A long overdue blog…

Once again, I find myself needing to apologize to you for not updating my blog for such a long, long time.  As you gathered from the last blog I wrote in 2010, the last couple of months of 2010 were very difficult for me on multiple levels.  I just couldn’t get myself into a frame of mind to write things positively or objectively.  It wasn’t until I was home in Round Rock, Texas that I realized just how much I needed rest and time to heal mentally, emotionally and spiritually.   I spent most of December, getting caught up on my sleep, taking long walks almost everyday, visiting with dear friends and members of my church family and soaking up the love I felt each time I went to my home church whether it was to be part of one of the groups I was active in before I left for Swaziland, enjoying one of the spectacular Christmas programs or enjoying every second of worship on Sundays.  Oh, and I can’t leave out the breakfast tacos on Sunday morning in the Mission Cafe!!   It wasn’t until Christmas eve, sitting in church that I felt the magnitude of blessings that God and his people had been showering on me.  The outpouring of love became so overwhelming on Christmas eve as we sang Christmas Carols and listening to the Christmas eve message.   As I sat there wrapped in the love of so many people, some I don’t know, who had been praying for me and were so concerned about my illness and thought about the little baby born that night over 2,000 years ago that would grow up but have His life cut short because he loved us so I couldn’t help but feel God’s healing and loving touch.

My youngest son, Scott and I celebrated Christmas on December 25th relaxing and enjoying each others company.  We then went to my niece’s house for Christmas dinner and Scott’s girlfriend joined us.  On December 27th we had our real Christmas celebration as my oldest son Christopher and his wife Jen came to Round Rock on the evening of December 26th.  My God-daughter, Denise and her family also came.  My niece and her family joined us.  First we decorated molasses cut out cookies which is a long standing tradition in our home and then we shared a traditional turkey dinner.  Once again I was overwhelmed with how much the Lord has blessed me.  Family has always been important to me, but I think spending 3 1/2 years in Swaziland has made my family even more precious and important to me.

January became busy as I went to San Antonio to attend the wedding of a dear missionary sister from Swaziland.  It was a mini Swaziland missionary reunion as there were several of us in the States for the holidays.  We had a terrific time and the wedding was absolutely beautiful.  Then I went to California for a week where the only thing on the agenda was relaxing and watching my other God-daughter Stacey’s 6 month old baby boy.  Was that ever rough…NOT!  While in California I met with the team leader (Becky) of a group of Methodist Women from California that came to Swaziland in 2009 where  I joined them in Bulembu as a team member.  Some of the members of that team and I had lunch at Becky’s house and we talked about her bringing another team back to Swaziland in 2011.  It was another God filled occasion and it gave me the excitement of coming back to Swaziland and looking forward to what 2011 brings.

On February 1st I left Round Rock and headed to Swaziland.  I arrived back in Swaziland, safe and sound on the evening of February 3rd.  That gave me one day to get groceries, get my truck up and running, and unpack a few things before attending the first function on my calendar:  a visit from the MCSA District Manyano executive board members on Saturday February 5th.  The District Manyano are building a house for Mthokozisi and his sisters.  If you’ve been a follower of my past blogs you will recall that Mthokozisi and his sisters are living on their own.  When we met them in 2008 they were living in a mud hut.  That hut collapsed in the heavy summer rains in January of 2009.   The District Manyano awarded Mthokozisi a bursary to attend the 5 years of high school and also wanted to make building a home for him one of their projects.   Finally towards the end of 2010, I helped Thoko communicate with the District Manyano and helped them get the project started before I left to come to the States for Christmas.  The District Manyano executive board were coming to check on the house and to pray over the kids and the construction of the house.  It was very exciting to come back and participate in that event.  Here are a few pictures of the progress so far.

 

11-4-2010: Thoko, Dumsile, Make Gele and Babe Shongwe with blocks we had brought down from Lomngeletjane because they weren't needed there. This was the first physical sign of the start of work on the house!

11-26-2010: Sipho (our builder), Thoko and Thini discussing the building plans. The house is built on the spot where Thoko is standing.

2-5-2011: The Manyano singing praises while walking to enter the house.

Manyano entering into the house.

The Manyano District Officers praying inside the house.

Thoko presenting some clothing donations that was brought for the kids. A offering was also collected for the children. This paid for the kids bus fare for the month of February with some left over to buy some food and other essentials.

Mthokozisi looking down at the donation. I think he is somewhat overwhelmed by all of the generosity.

2-28-2011: Progress on the house so far. For some reason Sipho slowed down after the Manyano was here so he's not near as far along as Thoko and I would like.

2-28-2011: Security doors are being installed. Most houses in Swaziland have security bars on the windows and outside doors. There is concern over the safety of the kids, their belongings and the building materials so we had these installed sooner rather than at the end when they would normally be installed.

The goal is to have this house finished by the end of March because on April 15th or 16th the Bishop will be in Swaziland and the District Manyano would like to dedicate this house.  Thoko and I are trying to light a fire under Sipho and get him working a bit faster.  I’m hoping if our goal is to be finished two weeks ahead of time, we just might be finished on time!  This is Africa after all.

I will be adding random updates from October to the present on children and projects as I can.  Thank you for your faithful interest, support and prayers.

 

 

 

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