It’s already August. Our trip to Swaziland leaves in less than ten weeks. What are we doing to prepare? A lot!
The most common question I get relates to money—how is my support-raising coming? I’m happy to brag on God. We were supposed to have $3,000 of the total $3,500 in our account by the end of July. Some goes to pay for the plane tickets. Some was to send to Children’s Hope Chest (CHC) so they could prepare for our arrival. For example, we will be delivering care packages to the children’s caretakers when we visit them in their homes. Since we have no real concept of what items are most needed and suitable, CHC will do the shopping for us, with funds we send now.
Pete and I have been (at least partially) on missionary support for the past twenty years, so I shouldn’t be surprised by how God provides, but I am. I had no question that he would provide, mind you. It’s his methods that I never anticipate. I sent out around 75 support letters to friends and family. I also posted my articles here on my blog, and linked to them on Facebook. Of course, I anticipated that my trip funding would come from someone who read these letters and articles, and for the most part it has. However, the most generous giver was someone I don’t know very well, who never read a single word about my trip. She overheard me talking about it to someone else and simply wrote me a check!
On the other hand, a number of people assured me of their contributions last spring, but to date have given nothing. (Of course I don’t hold it against them. Circumstances change, and we all get distracted. They’re still my friends!)
So, to you who are curious, I am now within about $350 of my goal. (The other members of our team still have much more to raise.)
Our missions department has set a revised deadline of August 31 for the entire $3,500. If God prods you to give financially, here is a link to my Swazi support raising letter: Swazi support letter. And here is a link to the letter from our church, vouching for our trip and explaining how to give online (preferred—make sure you specify “Swaziland Missions October 2013″ and my name, “Leslie Holzmann”), or where to mail a check: NLC Swazi donation letter (again, specify which trip and include my name in the check memo).
Planning and Preparation
While our overall goal is to love the kids and adults at the CarePoints, we want to be more specific and intentional about what that will entail. I’ve already described the special feast days we’ll underwrite at each center, and some of the items we’ll carry from the U.S. in our luggage. We are also organizing structured activities, music, and teaching for each age group. That takes a bit of preparation, so our team is meeting regularly to plan. Various team members are taking responsibility for obtaining needed materials , whether by donation or purchase.
On a more minor note, I’ve had to scrounge up some long skirts (I normally wear pants), expendable closed-toe shoes, and other items for my personal use in Swaziland. With the crime rate sky high, anything I value will have to be on my person at all times. My heavy SLR camera and a couple of lenses (I’ve settled on an 80-400 telephoto zoom and a wide angle zoom) will be more than enough to weigh me down. Everything left unattended (such as in the guest house while we’re gone all day) is subject to theft. Thankfully, thrift stores have had everything I need in this regard.
Finally, we spend a significant amount of time in prayer. For one, we pray to know the Father better, to draw closer to Him, to sharpen our ears to hear His voice. This trip will produce nothing of lasting value apart from God. In fact, this is my primary focus. In order to come home with photos that tell the story of God at work at these CarePoints, I need Him to be taking pictures through me.
Then, we pray for Swaziland, for those we’re going to serve, for everyone we’ll meet along the way. We pray over the trip logistics, for health and strength for everyone involved, for endurance and patience, and for God’s love to flow through us to touch and change lives. We ask God to go before us to prepare the way for us.
If you want to join us in praying for this trip, let me know and I’ll include you on our email prayer list.