It took a full 14 months before I was finally able to return to Swaziland and take Dan and our three daughters for their first experience of their future home. Waiting felt like being pregnant! We had the privilege of having Matt with us, this time helping with driving and childcare as well as his own volunteer work. We were so glad that he came!
We had a number of meetings set up with the CMS staff and tours of the projects as well as some special time out with the children to reward them for their patience. Our first place to stay was Hawane farm where I was able to see some of the children I met on the first trip and had seen again when they visited the UK as members of the beautiful Khulula choir. It was lovely to see them growing up.
We were able to give the children’s vitamins donated by our friends to the health worker at Hawane and she will divide them between needy children in the different projects. We were also able to give them a donation of combined financial gifts from friends around the world, for which they were very grateful. CMS will use the donation where it is needed most.
Emafini men’s rehabilitation centre where CMS began
We also revisited Elusitweni women’s centre where Rosie and I had visited and Rosie had run a jewellery workshop for the ladies who are on a programme of recovery from some difficult situations in their lives. It was lovely to see familiar faces and Dan and I were asked to attend the chapel time where we walked into the most beautiful accapella worship time we have ever heard. My children were captivated by the singing, and a little bit of dancing! Dan had decided to share the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10 where Jesus’ friend Martha is preoccupied with the hospitality while Mary sits at Jesus feet listening to him. Martha complains that she wants Mary to help and Jesus replies.
‘Martha, you are troubled and upset about many things, but few things are needed, indeed only one. Mary chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’
Dan spoke about how important special time with God is and I interpreted the verses from a ladies’ point of view, talking about how we want to have the control but have to surrender it to God, in the light of my decision to leave friends and family and take my children to a brand new country. The verses stayed with me for the rest of the trip every time I encountered a difficulty and they are still with me now.
We were desperate to finally enter through the gate at Bulembu! Dan and the children immediately began to soak in the beauty and special atmosphere and we were then given a thorough tour of all the enterprises, homes and schools where our children will attend, and even our designated house. Everyone gave us such a warm welcome and seemed to have so much time for us. The staff were all excited to meet Dan and talk about the future plans for the websites and other projects and I was able to talk to some of the school staff about possibilites for classes and clubs using mime.
We met the wonderful pastors of Bulembu church, Musa and Waheeda and finally at the end of the week we were able to attend our future church, filled with singing, dancing children worshipping with a mix of SiSwati and English songs, and some very warm and welcoming adults too!
We simply did not want to leave and the children had a wonderful time too, playing with new friends at the projects, dancing in church and stalking hippo, elephant and rhino during our downtime. We now wait to hear from the staff what their conclusions are about our future roles and once we hear from them we will launch our fundraising. In the meantime we are trying to take in and live the message that ‘only one thing is necessary.’