Monday, October 15, 2007


Nearly 20 years ago, I graduated from Mississippi University for Women and just a couple of months later, I started one of the most exciting and rewarding adventures of my life --- going to Swaziland, Africa as a missionary. When I first arrived, the Baptist mission sent me to stay about a week with another single missionary, Denise Bouchard. She helped me so much during that time of transition to get to know the Swazi culture in a way that I wouldn't if I'd only stayed in the capital city. One thing that really bonded my heart to the Swazi people right away was the Dlamini family that lived on the same mountain as Denise. They were so warm hearted and as new single missionaries would come into their lives, they generously welcomed them into their home and even named the missionary after one of their children.

I had the honor and blessing of being named after a darling little sweetie, Thandeka. Her name means "loveable" or "easy to love" and she was certainly that. In this photo with her brother and me, she is about 3 years old. Sadly, Thandeka died about 3 or 4 years later. She was apparently born with a heart defect but it wasn't discovered by the doctors (I believe it was DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS staff) until it was too late and she was too weak and too far gone to survive surgery.

I still miss her and proudly wear her name. She was truly one of God's little beauties and one that will never be forgotten by all who knew her. I'm so thankful that in January, God will once again be allowing me to love on the children of Swaziland. And I know that as I hold those little ones, my special sisi will be very close in my thoughts and still living in my heart.

Thanks for letting me share her with you,
Elysa "Thandeka Lom Khulu Dlamini"

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