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Beautiful things

Do I win a prize for F.I.N.A.L.L.Y writing AND posting a blog??!! I apologize for our silence for the past 2 years. I have written, but not finished or posted, multiple attempts this last 2 years and there are a couple of reasons for not posting, but I won’t go into details right now. But one of the reasons is not because God isn’t doing amazing things in Swaziland …… because He IS and we are so blessed and privileged to be part of what He is doing! I feel like God is allowing us to see the fruit of our hard work. Kids, who I profiled in those first years, are now on staff, being role models to the other kids at their carepoints, being leaders and agents of change in their communities. We serve with an amazing team of Swazi’s and Westerners and we couldn’t ask for better!


In April / May we were in the States. Our main purpose was to attend the Children’s HopeChest Global Partners Conference. It was a blessed time spent with friends, HopeChest staff and sponsoring / church partners.


I was asked to share a devotional during the conference …. right after showing the pictures of carepoint / sponsored kids who have passed away the last 2 years. I would like to share this devotional with you. I feel like it is a testimony of what God can do and of the things He IS doing in Swaziland. (I have blogged about some of this in the past; sorry if you feel like you are rereading some of it again. I will try to make it brief.)


When mourning the death of a loved one, all that we have to hold on to, as God’s children, is His promises and His comforting presence.


One of these promises we find in Revelation 21:4-5 where it says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, I am making everything new!”

Another one is in Ecclesiastics 3:11 where it says, “He has made everything beautiful in it’s time.”


We comfort ourselves (or we try) with the knowing that God will wipe our tears and that through some miracle He will do something new. And we pray that in whatever way possible, He will be glorified through what happened and that people’s lives will be changed for the better.

We sing songs like ‘You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust’ and we try to believe that God will make something beautiful from the bad and the ugly that happened.


In November 2006 I fell in love the cutest 3 year old at one of the carepoints. His name was Sakhile Mamba. He was a chubby little guy, always smiling, almost always running around naked.


On July 21, 2011, at the age of 7, Mamba was hung by his stepfather. (You can read about this in an older blog post.) It was a dark, horrible day for all of us. Something in me died that day. How was God EVER going to redeem this senseless death and bring something good from this??? It was hard to imagine.


In the days after Mamba’s death we heard beautiful stories of him leading the kids at his homestead in Bible study and prayer in the mornings before school; the result of discipleship at his carepoint. In someway we thought God would be glorified through that.


During this time we realized that the kids at his homestead and carepoint were traumatized by what happened; we all were. But as a staff we felt unequipped to help the kids deal emotionally with this tragic event. It was then that we invited a friend of ours who was doing grief counseling and an emotional awareness course with children in South African schools to come to Swaziland to equip our staff. He first took our staff through the Lost & Found course to deal with their own emotions and losses and then he trained and equipped them to help the carepoint kids. After presenting the course, we realized that that we had to write a slightly different curriculum more applicable to Swaziland. So with the help of our staff we wrote our own grief-counseling curriculum called ‘Ngesikhatsi’ – A journey to healing in the arms of time.


The feedback we are getting from staff about Ngesikhatsi is amazing. We are hearing beautiful stories of how kids’ behaviors are changing, how lives are being changed. Kids are learning how to deal with emotions and they are realizing that there are others around them with the same pain; they don’t have to bear the burden alone or feel ashamed.  They are being encouraged and they are encouraging each other.  They are finding HOPE and we are hoping to share some of these stories of hope with you soon.


God has made, and continues to make, something new and something beautiful from this senseless death. God is turning mourning into dancing.