2018 Medical

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!

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!
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.

 

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