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Winding Down

Friends –

Another hot one in Swaziland today! We were able to do 8 homestead visits today as well as Bible study and revival. Exhausting but so good! Today’s story isn’t nearly as heart wrenching as the last two but such a sweet memory for me. Each night we have a revival at Zikhoteni, and there’s a large tent they are held under. I sit near the back of the tent and each night this week, two dogs run up! They are just looking for love and probably snacks! I always make sure to pet them and love on them! Tonight they were so happy they chased each other through the grass and wrestled a bit! This has been such a small restful moment for me, and I’m so thankful for our little friends! Jesus loves even the least of these, including our puppy friends!

The Details:

– It’s been very interesting being here as white woman. Many of the Swazi children are scared of me! When we give out dresses, sometimes they run away and cry!

– We’ve driven up and down some of the main roads so many times that I can tell you how long it takes to get to places and where we are!

– According to my Swazi friends, I’ve perfected the Siswati greeting and I can’t wait to show you all!

 

Praises:

– God is continuing to allow us to keep pushing through exhaustion! If it was by our own strength, we would have quit, but Jesus has been faithful to us!

– We’ve now fit 11 people into our van! No breaks and no issue! We’ve been able to transport our translators and our friends to and from revival which is a great encouragement to them!

 

Prayer Requests:

– As our time in the south winds down, pray for our precious time left with our friends. Pray for us to encourage them, and give them all we have left.

– Pray for our hearts as we prepare to leave, pray for a spirit of joy not a spirit of sadness!

– Pray for those visited in homesteads today, that they may come to know Jesus!

 

As I write this email, all I can think is, “my head is burning with an ache, my skin is fried, and I’m getting car sick typing, and yet the Lord is good.” Even in the midst of our exhaustion and pain, Jesus is giving us sweet rest. “Come to me, all you who are heavy laden and burdened and you will find rest.” If you are heavy laden today, pick us Jesus’ yoke; his burden is light!

 

Peace to you,
Maggie

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Categories: February 2017 Trip

In the Heat of the Day

Friends –

Today was the prettiest day in Swaziland! The sky was bright blue, the sun was out and shining and it was just gorgeous! Today’s story is another homestead visit – this afternoon while standing around one the churches, Gogo Sibantu suggested we do a BGR visit down the road. So Wayne, Scott, Gogo, Ana Twal, and I loaded up for a “short drive.”  Nearly 10km later down a Swaziland “road” we arrive at a soil path, worse than the usual dirt paths of Swaziland. The car won’t make it —-it’s just not going to happen. So we get out and walk, again just a “short ways. ” A MILE LATER in 90 degree Africa sun, we arrive at a small homestead with two elderly people and a young child. We read scripture, present a Bible and a bucket, and their reactions are such joy! The woman has cataracts and is nearly blind, while the man is suffering from kidney failure. The whole situation is bleak. Yet the Lord is good! We left and then walked back a mile only to find we are parked next to a school that is letting out! The children are yelling at me, “shoot me! Shoot me!” After disregarding my confusion, I lifted my camera and got the most ADORABLE smiling faces on video!! What a special moment!

The Details:

– The sun is HOT. Sweltering, unimaginably hot. We finally experienced it today and Scott and I are both sunburnt!

– These people are SERIOUS about their revivals. We went for TWO AND A HALF HOURS tonight! I’m so tired but it’s so encouraging!

– Per instructions from a very helpful lady (thank you Donna J.!) I brought a big back of hard candy with me! This has been a hit with both the children and the translators! They now ask me daily, “you have sweets today?”

 

Praises:

– The revival service was overflowing full today! Praise God!

– We had a leak in our tire today and we only paid 15 rand to fix it! (About $1.50) we all lost no time because there was no wait!

– The van got stuck in a ditch today and it’s still alive! It’s taken a beating, but it’s still running!

 

Prayer Requests:

– Pray for safe travels, no more flat tires, ditches or scary roads! This is a serous request here!

– Pray for our translators and their abilities! We are thankful for them and do not want to take them for granted!

– Pray for the families we visited today, for their health and their understanding of the gospel!

 

Everyone on the team wants to send their love and their thankfulness in these emails! I’m the talking head, but I get input from all of them! We love you all and miss you! We’ll be home soon!

 

In Jesus,
Maggie

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Categories: February 2017 Trip

A Little Story

Friends –

 

Today was another fantastic day in Swaziland! As we move through this week, I’m going to focus on more specific stories since we have settled into a routine here (homestead visits in the morning, Bible study in the afternoon, and revivals in the evening.)   Our first home visit this morning made a huge impact. After walking (well, hiking) nearly half a mile, we arrived at a traditional homestead, a single room. We visited three elderly people, one blind man and two women. After singing, reading some Scripture and presenting the BGR bucket of supplies, one of the women began to speak about how thankful she was for our gift. At this point, all of our translators were crying, and I (not speaking Siswati) was very confused when one of our Gogos (the name for grandmother here) stepped over to translate for me. She spoke of their story: after having spent years and years sleeping outside, another group of missionaries came and built their homestead so they would have a place to sleep. After this, the man went blind. Even after this, the family continued to follow God and believed that the Lord loved them and then we came and presented them with these supplies to encourage and strengthen them. After this, we were able to present a Siswati Bible to the family. Everyone was crying at this point. What a special moment of God’s faithfulness and grace. SOMEONE CALL POP AND TELL HIM I PICKED UP MY ROCK. He will know what this means!

The Details:

– The stars here are magical. I’ve never seen so much of the Milky Way in my life! It’s like they are just countless!

– The police officers here are very interested in me. I have been asked for my number twice, and if they can come to the US with me.

– We fit 10 people in our van today, along with 500lbs of food. It’s a 8 passenger van for the record!

 

Praises:

– The BGR buckets are going so well!! We’re thankful for each of the visits!

– We’ve gotten to give out a couple of dresses and the girls look adorable!!

– I still haven’t crashed the drone! (Couple of close calls, but the LORD IS GOOD!)

 

Prayer Requests:

– On a personal note, I’m just finally getting exhausted. Most days I’m carrying at least 25 extra lbs of gear on my back, usually more. Pray for sanity, my exhaustion, and my rest!

– Pray for the family we met today! Pray for assurance of salvation, and for continued faith!

– Pray for each of the pastors who had helped us, translated for us, and have been our guides here! We are so thankful for them and we want to bathe them in prayer!

 

Love you all! Thankful for each of you and your little graces sent to me. I love hearing from all of you!

Maggie

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Categories: February 2017 Trip

Homesteads and Revivals Abound

Friends –

We made it through Monday! What an incredible day! This morning we left for Maloma, one of the poorest regions of Swaziland. We were able to purchase about $200 of food, and deliver it 7 members of the Bible study this afternoon. While in Maloma, we spent the morning delivering BGR buckets and Bibles to the elderly and sick. Having packed some similar types of buckets stateside, it was an INCREDIBLE experience to see those same buckets, full of American brands and supplies, delivered to a foreign country and unpacked before my eyes. It was so moving for me, and I can’t wait to deliver more! After noon, the team split, and I attended Bible study with our pastor, Scott. He preached for TWO hours! There was so much excitement, and I was able to get some great footage for our site!! After a crazy afternoon, we traveled back to a closer church for a revival this evening. Y’ALL. I wasn’t prepared! This was the most WILD service I’ve ever been apart of. These people love to praise the Lord! I wish we could bring this kind of spirit back to the US!! Overall, it was an incredible day and I cannot wait until tomorrow!!

The Details:

– For those who know me well, you know that I LOVE the sun. I just love it! It’s been overcast here at night, so no sunsets, but tonight we got our first AFRICAN SUNSET. THE SUN IS MORE BEAUTIFUL IN AFRICA. I wasn’t prepared!

– The children are adorable here! I’ve been able to pass out sweets to them, and they get so excited when I pass them a piece of candy!

– Although today was exciting and beautiful, it was also hard. Today was the first day where statistics became real life. The AIDS epidemic is real here. TB is real here. These are diseases that people really live with here. I wasn’t really prepared to meet the dying, to engage with them, to pray salvation for them. It was the toughest moment of the trip for me personally so far.

 

Praises:

– The rain stopped! The rain stopped!! Praise the lord!

– The revivals have lights! Sometimes they do here, sometimes they don’t. I was praying for lights so I could film!

– We were able to pass out more dresses to little girls today and they loved them! It was such a pleasure to capture their little smiles!

 

Prayer Requests

– Pray for the AIDS/HIV epidemic here. There are so many who are sick and dying and in need of the Lord. Pray for both their physical needs and spiritual needs.

– Our whole team’s exhaustion is finally catching up with us. Pray for sweet rest tonight and for soul level peace in the stead of sleep. Pray for patience and humility among us!

– Pray for those we will meet tomorrow, and for our revivals continually!! We want to see many come to know Jesus!

 

Missing each of you friends! Praying that all is well in the US, and that God is blessing each of you! Stay rooted in his Word!

 

With much love,
Maggie

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Categories: February 2017 Trip

A Stressful and Moving Day

Friends –

It’s Sunday in Swaziland, which means church! Today we attended two separate churches, and I went with Wayne to a small church in Shinselweni. Church in Swaziland is literally indescribable, but frankly, it’s the most spirit filled I have ever felt in my life. The worship is unending, the prayers are tear inducing, and the testimonies of God’s faithfulness are endless. This is truly not something I want to ever forget! After church, we had a braai, which is Siswati for barbecue. We hosted about 20 people, mostly pastors from local Baptist churches and their wives. I think each of them really enjoyed their time, and while we were hosting, I was able to interview Kuseni and hear his story of coming to Christ. I truly wept at what God has done in his heart! I’m so thankful for him, and his testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness!  His parting words on camera, “come to Africa if you want to change lives. Come to Africa if you want to change African lives. Come.” I was so moved, and I know you will all be when you see it!

The Details:
– The rain! It has been incredibly rainy here, and that means dirt roads are becoming MUD roads. I’ve actually never been so terrified in my life, and that’s honestly saying something. (Mom, remember the boats in the Cayman Islands where I thought I was going to fly off? This was way worse, I think I was the color of a sheet!)
– The speed bumps! They are LITERALLY everywhere, and pretty high, so you really do have to slow down!
– After church, all anyone wanted to do today was take pictures!

Praises:
– Church was such a blessing this morning! At the other church, there were 7 decisions made this morning to follow Christ! Praise the Lord!
– The braai this afternoon went so smoothly and I believe the pastors and their wives were encouraged by each other!
– We didn’t die in the mud today!

Prayer Requests:
– Tomorrow truly starts the meat of our work. Each morning this week, we will be delivering food, Bibles, and basic necessities (through BGR buckets) in rural communities in Swaziland. Pray for guidance, direction, humility, and grace for our team. Pray for the families we visit and to see many come to know Christ through this ministry!
– The afternoons will be spent in Bible study at various churches in the southern region of Swaziland! Pray for decisions for Christ, as well as Scott as he will be preaching each day!
– The evenings will be spent in revivals. This is an important ministry, and I am especially excited for them! Pray for the Lord to be known here!
– Finally, pray for the rain to STOP! I would really prefer not to die in the mud of Swaziland, and it really does make passage to homesteads much, much more dangerous! We are truly praying for it to dry up!

Your continued prayers are so precious to each of us on the team. We are thankful for your continual encouragement and love!  The real work begins now!

With grace and love,
Maggie

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Categories: February 2017 Trip

Candles and Cows

Friends –

Today was another fantastic day in Swaziland! Today was our official “sightseeing” day, but (as most of you know I like to do) I was able to sneak in some work as well! The morning began with my interview of Nono, which was so so sweet! She is such a precious gem and I was bound by her story. She is such a testament to God’s grace. After this, we traveled to Manzini, where we visited Manzini Market and another larger market. We then had lunch with some fellow missionaries on the field and one of our Swazi friends, Gogo, and traveled to a local candle factory, which has the most INCREDIBLE candles I’ve ever seen. Although today was just sightseeing, I was able to interview Nono, as well as get some great b-roll of the markets and some of the people. I think these will add textures and details to our story!

Funny Stories:
– (this is from yesterday, but I forgot!) While visiting the glass factory, we were looking at the different items for purchase when Scott managed to KNOCK OVER nearly every penguin on a shelf!! (keep in mind they are glass!) He was such a mess!
– We nearly died again today, but this time by COWS! They tend to run in the street here, and we just missed the oncoming ones! Luckily no one was hurt!

The Details:
– The people here in general don’t mind if you take photographs of them, often they even welcome it. Most people have been fascinated by my cameras, and want to pose for it!
– Well, finally folks, today was HOT. Blistering! I was warned (vehemently, I might add), but our first two days were so mild I didn’t really understand until today!

Praises:
– Nono was so lovely to hear today. She told Wayne (on WhatsApp) that she already missed our team! We’re hoping to see her later in the week, but we’re not sure. So thankful for her testimony!
– We got 110 Bibles today! We’re going to be giving them throughout the week. This is SUCH a gift in Swaziland, and I can’t wait to share them with our friends here!
– We also we’re able to give away some of the dresses made by the ladies in Washington today! Nono took 20 for a girls preschool in her area, and we gave our missionary friends some as well for their church. We held onto about half for our visits this week, but MANY little girls are going to have new things to wear very soon!

Prayer Requests:
– Tomorrow is Sunday, which means both Wayne and Scott will be preaching in two separate churches, and Stuart and I will both be sharing our testimonies. Please pray for clarity and for wisdom for each of us!
– I will also be conducting a few interviews during our Braai (barbeque) tomorrow; pray for those sharing with me, that they will have wisdom from the Lord himself, and be excited to participate!

That’s all for today friends! So thankful for each of your prayers – in my time in the word this morning, God laid Colossians 4:2 on my heart, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” I’ve been praying as often as possible for the blessings that the Lord keep bestowing on us! We would love for you to join us!

With joy abounding,
Maggie

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Categories: February 2017 Trip

Swaziland…Finally!

Friends –

We’re in Swaziland!! Today we stopped at a glass factory and we were able to shop for a while; we also drove most of the country today, and we picked up Nono, one of our great friends here! She is a nursing student in the capital, Mbabane, and such a testament to the Lord’s goodness! We finally checked into our guest house for the week, and ate a fabulous dinner! Another great day in Africa!

 

The Details:
– South Africa and Swaziland are already VERY different; the cultural differences surprised me a good bit! 
– There are no self service stations in Swaziland, someone MUST pump your gas!
– Animals just roam the streets, and we LITERALLY ran into cows today! Thankfully no one was hurt! (including the cows!)

Praises:

– Not even a little car sick today. This is the BIGGEST concern going on the trip for me, and Sea Bands worked y’all! 
– I SAW RHINOS TODAY! AND ZEBRAS! Most of you know my biggest sadness was my inability to stay for Kruger; the Lord provided for me in a big way today! 
– I also flew the drone for the first time today, and NO ISSUES! (aka I didn’t crash it!) All of the people surrounding us were fascinated and it was a great talking piece to tell people why were in Swaziland!

– Nono is so excited for us to be here; I will be interviewing her tomorrow, and she is so willing to share what God has done in her life! (Jimmy, Donna, she says hello and that she misses you all!!) 

Prayer Requests:
– Tomorrow is mainly a sightseeing day, but I will be spending lots of time photographing and shooting video of the countryside and the places we visit. Pray for equipment that works, and for great shots!
– Patience is already running thin for some of us, as we are exhausted (and we’ve just barely begun!) Pray that God would teach us with his gentle guiding hand, while providing us with abundance patience each day.

– Pray for Nono as she will be sharing her testimony tomorrow with me, and that God is able to speak through her!

 

Thankful for each of you, and the hope you have given me and our team! We are thankful for your prayers and your love!


With a fountain of joy at hand,
Maggie

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Categories: February 2017 Trip

We Made It! All is Well!

Friends –

We made it to Johannesburg, safe, sound and in one piece! Praise God! We are checked into BIMS for the evening, and will be leaving early in the morning (with a stop at Mugg and Bean, for those of you who have been to Swaziland) for the country. I am already overwhelmed by God’s grace…..he is showing new mercies as we speak!

The Details:
– They really do drive on the other side of the road! CRAZY! (Wayne made a wrong turn already into the opposite lane…Mom and Dad, I was in the other car! No worries!)
– The accents here are so lovely! They have such a gentle lilt in their tone, and everyone has been so helpful!
– Gas is SUPER expensive here, nearly $4.50 to the gallon!

Praises:
– My luggage came! Also, the whole team was able to travel smoothly with no issues!
– We were able to get phones set up and rental cars with no issues!

Prayer Requests:
– We begin our travel tomorrow through long, winding country roads. (well, some roads, but mainly dirt paths.) Pray for the whole team to stay safe, and especially for me as I struggle with car sickness!
– Pray that God would soften each of our hearts towards the Swazi people. I am nervous about learning as much as I can about these amazing people, and I want to represent them so well to the rest of the world. Pray that the Lord would give us guidance and mercy in that!
– Pray for our team member, Scott Ferry, as he begins to prepare for preaching each day! He has a difficult task of community the Gospel clearly and effectively, through the use of a translator. He is excited, but nervous. Pray that the Lord would speak through his words, and bring many to himself!!

Thankful for each of you, and your texts, prayers, calls, and letters. May God give each of you new mercies today!

With hope,
Maggie

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Categories: February 2017 Trip
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