Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blog moved to new website

Per the announcement in my last update, my blog is now located on the new One Child At A Time, One Heart At A Time website.  I hope you will continue to follow what’s happening in Swaziland on the new website.

Click on the following url to access the new website or cut and paste it into your browser.  

Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Changes for 2010!

After a busy and seemingly short time in the US, I am back on African soil! It is hard to believe that two and a half months passed so quickly. The time in the US was filled with precious memories of wonderful times spent with family, friends, and worshiping with my family in Christ not only in Round Rock, Texas, but in Idaho and California as well. Here’s a quick recap:
I was in Round Rock for most of the month of December. I was blessed to worship in my church home and attend the annual Christmas bell concert benefiting the Round Rock Serving Center. The Bell ministry at First United Methodist Church in Round Rock blessed us with the most beautiful music one can imagine. And then the following week I was able to be further blessed by the Christmas choral concert benefiting the Round Rock Caregivers. This concert consisted of choirs from 12 churches in Round Rock. Each church performed one or two songs and then at the end the choirs from all 12 churches came together to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Words cannot describe how awesome it is. Christmas was spent at my house with my youngest son Scott and his girlfriend Tara, my niece and her family, my dear friend Mary and her family and then as a special surprise treat, my God daughter Denise and her three sons came to spend the evening and the following day with us. It was a very relaxed and wonderful time spent simply enjoying each other’s company.

On the 27th I flew to Seattle to spend a week with my oldest son Christopher, and his wife Jen. I had an awesome time catching up with them and Jen’s family. The area is so incredibly beautiful, though I must say I always freeze in that part of the country in December. From there I went to Idaho to spend a few days with my brother and his wife. There are so many memories there of mom and dad. While there we spent a few days up in the mountains in their “getaway” house. It snowed much of the time we were up there. Have you ever gone in a hot tub when it was snowing on you? When the cold snow would hit our skin it felt like little tingles covering our bodies. It was absolutely incredible.

It’s a good thing I got some rest in December because once I returned to Round Rock in January, things started getting real busy. The second week in January I spoke about Swaziland to the United Methodist Temple District United Methodist Women’s Epiphany gathering and at a soup luncheon at my own church. Both were awesome opportunities. It was at a Temple district UMW meeting in 2002 that I heard a missionary speak of her kids in Nepal that put the spark of wanting to be a mission in my heart. A few days later I joined other adults from our church on a mission trip to San Leon, Texas to help with the reconstruction efforts to some of the homes that were damaged by hurricane Ike 18 months earlier. San Leon is on a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water. It took the brunt of hurricane’s force. Most people forgot about hurricane Ike many months ago, but many people in this small town can’t forget because they are still living in houses that haven’t been repaired. They are reminded daily of that disaster. Our team went to assist UMCOR’s (the United Methodist Committee on Relief) on-going relief efforts in that area. If you are not familiar with UMCOR, I encourage you to go to their website ( and see the work they do both in the United States and internationally. Their organization and compassion are outstanding. They have been hosting teams from all around the United States and from many different denominations since shortly after the hurricane. They work with the government and the local community to find the people who have the greatest need and the least amount of resources. Then they assess the damage, organize the building materials needed and the labor to repair the homes. Most of the people didn’t have insurance and the amount of relief they receive from FEMA is now where near adequate, but with the help of dedicated UMCOR volunteers and willing teams that provide the labor they are rebuilding people’s homes and their lives. Being in Africa is a humbling experience, but seeing the conditions in the United States that these people have had to live in was probably even more humbling. It certainly brings meaning to the phrase: “there but for the grace of God, go I.”

From there I went to spend the last two weeks of January in California where I was spoiled by my dear friend Laura and her family. We spent time up in the mountains, played tourist in San Francisco having a wonderful meal at Fisherman’s wharf and simply enjoyed hanging out. I also had the opportunity to reconnect with my sisters-in-Christ that I shared a week with last summer in Bulembu. Afterwards I spent an awesome evening in Pacific Grove being spoiled by one of my newer dear friends from that Bulembu experience and then speaking at her church. The church was small but very beautiful, the organ music incredible, and the congregation very warm and welcoming. The following Sunday I was blessed to spend with Jeri and Gary driving up to a small but mighty church in Vacaville where we participated in a wonderful worship service complete with African drums. After the service we were treated to an African meal and then I shared my work and love of Swaziland with them. From there Jeri and Gary took me to their church in Los Gatos which was as large as the church in Vacaville was small. But it was also very warm and welcoming. Talk about open hearts, open minds, open doors. All three of these congregations don’t just say the words, it was clear that they truly believe in practicing these beliefs.

By then it was February and I flew back to Texas. The last 3 weeks of my time at home was very, very busy and just flew by. I had more speaking engagements and was blessed and warmly welcomed each place I went. Each of the three churches I visited were so special in their own way. I also spent as much time as I could with my family and friends.
During the last 3 – 4 weeks of my time in the US, the Lord ve me His answer on how long my commitment and stay in Swaziland would be. While He didn’t give me a specific date of when I would come back to the US, He did clearly guide me and two of my dear longtime friends and supporters of my ministry in Swaziland (Laura from California and Deb from Minnesota) to form a nonprofit. It took nothing short of a miracle to do all of the necessary planning and paper work in just a few weeks. But by the grace of God, we did it and have opened a nonprofit in the State of Texas. The name is: One Child At A Time – One Heart At A Time. We have applied for tax-exempt status with the IRS and waiting for their approval. Our heads are swimming and our hearts are full. We can’t believe this dream has actually come true and we are excited for the possibilities it opens up to continue the ministry in Swaziland.
This blog is moving to our new website: . The new website will allow us to have more communication with you, our faithful supporters and open up additional avenues for financial support. There will be an easier way for you to comment and respond to my blog. I look forward to another God filled and directed year in Swaziland and I pray that God richly blesses us all in 2010.