team swazi::: TWO blogs from serena michal !!!

Serena Michal’s Blog: Just a Real Quick Update

Eswatini has been amazing! I am having such an incredible time. To give y’all an idea of what we have been doing I’m just gonna break it down…….

We got in early July 3rd and pretty spent most of the day just resting. The next day we were given a scavenger hunt that allowed us to explore Manzini (where we are staying), we then concluded the night with a Fourth of July party (very fun and very interesting…. Yes, you should ask why) Since then, we have had a pretty concrete schedule. On Mondays, we go to the morning staff meeting at AIM which is then followed by Market Ministry. For the most part, Market Ministry has been like us shopping but also trying to form relationships with the people we are purchasing from. How I always went about it was I would just shop, and if I saw something I wanted I would try to start forming a conversation or relationship with that person. I would then proceed to buy the item and ask the seller if there was anything they needed or wanted prayer for. I would then pray say good-bye and be on my way. The more and more we have gone, the stronger our relationships have grown. Today was actually our last Market Ministry day and it was so fun/amazing/sad! I loved it! It really proved how I had actually built relationships and I had truly impacted these people. Anyway, back to the schedule, then from Tuesdays to Fridays, we spend all day at the CarePoints. We are split into two CarePoints so I don’t know how the day goes at the other CarePoint, but at ours we typically spend the morning doing a chore (cleaning, sorting, devotions with the women who work there, etc.) and in the afternoons we get to play with the kids. Playing with the kids is so much fun! I love that I just get to spend hours loving on kids. Whether we are playing games, singing songs, or just sitting around drawing in the dirt, I absolutely adore every second I have with them. Then the weekends consist of rest time, church, and maybe an adventure day. This last week, our adventure day was we went to a cultural village and we got to go for a hike to a waterfall. It was so much fun! Next week, we get to go on a Safari!!! Africa has been so amazing! I am so sad to leave but I am so excited to share my experiences.

Much Love from Eswatini

Serena Michal

(P.S. To all the parents…. I LOVE MY TEAM! Everyone is so amazing and we fit so well together. Thank you to everyone for letting their kids come on this trip and contributing to such a great team culture. We couldn’t and wouldn’t be here with all of you guys and your support. So thank you!)



Serena Michal’s Blog: Civilized Poverty

Africa has been both everything and nothing like I expected. Before I came, I definitely expected poverty, but this is not how I imagined it. When I was 11, my dad took me on a mission trip to Haiti; we went about two years after the earthquake. There was literally so much brokenness. The effects of the earthquake were still very obvious, both in the people and the architecture. Last year, I spent four weeks in Guatemala. I had arrived just two weeks after Fuego erupted. Their poverty came with sadness and a shock for the things and people they had lost. The poverty I experienced in both places were traumatic and very sad. Before I came, I expected to see this sadness again. I have yet to experience this. Through discussions with members from other mission teams here and one of my leaders, KJ, I have come to realize that there are different types of poverty. Africa is a place that has been living in poverty for decades. There have been economical growths and downfalls, but, for the most part, Africa has always been in a similar state. This is very apparent. The first day of driving through Manzini, I realized how poor this people were, and how not impoverished they were. This is really difficult to explain, especially since this isn’t in person. Manzini is definitely poor, but there is a whole functioning city here. Things here may not be the cleanest or the safest, but there are apartment buildings and a mall. This is a country that has learned to live in poverty. This is their life, there is nothing else. Not to say that they are ignorant to our way of life but…. Ummm…. The best example I can think of would be like…. Let’s say you go on vacation to a resort. The bathrooms may be extra clean or the room has a fun feature or the pool is right outside your window, but that standard of living is not your everyday life. You see that and recognize “this is not how I live.” You know that way of life exists, but it does not affect you because it’s not your life. That’s really the best way I can explain it. The functionality of the city of Manzini is the same as any other place, but the “glamour” is not the same. It’s just the little details that are different.

I would almost say that these little differences allow the people of Eswatini to live a simpler life. No, not everyone has their own land and their own house, but those who do share. It allows the communities to trust in each other and grow together. It allows those who are doing well to feed back into their communities and to help others do well, so that people can succeed together. This mindset is very obvious when it comes to the CarePoints we have been doing ministry at. Each CarePointis run by a shepherd; typically, these shepherds were once children who attended the CarePoint. There are women there who help clean and serve food, but they also most likely have a child at the CarePoint. Throughout this culture, we can see this community unifying for the better of all. How I see it is like, these people would rather grow closer and stronger than growing taller and more glamourous. Does that make sense? I am having a difficult time trying to explain what I mean… If your confused just ask one of us when we get back. 

Much Love from Africa,


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