I’ll be processing my trip to Swaziland for a long, long time, but for now there is one more issue I want to discuss. Perhaps these four photos will explain what’s on my heart:
How do you sum up such an intense experience as a trip to a CarePoint in Swaziland?
Turning off the main highway, our minibus bumped over the rocky gravel road toward Gege, Swaziland. Tree farms, with their orderly rows of pine and eucalyptus, gave way to grassy hillsides, cattle, and the occasional small cinder block building. I tried to snap some photos from the moving bus, with limited success.
About ten minutes into our 40-minute ride, we bounced past a run-down homestead flying a worn, solid black flag. Odd, I thought, and asked our missionary host what the flag signified. He explained that some Swaziland belonged to a cult that worshiped a nasty snake idol/demon, and the flag meant that a snake “church” met at this home. Apparently, Gege was the epicenter of this cult.
I’m back. Or, at least my body is now present in Colorado, United States. The rest of me, I’m not so sure.
Part of me is here, glad to be home. Part of me is still in Swaziland—with the children and “go-gos”(grandmothers) at the Gege CarePoint and with the missionaries from South Africa, Zambia, and the U.S. who are bringing light into a very dark place. I’m sure some scattered pieces of myself left a trail as we traveled. It will be some time before I can gather all my thoughts into a coherent, organized whole. After all, I only got home yesterday.
For now, what I want to tell you is that prayer works! You know that already, right? After all, why pray if God never answers. That would be pointless. Most of the time, however, we more or less take it on faith that our prayers accomplish something. These last two weeks, I saw answers in action.
But I don’t want to go to London!
According to our return itinerary, our Swazi mission team has a twelve hour layover at Heathrow Airport, in London. Of course, my teammates want to take advantage of the time to see some sights. I totally understand—who wouldn’t jump at the chance to spend some time in one of the most interesting cities in the world?
Me, for one.
I can’t believe that October 12 is almost here. After months and months of preparation—planning, praying, working, packing—we’re finally going!
Tomorrow afternoon our team assembles at the church parking lot, luggage in tow. After piling into a 15-passenger church van, Pete will drive us to Denver International Airport, a bit over an hour away. Our first flight, to London, is scheduled to leave at 7:45 that evening. Somehow, in spite of our anticipation and excitement, we’re supposed to sleep on the plane. By the time we arrive at Heathrow it will be just after noon the next day (local time).
Here are the other two prayer points for my upcoming trip to Swaziland. If you missed the first two, I posted them last time.
While we don’t want to overlook opportunities to share God’s love along the way, the primary purpose of our trip is to serve the orphans and their caretakers at a particular CarePoint in Swaziland. Some of the children who attend live with extended family, many live on their own, with only brothers and sisters to care for them—or for them to care for. They’ve watched their parents and other family members die, mostly from AIDS. They’re scared, alone, hungry, and to a large degree, unloved.
In just eight days I’ll be boarding a British Airways jet for my trip to Swaziland. A number of you have responded to my plea for prayer support, for which I am deeply grateful. I know I can’t do anything worthwhile without God working through me, and your prayers are essential to that process.
There are some specific prayer points I’d like to share, whether for this trip or any short-term mission trip—I doubt I’m the only person you know who’s going overseas for the sake of the Gospel. I’ll try to keep this short and focused, so your prayers can be focused as well. Today I’ll offer points one and two; Friday I’ll post the other two.
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.
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!