Thursday, September 30, 2010


We are now well into our second week in Swaziland. All of last week, we were with the 5 other members of our Beveni team. Now they are back in the States and we are still here exploring God's will for our possible future here in Swaziland. I must tell you, with each day that we are here, it seems more and more that the possibility grows even stronger that we will be moving over here sometime in the future and will hopefully be making one or more short-term trips in the meantime.

Please keep praying for us as we have three more days til we leave Africa. We have spent the last three days talking with missionaries and ministers about what they are doing here in Swaziland and how we might fit into the ministry picture here. It has been a huge blessing and we think we might be getting some specific direction about what we might be doing and where we might be located. So keep praying that God will continue to draw us to HIS will and HIS heart and that if what we are sensing IS God's leading, that He will continue to confirm it. I must admit that it is shaping up in a way that was unexpected by the both of us but yet, we both seem to feel the same way...which over the history of our marriage, has usually been a good indication that it is what we are supposed to do.

Also, pray for the others that would be involved with where He is leading us that they will also feel God's rightness about the situation. And pray for our children, that God will continue to draw their hearts to Swaziland and His plans for our family.

Now for that peek into our week --- Mike Brower, one of our team leaders, has posted beautiful photos of our time at the Beveni Carepoint. He has made the album available on facebook for all to see, whether you have a facebook account or not. So hop on over to his album and see the amazing things that God is doing in a very dusty but very beloved part of this mountainous kingdom:

P.S. To see the photo posted at the top of this post more clearly, just click on it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Our team is en route to the USA over a long travel route while Jim and I stay behind in Africa for a few extra days. Pray that all would go well. That they would be properly rested and ready to reconnect with family and friends and the same for us when it is our time. Pray for us to be able to effectively communicate the stories and realities of life in Swaziland. Pray that we would remember those people that touched our hearts, and that they would remember Jesus in us.

*Please pray for our continued strength and health in these final days of our travels.

*Please pray for Children’s HopeChest’s efforts.

*Please pray for AIM’s efforts and missionaries.

*Please pray for the other Sponsorship Coordinators.

*Please pray for divine connections.

*Please pray for vision and wisdom.

*Please pray that God’s will would be done in and through each one of us, including yourself.

As for what is going on with Jim and I here in Africa, we rented a car at Avis in Nelspruit, South Africa, yesterday and drove back to Swaziland through absolutely GORGEOUS scenery. The mountains are incredible in the area we drove through, and yes, I took lots of photos! We arrived back to Manzini around 2:20 and spent the rest of the day enjoying getting to know "in real life" Inge and Dudley Donaldson. They are with ZION EVANGELICAL MINISTRIES of AFRICA. They are teaching Bible to Zionist pastors and seeing God do tremendous things as a result.

Today we will drive about an hour south to Big Bend and visit the Moriah Centre, a carepoint and preschool. There we will meet with Di Hampson, a white South African. We visited there during our last trip to Swaziland.

Then this afternoon, we plan on just being tourists and going to the Manzini market and wherever else our interests...and God...takes us.

Love to you all and thanks so much to those of you who are helping our family back in Mississippi!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sept 28: GOD-IDEAS

We are believing that God will “show up” in each day and encounter throughout this trip. As we’ll be nearing the end of the mission, we are hoping for God inspired ideas for how to continue ministry through the carepoint and care-givers, AIM’s efforts, capital projects, and increased awareness. Pray that what begins in these brief days would continue long after we’re gone, and build stronger with each day.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Today is the last full day that our team will be together in Africa. We have had a fabulous time together as we have served the Beveni Carepoint and were amazingly blessed in the process. Yesterday we left Swaziland and arrived at our guest house in Nelspruit, South Africa, just in time for supper at Jon Dorry's at Riverside Mall. Then it was up dark and early this morning for a full day in Kruger. We had a great time and saw the "Big Five" --- Lions, Cape Buffalo, Rhinos, Elephants, and a LEOPARD!!! That was the first time that Anna and I had seen that cat despite our multiple trips to Kruger Game Park. We also saw lots of other critters including crocs, giraffe, hornbills, and impala.

Tonight we are back at the mall using the internet cafe while we wait for our food at the Detroit Spur American Indian themed, chain restaurant.

Tomorrow the team will drop us off at the rental car place on their way to the Jo'burg airport and Jim and I will head back west to Swaziland.

Please pray for all of us as we travel, for Jim and I as we begin our second half of our African journey, and for our kids and my mom back home. This will be the longest that we have been away from them and yes, I'm missing them.

God is good and I can't wait to get to tell you more about what He is doing here. Don't forget that you can read detailed updates at our team leader's blog:

Love to you and as the Swazis say, SALA KAHLE! (Stay well!)

Elysa "Thandeka" MacLellan

For several this trip will be the longest time we’ve ever been apart from our children. We are believing that they will be kept safe, healthy, and fully aware of our deep love for them. We are hoping to communicate clearly and often through the many wonderful technologies available to us…but we’ll miss their hugs, laughter, and smiles for a bit longer than we’d like. Pray for wisdom for their caregivers, strength for each day, and constant reminders of Jesus in their lives too!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


We will be conducting a VBS-style ministry with the children of Beveni throughout our mission. We will rely on the care-givers and AIM staff to steer our efforts properly, but we are believing the Holy Spirit’s anointing will be strong upon each of us and that He will know and lead us in exactly what we need to say and do to accomplish His work in the lives of each person we encounter.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


There is a potential that our endorphins will abandon us at some point in this journey. Pray that our strength would be sustained, that our joy would be full, that our light would shine bright, that we would be utterly spent…but not until we arrive back home safely in the USA.

Friday, September 24, 2010


We don’t know how this will happen, but one of our goals is to be a source of strength, encouragement, and blessing to the men & women & teens who are doing the real work in Swaziland. Humbly we pray that we would in no way add to their burden, but rather lighten the load for a short time at least. Please pray that they would be strengthened for their on-going and important mission. Think about what you could do to lighten their load from home.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Our great hope is that somehow through our simple actions the love of Jesus is introduced to those who need, and that His companionship would be evident in their lives. This trip is not about us. We are attempting to be obedient to Jesus…but that’s pretty easy really. The great needs of the children are going to be glaring, and at times overwhelming. Pray that we would simply shine with the love of Jesus toward the people we encounter. Pray that they would be drawn toward Him in all that we say and do.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


There are many new relationships that are being formed on our team. We all like each other right now. We are believing that this trip will be filled with grace toward us, and toward each other. Pray that we all would be strengthened by the Lord’s joy, that we would bear one another’s burdens, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I don’t believe that any on the team are Olympic athletes…perhaps Jim is? But even they need rest to remain healthy. We are believing that our bodies will function properly, and that our days will be filled with strength and health.

Monday, September 20, 2010


There will be many first encounters, new relationships, and re-connections in the early days of this mission. We are believing for connections that will make a lasting impact. We are believing that we’ll be able to be a blessing to all that we encounter…and we’re thankful the many blessings we’ll also receive. We are believing for God encounters…and we don’t want to see these missed due to a cultural misstep or some other misunderstanding.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


We will arrive in Johannesburg on the same flight and need to collect our belongings, move through customs, meetup with our Adventures In Missions (AIM) hosts, drive 3+ hours to Manzini, and enjoy the endorphin high that the culmination of the past 6 months of efforts will bring. We are believing for favor all along the way. Hold up our pilots, our vehicles, our introductions, our sanity…and anything else you can think of!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Our team will be flying to Atlanta from various spots throughout the country. We need 7 people, 28 suitcases, 7 carry on bags, and 7 computer packs or purses to all arrive safely and intact prior to the 7:25pm flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. It’s going to be a long 15+ hour haul from there. Please pray for efficiency, safety, tranquility, and ingenuity throughout the process. The list of supply needs is long. Thankfully we’ve found favor with the airlines and will have room for much…but we’ll need it all to get there with us intact and undamaged.

Friday, September 17, 2010


...and all through the house, not a creature was resting, not even a spouse!

Yep, that would be my husband's!

And okay, so that is NOT a picture of me sleeping (or not sleeping), but it is an adorable Africa baby who IS able to sleep and I just had to use that precious picture.

And like that baby, my children are able to sleep.

But for me, the excitement and busy-brainness has set in full force and I've reached that point where I can hardly go to sleep at night and can hardly stay asleep in the morning due to anticipation.

I'm like a kid the day before Christmas.

It is hectic and wild and a little nerve wracking but so, so, wonderful to know that this time tomorrow we will have started our journey back to Swaziland.

This will probably be my last, long post before we leave in the wee hours of Saturday morning. I wanted to take this time to give some thanks and ask for prayers. So many of you out there have blessed us during this season of preparation. You've prayed for us, donated money and ministry supplies, sent encouraging notes and messages, rejoiced along with us, and even cried with us, too.

And now it is here...

...time to pack up and give the kids our goodbye kisses along with lots of lists and easy-to-prepare food for Grandmommy as she cares for them.

...time to ask you to check in on my mom and kids every now and again to see if they need anything if you're local.

...time to ask you to keep on praying.

As I've shared before, the purpose of our Swaziland trip this time is two-fold.

The first is to spend time ministering to the children and community of the Bheveni Carepoint while also blessing and encouraging the staff that serves them so faithfully.

The second is to seek God's will about the future of our family and if that future includes a life spent in Swaziland, Africa, serving the "least and the lost" in whatever shape that may take.

So as we prepare to leave, I ask that you pray specifically today for these areas:

*Clarity of mind as we take care of all the last minute things that need to be taken care of.

*Creativity and organization in packing up all the donated supplies. A supernatural shrink-machine wouldn't be a bad thing at this point!

*PEACE that will override the jitters and concerns as they arise.

*Strength for my mom as she takes over running the household and also patience and motivation for the older siblings who will be doing a lot while we are gone.

*Complete healing of my sinus allergies/congestion issue. I have badly scarred ear drums and often have extreme pain during landings. I do not need to have congestion compounding the problem nor do I want to arrive in Africa sick.

*Meetings! Pray that we'll meet the people we need to meet and hear the things we need to hear so we can minister to others in their need and also hear God speaking about our future.
Also, I am hoping to see many of my friends from when I lived in Swaziland in the 1980's. Pray that God will bring us together.

*And lastly, but definitely not leastly, pray for our team leader and her family. While out doing last minute errands in preparation for our trip, Danielle received word that her dad had passed away. This was very, very unexpected and, as you can imagine, is especially hard for Danielle this close to our departure time. It is an area that needs HUGE prayer covering. Please pray for her and her family to have the abundant, overwhelming peace of Jesus that passes all understanding and please pray for our team as we will be striving to minister to Danielle and Mike during this challenging time.

Danielle's husband Mike has organized a prayer schedule for the next couple of weeks. I will have those specific prayer requests posted for each day here at my blog. They are posts I am scheduling now. I don't know how soon I'll be able to get online again once I leave, but as soon as possible, I'll get some news posted from Africa.

Again, thanks for all of your love and support and as the Swazis say....

Sala kahle! (Stay well!)

Elysa Thandeka lom khulu

P.S. Here are is a list of blogs for my Bheveni teammates:

Erica Z

Danielle B

Mike B

Kelly L

Thursday, September 16, 2010


My friend Shannon's little boy regularly plays with some neighbor boys, Ian who is 3 and Cody who is 11. It is a trailer park with one main street and lots and lots of kids. About 3 hours ago, Shannon's husband sent the two neighbor boys home and they have not been seen since. They are not brothers, just neighbors.

The police have blood hounds out and helicopters are scouring the area with infra-red cameras.

Please, please, PLEASE pray that these little boys will be found safe and sound.

I will post an update when I know more.

I think this is probably most parents' worst nightmare.


Thursday evening, 10:26

UPDATE! Praise God! The boys were found just a little bit ago. They were hiding in a closet in an unoccupied trailer. I have no other details at the time but just glad they were found!


Danielle Brower, Our Swaziland trip team leader, posted this on her blog today as we count down til departure at the end of this week:

Everything our team and supporters have done this summer – blood, sweat & tears – is for this.

In two days we depart for Swaziland.

Yeah, we’ve done a lot of work to prepare for the trip, but the reality is that in & of itself none of that work matters without us going & sharing Jesus with the children of Swaziland.

This is not a missions trip for us to ‘see Africa’ & get closer to God, though I’m sure we will. This is not to pat ourselves on the back so we can say, “Look what we did for God!”

This is not a vacation. It will be hard & will be a challenge, for most of us, one of the greatest challenges of our lives.

It is not even to deliver supplies & provisions for the Beveni kids, though we are blessed to take them so much that will bless their earthly lives.

So why are we going then?

We go as ambassadors of Christ. We go to bring the message of hope to a dying nation. The hope we bring is that Jesus loves them & wants to spend eternity with them, that He has NOT left them orphans!

Below is a message from one of our teammates, Erica Zeiler. Erica spent time last year ministering in Swaziland with Adventures in Missions. As you read this, you might find your heart breaking. Let that hurt motivate you to PRAY long and hard for the children of Swaziland, including the precious Bheveni kids.

Here is Erica's reality check:

Reality Check…. A Closer Look at Swaziland Statistics

I recently read that if you are a 15 year old in Swaziland, your chances of living to the age of 32 are 6%! SIX PERCENT!!! Translated…that means your chances of dying before you turn 32 are 94%. You are probably more likely to be struck by lightning or attacked by a hippo than live to be 32 if you live in Swaziland…all because of the AIDS crisis. Of the 900,000 people in the country, the orphan population is closing in on 200,000. And half of all 20 somethings have AIDS already. But the one that hits me hardest is the first statistic….6 %!

To put this into perspective, I have just finished packing 140 bags full of school supplies and vitamins. God has provided enough money, through so many generous people, for our team to also be able to buy each child a pair of shoes for school, have a party with a cooked meal for them while we’re there, and give out a ton of clothing…but reality is still there. According to that first statistic, only 8 or 9 of those kids will live to be 32…meaning that 132 of the kids I will meet next week will probably die of AIDS (or some disease like TB resulting from a weakened immune system) before they are my age! God, have mercy!

So what has God called us to do in this seemingly hopeless situation? Without wanting to be too morbid or a Debbie-downer, the thing that I keep coming back to is that we must prepare them for eternity. Yes, we can encourage them in school, help them set goals, encourage them to dream about their future, provide them with food, clothes, and school supplies…but we must balance that with the reality that some experts have said that with the current birth/death rates the way they are, Swaziland won’t exist by 2050 because AIDS will have ravaged it beyond repair. And James’ words come ringing true to my ears….

“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes." (James 4:14).

And for children in Swaziland, this verse describes the frailty of life all around them, that they will be looking at death and eternity all too soon.

So as we go next week… prepared to bless the socks off of the kids and the gogos (“grandmas” that cook, teach, and care for the kids at the carepoints), as well as those we will meet through house visits…in the back of my mind I will be thinking about the best gift that I can give them…the gift of the Gospel that we have been entrusted with. As much as I anticipate seeing their joyful faces when they receive clothes, shoes, and school supplies, the look on their faces when they realize they can have eternal peace and be with the Lord beyond this world is beyond description. To look in the face of a 28 year old woman who has “the peace that passes understanding” as she prepares for her death, to sit with a grieving gogo as she realizes her new responsibility of parenting her orphaned grandchildren…the only thing that can get anyone through those times is trusting in the sovereignty of God and the eternal hope that we have in Christ.

As we go to teach Vacation Bible School and love on these kids, I hope to be used by God to pour into them, pray for them, teach them, and encourage them as if they were a terminally ill child in the hospital…because they are…statistics have given them only 25 more years to live at most. Yet I go hopeful, because as we trust in what Christ did for us on the cross, we can cling to the promise that “the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away…for He is making all things new."(Revelation 21:3-5)

This world is temporary because we were created for another world with unhindered intimacy with the God of the universe…and we can begin to live in that now!

To read about Erica's experiences in Swaziland, visit her AIM blog:

To receive email updates before we go and as we are in Africa, go to Danielle's blog:

And pray, alright? Really, really pray.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


As we have only 2.5 days before we leave for Swaziland, we're starting to firm up what we've received in donated items and what is still lacking.

We just received a request from Kriek Gerber, one of the Adventures in Missions staffers, for lots and lots of construction paper. For whatever reason, you can't buy it in Swaziland and they need it for a BIG project they are working on with carepoint kids.

The second request is for the game Twister. It doesn't have to be in a box, just the mat and the spinner. It can be used or new. If we got more than one, that would be GREAT! Our carepoint has nearly 150 kids that attend on a regular basis so you can just imagine that ONE twister mat doesn't go very far!

Below is a photo taken by Gene Hughes who made a recent trip to a carepoint in Swaziland not too far from our's. As you can see, Twister is BIG fun for the kids. I can't wait to see Swazi kids do the twist as only Swazi kids can.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


We leave in less than four days from Africa and God has been amazing us with His provision. Here is the newsletter our team leader sent out this morning:

Remember our B-Team verse I shared with you, our Prayer Team, nearly two weeks ago? The truth of that verse is more tangible now than ever!

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20, 21

The Word also tells us:

“Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” Psalm 103:2

So let’s take today to simply praise the Lord and not forget all the things He has done for us!

Let me help remind you of just some of the ways God has blessed our missions trip before we’re even on the plane!

To build your faith in God’s provision.

* God grew our team of 4 to a team of 7, seemingly overnight! Of course, it was the last possible night, but God did it! We had to have six to make the trip happen. So we were very excited when the last two claimed their spots on the B-Team!

* A Child’s Hope International & Kids Against Hunger partnered with us, allowing us to ship hundreds of pounds of aid to Beveni on one of their food cargo ships. It left the US about six weeks ago & will arrive at Beveni appx. 3 weeks after we are there with toiletries for each child, feminine products, medicines, first aid supplies, school supplies & toys, as well as other items. This was an amazing God-connection via Facebook. This offer of cargo palette space on their shipment opened the door for Beveni Outpouring. I knew we’d need money to pay KAH for the supplies they gathered for our carepoint. God knew differently. The supplies on that cargo shipment were donated to us! So that means all the money we raised could now go towards Beveni in other ways!

* Beveni Outpouring 72 - this was so much fun! We attempted to raise $7200 in 72 hours. Though we raised just over $3,000, we’ve seen God bring in LOTS more since then. I felt like that was the kick-off, when momentum really began to pick up. People were spreading the word all over Facebook & gifts came from very unexpected places. One family specifically donated all the funds needed to buy shoes for all the kids. And now? All the kids are getting shoes & socks & an outfit & school supplies, and toys & candy and…

* Bandanas – I asked my Facebook friends if anyone knew where I could get 150 Bandanas for cheap. Within minutes several people were offering ideas, and in less than 20 minutes a very generous soul offered to pay for them & sent money to my PayPal account so I could order them for the Beveni kids – and then a 2nd giver said she just had to get in on it too and also paypal’d money for the kids! There were 37 comments on this one status update… a few people thought I was asking for bananas! And the laughs continued from there! Everyone’s joy was full!

* Delta! Delta! Delta! Oh Delta! This week Delta Airlines agreed to waive the checked baggage fees for all 7 of us to take 4 bags each! That means we are carrying 1,100 POUNDS of supplies with us just for Beveni!

* Passion Ignited! I’ve been so blessed to watch other people catch the vision for our Beveni Carepoint. There’s been so much excitement & so much compassion that we’ve even had a few people do fundraisers of their own to make sure the Beveni kids get all they need! It’s those fundraisers that have put us within $100 of reaching our goal.

* Goals Exceeded! And right now, 4 days before our trip, we sit within $100 of reaching our $5,000 Beveni Kids Fund Goal! But in actuality, we’ve already exceeded it. If we were to add up all the gifts, clothes, toys, school supplies, and discounts we’ve received, I fully believe we’re nearing the $7200 mark of the Beveni Outpouring!

At each new God-encounter, I think this is ICING on the Beveni Cake, but by now, we have so much ICING we might have to bake a new cake just to hold it all!
And I can bet the other six B-Team members have their own stories of God’s abundant provision (I know they do!).

Do you? I challenge you today to take time to remember all of God’s benefits in your life – past & present. May the remembrance of those blessings stir your faith & trust in our Father who always provides!

Thank you for your prayers. Now on Day 4, PRAISE with us!

“Praise Him for His mighty works; praise His unequaled greatness!” Psalm 105:2

With a grateful heart,
Danielle & the B-Team

To sign up to receive daily updates from Danielle before we leave and then when-she-can updates from Africa, go to her website:

Monday, September 13, 2010


We leave for Africa in 5 days! Isn't that crazy? Crazy good but also a bit crazy because we still have so much to do. As I said in last night's blog post, it helps me to feel less jittery when I think about why God is taking us over there. But our team still really needs your prayer support.

Here's what our team leader Danielle sent out today:

“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

These Jitters are Normal, Right? As you can imagine, our B-Team is starting to experience some pre-missions jitters! We are all so excited & yet now as we are only 5 days from Swaziland, we are realizing everything HAS to come together… and quick! Please pray for the following:

* God’s peace would rest upon us, allowing us to calmly & clearly execute every tangible thing that has to be done. Or, as i like to say, pray that my brain doesn’t become mushy!

* Ask God to strengthen our inner most beings, that our spirits would be in tune with the Holy Spirit’s leading, that we would sense & know God’s presence in these final preparation days. Ephesians 3:16

* Pray that God keeps our bodies (and our families, too) healthy & strong for the days that lie ahead. Pray that each team member would have sweet sleep that allows for refreshed & energized days both now & during the trip! 1 Peter 2:24

* A personal request: please pray for my seven year old. His head collided with the corner of our dining room table last night. After the blood stopped gushing, we were able to see that it was a small puncture wound, not needing stitches. However, today our little guy has been lethargic & complaining of a headache & has some signs of a mild concussion. We’re attempting to use wisdom to know whether we need to see a doctor or not and how to best take care of him. Pray for his healing and quick recovery.

God bless each & every one of you praying for us, Danielle & The B-Team

To read our daily reports before and during the trip, visit Danielle's website. You can also sign up to receive notifications of updates via your email.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


In less than one week, we will be leaving for Swaziland, Africa. I have missed that country so bad over the last 2.5 years and have yearned to be back there serving the precious little children who are struggling to survive there.

Today, I've really been hit hard with pre-trip jitters and I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all I have left to do before I leave. But I've been talking to fellow team members tonight over the phone about the trip and the kids then I got on facebook and started looking through photos from others who have served in Swaziland and the jitters have started to flee.

I am still keenly aware of all I need to do, but seeing those beautiful faces and sharing with the Beveni members got my eyes back on what was truly important here and why I want to be there in the first place. Below is a blog post from, Mary Grace, one of the Adventures in Missions Swaziland interns. It does a good job of giving, in just a few paragraphs, a glimpse into what life is like for so many of the Swazi children and why I am compelled to go!
This week I have been continuing to work on the profiles for kids at 2 carepoints. These children are such a blessing. Updating the profiles gives a chance to ask all sorts of questions that I probably would not normally jump to. I ask the kids about their family and who takes care of them. Some have both parents; many have just one and a few do not have either. These kids live with a grandmother, aunt or older sister. We talk about their parents jobs, some work some cannot find work. Many work in the sugar cane or citrus fields or are Soldiers while many others are unemployed. I do love to hear about their families, which is usually a conversation between myself, Nombali (my ministry partner) and one of the Gogo’s at the carepoint.

I also love it when I get to ask the children about themselves. “What is your favorite color?” “What is your favorite food?” “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Last I ask them my new favorite question “If you had 1 wish what would it be?” I never know what I am going to get with this question. Sometimes the Gogo will get impatient and throw out suggestions for the kids but many times I just get a pure desire.

A few days ago after a 4-year-old boy told me his favorite food was rice, when asked what his one wish would be he immediately said “yogurt”! Many girls wish for dolls but one 5-year-old girl wished to one day have kids. The most common response has to do with either wishing to go to school or finish school.

The one response that caught me off guard the most was from a 5-year-old boy who told me he wished to grow up. How do you even begin to respond to that?

I praise the Lord because he knows every desire of these children. I feel so blessed to be able to get a glimpse of what God sees in them. They are truly precious. I pray innocents, protection and blessings over these children.
I look up to the mountains – does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth! He will not let you stumble and fall; the one who watches over you will not sleep. Indeed the one who watches over Israel never tires and never sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not hurt you by day nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all evil and preserves your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. Psalm 121

To read more about the work of Adventures in Missions in Swaziland, visit their website:

Some folks have asked what we still need for the Swaziland trip. It looks like these are the main things we are still needing:

****40 backpacks (the kind kids carry school supplies and books in)---BIG priority!

*56 pairs of children scissors

*LOTS of fabric markers

*glue sticks

*boys shorts in various sizes (brand new or like new)

*skirts in various sizes from toddler up to teenager/ (brand new or like new)

*boys AND girls underwear, all sizes from preschooler up to teenager---50 pairs

*about 10 or 20 more solid color t-shirts (not white) in medium, L, and XL sizes---youth & adult (many of our carepoint kids are teenagers)

*head scarves for the carepoint women who cook and teach the children (not bandana sized but big enough to wrap around their heads and knot...the size that we wear in the states that are about the size of shawls)


By the way, while I have your attention, will you please pray for us? Pray for us as we all handle the thousand and one last minute details. And pray for me as pre-trip jitters have officially set in. I know...sounds crazy since I used to live there and I was just there two weeks ago, but they have.

And again, THANKS!

As most of you know, we leave next week for two weeks of ministry in Swaziland, a nation with nearly 25% of its population comprised of children who have lost one or both of their parents, most likely to AIDS.

The kids that our carepoint ministers to are living in extreme poverty. The majority of them only own one or two sets of clothing and often those are in very, very poor shape.

We are giving each child a new pair of shoes and want to give each of them a new shirt and a skirt or pair of shorts. Because of their cultural traditions, the girls in that area only wear dresses or skirts.

We are collecting new and like-new shorts and skirts for kids of all ages...preschoolers up thru the teenage years (some of the teenagers can wear adult clothing).

If you are like me and most Americans, you buy stuff that you end up not ever wearing or maybe wear once and then it sits in the closet or a drawer. Those items can make SUCH a difference in the life of a Swazi child.

Could you look thru your things this weekend and if you have shorts or skirts that are new or like new, get them to me ASAP? We leave next Saturday.

If you don't have items to donate but you'd be willing to give some money toward their purchase, I'll be glad to go shopping for you!

Or, if you want to go shopping this week and hit those end-of-the-summer sales, that would be awesome! I know I was able to get girls' nice skirts at Belk's for less than $5 a piece. And places like Old Navy runs great sales this time of year as they are trying to make room for cold weather clothing.

Thanks in advance,


P.S. If you live on the Gulf Coast, my mom will be driving up this week and you could send stuff via her. Thanks!!!!

Photo is courtesy of AIM missionary to Swaziland, Matt Slawson. To read about his life in Africa, visit his blog:

Saturday, September 11, 2010


It is now 12:40 in the morning on Saturday, September 11. In exactly one week from now I will either be:

(a) still doing last minute packing for our African trip.

(b) tossing and turning unable to sleep due to excitement and nervousness.

(c) facebooking and blogging about the fact that I'm about to leave for Swaziland.

WOW!!! ONE WEEK!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Back many moons ago, Sandi Patty sang a song entitled ‘LOVE IN ANY LANGUAGE.’ It was often used during missions programs at churches and student conferences. It isn’t heard very often these days, but the message is still the same: LOVE is LOVE in any language.

But sometimes, language barriers and cultural differences can make demonstrating that love in effective ways just a bit troublesome…sometimes a LOT troublesome.

The Beveni Team will be leaving in 8 days on a mission of love. We want to give God’s love to the children and caregivers at Beveni Carepoint in Swaziland in overflowing and abundant ways. We want those precious people to know that despite the disease and poverty and death around them that there is a God who sees them and loves them. We want them to know that they are not alone in their struggles. That there is hope.

  • Please pray for us as we plan and prepare for this amazing opportunity. Pray that despite language barriers and cultural differences, that at the end of our week at Beveni, every single child, parent, carepoint cook, auntie or uncle, will know that we love them and most of all, that God loves them and that He promises to be the Father they need Him to be.

  • Pray that with every thing we purchase, God will use it to bring His love into a life in just the unique way that it is needed.

  • Pray that as we plan the activities, that we’ll be creative in getting past the barriers and using all of the activities to draw the kids closer to the heart of God.

  • Pray that as we have down time and just talk with the children and the adults at the carepoint and in homes through out the community, that God will bring us to just the right ones that He wants us to connect with.

  • Pray that from the very beginning, their hearts will be open to us and that we will be able to supernaturally love them in ways that only could come from God. That God will anoint our words, guide our prayers, give us wisdom, show us truth, direct our actions.

Love covers a multitude of sins…and a multitude of awkward, cultural and language boo-boos.

Plans may not work out, games might not be understand, and a craft may go crazy, but LOVE NEVER FAILS!

Pray that we, as a team, will be overwhelmed with HIS love so we can overwhelm THEM with love, too!

Thank you!

Elysa Mac

P.S. If you'd like to receive daily news updates and prayer requests from the Beveni Team, visit our team leader's blog and enter your email address in the top of the left column. While there, you can also see past posts with team prayer requests from previous days. Here's the link:

Thursday, September 09, 2010

YES...FOR FREE!!!!!!!!

As I'm sure everyone whoever visits my blog knows by now, we are leaving for Swaziland, Africa SOON! We have just rec'd word that we are going to be allowed extra luggage FOR FREE!!!! That means we can take extra items to bless the carepoint kids and their care providers with.

Swaziland has the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the world. Due to this and recent years of drought, many are barely surviving. Some are not.

We are working with Children's HopeChest and Adventures in Missions and their carepoint ministry in Swaziland to help save the lives of thousands of Swazi kids while at the same time, bringing them a message of hope through Jesus Christ.

At the carepoints, the kids have their basic physical needs met as well as teaching them about God and healthy ways of living.
Our team will be buying shoes for all the children, holding a Vacation Bible School, visiting homes and taking food to those in desperate need, and just blessing the carepoint and the surrounding community in any way we can.

So many have generously donated money towards our trip. Others have asked how they can still help and what items we need. If you would like to give items to be used in blessing these precious children, and the adults in their lives who care for them, there is still time.

Here are needed items:

1. 6 Head scarves & aprons for the women who cook the meals and take care of the kids every day as volunteers

2. Socks & underwear for all the kids (We have about 10 pair of each already, sizes 3T-5T)

3. Solid color (not white) T-shirts for the older kids - sizes Large & XL (maybe 20 of them) - we have the others that were donated, but sizes are smaller.

4. Fingernail polish & remover (lots of colors so we can paint the girls fingernails if we have time on Saturday at the party.

5. The Disciple Team needs supplies such as this: notebooks, lotions, deodorants, soaps, flash drives, music cds. There are 4 girls & 3 guys.

6. Lelo (carepoint construction coordinator) - headlamp, flashlight with batteries, devotional books, cap, hoodie, socks, small tool gadgets.

7. Skirts & shorts. We have appx. 19 girls ages 2-6, 52 girls 7 & older, 20 boys ages 3-6, and 40 boys ages 7 & older. If that helps determine estimated sizes for shorts & skirts. The shorts are only for the boys as in their area of Swaziland, girls only wear skirts and dresses.

8. 40 backpacks

9. 50 soccer balls --- deflated

All items should be new or like new.

One donor does not have to give ALL the number of items needed. If you can only afford one ball or one backpack, that is one more than we had before. It all adds up!

If you live near me, just contact me and we'll arrange a way for me to get the stuff.

If you live some place else, message me and I'll send you a shipping address.
There is still time for it to reach me if you get it in the mail ASAP!

Also, if you don't have time to buy stuff or get it shipped but you'd like to help, you can still donate financially thru our leader's blog:

Thank you SO much! Whatever you do for the least of these you are doing for Jesus!

Elysa Mac

Update posted at 11:38 --- Just found out that the free, extra luggage is probably going to happen but still not 100% for sure. Please pray that it will be confirmed officially.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


By Mary Grace Rumford and Caitlin Walton, Adventures In Missions Interns

Today we had the blessing of visiting Nonhlahla at her home, a home destroyed by a fire two nights ago. Nonhlahla has been sick for many years, long enough that she is unable to remember when her sickness began. Because of the sickness, she cannot walk and has little to no strength in her right hand. She was so thin and seemed frail and broken. Nonhlahla takes care of two children about three and four years old, while her sister comes to help feed, bath and put the children to bed. She told us that her sister arrives early in the morning to make food and gather water for Nonhlahla and the children before going to work in the sugar cane fields.

The night of the fire, her sister was there helping feed and then putting the children and Nonhlahla to bed. After everything was done, her sister placed the matches on the bed with something covering them and told the son, Eric, not to play with them. After her sister left, about 20 minutes later, Nonhlahla woke up feeling very warm. She quickly realized the end of their bed was on fire and Eric was standing by the door. She told Eric to go outside and gather water so she could try and douse the flames. However, as she threw water on the fire the flames got bigger and the fire rapidly spread. Nonhlahla managed to crawl out of her home before the thatched roof caved in and consumed everything in her home.

Today we found her home in a pile of ashes; everything was destroyed. She lost her bed, blankets, table, cutlery, basins, and all the clothes for her and the two children. As Caitlin and I searched for words of comfort for Nonhlahla, I told her we are so thankful that she made it out alive. Her response was simple and deep, "It would have been better if I had not made it out alive. She was honest, but broken. She appeared to be at the point where life is hard and hurts too much; making death seem welcoming. We read Psalm 139: 13-18 and told her how beautiful she is and how she is loved by her heavenly Father. We also emphasized that He knows the pain and sorrows surrounding her and He hears her cries.

After praying with her, we were able to leave maize, beans, blankets, clothes, basins and a Bible for her and the children. We saw a glimmer of hope in her eyes as we went through the clothes and then placed a necklace around her neck. When we left she was praising the Lord and so grateful for the visit. Despite all of this, Nonhlahla still needs so much more. She lost everything in the fire and is relying on the Lord and the faithfulness of people for their provisions.

To read more about the work of Adventures in Missions in Swaziland, visit their website:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


It is not every day that a person is given the chance to double their money...but today is one of those days! Millie Snook, one of the Beveni Carepoint sponsors, is making an offer you can't refuse! Okay, you can refuse it...but why would you want to?

Until 10:00 tonight, any money you give towards ministry supplies for our trip to Swaziland will be DOUBLED! So if you're broke and only have a buck, that's okay....Millie will match it so that you'll actually be giving two bucks.

Now I know you're thinking something like this, "but it is only a buck or two...what can be done with that?" In a country like Swaziland, actually quite a bit can happen with just two bucks!

Here's what Millie had to say on facebook about this proposition:

In just 10 days, the first team from the Beveni Sponsor Community will be making a visit to the Beveni Carepoint in Swaziland. TODAY is the day you can partner with me to help.


Nearly three years ago, I had the blessing of meeting Tom Davis, president of Children’s HopeChest ( at a children’s ministry network event. It was nothing short of a divine appointment, since I was not even scheduled to attend that meeting and ‘dropped in’ on the way to another meeting. My eyes were opened to the plight of the hurting and hungry around the world, specifically for the children of Africa. My heart was broken like it had not been before, particularly for these children affected by the shock waves caused by HIV/AIDS in a small country called Swaziland.

We immediately started supporting the “Five for Fifty” program, five things that every person can do to help alleviate the approximately 50 million people around the world affected by HIV/AIDS. A mere five dollars helps provide 50 meals per month to a starving child.

Last summer, we chose to go one step further and add another sponsor child, Masotja, to our monthly support. The model of Children’s HopeChest is community to community where a church, business or other faith community (eg, a bible study or youth group) partners with a community overseas. They believe that holistic, sustainable change in the poorest communities occurs best when one community partners with another. We became proud members of the first “community” whose only connection to each other are a passion for orphans and a burden for bringing them the hope that only Jesus gives in a practical and real way.

Our partner community is the Beveni Carepoint in Swaziland, a tiny country in southern Africa with the dubious title of the highest percentage of their population afflicted with HIV/AIDS (44%). We have been amazed at the transformation of this community since they have been actively sponsored. First there were approximately 38 children who received care and food at this location. It consisted of only a crude structure and a place for cooking. Now it has a building, shelter, running water and a security fence! The most remarkable change is the hope that has come to this area… now there are 131 children who come to this Carepoint, and EVERY ONE of them has a sponsor!

and now…

Back in July, our wonderful carepoint coordinator launched “Beveni Outpouring”, a challenge to help raise funds for the children of Beveni. 100% of this money will go towards improving their lives by providing for some basic needs. Pencils. Paper. Tylenol. Band-aids. Clothing. Shoes. And much more.

Sadly, I am not able to GO with the team to visit Beveni this time, but would love to SEND resources with those traveling so they can love on those kids not just with words, but in action and in truth. The team will purchase items such as Siswati bibles, soccer balls, food baskets for Home visits, etc. The AIM Staff in Swaziland will help them to know what the most immediate needs are for the kids & the carepoint. If you want to join my team, please do as soon as possible so they can plan for anything else they can bring, and additional purchases when they arrive in Swaziland.

It’s easy to help. Follow this secure link to Children’s HopeChest to make an online donation:

in the Notes section write: BEVENI SUPPLIES

Then please send me a quick email and I’ll keep a running total of our progress.

So here is MY CHALLENGE: can my facebook friends raise the equivalent of $10 per person (approximately $6500) in the next 10 days? Prayerfully consider joining me. If you are moved and are able, you can offer more than $10. ;-)

BONUS challenge-POWER HOURS: I will personally match whatever we can raise in the next 10 hours to double your donation.

If you would like to be a prayer partner, let me know and I’ll show you how to receive the updates from the team.

We can make a difference. Can we do it? YES, we can!!! :-)


P.S. Millie said I could pass this on to others even if they aren't her facebook friends so I guess between those who are and those who aren't, that just about covers everybody! ;)

Monday, September 06, 2010


Two weeks from tonight, we'll be in Swaziland. We'll have flown all the way across the Atlantic after departing on a Saturday. We'll arrive in Johannesburg on Sunday. And after a hopefully good night's rest in a comfy hotel on the outskirts of the city, we'll drive to the home of my heart.

That's when we'll get to love on the little kids that we've been dreaming of and praying for.

Please pray for these areas as we prepare for our trip:

*Just like the little Swazi child pictured here, many of these kids are lacking the barest of necessities. We want to bless them tremendously. Here is where prayer comes in! Pray that first, we'll get some great deals on items we want to buy for the kids and their caregivers. Pray that we'll even get lots of donations. We've got two specific possibilities that need prayer. The first is that we might be get a huge grant that would enable us to put in a soccer field and playset for our carepoint. The second is that our airline MIGHT allow us each to take two extra suitcases. If they do, then we can take over many more items for ministry.

*Pray for our health. My body is fighting against sinus allergy crud and I might be coming down with a sinus infection. I do NOT need to be traveling sick. I already have ear drum issues when I fly and sinus mess will just make that even worse. Pray for all of us to stay well! Last time I went to Swaziland, my daughters came down with horrific cases of chicken pox just a week or two before we were supposed to leave. UGH!

*Pray for the health of our team's families. I know that my mom definitely needs healing as she is the one who will be taking care of our kids and I'm sure there are other similar situations for others.

*Please keep praying as Jim and I make plans for the time after the team returns to the States and we are left for our extra days in Africa. Pray especially for the rental car situation and the folks we should meet related to exploring ministry options.

Thanks so much for your continued interest and support.

Photo by Lauren Edens, former missionary to Swaziland and presently serving God in Tanzania. Visit her blog at:

Sunday, September 05, 2010


"One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God." -C.S. Lewis

Saturday, September 04, 2010


Today we had about 50 friends over for a HouseWarming Party to celebrate being back in our house and give us a chance to ask God's blessing on it and thank all those who helped us out in different ways over the last six months. It was crazy but definitely in the good way. If this party is any indicator, there are going to be some great parties happening in the newly restored MacHouse.

Thanks to all who came. You truly blessed us!

Hope you enjoy some photos from the day and maybe some of you can be at the next one!

Friday, September 03, 2010


Want to be a part of our prayer team while we are in Swaziland? Want to get from-the-field reports of happenings during our time there? Then read this message from our team leader, Danielle Brower:

Hello, Everyone!

Thank you so much for supporting our Missions Team!
Many of you have given of your time & financial resources already & we are so thankful that your support continues in prayer.

God has done so many wonderful things this summer to get our team prepared to leave for Swaziland on September 18th. And here we are at the two-week mark before take off!

Many prayers have been answered & we have faith and trust that God will continue to unfold His plan. So thank you for joining with us in daily prayer for our team & those we will be ministering to at the Beveni Carepoint in Swaziland, Africa.

In talking with my husband, we realized that the most effective way I can communicate with our newly formed Prayer Team is through my website/blog, Moms4Change.

MomsChange already has a great amount of information about Swaziland & the journey thus far. But on Moms4Change, we will also post photos and stories of our trip (as internet allows), so definitely consider adding your email to the Moms4Change subscription list. It's a one stop shop, so to speak, on all things related to Swaziland & our mission there!

So please click this link AND
enter your email address in the top of the left column.

This will ensure that you will automatically receive the daily prayer list (along with any photos or trip updates we have) in your inbox when you wake up each morning.

So go on over to right now, type in your email, then respond to feedburner's verification email in your inbox. It'll take about 2 minutes! Then you'll be all set to wake up tomorrow morning to our first official Prayer Team message!

Ephesians 3:20,21 "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

Grace & Peace,

Danielle Brower
Beveni Carepoint Sponsorship Coordinator & Friend

p.s. feel free to forward this email on to others who may be interested in updates & praying for our mission

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


As most of you know, we just moved back into our newly restored house a few weeks ago. Due to the fire, we had to replace all of our kitchen appliances. They looked so pretty when they were brand new.

Now as a mom of seven, I am not crazy enough to think they will stay looking that way forever, but I'd like them to look at decent for a while and I definitely didn't want my flat-top electric stove to start looking nasty before we'd even had our housewarming party!

Well, as is the case when you cook, I had something get on the stove surface and couldn't get it off. I tried the white, squirty, scrubby stuff that came with the stove. Tried it over and over again. Used my Pampered Chef silicon scraper-thingie. Tried BarKeepers Friend. Tried. Tried. Tried.

My friend Karen tried and she's got a bunch more years of housecleaning experience and she couldn't get it off.

In passing, she mentioned that she used Scotch-Brite to clean her's. time I was at the store, I snagged some. By this time, the cooked on crud had been on there for a few days and I despaired of it working but figured I'd give it a try.

And it worked!!!!!!!!!! WOW! I'm a believer!!!! And my kids can use it and get it to work for them, too.

We do have to use a little elbow grease, putting some strong pressure as we wipe, but it does the job.

Here's a link to check out the details. Hope it helps your stove top surface stay non-ugly for a little while longer: