I'll be honest, as much as I dream about moving to Swaziland, sometimes I get worried about things and other times I think about how much I'm going to miss my big girls when they are in college here and I'll be living all the way over there. I wonder about where we'll live and if we'll have to move around often. I hope that my other five kids will adjust well and like it but I don't have that guarantee. And I hope that our retirement will be enough to live on and that we don't have to live too frugally. And I even have silly concerns, such as will all our stuff that we are going to ship arrive safely to Swaziland.
And then I read reports from Swaziland and I am reminded of what really matters. I read about the life-and-death struggles facing so many people, including babies and wee children, every single day. Those true stories make my concerns pale in comparison. They also remind me that the sacrifices are worth it because the children and Lord I'm sacrificing for are worth it.
People ask if it is going to be hard to leave here and move there. There will be some things that will be hard. Some days, even weeks and months, are going to be intensely hard, but when I think of those who are in desperate need for help in Swaziland, and I think about all my Lord has done for me, then once again I know that I will continue to say "yes" to this call, no matter the cost.
Janine Maxwell, co-founder of a home for abandoned babies in Swaziland, wrote a post that illustrates all too clearly why missionaries are needed there and why those of us who are still State-side must continue to give and pray:
On Thursday I got a call from a Social Worker at a local hospital saying that there was another case of rape and the 17-year old girl couldn’t possibly care for the baby that had been born that morning. Fortunately some of our friends and family signed up to give monthly to support the El Roi Baby Home over the Christmas holidays so I was able to say “YES” when asked if I could pick up the baby on Monday. That baby would be #23 and what a gift to have a team of volunteers here with us to celebrate his arrival!.
Then late Friday afternoon I got a call about another newborn baby boy, this time from a different hospital in a different part of the country. His mother is 26-years old and is in and out of the psychiatric hospital with many voices talking in her head. Her own mother kicked her out of the house when she came home pregnant, but would welcome her back without a baby. Could we take him? The answer was “yes” and he would be baby #24.
So baby #23 actually will be baby #24 when we go to pick him up on Monday.
When does it end? What is our maximum? I am often asked those questions by well-intentioned people from North America, but I am never asked that question by my Swazi or Kenyan co-workers or family. Not ever. Why is that? I think it is because they have been there when a baby is found or when a baby shows up starving to death or having been burned or left on the side of the road. It’s great to build spreadsheets and set goals, but at the end of the day we must prayerfully say yes to any and all babies that El Roi (the God who Sees) sends to us. I am not sure how I will say “no”, if and when that day comes.
I am thankful to each and every person who supports Heart for Africa and the El Roi home for abandoned babies. I have no doubt that El Shaddai (Our Provider) will continue to provide for these little ones. I could not do my job without you and I can’t imagine not doing what I do. I love my job, my calling and am eternally thankful to have been given this gift.
Taking the baby to the car to bring him home.
Early this morning we drove to Siteki to pick up the 4-day old baby boy, named Asher (means “Happy”) we stopped to drop food off to the homestead with 15 children living with no caregiver, whom I write about often. A dear friend from Missouri dropped money off at the US office yesterday and asked me to buy them some food. Last week I took Manna Packs and 10 KG of rice, which should have been sufficient for a month. Today I brought bananas, bread, oil, onions, potatoes, squash and other fresh food. We even brought plastic plates and cups because the children all eat out of the hot cooking pot with bare hands. Today, I discovered that the food I left last week had been stolen by a 19-year old “Auntie”. Nice eh? I am so angry. But that fight is for another day.
15 children living with no adult to provide for them.
Our last stop before getting Asher home was at the National Tuberculosis Hospital. My young friend (Leah; Rachel’s mother) asked if I could bring her some mayonnaise. Mayonnaise? Yes, because she said the food was inedible and she thought mayonnaise might help. When I walked in her room I found a young woman lying naked, face down on the concrete floor. She couldn’t have weighed more than 70 pounds and was skin and bone. I was shocked and asked my friend if she was alive. She said yes, and shook her head. She said, “She is very sick and has gone mad. She refuses to lie on her mattress so lies here until they come and put her back.” Minutes later two people came in with masks on (to protect from the TB), then put on rubber gloves and lifted/dragged the lifeless body back to her mattress on the floor. That is a vision that will never leave my head, and I am thankful that our volunteers stayed in the car with the new baby.
That’s all for today, I am a bit weary and weepy and it is time to sit on the patio, look at the beauty that God has created and give thanks.
Live from Swaziland … it is Saturday afternoon.