God Created Everyone for a Purpose By: Eric Stallworth

Several years ago, I read these words of Paul recorded by Luke, “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” Those words are so powerful to me, please allow me to explain by sharing a little of my story. I was born and raised in the inner city on the south side of Chicago. As a family, we never travelled outside of the United States and the idea of visiting the continent of Africa never crossed my mind. My family was regular attendees of a black Baptist church and I have memories of once a year bringing home a piggy bank in the shape of a smallloaf of bread, to put our change in over several months to support missionaries. Over the years, while channel surfing, I would come upon a television segment talking about the plight of African children who were orphaned and vulnerable. My response was to change the channel, thinking could I really make a difference? The problems were so massive. So I closed my eyes and tried to pretend that everything was okay in the world. But in the summer of 2008, my life journey took me to Kenya to serve a couple of communities there and new life questions began to form in my mind. Questions like, why was I born in North America rather than Africa? If I truly follow His leading, where and what is He leading me to go and do? Was I born for purpose or is it arbitrary?

As a Christ follower, I believe that I am not an accident and God created everyone for purpose. My partnership with Heart for Africa began when I was serving others in another way. For several months, I had been serving as a small group leader of high school students at my church, North Point Community Church. Each summer, North Point sends teams of students and small group leaders overseas to serve others. So although I had the excuses of our nation being in the midst of a recession and personal challenges I was experiencing, I decided to not wallow in my own sadness and do something. So last year, I took a baby step and answered the call to serve in Swaziland. And I had no idea what God would do with that willing decision. Alongside our students, we helped host over 10,000 Africans, primarily orphans and vulnerable children at Litsemba 2010. We distributed thousands of beanies, blankets, bibles and warm meals. We partnered with a Swazi church helping them create a garden and prayed for those sick in the community.

In an ancient Hebrew book, you will find these words of wisdom when translated into English, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” Those words sum up the reason why after a few months from returning home from Swaziland, my wife Margaret and I decided that we should serve together in the coming year in Swaziland. To paraphrase, I am returning but this time, I am bringing reinforcements. And that is the power of a short-term service trip. For ten days, you get to turn your focus totally on serving others, not looking to your own interests but the interests of others. Once you experience it, you desperately want those you love to experience it as well.

By: Eric Stallworth

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Baking Cakes for Africa

It’s 8:00 on a Sunday morning and I wake to the sound of the oven beeping to tell my father that another cake is finished.  I walk upstairs to the kitchen from my room in the basement and the smell that enters my nose is heavenly.  My father, Matthew Bozdech, is hard at work baking chocolate angel food cakes so that my mother can go to Africa.  He has a full time job, but he still finds the time to bake the cakes for my mom, even if that means he has to record his favorite show, N.C.I.S, when it’s on until he has the time to watch it J.  We jokingly call my father Mr. Crocker after Betty Crocker, but his cakes are way better than any boxed cakes that can be bought.  He has gotten so many orders from people just wanting to help out in any way possible.  Thirty cakes is the last count that we have taken.  We never tell people how much they must pay, but we do tell them that all the profit will go to help my mother go to Swaziland, Africa, in July.  People have given up to fifty dollars for one of his cakes!  Some people have ordered even a couple cakes!  They take around one and a half hours to make.  Wow, what a sacrifice for my father to make for my mother!  The smell of chocolate angel food cake has permeated our house!  I was at school one day, reached over my shoulder to slide my book bag strap on, and smelled his cake in my jacket one time.  It was an instant reminder of how much my father loves my mother.

Even though I am eighteen and only senior in high school, I have been thinking that I hope to find a husband that will be willing to make sacrifices for his wife, and that I will be able to make sacrifices for my husband just like my father is doing for my mom.  My mother, Tammy Bozdech, is so grateful for my father’s sacrifice.  I will also be travelling with my mother to Swaziland.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to take part in a trip like this with my mother before I start college and my life just gets busier.

I have been thinking about Christ’s sacrifice for us too.  He gave his life so we could spend an eternity with Him.  Now, that is love!  What better way to show God’s love than by giving it away, and that’s what my mother and I plan to do in Africa.  My father is helping to make that happen.

By: Madalyn Hope Bozdech

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The Journey that Changed My Life

Never before had I even been out of my own country, and there I stood waiting in line to board a plane that would lead me to a final destination of Swaziland, Africa. Nervousness and excitement filled my entire body; I was about to travel across the entire world, leaving my family behind for 10 days. Once my team and I took off from the grounds of our homeland, the journey that changed my life had begun.

Traveling to Swaziland provided me with the opportunity to be completely out  of my comfort zone and my faith was challenged in such an incredible way as well. After being seperated into teams, we were sent to specific locations around the country to serve the people there and spread the love of our amazing God. My team was assigned to the Ebholi Primary School. My most memorable experience from my mission trip to Swaziland was having the opportunity to serve and meet new people -not only on my team but the children we met at the school as well.

During the three days that we served at Ebholi, we built a garden on the school’s site with fresh crops from Project Canaan and did Vacation Bible School to share the gospel. The beautiful children of this country have some of the warmest hearts and are the most loving people that I have ever met in my life. It was once I was brought face to face with these children and what they go through on a daily basis that I realised how blessed I am to have the things in my life that I before classified as “simple”. My whole entire outlook on life has changed after traveling to Swaziland, Africa and I don’t go a day without having glimpses of their precious faces in my mind.

From my experience last year, I cannot express enough how much it would mean to me to return to Swaziland to serve the people there. I feel that God has placed it on my heart to return to this country and that is why I will be traveling back this summer.  This year, I will be serving for 15 days and my mom will be joining me for this once in a lifetime experience. I am fortunate enough to have a mother in my life that I am so close to and I cannot wait to experience what the Lord has in store for Swaziland with my own mother right by my side. There isn’t anyone else that I would rather experience this journy with – a journey that is full of Litsemba (hope) and faith in the Lord.

2010 is one year that I will absolutely never forget. It was a year that revolved around my relationship with Christ and how it grew in such an incredible way – by being exposed to trials that I never imagined I would have the ability to experience. Old and new friendships became stronger, especially with the girls from my small group, and I have memories that will go on with me for the rest of my life.  Traveling to Swaziland has been the best thing that has ever happened to me and I only have positive thoughts for the journey that will be next in my life.

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Project Canaan Construction Trip

Construction in AfricaFrom June 23 – July 3, 2011, Heart for Africa will lead a team of volunteers serving in Swaziland on a special trip planned for constructing two structures on Project Canaan.  The trip will focus on building a training classroom as well as a carpentry workshop.  While the trip will focus on these construction projects there will be many other tasks as well.  We’re looking for skilled carpenters, those comfortable with construction projects, and those who are willing to help with all the other tasks that will not involve actual construction or building.

In addition to construction work on Project Canaan, the trip will also include one day of service at one of our church partners in the rural communities.  So register to join us, pack your work gloves, and the fun will begin June 23rd.

Click here for complete trip details.

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