Forever etched in my memory is the sight of tiny, brown bodies sitting in small chairs and tables coloring. They were quiet. Quieter than two, three, and four year olds should be. They sat listening to their teacher giving instructions. As we walked in my eyes were drawn to a little girl in a pale pink skirt. She was so pretty, striking in fact. She looked at me and smiled a big Swazi smile. Then my eyes saw twin baby girls, probably 15 months old. They sat in dark green chairs still. Still, they were perfectly still! I’ve had three children and never do I remember 15-month-olds sitting all by themselves without entertainment completely content.
Each of us found a table and sat down to interact with these delightful little bundles of joy. Then the teacher had them get up and sing for us. What a beautiful sound! Tiny voices raised in song to Jesus. We sang a couple of songs with them and then they had the blessing. It was time for a late breakfast.
Again, I was shocked as I watched these little babies pick up their bowls of porridge and walk to a spot on the grounds. Where are the spoons? (That was my first thought.) No sooner than I had it, did I see there little fingers find the porridge and then their mouths.
Dirty hands and faces mixed with wide-eyed smiles and grateful hearts make a good day in Swazi!
We played and sang, talked and laughed, danced and made new friends.
Later in the day we split up. Some stayed at Timbutini and others went to Ntabus (Ruby’s Care Point). Many found their someone special and bonded. Some play soccer (and got their tails kicked!), some read to the children, some danced, and we all took lots of pictures together!
At the end of the day we watched as these precious ones walked home. They waved, and smiled their happy, joy-filled smiles and meandered home.
We each had the opportunity to make a home visit today, as well. I think the shock-value of the homes these children live in will remain with us. As our car drove to the home we were to visit, our guide got out and opened the gate. This “gate” was made of barbed wire and sticks, not at all like the white picket fence that surrounds my comparatively posh home. I felt a twinge in my heart at the stark contrast between western culture and third world.
We met and prayed with a family of eight children and their mom. Her oldest has TB and hasn’t been coming to the care point recently. We prayed over him, talked with the family, and brought them food.
Again … it was a good day in Swazi!
When we returned to our hotel, we found out about the passing of a dear friend, Mr. Bob Gordon who had suffered with ALS for many years. We are all deeply saddened by this loss and send our love and prayers to the Gordon family.
Jesse Powell shared something incredibly special during our devotion time tonight. He shared that two things have made an impression on his heart the past six years, the children of Swaziland and Bob Gordon.
He told us that one Sunday morning he saw Bob at church and witnessed someone asking him how he was. Bob’s reply was this: “Every day is a good day, somedays are just better than others.” This expression of gratefulness and inner joy struck Jesse and caused him to choose to have a “good day” every day! What a testimony of the grace of Jesus Christ in Bob’s life! Heaven is sweeter today with you, Bob!
I don’t know what most days are like in Swaziland. I imagine they are pretty much the same for these children. I’m fairly certain that every day for them is a good day. Unlike us, they don’t know any different. They aren’t tainted by western culture. They aren’t burdened by infinite to-do lists, bills, shopping, over-eating, stressful decision-making, and the cultural norm of endless activity. Busyness is not in their vocabulary. They focus on today and they are … filled with joy.
What does that say to you and me? Could it be that the “things” we strive for in search of happiness keep us from the ONE thing that will make us happy?
Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy. In your right hand are pleasures for evermore.”
God has really been challenging me to “Be Still.” I think that’s the main reason He brought me here. He wants me to understand that it really is a good day when I simply choose … Him.
Much love to each of you! Enjoy more pictures below!
Swaziland Summer Team 2015