We have plane reservations! I’m staring at a piece of paper listing our flights… a red-eye from Denver to London, then another red-eye from London to Johannesburg. When we finally arrive, at 7 a.m. local time, bleary and jet-lagged, we’ll board a van provided by Children’s Hope Chest (CHC) and drive the six or so hours to our home base in Manzini, Swaziland. I hope I can still function that afternoon!
Thanks to God nudging some extremely generous folks, my support is slowly coming in as well. Although I missed the first deadline (we were supposed to raise $1,500 by the end of May to pay the deposit on our plane reservations), I’m on track for the next one—$3,000 of the $3,500 total is due at the end of July. As of last week, my account contained over $2,300—what an incredible answer to prayer!
In addition to our initial deposit (which we each paid ourselves) and asking others for support, our team is working hard to earn some of our funds.
Pete* and I got up at 4:30 (yes, it’s still dark) every Sunday in January and June so we could help prepare the food served at our church’s café. A prominent sign explained that all tips would go to the Swazi team fund. Working together, our team earned $700—enough to pay for one of two special dinners we’re sponsoring for the kids (I’ll explain in a bit). I’m also helping at the café during our two Desperation youth conferences.
Volunteering in this way not only helps with the bank balance, it has also been a great way for our team to get to know one another. It’s hard to put on a “church face” at six in the morning!
If you live in the Colorado Springs area, we are having a fund raiser at Lulu’s Frozen Yogurt on July 20th. Just mention our Swazi trip and they will donate half of your purchase amount to our team! You can find Lulu’s at 9475 Briar Village, Point Suite 152, near the Briargate Library. Pete and I have checked out their product (they even make a “no sugar added” flavor!) and can testify that it’s exceedingly yummy.
Part of the support we’re raising will go to those we’re serving. For example, we’re paying for a special meal at each of the two CarePoints we’ll be visiting. Instead of the usual maize and beans, the children and their caretakers will enjoy a feast that includes meat and vegetables! Meat is so special, they only get to enjoy it once or twice a year.
In conjunction with the special meal, CHC will help us put on a “celebration day” for kids who don’t have much fun in their lives, and who rarely, if ever, feel valued. We’ll be painting fingernails (both the girls and the boys delight in having brightly colored nails!), painting faces, playing games, and telling (and showing) them all how precious they are to us and to God. I get to photograph all the fun—I can hardly wait!
Some of the money will pay for simple medicines (they currently have none) and hygiene products. We’ll be bringing a school kit for each child, containing pencils, markers, a toothbrush, soap, and washcloth, and a pair of cheap-but-sturdy shoes. The 5th and 6th graders at our church packed the kits and included a personal note in each one.
A mere $40 will pay for a care package (which includes enough food for a month, as well as more permanent items) for a widow struggling to raise her orphaned grandchildren. We’ll be visiting a number of widows.
We’ve even budgeted enough to buy a few toys, such as balls and jump ropes, for each CarePoint. It’s a good thing I’ll have room in my suitcase. No one will mind if I wear the same thing day after day—after all, they do too.
* Pete is not going to Swaziland, but he has been incredibly supportive. He is now our official prayer coordinator, so you might see some prayer emails from him as our departure draws closer.