News from Team Swazi

Hello friends and family of team Swazi!  Everyone sends their greetings.  We’re doing well here and are loving being a part of what God is doing in Swaziland.  Here’s some first hand accounts from a third of our team.  The rest of the team will be writing soon.  Thanks for your prayers and notes of encouragement!
Much love,

team Swazi

Amber Palo

“Swaziland: the land of miracles”

    God has done so much with all of us in Swaziland. We’ve been visiting with people in the various homesteads, playing and ministering and playing with children at a pre-school and an orphanage. The day that I was able to go to the orphanage was one that will stay with me forever. We started off coloring with the group of 21 orphans. There was one little girl who really stuck out to me, her name was Fakilie, and she was five years old. At first she wouldn’t talk and had almost no emotion. I immediately went up to her and picked her up, at first there was no expression within her and she wouldn’t talk to me. I stuck with her the whole day and poured the spirit of God through her with games, laughter, smiles, and hugs. By the end of the day she was chasing me, laughing, and trying to me her lollipop the she had eaten, the rolled in the grass, and laughed when I refused it. It’s amazing to me how God lays little things on our, and even though it may not seem like it initially, you may have changed a little child’s life.

Sarah Charrier
“The Kingdom of Swaziland”
    This mission trip to Swaziland has definitely been an adventure so far. I have learned so much about myself and my calling into ministry. You hear and see on television the horrible stories and visions of African poverty, but you do not realize until you see and experience it yourself how real it is. We are all having a great time, surrounded by people who love the Lord and have the same desires for missions. I was able to go to an orphanage, which was amazing; I built a relationship with a girl named Iris. She is beautiful both in personality and appearance. Please keep Iris in your prayers along with the Swaziland team as we continue on God’s journey.

Derek Schoffstall

“The Children of Swaziland”
    When I learned that I had to write a blog post this week, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to write about my experience with the children in Swaziland. Since I have been here I have connected with most of the children that I have encountered. I have a real heart for children and God has really been guiding me toward talking with the children we have seen. I just love to meet them, at first, shy children and by the end of our time together for the day, have them running and laughing and playing with me. The feeling that you get when you look in the eyes of a young child, and their eyes light up, and they become overjoyed to see you, is just an indescribable feeling. It’s amazing to see God working through not only me, but everyone on the team. Not only continue to pray for our team, but pray for the children of Swaziland, they need our prayers the most.

“Miracles of God”
    On the second day of our trip in Swazi, half of us went to this orphanage and while I was there that’s when God opened my eyes to the hurting children. God’s love was shown to me by a little boy named Bonginkosi, meaning “God Answers”. I saw Bonginkosi sitting by a tree alone, soccer ball in hand. I felt I should build a relationship with this little boy. So I went up to him and started talking to him and this little boy and I connected right away. Then we started playing ball and then after awhile he wanted to race me on his bike and beat me and said “You a loser, Chris!” And that’s when we really bonded and I made him my little brother. Then I asked him how old he was and he was all “I am 5 years of age”. After that we had a little bit of time to just sit and talk. It was sad how he just grasped me and needed me to love him since he never had that from his parents who just left him who knows where. After we had to leave that’s when God really showed me that being a missionary isn’t exactly going around using words to show God’s love, but also just showing it and applying it in our lives and the lives of others. When we came back the second time, he came up to me and said “Hey, Chris! Lets play!” It was a really good feeling knowing that the first time I went I actually made an impact in his life because he remembered my name and was super excited to see me. And also that God could use something so small to make this whole trip worth while.

SarahLaine Redding 

“Officially a Swazi”
    One of the ministries that our team has started is a homestead ministry. Basically what we do is just walk up the mountain on some dirt roads and visit people in their homes, which Swazis do not hesitate to do because they’re AWESOME. On our first day our team met a family named the Dlaminis they live on a homestead with at least 20 people. They all came out and talked to us the first day and asked us if we could come back the next morning at 9:00 to help them with some things. So the next morning we walked back up and met them at their home. You could just see how excited they were that we had kept our promise and were back to see them. Well, it ends up they decide to take us on quite the adventure. Three of the older Dlamini sisters named Jabu, Cebinle, and Bheke took us on the hike of my life. We literally climbed a mountain. They took us all over the place and almost in to the game reserve (some of the team even saw monkeys). These women are incredible, they make this journey at least twice a week and being the out-of-shape American that I am; I couldn’t believe it. When we reached the top of the hill, Cebinle called down to her family and told them to “get out all the beef.” After we helped them carry firewood back down the mountain, we went back to the homestead to a traditional Swazi meal. It was incredible how these people that we had just met the day before were willing to literally cook all the beef they had for us. After playing with all the children and talking some more they asked us when we would be coming back; we told them Friday. Friday came and as we were walking up the mountain a lady named Ntombie stopped us and gave our group all Siswati names. We then walked back up to the Dlaminis and they were so pleased to see us, it has just been the most heartwarming experience. It’s incredible to me how in the big scheme of things, these people that I came to minister to, are really ministering to me. The amount of love, and acceptance, and hospitality that I have been shown by the Swazi people is overwhelming. I officially feel like a part of the community, and the relationships we are building are incredible. Love to all, Temalangeni (formerly known as SarahLaine)


Rachel Fernandez

“My Bonsile”
    The work of the Lord has been so amazing to see, here in Swaziland. Every day we have amazing experiences and enjoy building relationships, although my heart has been pulled towards one of those relationships in particular: on Wednesday, my group went down the street to a local church preschool to spend time with the little ones there. As soon as we walked through the wire fence, a mob of children surrounded us, yelling “How are you? How are you?” We greeted them with hugs and they pulled at our hands and shirts, begging for attention that we were so ready to offer. A small girl on the outside caught my attention and I walked over to meet her. Staring into her beautiful brown eyes my heart ached for her. I learned that her name was Bonsile (Bon-see-lay) and I spent the next few hours, holding her and getting to know more about her. We were playing on the swings at the playground, when she lost her balance and fell to the ground. I reached to pick her up and the little boy on the swing next to her accidentally hit her in the back of the head and she started to cry. I stood her up and held the back of her head, saying “Don’t cry, there’s no blood.” Only as I pulled my hand away did I see that it was covered in blood and took her over to the teacher to be cleaned up. Thankfully, it was only a small cut and she soon cried herself to sleep in my arms. I fell in love with my new friend and my heart is entirely captivated by her, as I continue to visit her and build that relationship. In her eyes, I can see the world’s children and I understand why I am here, and why I was called to this great work.

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