Student Intern Blog by: Ally Bassir

On Thursday we FINALLY arrived in Swaziland. I feel like I either have been traveling for weeks or been in Africa forever. Doesn’t matter I am LOVING it here. (Side Note: As I am writing this all the girls are freaking out over a giant spider in our bathroom. Britta killed it and Rebekah confirmed its dead. It’s all good.) Ok so, anyway, Day Two in Swaziland, let me tell you has been eventful. We started off with a nice and bumpy back of the tractor tour of Project Canaan, and of course the highlight of the trip was going to the El Roi baby home.  Obviously within the first few seconds of getting there the first question from the girls was “Can we hold them?!?!” (The guys just kind of stared haha) thankfully the answer was yes. Blessing us with seven beautiful babies to hold and love wasn’t enough, so we got the AMAZING experience of welcoming baby #8 (Emmanuel) to the El Roi baby home!  Immediately I was drawn to a sweet little four-week-old peanut named Jeremiah. It’s an indescribable experience to be holding a baby, as little and sweet as Jeremiah and to try and comprehend the fact that he was found, left at a bus station, at one week old. I honestly have no words to describe how I felt looking at these babies and listening to Janine tell all of their awful stories but know that God changed their lives. In a country drowning with poverty and AIDS, I am looking at eight miracle babies that now have a family and will grow up knowing the love of God. It was the perfect start to an amazing two months.

Now we are interns and we are in Africa so we can’t go a day without doing something to get some dirt on our clothes and our muscles slightly sore. So we got the awesome job of moving 571 boxes of Shoes … three times. I know there is a slight bit of complaint in my blogging tone, ignore it, because it was actually pretty cool and a really good way for all the interns to bond. There is nothing like manual labor, dirt and giving shoes to African kids to bring people together.

This morning at breakfast we all talked about what our spiritual gifts are and it was such a blessing to see everyone actually using the gifts God gave them to serve. We couldn’t have gotten through the six hour process of box moving without Rebekah’s and Britta’s organizational skills, Caroline, Kaylen, Jessica and Chris’s encouraging attitudes, Reece’s love for manual labor, Garretts never-ending jokes and awesome box stacking skills and just all of their hearts that were so willing to serve and serve and serve until all the boxes were in the bin, organized and ready to be distributed to some sweet child’s feet.

Ephesians 4:16 says “The whole body depends on Christ and all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part does its own work to make the whole body grow and be strong with love.” It’s only the interns first full day on Project Canaan and that verse was totally lived out, even in through a super long, tiring process like lifting, stacking and organized 571 heavy boxes of shoes for hours. I think I can speak (or blog) for all the interns when I say we know this summer is not going to be easy, there are going to be moments when we are really upset, annoyed, angry, sad or just flat out tired but there are also going to be moments of just pure joy, moments were God’s presence is so apparent (like at the baby home when Emmanuel came.) I think this summer is going to be a time where we take those moments whether good or bad and use them to grow in and glorify God in. And it’s going to be flipping awesome.

Until the next time it’s my turn to blog,

Ally

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Anticipation By: Jessica Johnson

Right now my to-do list is two feet long. I’m constantly adding and subtracting to the list but it remains the same length. There is always something to be done. Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t do the typical things that recently graduated teens do (find a lucrative summer job, spend your graduation money, and hangout at the pool). But, those things don’t interest me. Weird huh? It would have been a lot easer and less stressful to just stay at home this summer and prepare for college, like many teens do. But I know that God gave us a purpose. For 18 years now I have been looking for my purpose. When I was five I believed that I would be teaching teddy bears my whole life. At 13 I wanted to be an interior designer. Passing out TOMS to children in Swaziland wasn’t exactly what I was thinking. But here I am 5 years later preparing to distribute TOMS. Hahah its funny how we think we know what God has in store for us, but we have no idea. My dad always tells me “Wanna make God laugh, tell him your plans”. When I was 13 I was telling God I was going to be an interior designer on HGTV at age 14. I bet he was laughing then.

If God had responded, “no you are going to travel the world and help orphans”, I would of thought that he had confused me with someone else. We spend our whole lives trying to find our passion, but I believe that our passions find us.

You see just two years ago I did not have any desire to go on a trip with Heart for Africa, because I wanted to go to Europe instead. I said, “Mom I’ve already been to Africa, I want to discover another continent” So the following spring break I found myself walking the windy streets of Seville, Spain, Don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing trip and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to go, but it did not fulfill my passion for helping people. So, that same summer I went to Swaziland, pretty psyched to be able to work on the medical team, because at that point I was going to be an ER doctor and live in a fabulous apartment in Boston, just like that girl on ER. Working on the medical team was incredible. Not only did I work with amazing medical professionals, but I met so many patients who turned into friends by the afternoon. The next week I served with my mom at her local church. On the clothing distribution day I saw this little girl without shoes. The whole week she had come to the church to sing, plant, and play with us. I was so touched by her smile and genuine kindness. When everyone was packing up the Convie to leave for the hotel, I pulled her to the side, took off my UGG boots, and slid them on her bare feet. Her face lit up and she gave me a hug. I was convinced that the shoes were two sizes to big, but she loved them. I think God was giving me a preview of my purpose, because this summer I will be doing the same thing on a larger scale with TOMS. So, tell God your plans, I bet he’ll laugh. I know my to-do list is too long and probably not feasible, but its just one step closer to what God has been planning for me for years.

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