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.