The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.
This is not Spain. In fact, the rain does fall on the plain, but it is not limited to said plain. It falls everywhere, and has been falling everywhere since Monday. We’re told that it’s the tail of “Cyclone Dando” that recently hit Mozambique.
Oh my gosh, Mom, we’re fine!
It has not affected our ministry here, though. If anything it’s made it more exciting. Be it tires sliding on the mud hill leaving our property, driving through puddles that almost come up to the door, or landslides that close through roads.
Hey, at least the detours are scenic enough.
One such occurrence of ministry-made-exciting was yesterday when we visited the Sandra Lee Centre here in Mbabane. We had two contacts at Sandra Lee: one was Pastor Mike, who is the Pastor at Checkers Community Church where we visited on our first Sunday here. He’s a New Zealand-born man who, in his mid-sixties, is some kind of hybrid between a character out of “Jurassic Park” and what I imagine Roger Banister to have been like. Our second contact was a large, white man sporting a large, black “Rocawear” hoodie who went by the name of Dennis. Dennis graduated from Nyack College in New York a number of years ago, and then over the course of a number of visits to Swaziland, married a local. He has now been working at Sandra Lee for the past two months.
The Sandra Lee Centre is an incredible compound, almost entirely donated, that houses 28 Swazi children ranging from the ages of 2 to 10. What sets this home apart is that each child was abandoned by his or her family. Not put up for adoption, not offered to someone, just left on the side of the road or in a Hospital, really wherever. No family, no explanation. Sandra Lee Centre has taken them in, and plans to walk through life with them as they grow up and ultimately begin to go off on their own. Sandra Lee has become their family. It was really special to get to visit, teach them some lessons, play some games, and then tell them about why we we’re here, in hopes that this too will be one of YFC’s long-term partnerships.
Oh, yeah, the rain factor: They wanted the five of us guys to move like 12, 400lb blocks down a hill. In the rain. It was basically just an affirmation of our masculinity. It was to help their garden.
Today we drove to Big Bend to visit “Beyond the Game” Ministries. Go ahead and google “George ‘False Start’ Foster.” He’s an NFL player from the States who started Beyond the Game. We discovered this ministry because his wife spotted the van full of white kids in the middle of the Pick N Pay parking lot one day when we were on our way back from Manzini. So there you go, just by virtue of our being here, God provided another partnership for YFC. Love it.
The two hour drive out to Big Bend was delightfully uneventful, and we just sat back and took in Africa. After about an hour and a half we turned onto a clay “road,” and our vantage point left the Caravelle, as the remnants of the rainfall danced through the cracks of the red road, feeling like a low-flying plane over the great Zambezi.
Of course, I’m just romanticizing a whole lot of nothing. I’m pretty sure my left butt-cheek fell asleep while Ryan’s sick body draped over me in a shallow, nap-like state. But the scenery was really beautiful—Kruger-like even—as we drove into the site.
The location itself ended up being in the middle of rural nowhere, amongst homes not unlike those in the cultural village we visited. It had one lone, bright-red building where they were cooking food, and upwards of 100 kids were outside playing soccer, singing songs, and just loving life. We presented for them, played with them, and then YFC broke it down, dance style. It’s really, particularly special to watch Lelo come alive around kids, as if once in their presence he transforms into a superhero of children’s ministry. I’m gonna miss him.
Today is Khumbuh’s (Bongani’s wife, correct spelling, pronounced: “Koom boo”) birthday. We got her a cake, but we haven’t told her yet so don’t say anything. As was flippantly mentioned before, Ryan is feeling sick, like a head cold, but he has been incredible about it. Please continue to keep him and Heather’s foot in your prayers. Tomorrow we will start day one of our two-day children’s camp in Manzini, planned out by YFC. So pray for that too.
We totes miss you guys. It’s nuts to think that we’ll be stateside in a week. Thanks for the emails Mom, they’re really encouraging.
Love, yeah I said it,