Tuesday, June 30, 2009


The Swazi team leaders have been able to post more information for us since they are staying, for now, in one of the main cities, Manzini. The team arrived on Friday, had their cookout that night, and then on Saturday they had a scavenger hunt around the small city to start getting acquainted with it and the Swazi culture. Here's what else the team leaders had to share:
"Hello All-

We are jumping into ministry in Manzini! Yesterday [Sunday] our group split up and went to two different churches where everyone enjoyed seeing the African church. It was a great experience and a great way to prepare our hearts and minds for ministry this week.

Today [Monday] we went to the carepoint by our house and played with the children there for hours. It was an amazing experience, and everyone on our team was talking about how much they loved the children. We got to play with them, feed them, and love on them (some of them even fell asleep in our arms!).

Tomorrow [Tuesday] we will be splitting up and doing ministry with the Luke Commission (helping restock their medicial supplies) and working in various medical care facilities and at the care point again. We are very excited to continue our ministry here. Sometime in the near future we will also be moving to Timbutini, but we're waiting until we've had a chance to work here and want to make sure there are enough mattresses out there for our team!

Thank you for your prayers. We have all been encouraged by our time spent with the Swazi people and are praying that God would really move through us here."

Here are some photos from our time in Manzini last year just to give you an idea of some of the things the team sees around them:

After over a year, I've still not been able to find out what this name means. I guess I need to restart my investigating. Or maybe "A" will finally find out while she's there.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Tonya Wallace and her family have been serving with AIM in Swaziland for the past few weeks. She and her husband Doyle have been leading a one-month long "Real Life" team. This past week was their last week of ministry. Tonya wrote a great blog post detailing what that was like for her personally and for the team in general. On Friday, she included a bit that made this mama smile and get teary eyed.

Here's the whole account of their last Friday in Swaziland. The bit about Anna and her team is at the end:

Friday, June 26

Today was the hardest day. It's the last day at the carepoint. Time to say goodbye. We had a party! Autumn and Kelsey baked six cakes, and we bought some vanilla pudding. We also bought the gogos and mages lots of cleaning supplies and serving items to help with the cooking. Doyle brought the speaker and iPods, and we danced and sang with the children. It was so much fun. Then David Crowder "O Praise Him" started to play, and the team started to cry. Nesepo wouldn't let me go. She held on and we danced and sang and I cried. All of the kids stopped and looked at us. We were laughing and crying at the same time. The emotions were too much. And to add to all of this, Sarah is sick. My Sarah is running a fever. She begged me to let her go to the carepoint. She couldn't miss the last day, but we could tell she wasn't her usual spunky self.

We were to meet Julie at 4:30 at the AIM office so our team could buy Timbali purses. It took a long time to get everyone in the kumbis. No one wanted to leave the children. Our team was crying. The children were crying. I thought Sam was going to just put her twins in the kumbi with us. Those two little girls were sobbing as they walked home. They kept turning around and waving to Sam. We finally got everyone in the kumbis, and all of a sudden, some of the ladies started screaming with excitement. Staci and Edie came crashing out of the kumbi to see their "favorite" children. Lolo and Little Buddy hadn't been there all day, and they showed up as we were leaving. Staci and Edie held their babies and cried and cried. It was such a gift to them to be able to say goodbye.
The team bought lots of purses and agreed to take some back with them to sell in the states. I filled up two suitcases full of purses. 100 bags. I loved those purses before I came to Africa, but now that I've met the gogos and mages who make them they're even more special to me.

We decided to have a braii (Southern African cookout) with the Ambassador team. We ate good tonight! Grilled chicken, rice and salad. Elysa -- your daughter Anna asked God to bless the food and gave thanks for it, and she got to be the first one to eat. She's a sweet girl!


I surely do love and miss that girl. But reading Tonya's blog, and the other posts from those finishing up their month, makes me realize just how quickly time will fly. In less than 3 weeks, their team will be typing up their last blog posts and heading home.

Til then, I pray that their days will be full and rich. I pray that they'll see and experience and hear every thing God desires for them. And I pray Romans 8:28...that ALL things will be used for their good, to make them more and more like Jesus.

To read the entire blog post about the REAL LIFE team's last week in ministry, go to:

This is a photo of the Doyle family with their team while they were still at the AIM training base.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


My husband and I are considering taking a trip to Swaziland this fall both to minister at one or more carepoints, but also to explore ministry options as we seriously believe that God might be calling us to move over there in 5 years when my husband retires. We both think that it's important for us to go over as a couple as Jim as never been to Swaziland, but it's the timing we're not sure about. Would you please join in praying with us that if we're supposed to go on the AIM Vision Trip set for October, that God will make that very evident?

Thanks in advance,

Photo taken by Jessie Miller of Adventures in Missions

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009


We have received word that the whole team safely arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday...even all their baggage! After spending the night in a hotel or guest house, they are traveling to Swaziland today. It's about a 5 hour drive eastward so depending on what time they got off, how many stops they had to take, if a lot of cows or goats were crossing the road, and how crowded things were at the border, they should either be there or getting there soon. Here's a photo from last year's trip when we had just walked across the border into Swaziland:

I wonder how many times this sign has been photographed?

Thursday, June 25, 2009


As I previously posted, our daughter's team left for Swaziland yesterday and I really was hoping and praying we'd get to talk to her before she left. Well God blessed us with just that!

Apparently about 4 members have cell phones so they passed them around letting everyone get a chance to call before they left The U.S. I talked to "A" for about 10 minutes a little after 5:00.

Here's the summary---

She sounded really happy and even a bit hyper! A HUGE deal for her.

She said that training has been great. She said that the whole team has gotten along really, really well. No fighting or personality conflicts. This in itself is a BIG PRAISE GOD as her main concern was how she'd get along with everyone but she really loves them.

She proudly shared the fact that during training she did 100 push-ups! WOW!

She said that God has really been speaking and working. She's learned to listen to Him as she never has before and is also getting back to truly worshipping Him.

She said that one day she did get a bit of a "heat stroke" and that's why she was sitting in the shade in the photo. But she has been drinking lots and lots of water. It was just that the extreme temp got to her that day.

One of the team member's parents came up to the airport today for a visit and took a bunch of photos so those I've posted here.

It was a great call and a huge blessing. She loves us, misses us, but is doing GREAT!

God is so good and I am so proud and happy for my girl.

Thanks again for your prayers and support!
Praising God,

P.S. Please be praying for two of the girls on the team who ended up not being able to go on the trip due to personal reasons. This is tough on them AND their team as they've gotten very close in a short amount of time.

I just love how happy they all look!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Today my firstborn flies with her team to Africa. They will depart in just a few hours and then about 15 hours later will land in Johannesburg, South Africa. Then it's 5 more hours on to their ministry destination in Swaziland. Please pray for them...pray for safety and rest. And pray for us left behind.

I'm sure that most of the other families are like us...excited but really missing them and finding it hard to let them go without having talked to them since Friday. I've been hoping and praying that we'd get some sort of communication from them before they catch that plane. I would love a phone call, but even something via the internet would be good.

And so I was thrilled to find posted on their team website just a bit ago, a video from their training camp. It moves pretty fast, but if you'll pause it at the 28 second mark, you'll see my daughter with her team. She only shows up for a milli-second (unless you pause it) but she's sitting to the far right in the shade and wearing a black shirt. She dehydrates easily so I'm thinking that might be why she's under cover, but, she looks so happy...and that makes me happy, despite the fact that I started boo-hooing when I saw my girl.

BTW, there are 5 teams there and they distinguish the teams by wearing fabric strips of various colors. The Swazi team is wearing green. Also, if you click on the icon to the bottom of the screen that's second from the right, it will enlarge the photos to take up your whole monitor screen and you can see their beautiful faces more clearly.

Praising God for the wonders of modern technology and asking you to join with me in praying for them as they fly away today to amazing African adventures.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

OUR GEORGIA TRIP...Day 1 and 2

As I said in my last two blogs, our daughter A is now at her missionary training base preparing to leave for Swaziland. Several months back, when we found out that she was going, we made plans to tack a family vacation on the frontside of her training time since the Adventures in Missions base is situated in such a great location.

Last Monday, we loaded up the 15 passenger van and headed for the Georgia mountains and a beautiful destination, Amicalola Falls State Park. Here are some photos from the first two days:
(Captions to come later)

Monday, June 22, 2009


I wanted to share the blog url here for those of you who want to keep up with what's going on with A's Swaziland team. I'll post some updates along the way, but you can get the full meal deal here:

Their team leaders have actually posted the first blog post since the team arrived. There are many previous blog posts covering such subjects as the team members biographies, trip logistics, etc.

Keep praying for them, okay? They've got a lot of training and relationship work to do before they leave for Africa in less than two days.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Yep, after a few days of family fun in the Georgia mountains, we took our oldest daughter to the Adventures in Missions base and then headed back toward home. After two nights on the road...one night with homeschool friends and one night with family...we made it safely back to our little farm.

I'll post lots of details in the days to come, for now, please remember to pray for our girl and her team as they prepare for Swaziland...and for us as we miss her already.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hard to believe it's finally here. After many months of praying, fundraising, filling out paperwork, sending out emails and newsletters, and doing all that's entailed in getting ready for an overseas missions trip, the time is upon us. This week our daughter A will start her training at the Adventures in Missions base and then a few days later, fly to Africa.
Please pray for her and us!
Pray that these last few days together will be good. That we'll chill out and enjoy each other. Pray for safety and pray that she'll experience all that God desires for her. Pray that God will use her to change lives while at the same time changing her heart and life in amazing ways.
I'll not be around the internet world much this week but I'll post an update as soon as I can.
Thanks and may you not let anything hold you back from living out the adventures God desires for you life!

Saturday, June 13, 2009



While we were in Swaziland last year, we had the blessing of spending time with the children and caregivers at Beveni Carepoint. For many of the children in that community, the carepoint is their only source of regular food, Bible teaching, medical care, and love. This past fall, I met via the internet Deb Gangemi. I've mentioned Deb on my blog before. She's passionate about God and providing for His precious least of these...especially orphans and other vulnerable children in Swaziland. Deb has networked and managed to match up sponsors with almost all of the Beveni carepoint children who are ministered to by Children's HopeChest and Adventures in Missions. Here's what I read in an email from her this week:
I'm writing this email to you today to ask you to come alongside the Beveni
Carepoint community and pray! Of the 102 children being cared for there, 84
are now sponsored. Only 18 more children are waiting for the very real hope
that comes from a sponsor.

There are 9 girls ranging in age from 6 years to 16; and 9 boys ranging in age from 5 to 18 years.

Would you please ask people you know to prayerfully consider becoming a sponsor to one of the children of Beveni? You are welcome to share my email address.

I stand in awe at how God has used the virtual world of the internet to knit
together His big kids to take care of His little ones. I know that He knows
the people who need to be in relationship with one of these precious children as much as the child needs it. He is so faithful and true and worthy of every bit of praise!

May He richly bless you with His brand of peace and joy today!

In Him, with faith,
Deb Gangemi

My family has the blessing of sponsoring one girl and our church's youth group sponsors another one. If you would also like to become a part of abeautiful Swazi child's life thru a gift of $34 a month plus letters and evenopportunities to go and minister directly to your child and the carepoint,either visit Deb's blog or contact me for her email address.

Thanks so much!


Friday, June 12, 2009


Today, I took some time out to have some fun with my teenage girls and their cousin Emmy in Fondren, a fabulous and funky older part of Jackson. One of our favorite places to visit is The Orange Peel Vintage Consignment Shop. The girls love to try on outfits...many too outrageous to actually buy...and we also turn in items here that are sold and then the proceeds are used to benefit ministries in Swaziland.

After the Orange Peel, we walked across to Duling School Shops...an old school building that has been beautifully restored and now houses stores, a salon, and even a restaurant in the school's old auditorium.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Yep, you read that right. Today I received a copy of orphan advocate Tom Davis' latest book and first novel, SCARED.

Here's what some reviewers are saying about this book that's set in Swaziland, Africa and portrays the orphan crisis happening there:

"Well done, Tom. Thanks for daring to put down in novel form the issues that break God's heart" ----Seth Barnes, CEO of AIM (Adventures in Missions) and author of The Art of Listening Prayer

"Tom Davis weaves his heart for orphans onto every page. The journey of Scared might lead you on a journey of your own - helping the orphans among us."
- Karen Kingsbury, New York Times best-selling author of Every Now and Then and Take One

"With unflinching detail, Tom Davis uncovers the atrocity of the African AIDS epidemic and God's impossible triumph in its midst. Both sweeping in scope and intimate expression, Scared leaves the reader with one burning question: How can I help?"
- Matt Bronleewe, author of Illuminated and House of Wolves

"Tom Davis' first novel, Scared, is a startling beauty-for-ashes tale that takes readers on a journey to Swaziland and introduces them to the least of these Jesus speaks about in Matthew 25. You can't help but be changed by this heartbreaking, hope-fueling, oh-so-real story."
- Claudia Mair Burney, author of Zora and Nicky (and my sweet, sweet friend!)

So click on over to Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble's website, drive over to Borders, or get on the phone with a Christian Book Distributors customer service rep...whatever way you do it, get a copy of SCARED! And be prepared to have your life changed.

By the way, Tom is the CEO of Children's HopeChest---the group we traveled to Swaziland with last year. To find out more about their amazing ministry to orphans, visit their website:


Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I rec'd this from Deb Gangemi this week. Deb and her family are passionate about helping the vulnerable children of Swaziland whose lives are being torn apart by HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty.

Hey everyone! Most of you know we are the volunteer sponsorship coordinators for a group of 102 orphaned and vulnerable children in Swaziland. We do that job with joy through a ministry called Children's HopeChest (http://www.hopechest.org/). We are so excited to be able to report that nearly 75% of the children are now sponsored and enough funds have been raised to provide the children and their caregivers with a well, a pump and a security fence. Now we have a goal to raise enough to provide electricity, a garden and goats and chickens.

You can check out photo's from Beveni at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bevenicarepoint/

One of our fundraisers is to use Ebay to sell lots of "stuff". As a homeschool family, we have a lot of books, videos, games, computer games and more to list. These are not items that are strictly for homeschoolers, but rather might be of interest to anyone who is a teacher, a parent of elementary through high school students, or maybe even the grandparents of those age groups.

If you would like to see what we are selling please save this link and check in often: http://myworld.ebay.com/j56a55.

We are giving $5 or 10% (whichever is greatest) of every items we sell to Children's HopeChest through Ebay's Giving Works program. Five dollars is enough to feed a child in Swaziland for a month!!!!

Throughout the month of June, every buyer who buys anything on Ebay that is listed through Giving Works is automatically enlisted in a give-away of five $1000 shopping sprees on Ebay.

If you know anyone who likes to buy educational materials, please send them in the direction of our listings!

If you want to learn more about the children of Beveni or what is happening there, please email me. I am always happy to talk about "our kids"!

Have a great day!
Deb Gangemi

If you'd like Deb's email address, just let me know in a comment and I'll get it to you. She can also be found on facebook by searching for "Deb Gangemi".

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


I asked my youngest two kids, Little Miss M who is 3 (nearly 4) and T who is 5 to tell me about our Monday trip to the zoo. What we did, what they liked best, and whatever else they wanted to tell about our time. Here's their reports along with a bunch of the photos from the day...which by the way, are in reverse to the way the day actually progressed except for the very first one. But it's too late and I'm too tired to fool with rearranging them.

So anyway.

Here's the kidlets' version of the day:

Little Miss M says ""I liked to see my giraffes. I rided the giraffe on the carousel. And I ride the train, too. I went into the gift shop. And I saw the elephants. I went into the farm. I brush'ed the goats. 1 goat. 2 goats. 3 goats. Now I went to see my dad at the toyshop while we waited to ride the train. I saw the flamingos. And I saw the lions. And I saw the tigers. I saw the dancing bird---MOM! We forgot to see the [dancing] bird at the Zoo. Next time we go on my birthday we have to see the dancing bird that was dancing with [sister] B."

And T says, "I loved eating the Lunchables. And I really loved going on the train. And I loved petting the goats. And I just rode the carousel just for fun. And I just wanted to have a sister-brother thing with M & me. And I loved getting the money out under the bridge. It was awesome. Too bad my dad wasn't there when we saw the mooning monkeys because then the monkeys would have mooned us and peed and it would be real funny."

Yeah, he's all boy alright.

By the way, that's my favorite brother's oldest son up above. Ain't he a sweetie with that penguin? The special exhibit penguin gift shop is actually as fun as the real penguins! It's a favorite place to go each time we visit the zoo. And so far, we've managed to leave without buying ANY stuffed animals! Woo-hoo!
Life is good.