The flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa was long. We traveled Thursday into Friday afternoon. But it wasn’t as grueling as I thought it would be. Fourteen hours. Six of them sleeping, the rest visiting, watching movies and listening to music.
Alyssa and I traveled with the mission team from Bethany Christian School. We stayed the night at African Dreams in Jo-burg, then rode into Swaziland with them.
Parts of the terrain between South African and Swaziland reminded me of Idaho. High desert, dry air, and sparsely populated with mountains creating a backdrop all around. Yet the difference was felt as we headed north into Mbabane. Here the climate is more humid and the population more dense. Lush green surrounds us with lots of fruit, trees, and hints of the poverty found in the rural areas.
Mark and Kay Bojovic, the missionaries in charge of Children’s Cup Global Leadership Academy, hosted the team this week. This young couple have been in Swaziland for five years. They are expecting their first baby in a month. After seven years of marriage, this baby was prayed into existence. And by all accounts, he will be blessed to have Mark and Kay as his parents at this perfect time ordained by God.
After our arrival into Mbabane, Alyssa and I parted ways from the team. Carol Leair, who graciously agreed to take us in for ten weeks, brought us to her house to settle in. The one bedroom cottage is on the mountainside situated next to the landlords. We are surrounded by fruit trees, a vegetable garden, and everything green and growing. We could not have asked for better accommodations in Swaziland. Carol’s hospitality, along with her landlords, Johnny and Betty, has been phenomenal.
The following morning, we attended church at River Valley Church located next to the Global Leadership Academy and CarePoint. Following the service, I departed with Bethany’s team for an overnight game drive. We stayed in at the game park in Hlane, slept in a rondoval, and heard the lions grunt and roar all night long.
Even though I saw lions, giraffes, rhinos and elephants, it didn’t really hit me that I was in Africa until the team walked through a CarePoint at Section 19 the following day. Words can’t describe the smells and scene, yet it showed the real difference between the poor and the impoverished. Section 19 depicts poverty. [I will share more about this visit in a later post on Inspire a Fire in the future.] There is so much need, but one step at a time makes a huge difference in each life in this squatter community.
I ended the day at the Mbegalwani CarePoint. There I observed a crochet class taught by nurse, Jessie Bohannon. She is a multi-talented young missionary who has lived in Swaziland for 4.5 years. The love of the Lord pours from her and into the lives she touches, whether through her medical skills, musical talents or love of the arts. Carol Leair, who coordinates the new Skill’s Training and Economic Development, set up this crochet class for several orphan girls. They all live in a “I’m not forgotten” home sponsored by Children’s Cup. The goal of this class is to master the art of crocheting hats to sell to mission teams and visitors. This group of young girls have already made floor polish for CarePoints and churches, earning a wage, most for the very first time.
The class ended with Jessie leading the girls in a song. Perfect harmonies filled the room as each girl connected the stitches they’d just learned with the joy of the Lord’s hand on their lives. To experience the contrast from Section 19 to Mbegalwani spoke volumes of the impact of Children’s Cup on a community. I am honored and excited to see more CarePoints. More of what God is doing through these willing hearts and hands on the ground in Swaziland.