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Published: April 18th 2018
Up early to go for a tour. They’ve been telling us about limited access to the town from the south into Swaziland. Well we got to experience it today. They weren’t kidding...Potholes, boulders galore!
Started our tour stopping at Hawane which is home/farm run by challenge ministries. We picked up an intern named Bongani - he was an orphaned child from the streets and became part of the program at age 11. He fell in love with the Lord and now is running programs with the ministry. He kept us in stories and laughter all day.
We then went to the proposed new site for Bulembu to move to if the proposed mine comes back into the community. It’s another fabulous place they can start fresh from rather than making do with renovating the houses and community. It’s also a good location for access.
Off to the market and did some bartering before we headed to the Challenge Ministries Headquarters and Potters Wheel Church for lunch and a tour. What an incredible faculty with amazing programs and staff who are passionate about the message and the work they do.
Then the emotional part of the day came when we went to a community called Pine Valley. The ministry tries to keep orphans in their communities as much as they can so they don’t loss connection with their homestead - these are called In Community By Community (ICBC) sites, while Bulembu is for children who have no where to go. We arrived after another harrowing ride to them singing for us. Then it was our turn to entertain them. We sang some songs and did a skit to try to put a smile on some faces and spread a little light. Thanks so much to Holly for taking charge!! The 2 ladies from the ICBC had lunch ready to go for them to have once we finished. There are usually 100 children fed a hot lunch twice a week from this kitchen. Some of us helped serve today to give a bit of a break to the auntie. The poverty experienced today was both heartbreaking and eye opening. One boy was cherishing the spoon he brought with him while another burned his fingers eating the lunch because it was too hot. No shoes or shoes with holes was prevalent but still so many smiles and much laughter. Those reading this may not understand but we can experience the love of Jesus even in this circumstance. I hope our short time with them will be remembered. The home there houses 14 girls age 5-14 who would otherwise be out fending for themselves or living in abusive households.
From there we made our way back home with much on our minds and in our hearts.
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