November 2012 By: Lori Marschall

November 2012: My 4th trip in 2012-  each trip is different, and amazing, and unlike any other.

I must admit I was a bit nervous to leave my familiar room at The Lodge and ‘move-in’ to the Baby Home, but once I was there I never wanted to leave!  The Aunties are all so lovely, and welcoming- even of new ideas! We enjoyed cooking for each other, and laughed at the silly differences in our lives.  They truly love those precious babies, and the babies love them so much!

Going to the Hospital to get Hannah was my toughest day-  Going to the hospital to deliver your baby is a luxury in Swaziland, yet, nothing like it is here in the U.S.  the biggest difference was the lack of ‘Joy’.  I would love to see these woman celebrating the new lives that just came into this world, yet they are hurting, scared, and burdened by these precious ones who will ‘depend’ on them now.  My heart was broken, not only for the beautiful women/girls, but also for the Staff who try to care for them, I felt like they had no ‘encouragement left to give’- the reality of what lay ahead is not ‘pretty’ for most of these precious children of God.  The good news is God see’s them, and we can pray for them, and encourage them in many ways, (the biggest way at this point is to support Janine as she deals directly with them).

Living with (only) 18 babies was truly hard work!  The Aunties start at 6am and go non-stop till 9 or 10pm every day!  I fell into bed each night fully exhausted!-  it was wonderful!  I spent my days washing bottles,cooking, feeding hungry babies, changing diapers, cooking, going to the Gebeni Clinic, Baylor Aid’s Clinic, grocery shopping, hanging laundry, washing more bottles, cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, and best of all- loving on 18 of the most amazing little babies ever, and getting to know the beautiful women who care for these babies, I truly appreciate how hard these women work! And, they are not alone, there is such a wonderful supportive ‘family’ that lives on Canaan, they truly all take care of eachother! (it’s not just the women who love these little ones!)

I miss those Aunties and the babies everyday!-  I can’t wait to see them again, and meet the new additions!  I Praise our God because at El Roi, we have JOY, and we celebrate each life!- They have hope and love, a family and a future.  Thank you Lord.

Blessed and forever changed!
Lori
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Carlsbad Marathon By:Strib Stribling

The last two months in Atlanta have been cold, wet, and dreary.  I generally consider myself a fair weather runner, but, thanks to my experience with the Carlsbad Half Marathon last year, I have been running a great deal.  I did not want a repeat of last year’s performance where as soon as I crossed the finish line, my body locked up and did not unlock itself for the next 10 days.  My training regimen has, therefore, changed from ice cream and In-N-Out Burgers to actually running multiple times a week, rain or shine.

This year was going to be different.  I was prepared, in shape, and it turns out, the weather I had been training in was exactly what we had the day of the race…cold and wet.  The one thing I was not counting on was my three-year old son, Win.

Win is a wonderful child and a delight for our entire family, but he is also a carrier of terrible viruses that can ruin your day, or potentially your race.  So, imagine my consternation when I gave him a hug as I was heading out for the airport, and he planted a large, virus-laden kiss on my lips.  There were simply not enough anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer immediately available to prevent whatever plague-like disease he had just given me.  I scrubbed the offended area until it was raw, but to no avail.

I was staying with a lovely family the first half of my trip.  For those of you not familiar with the Howards, get to know them because they rock!  There are tons of them, most of who have traveled to Swaziland with us.  They also have a heart for abandoned animals, and have a house full of rescues to prove it.  They have a giant lizard, two mice, a guinea pig, two lovebirds, and four dogs.  One dog is completely deaf, one is half blind, and one had just four teeth.  The birds do NOT love each other, and the lizard only comes out when it is 110 degrees in its cage.  The mice and guinea pig, it turns out, are “normal”.  It was like the island of misfit toys!

I was hoping my runny nose and cough was nothing more than allergies.  Turns out, I don’t have any.  But by Saturday I wanted to do nothing but stay in bed, which I knew would not happen.  I had meetings to attend, a dinner where I was the speaker, and a huge race to run the following day.

I thanked them for hosting me, and have been ardently praying since then that I did not pass on any germs.  I then went from the Howard’s house to the home of Matt and Lori Marschall.  They essentially plan and organize everything race related for our Heart for Africa runners and without them, none of it would work.  It turns out that Matt was just getting over a cold and had more pills, potions, and apothecary-like concoctions than Lance Armstrong.   I wasn’t sure how I would perform under the influence of so many drugs, but I really didn’t care.   I had run too far in foul weather to miss this race.

The Lord was good to me on the morning of the race.  He answered a lot of prayers by clearing up my sinuses, getting rid of my cough, and allowing me to run a race that was right in line with my training.  He also taught me a few things to remember for next year.  One, wear a hazmat suit when dealing with your children the week prior to an event that demands you be on top of things.  Two, In-N-Out Burgers and milk shakes are a better post race tradition than a pre race regimen.  And three, it is better to show up for a race sick than it is unprepared.  I managed to cross the finish line a little under 1:55, which is 8 minutes faster than my previous time.  I was sore, but my body did not go into lockdown.

Thank you to Marc and Melissa Howard and Matt and Lori Marschall for hosting me and taking care of me all weekend.  You were great hosts.  I would also like to thank the Marschalls, Munes, Goyettes, Heidemans, Jamie Albert, Sarah Daoust, and our countless donors, volunteers and runners who made the race possible.  Because of you and your efforts, we were able to raise a little over $25,000 for water projects in Swaziland, Africa.

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