we continue prepping this week and packing and getting ready to fly to our babies and to what God has for us over in eSwatini. Now, without any other words, I give you…Derek and Bryan. 🙂

A South Dakota transplant that came for the UT mountains with no long term plans and God still has me here 12 years later.  Before I officially moved I already knew Capital would be my church as that’s where my brother and a great new community of friends were attending.  I’m very thankful for this church and all who help make it a community.  My time here continues to be the greatest period of growth in my relationship and walk with Christ.

Two years ago I sat in a meeting at Capital to learn about a Swaziland mission trip. I was hesitant in being there because I’d attended one of these meetings years prior and questioned  how things were being approached, expenses and what was actually being done once the team was on the ground.  See, I’d been on mission trips to other parts of the world so evidently I thought that gave me license to view things through my lens and determine if I felt things were being done the way I thought they should.  Little did I know that God was planning to poke me in the chest and let me know that I’d be going on that upcoming trip.  When I left the meeting I knew I’d be going yet was hesitant because I felt I the recurring theme from returned team members was that they were able to just “love on the children”, which don’t get me wrong that’s great, but it left me wondering about what all was being accomplished on these trips. I’d been on mission trips in the past and they all included a focus on physical labor and results we could take a picture of to know what we did.

After spending some time at Mkhombokati I learned first-hand what “loving on the children” entailed and it is so much more than I could’ve ever imagined.  Playing with kids is great and that is part of it, but having the opportunity to model Christ’s love with these children by looking them in the eye, by engaging with them, to let them know they are valued, to let them know they are loved and important.  As a man, to do my best to model Christ’s love for both the boys and girls to see; in how I treat them, speak to them, interact with them and also how they observe me interact and speak with my teammates.  That.. Is an awesome opportunity and responsibility and so needed.  Sometimes we can’t always see the direct results of our efforts but we are certainly being used to plant seeds.

I’m excited to be going back to Swaziland, or eSwatini, to be stretched, to be used and plant some more seeds with our upcoming trip.  We are effecting lives and a community in more ways than we will ever know.

Thanks in advance for praying for our team!

Brian was born and raised in Utah and have lived in the Salt Lake valley since 1998. I have worked for a large real estate development company in the Salt Lake valley since 2005. I am currently the engineering and construction manager on a project in Wasatch County. My wife Teneil and I met on a blind date in 1999 and have been married for 16 years. We enjoy spending time outside, good food, the Utah Symphony, travel, MotoGP and we love our Sundays together.

 

And there you have it folks. You have now met and learned a little more about our entire team that’s going. We are so excited to have you follow along this journey with us. 🙂 Please continue to partner with us while we are preparing for the trip in this upcoming week, while we travel there, as well as on the ground. Thank you again for you continued support in something we are so passionate about, we love that we get to share with all of you!

 

Grace and Peace!

5Sep

Planning is well underway as we are only a couple weeks out from the Fall 2018 trip!

As we are getting closer to the Fall 2018 trip, planning is well underway and things are coming together well. This Saturday we have our packing day, then the following weekend is Send-off Weekend. I can’t believe the trip is basically already here! This week we have two more of our wonderful team coming at you! We have Erin and Brandi.

I am an outdoor-loving, adventure-seeking, cake-decorating lover of learning, traveling, and Jesus.  I grew up in Indiana, ultimately going to undergrad, graduate school, and then medical school in the great Hoosier state.  Following medical school, I married my best friend (Zack) and moved to SLC for further training, and am now a Family Medicine doctor here in Salt Lake City.

Zack and I are fortunate to have been able to enjoy the beauty of Utah through countless mountain adventures during our time here.  Furthermore, we have been so grateful that our long (seemingly endless) drive Westward across Highway 80 nearly 3.5 years ago lead us to the church community that we have found at Capital.

I have always had a fondness for both medicine and service, and from a young age envisioned myself working as a physician on international medical trips.  After becoming a Christian through Young Life in high school, I aspired to ultimately have future service experiences be grounded upon the ultimate power of Healing that comes through Christ.  Through service trips to Cameroon, the Philippines, and Jamaica, and Swaziland, I have continued to strengthen my desire to connect with the world through international service. I am so honored to be returning to the Mkhombokati Carepoint in eSwatini for the third year in a row, to expand medical and public health education for the AIM staff who oversee the care of thousands of kids across the country. Thank you to all who support Capital, the kids at Mkhombokati, and the missionaries who serve in eSwatini around the clock that I am so excited to see again soon.

Brandi is originally from Wisconsin, and moved out to Salt Lake City four years ago to attend graduate school at the University of Utah. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She graduated with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy last year, and has been working as a pediatric physical therapist at Primary Children’s Hospital. Brandi has always had a passion for children and serving others, and the The Lord has placed a special desire on her heart to do physical therapy/medical related missions. Brandi has been attending Capital Church since she moved to Utah, and is excited for her first mission trip!

In her free time, you can find her hiking, trail running, cycling, playing tennis, and competing in triathlons.

 

 

29Aug

Happy Half Way Through the Week Day!

Today we have three more of our wonderful fall team to introduce you too! As we have an odd number this year and we are just a few short weeks away from send off we definitely want to get everyone in before we go. Without further ado, this week we have Alyssa, Chaliece, and Zack.

 

Alyssa was born and raised in Southern California with her younger sister.  She was a competitive gymnast and moved to Salt Lake eight years ago for an athletic scholarship.  She graduated from the University of Utah with her first degree and nursing prerequisites in 2014 and was able to fulfill her dream of becoming a Registered Nurse in 2017.  She currently works at Primary Children’s Hospital on the Children’s Medical Unit.

Alyssa grew up attending a Presbyterian Church.  Once she moved to Salt Lake she found Capital and knew it would be her new church home from the moment Troy said, “Hi Friends”.  Alyssa has wanted to go on a mission trip for as long as she can remember and is beyond excited for this opportunity of service and adventure!

On her days off, Alyssa enjoys being active, hanging out with friends, baking, watching movies, or watching pretty much any sporting event.

 

Chaliece is the oldest of three children. She was raised in West Jordan, Utah by a single mother and was Mormon until she was 21 years old. Chaliece has always had a passion for helping others. She has been a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2010 and continually does that as part time work. She currently has three jobs that keep her very busy. She also loves working with children when she can.

She went to the Utah College of Massage Therapy and got to do an Internship with the U.S. Speed Skating Team in 2009 as well as with Hale Centre Theatre. She has also volunteered her time to Christian artists that have toured through Utah.

In her downtime Chaliece enjoys hanging out with friends playing ultimate frisbee or catching a baseball game when the Salt Lake Bees are playing. If it is football season, you can find her cheering on her Greenbay Packers. She also enjoy watching movies and has a large movie collection.

Chaliece is most excited about going back to eSwatini to see how the kids have changed in a year and be able to serve God and His children how He sees fit this year. She feels like she left a piece of her heart in Africa and she would like to get it back, even for just a short amount of time.

 

My wife Erin and I moved to SLC and were introduced to Capital in May of 2015.  My wife Erin and I decided early on in 2015 that we wanted to move from Indiana to Utah in order for Erin to attend the Family Medicine Residency program at the University of Utah, and because of our love of the mountains and everything outdoors.  We have been attending Capital for a little over two years now and we have been so thankful for the teaching at Capital and for the community that we have found.  We are now excited to say that we plan to stay in Salt Lake City for the foreseeable future.  Erin finished her residency in June of this year and now works on faculty at the University of Utah holding her own clinic and teaching residents.

I am an Associate a Lone Peak Valuation Group, a professional services firm located in downtown Salt Lake.  My main focus at Lone Peak is the calculation of lost profit damages involved in commercial litigation and performing business valuations.

My wife and I first heard about what Capital was doing in eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) shortly after we moved to Salt Lake City and were immediately interested due to both our desire to take the Word of God to the nations and our love of traveling.

 

23Aug

A Day Late, But No Less Important

Happy Thursday eSwatini Community! Sorry about the delay, it’s been a busy week! We have two more of our wonderful Fall Team to introduce you to today! This week we have Danielle and Shelli.

 

Danielle is the middle of three daughters. She was raised in Holladay, Utah. Danielle has always had a passion for serving others. She went to Westminster College, playing soccer while getting her nursing degree. She has worked at St. Mark’s Hospital for the past 6.5 years as a full time nurse on a medical surgical unit. She also enjoys going on mission trips whenever she can.

Danielle recently, in the beginning of August, got back from a medical mission trip to Guatemala. She has been on 5 other mission trips and one of those was to Swaziland back in 2013. One of the main reasons Danielle enjoys mission trips so much is because seeing and experiencing God in a variety of different people and cultures, getting to be a part of His Kingdom coming to this Earth, and experiencing Him growing and transforming herself in the process, is such an incredible joy it is hard to put into words!

In her free time, Danielle enjoys hanging out with family and friends, country swing dancing, rock climbing, playing ultimate frisbee, hiking, playing volleyball and soccer, baking, and singing. She also enjoys reading a good book, camping, game nights, worship nights, trying new things, and traveling. Danielle has been to 6 continents thus far. And hopes to one day go to Antarctica.

Shelli Johnson

I have been attending Capital Church since 2006. I began coming to Capital Church as a student at University of Utah, while attending weekly Campus Crusade for Christ meetings.

I currently work as a Registered Nurse in Labor & Delivery & Mom Baby at Intermountain Healthcare. I love working with children and babies and have learned some of the most profound lessons of resilience and courage from some of the smallest of people.

I am beyond blessed to have 3 amazing men in my life!: My husband and two sons. I married my husband, Kelly in 2007 and together we have Noah (9 years) and Brooks (3 years). We also have a sweet GIANT Yellow Lab named Sadie. If I get a spare second, I love to run and bike. I enjoy gardening and being outside. I also love to ride horses, go hiking and rock-climbing, watch my boys play soccer, travel and read. I have had the opportunity to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion & Education from University of Utah and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Westminster College.

God initially placed on my heart a love for Swaziland and the children of Mkhombokati Carepoint in 2008 when Kelly and I began sponsoring our “special friend” Menzi. I had the life-changing opportunity to be a part of the 2013 Swazi Team and meet Menzi for the first time. That trip opened my eyes to how much God is moving and growing in this country. God has consistently challenged me to not strive for comfort. He has asked me to chase after adventure, to do hard things even if it means stretching my “bubble” and to love and care for His people with reckless abandon.

This will be my third time returning to Swaziland. Mkhombokati Carepoint has grown and changed significantly since my first time setting foot onto its soil. I look forward to hugging each of the children, shepherds, and bomake (women who cook for the children). I also look forward to working with my teammates to provide medical education and assist in continuing to promote a healthy lifestyle for the adults and children of Mkhombokati.

 

15Aug

Welcome two more of eSwatini’s 2018 Fall Mission Trip Team Members.

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Hope your week is going well. This week we have two more spotlights for our 2018 eSwatini 2018 Fall Mission Team. This week week we will be spotlighting John and Steph.

Without further adu, ladies first!

 

Steph is originally from Ohio and moved to Utah three years ago for grad school (but mostly to live in the mountains). She has a Bachelor’s in Middle Childhood Education from Miami University of Ohio and a Master’s in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences from Utah State University. Salt Lake City has been her home for a year now. Finding her church family at Capital, especially working with the youth, is one of the biggest reasons why she loves it so much here. She’s currently living out her dream job of being a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) Educator at the Leonardo Museum downtown.

Steph has three furchildren – two cats named Pancake and Jorie Waffles and a dog named Lovely Rita. She’s an avid lover of board games and puns. In winter, her favorite season, you can find her snowboarding at Brighton or on a snowy hike with her pup. When she’s not outside, you can find her playing old N64 games or watching Psych.

 

John grew up in rural Ohio with an older brother and younger sister. His family is still active in his home church where he attended numerous national youth gatherings growing up. In college he was involved with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and participated in a spring break Habitat for Humanity trip as well as a summer mission trip to Russia. He graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and skipped the ceremony to ski in Whistler, BC. He promptly moved to SLC and after a year left to study at a seminary in Pennsylvania. Gone for only a few months he returned to Utah and has been at Capital ever since. John earned an MBA from the University of Utah and applies his business and technical background to companies producing medical devices here in Utah. He is married and has two children that he has started to share his passion of adventures with. They regularly camp, bike, hike, and explore what they can of Utah.

We look forward to seeing you here next week with two more of our wonderful team members! Excitement is definitely building as we get closer to our Fall 2018 trip!

Salani kahle! (Stay well, in SiSwati)

 

9Aug

Fall 2018 eSwatini Mission Team

As we get closer to our Fall 2018 eSwatini Mission Trip, we thought it would be fun slowly introduce everyone to you all. The whole team is as follows. In no particular order, our fearless leaders: Derek Oldert and Brian Watson. Then we have: Erin McAdams and Zack McAdams, Lori Wilson, Danielle Rankin, Brandi Dohman, Chaliece Masters, Shelli Johnson, Greg Hughes, John Erdmann, Alyssa Gale, and Stephanie Benson.

Once a week for the next few weeks leading up to our Fall trip we will be posting a couple bios about each team member so you can get to know us better. This week we have Lori Wilson and Greg Hughes.

 

Lori is one of our first timers.

Lori Lyn Wilson has lived in Salt Lake Valley most of her life. When she graduated from high school she chose cosmetology as her profession and has been in the industry for nearly 40 years, managing several salons and cosmetology schools. She has even owned and operated her own salon.

Lori raised 3 children, a son and 2 daughters. In April 2001 she married David Wilson, which added 3 more sons and another daughter. Together, God has blessed them with 16 grandchildren and 1 great-granddaughter with another one due in October.

Lori has always loved the mountains and being outdoors. She likes boating, camping, and waterskiing with friends and family during the summer. When she was younger she spent her winters on snow skis.

Lori was raised in the Catholic Church where she learned about Jesus and began her lifelong search to know and follow Him. On May 7th, 1989, she chose to give her life and heart to God and was Born Again. Lori has a passion and love for people of all ages, especially children. Her driving force, however, is her faith in God and her love for the people He places in her life. Her heart’s prayer is to witness God’s salvation and healing power in as many people as possible in her lifetime. Lori’s life has been one adventure after another and she is sure she will keep it that way as long as God is willing.

 

Greg is a first timer this trip. 

Greg and his wife Sandy have been involved with the Capital community for about 8 years. They have been married for 35 years and have one child, Adam, who lives with his wife Heidi in Washington D.C. Greg recently retired from University of Utah Human Resources, where he coordinated staff recruitment and worked with the local community on recruitment outreach efforts. Sandy works at the U as Director of Budget.
Growing up in Southern California, Greg used to surf and still likes to check the conditions through the Surfline webcams. He enjoys coffee at any time of the day or night, and fellowships with a group of Capital Church men over breakfast on Saturday mornings. A highlight of Greg’s week is Sunday morning when he joins volunteers in serving coffee and breakfast to homeless/street people in downtown Salt Lake through Calvary Baptist Church’s “Fill the Pot” ministry. This provides an opportunity to engage and sometimes pray for and with people.
This is Greg’s first mission trip, and he is looking forward to serving with our Christian brothers and sisters on the ground in Swaziland/eSwatini.

24Jun

The Land of the Beautiful (My First Steps on Mkhombokati Soil)

Friends asked me, why did I want to go to Africa? And my response wasn’t the typical, to help people, to see the country, to make a difference. My answer was, unfortunately, I didn’t really want to go to Africa. But as much as I was trying to ignore it, there was something I was seeking, and without understanding why and how, I listened and decided I would be open to what I would find.

When you’re pulling up to the Care Point on the dirt road, there’s a million different emotions that I can’t begin to describe when first seeing the tiny little faces that are a blur because you notice their torn, ragged clothes, dirty hair, calloused and shoeless foot. I hear the laughter from their voices and now focus on their smile that stretched from ear to ear as they are running and waving alongside the bus. When the bus stops and they are lined outside the door, I get a closer look at their cuts and bloody knees, the bellies that look like they haven’t eaten in weeks, and their eyes that look sad and lost. I step off the bus, slowly and cautiously, as if I might scare the kids away, but really I’m the one who is terrified. “Will they like me? Will I have anything to contribute? Will I have the strength to give them what they need?”

As my foot sets upon the ground and I attempt to survey the Carepoint, I instead look down at one who has run over to me and grabbed my hand, or leg and is walking along side me. Suddenly, all the fear and anxious thoughts dissipate, because this face is simply smiling up at me without a word, expectation, or fear. And just when I feel like I have given this sweet face my whole heart, another hand is tugging for me to pull them up and they all circle around. Suddenly, I’m in the middle of all these perfect and innocent faces that just want your attention long enough to know that I see them, I take a moment to soak in their presence, as they come alive. Their eyes no longer look sad, but more open and joyful than any child I have seen at home. For a moment I forget about their torn clothes and bruised bodies and all I see is beautiful.

And this vantage point is only from day one…

-Michelle Tuffree

23Jun

An Evening in a Swati Homestead

Friday night we went to the homestead of Welile.  She is the lead shepherd for the Mkhombokati.  She works for AIM and has been doing this job for just over three months.  She is 24 years old but started going to the care point when she was young.  She can be stern when called for and quick with a smile.  I’ve seen her be open with her insecurities and confident in her role.  She and her ‘Go-Go” (grandmother) invited us to their homestead for a meal.  Homesteads are a series of buildings that they live in.

We arrived as the sun was low in the sky and it was magical.  The view was beautiful of the surrounding hills.  There were goats and cows nearby and bats flying around.  They had a beautiful kraal where they keep the animals at night.  I wish I could describe a kraal adequately.  It’s a series of branches, or big sticks set into the ground vertically to make a fence.  They have been made the same way for generations, are very simple, and very beautiful.

We were invited into Go-Go’s hut.  It was round with a cement floor and a beautiful wood ceiling.  Woven mats covered the floor.  It was perhaps 15 feet in diameter and had no furniture except for the table the food was on.  36 of us sat on the floor and ate a wonderful dinner of stew, rice, chicken, beet salad and green salad.  We talked about our day, we asked questions and we laughed.  There were spears hanging on the wall and I wish I knew something about them.

The grace with which we were greeted and treated will be something I remember forever.  These ladies were kind and generous with us.  Even using a translator, I felt close to these women.  I believe loving Jesus truly does make us sisters and brothers.  We came to Eswatini to do what it we’re told to do in Romans 12:13 “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.”  But they were the ones to show us Jesus’ love and make us feel welcome.  I’ll never forget this night or this time in Eswatini.

-Jennifer Dudley

23Jun

Technology Arrives at Mkhombokati

“Nonduduzo Mbuyisa”

“Celucolo Tembe”

“Neliswa Mazibuko”

“Ziyanda Shoba”

How exciting it was to see our special friends typing their names for the first time in blank documents on Mkhombokati’s new computers. On Wednesday and Friday of this week, Brandon and Mkhaleko brought the fully charged laptops into the Mkhombokati multipurpose room, and began teaching the kids on our 8 learning stations. The idea for lesson 1 was simply to have the kids log-in with the laptop user name & password (It’s “GraceandPeace” by the way). After about 20 minutes of teaching about home row, and multiple attempts at “shift + G”, we adjusted the plan slightly.

“This part is the screen; this part is the keyboard; this is the mouse (it’s not an animal!)”. Of course, some of the kids have seen and used a computer before, but others had not—it was especially exciting to see these kids’ faces light up when they clicked open a word document for the first time, maximized a window, or typed their name on their own. With the 8 laptops, Mkhaleko cycled through an introductory computer lesson with about 50 of the kids over the 2 days we had the computers at the care point. And the most exciting part about what we accomplished in these lessons is that we’ve barely scratched the surface with what can be taught moving forward. Praise God! The team also purchased RACHEL devices (essentially little boxes with several gigs of cached internet pages that can be used without an internet connection), loaded with educational content – Khan Academy videos on about every topic under the sun, classic novels and short stories (including picture books!), Wikipedia articles, Medscape, etc.

Melinda shared that even some of the employed Swazi nationals she knows struggle to keep up with work demands due to lack of early computer education. Simple exposure to basic skills like typing and operating computers will be helpful in our tech-reliant world. Through these computers and Mkhaleko’s training, God is paving amazing new paths of opportunity for our special friends at Mkhombokati.

-Eric & Emily Bloomquist

22Jun

Sawubona from eSwatini!

Sawubona, greetings from eSwatini! As a first timer on this trip, there are so many amazing experiences I have had in just the few short days I have been here, and the children at Mkhombokati have already left a lasting impression on my heart.

If I could, I would tell you each and every detail about out trip thus far, but there are so many amazing things God is doing here, I could write a novel, so I will just tell you about an experience I had this afternoon. Mornings are all about playing and loving on the preschoolers, and I can speak for the whole team when I say I love it, but I also cherish the time I get with some of the older kids. I have learned that even the smallest act, like dancing can put the brightest smile on everyone’s face. This afternoon, Nicolette and I were hanging with a group of girls and we started to show them a few American dance moves to the song “Baby” by Justin Bieber. As soon as we started the song their eyes instantly lit up and they all started yelling “baby, baby, baby ohhh.” We danced and sang to various songs for more than 30 minutes. They even showed us some of their dance moves which when we attempted to try them, quickly made them laugh and us realize that our coordination does not lie in dance.

Every day I am surrounded by endless love, happiness, and joy at the Care Point and am so lucky to have been give the opportunity to participate in this trip. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me and the rest of my team during our final two days here in eSwatini.

-Lily Fortunato

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