Life in Africa has been crazy busy. Almost too busy to sit down and really write a decent update. So here’s an additional update of my first 10 days:
I accompanied the mission team from Bethany Christian School from Baker, La on Thursday. The Logoba CarePoint needed a fresh coat of paint while the “bomakes” [bo-ma-gays / more than one mama] cooked chicken for hundreds of children. Eating chicken is a rare occasion at the CarePoints. It only happens when someone sponsors the meal. Usually just a couple of times a year per CarePoint. While waiting for the meal, children clamored around anyone visiting. Every child I passed had pleading eyes. But the eyes didn’t plead for candy and such, though they would have accepted that too. But they simply pleaded for a touch. For their picture to be taken. To simply matter to someone, anyone.
I was honored to have them hanging on my arms, holding my hands, playing with my hair, or making sure I learned a little bit of siSwati before I left. One little girl was quite persistent. I believe she demonstrated her calling to teach. I pray that she is given the opportunity to pursue a teaching career. Maybe even at a CarePoint just like the one who feeds and cares for her daily.
As the team painted, I interviewed the facilitators who run the Logoba CarePoint. Two of them had graduated from the Global Leadership Academy run by Children’s Cup. These young ladies are clear success stories who are now sharing the grace that they have received. They now make a difference in a new generation of CarePoint children. It’s HOPE in motion facilitated by Children’s Cup, its staff, its missionaries, its volunteers–its supporters. Each is a vessel of hope and training to different population groups who can then rise up and be leaders themselves, changing the world around them.
After playing with the kids as they waited for a bowl of chicken and fixings, I helped the “bomakes” serve the last bit of food to the orderly sea of children. Looking out over the grounds made me smile at the blessing the children received this day. And the blessing I received from them. Yet I also realized how fortunate we are in America. How grateful we all should be. And how much we have to share with others not given a chance to thrive as so many of us who live in the northern hemisphere.
When evening came, we had dinner with some of the Children’s Cup missionaries and the Bethany team. We said our good-byes to the team, and then we had to pack and prepare for Easter weekend in Xai Xai, Mozambique. Three rookie Americans traveling with a seasoned missionary nurse, Jessie Bohannon. Jessie runs the medical clinics sponsored by Children’s Cup. She knew we headed to a beautiful place called Xai-Xai [shy-shy]. We all simply said YES to a trip to the beach for Easter to visit other missionaries. Yes, to however God wanted to treat us over resurrection weekend.
Before we departed, we’d received much advice on safety and how to navigate our way through border-crossings and police check points. God’s favor was on us throughout this journey into a country known to harass visitors. With each police check point, it was as if we were invisible, shrouded by a cloud from above. Rarely a glance came our way. And border-crossings with animated, Nurse Jessie, is an entertaining experience in of itself. She’s been in Swaziland for 4.5 years and has mastered the language and the art of smoozing, whether in siSwati or Portuguese in Mozambique. The 7 hour trip with these three ladies was full of laughter. God’s favor continued, from the beauty of the Indian Ocean, the hospitality of the Stauber family, and the warmth of a South African family who now live and work in Xai Xai. We had our own volunteer tour guide, and a sky that opened up to show off the gazillion flickering stars and a clear milky way. We also met a gracious couple who own Bethel Retreat Center at the top of a mountain right on the Indian Ocean. Most of the time I felt like I was in a movie. I had to pinch myself to believe that it was for real.
We stayed with Mel and Diane Stauber and their two children, Rachel and Matthew. I will share more of their story at another time, but they were clearly called from Austin, Texas a few years ago to Mozambique. Even though it was way out of their comfort zone, they can’t imagine life anywhere else. They’ve created relationships that take a life-time to cultivate. Their church ministry and CarePoint’s are growing, and so is their faith. Stay tuned.
When our Easter vacation came to a close, we did not want to leave Xai Xai. But when we got back into Swaziland, life started back up, in full throttle forward motion. I spent time with several ladies on Cup’s staff going to a Manzini city council meeting for Non-Government Agencies. Before the meeting, we went to the “bend and pick.” We walked through the cat-calls of the bus rank in the rain, and made it to the market place. The “bend and pick” is exactly what the name describes. You bend over to pick through mounds of clothes that arrived from overseas in containers. Leftovers from thrift stores or regular shops. All for a really cheap price. The Manzini council meeting proved to be enlightening and beneficial to all. The leaders of the community recognize the value of each nonprofit who serves Swaziland. We all found it refreshing to see and hear the leaders seek input from these organizations who are making a difference in their community. A network of resources will be established so that each agency can work in tandem for all of the children of Swaziland.
I look forward to stopping a bit more to process and put all that I’ve experienced into words. But it’s hard to stop when there’s so much need. It’s hard to stop when everything is new and exciting. But that’s what I am here to do. To capture and share the stories that move so many to help Children’s Cup give hope, inspire dreams, and change the world, one person, one community at a time. God is in this, for sure!
I am so thankful to have reached the funding goal for my mission here, but if anyone wants to give additional funds, the money will be gifted towards a few projects in Swaziland. I am still working on the details, but the possibilities are endless. From school tuition for a boy who is mute [$700/ year for room, board & tuition], to water projects, to a Chicken Day [approximately $200 to feed 300+ children]. You can specify where you’d like for the money to go. Go here to donate http://youcansend.me/jennifergriffith/ or to www.childrenscup.org to donate directly.
God bless you all for supporting me through prayer, messages, blessings, and love. I am honored to serve here on the ground, but God’s grace through you is what makes it all possible.