Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:4-7 (NRSV)

The above was the scripture for my daily devotional on the day I left Swaziland for the US. I have always loved this verse, but it seemed to be speaking to me again as I prepared to come home for the holidays.

First, I must apologize. I have been so busy the last couple of months and at times overwhelmed by all that I saw and that the ladies and I accomplished each day that I didn’t have the energy to write in my blog. I would write an entry in my head, but when I got home I was too tired to actually write it on paper. I also want to thank those who e-mailed me and said they were concerned because I hadn’t made an entry since Oct 28th. I thank you for that concern and for letting me know that you care.

October and November were busy times trying to get the sewing project finished. Early in the year we received money from a donor through the Missions Unit of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. We have been working on the project since May but before we knew it the end of the school year was upon us and we had to get all of the uniforms finished and delivered before the beginning of December. The ladies, Thoko, Thini and Thembie sewed over 40 uniforms for some of the neediest kids in our schools in Central circuit. In addition, we hired out an additional 53 uniforms to a local seamstress.

In October and early November I was also trying to deliver teaching aids to the Methodist primary and preschools in Swaziland. I was trying to hurry with both of these projects finished because 1) the school uniforms were being dedicated on Nov 15th and 2) Gregg Bouchard and Dan Rybaski from my home church were coming to visit the beginning of November. And then I would fly home two weeks later.

In addition to these two things we were solidifying our work through another grant from Action for Children sponsored by the Methodist Church of England which involves identifying the needs of children selected by the counselor and head teacher of Luftoja Methodist Primary school. We make home visits, pay for transport for the children and their guardians to receive medical care and/or their monthly ARV’s, and try to enable them to help themselves by growing vegetables or possibly chickens. It is turning out to be a very successful project, but it does involve a lot of driving time, planning, and it is so emotional. Sometimes the needs are so great, and we just sit there looking at each other wondering what in the world we can do. There are some tough times. But the smiles on the children’s faces when they see my car and run up to greet us are absolutely priceless. This project is a reminder that my work in Swaziland is all about showing the love of Jesus (Lutsandvo LwaKrestu) to one child, one heart at a time!

I am now at home in Round Rock, Texas until the first week or so in February. I arrived home on December 7th. As always it takes a while to get over the jet lag and adjust to the time difference. But I must say it doesn’t take too long to adjust to hot showers with great water pressure and my wonderful, comfortable bed! It also takes a while to do all that needs to be done after being gone from my home for 10 months. I am now eagerly waiting for my son Christopher and his wife Jen to arrive from Seattle for Christmas. My brother and his wife are here in Round Rock staying with their daughter and his son and family will be arriving tomorrow.

Have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.