Wake Up Part Two By: Chinua Hawk

Wowzers I’m in Africa! Now what?  God you called me here, I came, now show me some neat tricks!

I know this sounds disrespectful but it’s not meant to be. I’m just trying to illustrate how I felt on the first day. I spent the whole day looking for some “cloud by day, fire by night” type of stuff.  I wanted to see the hand of God move, literally!

After that first day I spent the almost two hour ride back trying to figure out why God

hadn’t shown up.  I was disappointed to say the least.  Later that evening I bumped into Janine Maxwell and expressed a little of how I felt to her and her response was “ stop looking for something and just be here. God brought you here so just be here.”   I recall thinking “ okay, I get it, just be here” but I still felt like I had been invited to dinner and the host hadn’t shown up.

The words “ just be here” resonated with me that whole evening. I got back to my ro

om and started to think about the whole day.  This day started with my ever so lovely and energetic Team 8 and our driver “Sim” whom we’d later discover on the last day that his name was actually “Sam”. LOL I’m still finding it hard to refer to him as “Sam”.

( I tend to drift when I’m writing but try and stay with me.) :-)

Anyway, after about two hours we arrive at the Ebholi Primary School and we meet the principal, head teacher and the other teachers.  Our team leader Grace Livingston explained what we wanted to do and we got the okay to get started. First order of business was to expand the garden that the team last year had built. We grabbed our sho

vels, hoes and rakes and went to work clearing the tall grass, weeds and rocks that seemed adamant that they were not leaving.  Back home I described digging in this soil to trying to dig through concrete. It was hard and these 400+lbs I took with me didn’t make it any easier but we got it done!  We planted orange trees, red beet, spinach, green oinion, cabbage, lettuce, bell peppers and moringa (the miracle tree).  To learn more about this amazing tree and all of it’s benefits please click on the following link to view the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDSksjGNCA&feature=player_embedded

I think I’m going to plant a Moringa tree in the back yard. Seriously!

Not long after we started to working some of the children were released to us and they happily helped us in the garden. I didn’t interact with them much that first day because I was busy looking for “God to come and take me by the hand and lead me up a mountain to commune with Him.” ;-)  I wonder if God thinks I’m funny?  Drifting again , sorry.

I laid down that night thinking about Janine’s words “ just be here” and the faces of those  beautiful children started to cross my mind. I couldn’t wait for day 2!

I’m going to stop here for those of you with short attention spans like myself. I don’t want you to miss anything!

Part 3 Coming Soon!

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Snail Mail from Swaziland By: Jeremy Ferguson

We live in a world of constant communication.  No big surprise right.  This last month our family sent and received 16,540 texts.  Of course, my 16 year old daughter accounted for 13,580 of those texts on her own.  We get messages all the time and with today’s technology it’s really just white noise.  But can you remember the last time you got excited about receiving a message by mail, seriously snail mail.

Almost exactly 1 month before we leave for Swaziland,  I sat in disbelief as my wife, Raelenna, called me at work to say, “you just got a letter from Gonondo.”  All I could think was, “you have got to be kidding.”  It was from my brother in Christ, Gonondo Mamba from a remote village in Swaziland, Africa and just reading his letter reminded why God is calling us to his country and to his church.  When we showed up at his church last year, we entered the world he knows.  A young girl had just died the night before of AIDS, the people in his church community only able to eat one meal a week, no opportunity for employment and survival is the daily challenge.  Yet here was Gonondo.  A young man in his early twenties.  Already a man among men in his leadership.  One of the only men we saw in the community who was there to lead and guard the children.  Eager to serve Christ and steadfast in desire to not be like all the other men who were causing so much of the damage to the women and children of the community.

While we planted a garden, he won us over with his welcoming spirit.  The second day, I got my guitar out to sing with the children and found him right on my shoulder, singing along with every song.  I’m cracking up just thinking about how this guy was really up in my space because he was so eager to learn the songs and lead out in singing them for the children.  As soon we finished the song he would say “again.”  So we sang it again and again till finally I just handed him the guitar and said you try it.  To my amazement, a guy who I’m not sure had ever held a guitar in his life, was now strumming three chords and smiling ear to ear while we sang Lord I Lift Your Name On High like it was 1999 and we were hearing it for the first time.  We all saw something in him that was unmistakeably a gift from God to lead his community and really be a strong minister for Christ. The guitar I brought had been given by a man in our community.  The facebook message had went out that we wanted to take a guitar to Adfrica angive it where we knew God could use it.  In minutes, God had provided a guitar and after a day with Gonondo and his God-given talent for music, the guitar had found it’s new owner.  He referenced the guitar in his letter, asking for some new strings as they have now failed and he has been unable to replace them.  Beyond sharing worship and the guitar, God blessed our time together with His presence.

At one point we sat together in a hut, me reading from Isaiah 40 in English and he in Siswati.  And then we watched God work a miracle as a grandmother who we were told had been unable to stand in months sprang up on her feet and rose up on wings like eagles.  What an awesome experience to see God at work all over the world!  There was definitely a message today that didn’t get lost in the white noise.  I have a brother in Christ who is eager to see us again and who knows what God has planned for this trip.

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