Thursday, July 26, 2012

Goodbye Swaziland from Jacci

Never would I have known that saying goodbye today would have hurt so much. We have spent over a week bonding with so many people. But at the end of the day, we all wish for one more day, even one more hour to spend with the people that have become so dear to us.  I feel like I could endlessly name the names of the people that have impacted me. While each of these individuals has a different story and we come from opposite ends of the world, love is the common thread that binds us all together. Never in my life have I seen people that love so unconditionally and serve so selflessly. It was truly a beautiful thing to witness the love the caregivers have for others, and to experience firsthand the love they have for me. Because of this, Swaziland will forever be the country that stole my heart.

- Jacci
Goodbye Swaziland from Danielle

If I could bring my friend Jabu and a little girl, a 10 year old orphan to America a big part of me would be at peace. But the reality is they must stay in Swaziland and I must go back to America. I can’t wait to reunite with my two beautiful daughters and loving husband.

Torn in two - Danielle
Goodbye Swaziland from Lauren Anin

Wow. The last day came so quickly. Who knew such deep friendships could be formed in such a small amount of time? We have met lifelong friends here; brothers and sisters to whom we are connected to by a loving, merciful God. It’s overwhelming the amount of work to be done here. However, it is also overwhelming to see the hands and feet of those doing amazing works here already. What the caregivers do; how far they walk, how hard they work, and the things they see day in and day out; is almost too wonderful to understand. They are truly the image of Jesus we all should strive toward being. I can only hope to bring home a fraction of their grace and faithfulness; to completely give of myself as a servant to Christ.

                                                                                                            Lauren (Tibusiso)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I’ve loved experiencing this trip through the eyes of people who are filled with anticipation about Swaziland and its people; especially the SHBC caregivers who we are serving with.  God is filling this trip with laughter and tears.  Our Swazi friends are loving on our team, and the team is really loving on our Swazi friends. 

One image that jumps out to me as I think back on the past few days is a young boy of maybe 11 years, carrying his baby brother on his back to come to the care point for food.  These brothers are classified as OVC (orphan or vulnerable child) because they have lost one or both of their parents.  They might live in a homestead with a GoGo or an aunt or uncle.  The likelihood is however, is that they do not have a home with the kind of care and love that two parents provide.  Most surely, they must do a lot of fending for themselves, and are in many ways robbed of what we in America would consider a “normal childhood.”  While this might not be common in Swaziland, I know that neither is it unusual. 

Wendi - Khanyisile

I started my journey to Swaziland having no idea what God had in store for me.  But, I knew it would surpass all my understanding and I would never be the same.  This entire experience has humbled me from the beginning when God first tugged at my heart.  This is an opportunity I never imagined I would ever have, but because God loves me through my friendships  . . . man did He make a way. 

The people here are so accepting and loving.  I’ve never felt so loved and accepted completely and unconditionally.  At this point my prayer is that I can bring this unconditional love and acceptance home, with all the love in my heart.

Danielle (or my Swazi, Jabulile, which means joyful)

It is so hard for me to express all the emotions I have experienced in these few days.  I feel so much love from the women in Swaziland, you can feel the love they have for the Lord.  Yesterday I was given the opportunity to serve along side a caregiver.  I assisted, Shorty, the caregiver in wound cleaning to an elderly man named John.  He has a leg wound that is badly infected.  He lost all his toes in his right foot, looked like ½ his right foot was amputated.  I felt so much love and compassion for John.  He was so greatful for our prayers and visit; he had such a warm spirit.  I see poverty, but I also see  the  love they have for the Lord.   Today, I was given my Swazi name, Thoko which stands for happiness. 

Thank you for the opportunity through your donations, making it possible for me to be the feet and hands of Jesus. Continue to pray for our team and the purpose God has for us here.

Angie Reyes

Greetings from Swaziland!  Three consecutive flights with no break does a number on equilibrium, sleep patterns, time and space.  But here we are adjusted and having an amazing experience.  We have met some wonderful people, dedicated servants and caregivers.  Our team has already had opportunities to participate in serving alongside some of the local caregivers.  The country side is beautiful with rolling hills, trees and fields of corn.  We see people who are joyful in life and accomplishing great things for God.  I am thrilled to be here and part of this diverse team of Project Glory pilgrims.

Blessings - Henry Pauls (Sipho—my Swazi name which means gift)

Sanibonani from Swaziland! We are at the end of day two… Which is an interesting feeling in that, as we discussed as a team tonight, each day feels like an all encompassing experience that leaves us exhausted (feeling like we’ve been here longer), energized (feeling blessed for the time we’ve been given), and excited (wishing we could stay even longer). I, personally, have been astonished by the amount of information I have consumed in just the past couple of days. I have learned so much about this community, these caregivers, and, through the aforementioned, about Christ; and we still have 6 days to go! Tonight, we discussed as a team what we hoped to accomplish in the remainder of our time here. For me, it would be that I continue to learn, as much as I can, about what God is doing here in Swaziland and what my role in His plan would be. I would ask that friends and family continue to pray for our team, as well as for the caregivers and community members that we are encountering. They truly serve others the way Christ served others, and we can only hope to bring back their zest for that commission.

In Him - Lauren Annin (Tibusiso – my Swazi name)   

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sanibonani Swaziland
In just a week a group of men and women from Fresno will be traveling again to Swaziland to serve with the caregivers from Shiselweni Home-Based Care.  We will be helping to assemble and deliver wheelchairs from Free Wheelchair Mission.  We will be taking over bras and caps that have been collected by many of our friends and family members in Fresno.  These aren't really needs, but rather just offered as gifts that will bless the SHBC caregivers.  What is needed is adult diapers, and our friends have also helped us gather up many packages of these for us to take.  We will also be making jewelry with the artisans (and caregivers) from The Bambanani Project.  We'll be bringing home many of their pieces to sell here in the US, helping them with a sustainable income.

We will try to post a few entries and pictures on this blog from teammembers while we're gone.  We'll appreciate your prayers for effective work and relationship building.  Check in throughtout July for updates.  Sala Kahle for now!!