mitch & char

mitch & char

Friday, December 23

Merry Christmas!

We LOVE you, we MISS you, and we are SO thankful for you.  What a comfort to know that ALL around the world, we will all stop and celebrate the same thing.  JESUS!   HE has done so much for us and for so many we know.  Truly “THE GIFT”!

(thank you Mike Pier- Missionary to Zim for this:) When Jesus made his appearance in our world, it wasn’t with a lot of fanfare and with extravagant celebration. He CHOSE to be born in Bethlehem, a city that surely wasn’t a vacation hotspot of the day, in a barn that was full of animals, hay, a few rats and poop, and in a manger…..a feeding trough.

If this is where the Creator of the universe chose to be born, if this is where God showed up on Earth…what is He saying to us?

I think Jesus was saying, “I’m a real person and I’m here to relate with real people, to meet them right where they are, in the dirty places, where there’s animals, rats and poop. Even if it smells bad, I don’t need a red carpet rolled out for me, cuz YOU can be real when you come to me….just as you are”

So many times we think I need to get myself straightened out, then I’ll go to church, do this, do that... I’m here to tell you…NOT SO!!!! I’ts just the opposite, Jesus loves a mess….and He loves cleaning up a mess. He already knows that we smell bad, that we are in a rough place and maybe have made a mess of our life Jesus always seemed to be in hot water with the “religious” folks of the day for hanging out with all those sinners. I for one am so glad Jesus decided to hang out with me and my mess.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!!!!!!

Thought you would like to see this. A few more that HE met where they were.   It is our wrap up video from the BIG Christmas Celebrations.  The Lord allowed 6000 children in Swaziland, 3000 in Zimbabwe and over 1000 in Mozambique to hear, know and learn the message that “GOD is with them!”… what an incredible Savior!  thought you might want to see: http://www.childrenscup.org/2011-recap-for-christmas-at-the-carepoints/


Bless you!! and have a WONDERFUL Christmas celebrating with all those you love (or tolerate
J)

 

It’s a great time for that end of year tax deduction, AND you can be a part of transforming lives in Africa.

 

 

Sunday, December 11

amazed

God is SO incredible!  What a great season to celebrate all HE has done.

 

Wanted to first of all say THANK YOU for all of the prayers and support this past year.  Thank you for believing in what we are doing and equipping His work here in Swaziland.  We thought it would be fitting for you to understand just what that was this past year!

 

-Expansion-added 7 new CarePoints and have now reached over 5600 children monthly with food, medical care, educational support, and most importantly-the Love of Jesus.

-New orphan home-a way to reach out to provide in community care for the worst cases of orphaned and vulnerable children

-2 new church plants(construction underway now)

-Global Leadership Academy students- graduated 19 world changers today.-this is the next phase in our completion plan when our CarePoint kids get older

-leadership team.  We now have 48 local african’s working for us, and 21 missionaries all serving in a variety of capacities

 

All of this-GOD receives the Glory and credit for.  We are amazed at what HE has equipped and accomplished this year.

 

It is easy to get “lost” in the numbers, or to puff a chest at the above.  Please know-we recognize and see that it is NOT anything to do with us, but EVERYTHING to do with our heavenly Father.   We continue to focus on the “One”.  The one boy that met Jesus at the carepoint and introduced Him to his family, the one intern that was next in line in their family to be “sangoma”(witch doctor) and broke the curse by choosing to follow the Lord, the one child that sat in my lap and recognized that she has a father that loves her and sees that HE is always with her, the one that learned that serving is the greatest thing she can do to understand her own poverty.  We have thousands of “one” stories.  And all evoke our deepest emotions and greater awareness of God’s character and countenance.

 

We believe for great things in the year ahead.  Believe with us!  Will you pray with us and for us on January 1st?  Just a minute to ask the Father to give us wisdom and guidance in the year ahead, to see His vision for the ministries of Children’s Cup Swaziland. 

 

We feel that the Lord is asking us to theme next year for Cup Swaziland.  “Going Deeper”.  Everything we do next year will be about deeper relationships, deeper faith, deeper connections, deeper training, deeper focus, etc.  The team is in place, and we are excited to bring all of our staff together in January for a 3 day training to set the tone and direction for 2012.

 

2012 will bring visits from Mitch’s mom and dad and 12 teams from the states.  It will bring a new focus on discipleship and nurturing relationships.  It will result in more children understanding and learning about Jesus in a deeper way…because of YOU! 

 

Thank you for your prayers- they have sustained us.  Thank you for your obedience in your financial giving-it has equipped us to cary out a small part of His work here in Swaziland.

 

We love and miss you deeply!

 

Committed,

 


Mitch and Charlotte

 

Thursday, December 8

Christmas Update - 3 pics and a vid - opportunity to get involved

Well, Christmas celebrations are in full swing here in Swaziland and we are
SO grateful for your prayers and support that make all of this possible. We
are SO blessed! The kids have learned that "God is with them" (the theme
for the parties). Every area of the party has a training on that core
belief!

We are well! Looking forward to some down time over Christmas(still
dreaming of a white one, but it seems highly unlikely) and then Mitch's Mom
and Dad come for a visit as we kick off the new year.

We take time to reflect all that GOD has done this year in Swaziland. He
has doubled the outreach of Children's Cup Swaziland to nearly 6000
children. He has brought leaders to us from communities and businesses that
desire to love the hurting children we serve. HE has done so much...through
your help!

Thank you!

The above pics were taken today, the video links were from this week as
well(just click).

300 kids singing "jesus in the lover of my soul":
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150383578750812.353047.160850980
811&type=1#!/photo.php?v=2815509146904

Mitch being mitch:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150383578750812.353047.160850980
811&type=1#!/photo.php?v=2815448145379


If you believe in what we are doing here in Swaziland, would you PLEASE pray
for us on January 1st? That the Lord would give us wisdom, strength and
vision for 2012.

WOULD YOU CONSIDER A SPECIAL ONE-TIME TAX DEDUCTIBLE GIFT AS THE YEAR
APPROACHES IT'S END? (IF SO, PLEASE GO TO WWW.CHILDRENSCUP.ORG SELECT DONATE
AND OUR NAMES)

Bless you, thank you so very much for everything. We miss you, but LOVE our
kids!

Mitch and Charlotte
www.mitchionary.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/mitchchar

Monday, November 28

You saw the pictures, now walk with me through a Christmas at the Carepoint Celebration

So far nearly 1000 children in Swaziland have experienced a Christmas Celebration at their neighborhood CarePoint.  We still have over 5000 more children to bring a celebration to. Each CarePoint is taking on its own flavor, and they are all OH so sweet. 

 

Walk with me through a Christmas Celebration.

 

I got there at 9am, I wanted to be early and I did not want to stay at my house.  I don’t like being at my house.  There was a group of people all wearing the same shirts.  They had music playing.  They were dancing and were so happy.  They ran between the multiple colored giant jumping castles, across the lot and passed the tents to hug me and walk me up to the tarps spread across the ground.  There are two tents in the yard this year, and a big waterslide with soapy suds.  The interns, teachers and missionaries invited me to sit down and put a colored yarn on my wrist.  This yarn was the same as all of my other friends.  We are all 9 years old.

 

They put on a really neat skit about the shepherds and what they saw when Jesus was born, and how they felt happy to know that God was with them.  Then it was like a real movie-the PUPPETS came out and performed for us!  We broke up into our groups and started with the fish pond.  I got a homemade lollipop when I fished.  They told me I had become a fisher of men!  Right beside me my friends were getting their faces painted so I asked Karen to make me a lion because Daniel and the Lion are my favorite story.

 

A bell rang and we rushed to the next station.  DANCING!  Xolile taught us how to dance together and we all did the same moves.  My little sister stayed in the preschool area and played the whole time.  I saw her when I walked through the classroom to the craft area.  Zama had such a big smile, she was there and gave me markers to color a small circle with a picture of Jesus, and his mom and dad.  It said “GOD IS WITH ME”.  I used red, green, yellow and blue and walked over to Charlotte.  She took my drawing and put it in some machine.  I was SO surprised, out came a button with my drawing in it!  She pinned it on my shirt.  I have never made a button before.  I am so excited to take it home.

 

On my way to the jumping castle, I looked across the field and saw my cousin.  He is 14 and was with his friends under another tent.  They were playing games and learning about God being with them.  The missionary said they were playing “Minute to win it” games-whatever that means.  I know he is excited; they gave him a bible.  It is his first bible; I know his family will be happy.

 

My friends and I got in the castle and jumped so high.  Philani told us to think about Jesus and his trip up to heaven.  I closed my eyes and imagined going there.  As I finished and put my shoes on, I smelt something cooking.  Zinty and Alice were by the cooking structure with the bomake(women).  They had lunch ready for me.  They gave me 3 big pieces of fish and a small loaf of bread.  I remember hearing about how Jesus fed a lot of people with fish and bread.  I don’t get fish very often, it was so good!

 

My tummy was full, so I ran over to the water slide.  We were all so excited, I have never had so much fun.  Sandra told me that Jesus walked on water and that He was there when Peter started to walk on water too.

 

Then Nelly gathered all of us together.  Danny said there were over 400 of us at my CarePoint.  We sat down and Mduduzi and Stephen shot off fireworks!  I have never seen fireworks before.  They scared me at first, but they were so pretty.  I looked to the other side of the tent and auntie Grace was carrying out a HUGE birthday cake and we all sang happy birthday to Jesus.  It didn’t have candles it had these bright sticks that Njabulo said were called sparklers.  They made me happy.  We all ate cake together and it had frosting too.  It was so good and sweet. 

 

I thought the day was over, but then Sizwe lined us up.  Teacher Zanele and the missionaries handed me and my friends a balloon that said “God is with ME”, and then they gave me a gift too.  I got a facecloth, a bar of soap and a pretty necklace. 

 

I know that after today, no matter what happens to me, no matter what my uncle does to me, no matter what happens to my grandma, no matter what, that GOD is with me.  He loves me and I love him.

 

“She” is Phindile, “She” is Bulelo, “She” is lindiwe, “She” is every child in Africa. “She” knows that there is a God that loves her and is always with her.  “She” knows this because someone gave her the gift of a Christmas at her CarePoint.  “She” experienced hope in the midst of her hurt.  “She” was surrounded by people that loved her for who she is.  “She” experienced the joy that only God can bring.  “She” represents the hope that is found when a message is planted deep into a heart of a child. “She” will one day be a world changer because YOU gave.  The catalyst for change…was “YOU”.  Your help, your prayers, your support, your gift equips us to give her hope. 

We still have thousands of children to bring Christmas to here in Africa.  Will you help us show one more girl that she is valued and “God is with her”, show one more boy that he has a purpose and “God is with Him”  Will you be the one that helps us write the next story?

Saturday, November 26

Christmas At The CarePoints is HERE!

In the next 3 weeks, over 6000 children will hear and understand the message
that GOD IS WITH THEM!!! It all started today with 2 simultaneous parties
at New Village and Lagoba!

Sunday, November 20

Merry Christmas!

Just seemed like time to say it. Though we miss the snow, family and
friends, we take GREAT comfort in knowing that the SEASON is the same. We
all will get to stop, pause, and reflect on the birth of ONE thing we have
in common: The Birth of a Savior.

Thursday, November 17

Will you bring Christmas to me?

-1/2 of my friends have HIV, but I have hope. Will you bring Christmas to
us?
-My dad left us, and my mom passed away, but I have hope. Will you bring
Christmas to me?
-Christmas would be sweet!
-God is with me and I have comfort. Will you give me a Christmas
celebration?
-Just to have a safe and fun place to go.will you bring Christmas to me?

$10 at www.childrenscup.org to send an African kid to a Christmas
Celebration they will never forget!

Wednesday, November 16

Missing the USA's DMV

Oh yah, you read it correctly. The hour or two wait at the DMV sounds mighty good right now (laughing as I type)

So, my friend, be thankful-it could always take longer. I know, let me give you an example;

Swaziland
On Monday night you go to the police station to register to put your name on the list for Tuesday.
Tuesday morning you park in a soccer field "just there" from the police station and wait. About an hour or two later a man come out, reminds you that you are in his country-so he will give the directions in siswati. Everyone has a number and then you all(100 other cars with you) shuffle around to park in order of your number. Wait...then get a form to fill out. Wait...2 guys come and verify your form(you must redo it at least once), then they glance at your chassis and engine number-write them down illegibly(it is good to ask for a rewrite now-or later you will have to redo this whole step) hand you the signed form where you then van walk up to the police station for "clearance". As you enter the dark and grimy halls of the station to speak with someone for the clearance-the queu(line) continues to grow. Once you start getting help they tell you that you need a copy of your work permit.
Jump out of line, run home, get the permit info and return to the station. Stand in line and after a while-receive a stamped police clearance. (pay 50 emalengeni)
By now it is getting on in the day- and you will have to do the next steps tomorrow.
Wednesday-a 30 minute drive to Matsapha(town) to go to the CTA(transit authority?) this is where they determine the road worthiness of your vehicle. There is a line(with several big trucks). By asking questions and parking the vehicle in the line-discover you need a form(in duplicate) and 35 emalengeni. Pay the fee fill out the form(after you beg, borrow, steal a pen)(pens seem to be precious commodities here). Sit in queu for a while and pull in to the warehouse. Left blinker, right blinker, tooter(horn)-thumbs up. Park the ca outside and...stand in line for paper to be processed(hand written and stamped clearance). Phew-done!
Oops not yet, go to revenue office (not at the same location)to file the "bluebook"(ownership document). She rifles through the forms and says "where is your tax clearance" (really a good question) my response. "where would you like it to be?". We chuckle and she directs me down the road to the swazi revenue authority. They request my graded tax number(phew-it is on my swazi license-so I don't have to go further than my pocket). And says "you owe 18 emalengeni, go to that window to pay(points "just there" at the window). Another line to wait in, get to window to pay-she collects money and says to go to next window for clearance, line, wait, cleared at next window. Whooohooo. Oops-don't forget to go back to first line and window to get the clearance authorized. (at this point, I have made many new friends-all going through the experience together).
Sent back to revenue office to file. As the thumbs back thru the paperwork I finally get a 1/2 smile from her by making silly jokes. Stamp, stamp and "35 emalengeni" and she hands mr the forms back.

Now the vehicle is approved, worthy, ready, and finalized.

Now you know!(insert smile and a whole lot of laughter) This, along with the current rate of $5.50 unleaded gas make up two minor differences from the USA today.

Thursday, November 10

shocked **caution pg 13+ content**

Something that happens all too often.  I am leaving out details/names but wanted you to see the deep dark secrets and struggles of reaching a generation of youth.

 

6 yr old girl shows up at a friends house.  He is 8 years old.  She says “lets play house house” (this is a “game” that children play here-they live in confined spaces and see the adults around them having sex-so they imitate this behavior…it breaks our hearts every day).  He says “what is house house” .  The 6 year old explains that they should be naked and lay on each other and move back and forth.

 

WOW right?  Here is where we were devastated.  They were caught “in the act” and when the 6 yr old girl was asked why she would do this. Her response was “My uncle does this to me every morning and afternoon, he is 9 years old and lives with us”.  She did not think or know that there was anything wrong with it.

 

This is just 1 of the thousands of stories that go untold here in Swaziland.   We remain shocked.  At the core of all we are doing-we are trying to share with these beautiful kids what God’s plan is in their life.  They do not have to mimic or repeat these behaviors-but even before that-we must show them that they have a purpose, design and plan.  That they are valued and their body is a temple.  Education at such a basic level…a level that I have taken for granted for sure. 

 

So where is the joy in the above story?-well, we are able to work with a few more kids and teach them about a different way to live, what their purpose is.  This gives us an open door to have our discipleship and medical team speak with and education a family and a community.  We do not take lightly what happens, but are grateful that God allows people in the ministry to speak into lives.  We pray for change and that what we share will “stick”…join us.

Tuesday, November 1

Update and Newsletter from Mitch and Char

Thanks again for all you do for us.  We continue to be amazed at the Lord’s provision and direction for the ministries here in Swaziland and beyond.

 

Image too small? Click to enlarge.

 

Friday, October 28

Please sir, may i have some bread

Fridays are hectic in Swaziland.  Especially the final Friday of the month.  It tends to be THE payday for so many, and the day that the stores are flooded with people.  After leaving the children’s cup office today, I went to our market to pick up groceries.  A young man (perhaps 10) was in the parking lot area and said “Please sir, may I have some bread”…my heart still breaks when someone so innocent asks for anything.  I said that I was going to collect groceries, but I would bring him some bread. 

Guilt and conviction flooded me as I walked back out-groceries in tow.  Yogurt, eggs, fruit and a ginger soda for charlotte(not feeling well)…and of course-bread.  As I handed him a fresh made warm loaf of bread from the bakery at the market, his eyes darted to the sacks I had just loaded in the car…as if to say “you have so much, and have only given me a loaf of bread”.  I knelt down, hugged him, invited him to come to the church and offices, and told him to make sure and head straight home(not to walk in the dark).

As I got in the car-I found myself weeping.  Perhaps it was from an emotional week(we had another child die this week, and a number of concerns/issues crop up), perhaps I was just a bit more tired than usual, or perhaps I just feel convicted all the more about what I have and others do not.  There is much more I could have done for him…and yet I sent him away.

 

Still learning and wanting to be like Jesus, but still failing and missing the mark.

 

m

Wednesday, October 19

Children's Cup and Mission of Mercy... a life changing and saving partnership

“Loma” (pictured above)…before and after!

Lomasontfo is a beautiful 12 year old girl full of confidence.  She is currently top of her class and reflects gratefulness for all she has.  If you were to look at Lomasontfo today you would never have realized that she almost died 3 years back.

Loma had a quick growing tumor on the left side of her jaw.  What started as a small swollen bump would soon consume the left side of her face.  A double orphan, loma lived in a mud and stick hut with older brothers and sisters who were scrambling to take care of their own children.  Many times left to fend for herself, the food served at the CarePoint became her only meal for the day.  As the tumor grew bigger her family would send her into town begging for food and money from onlookers who would take pity on her.  While the tumor was still small, Loma was discovered during a routine Children’s Cup mobile Medical Clinic at the CarePoint.  Cup medical teams looked for doctors all over Swaziland who would know how to treat this growing mass.  After months of taking Loma from doctor to doctor, it was concluded that we needed to seek medical treatment in South Africa

As Cup prepared med and visa papers to go to SA, we endured obstacle after obstacle for months.  For a time it seemed…hopeless.

As the tumor grew, we feared that she would die before we were even able to get her treatment in SA.  BUT the Lord heard our cry for help!  With the generous special medical funding from Mission of Mercy (for children with extreme medical needs) we were able to take Loma to a hospital in South Africa

She travled back and forth for months and when it came time to treat the tumor they ahd to remove half of her jaw and insert a metal plate to reform the jaw.  With nurse Jessie(the missionary)-she stayed at the hospital for 6 weeks with her mouth wired shut.  Frequent follow ups have yielded a positive response. 

Today, it is barely noticeable that anything is wrong.  We continue to take her yearly to South Africa with the prospect of another surgery as she grows older.

Loma was an extra mouth to feed at her home, and we watched her struggle to survive.  God put the needs of Loma on the heart of a local business lady with a husband and family.  This family from her same community saw her need and took her in as one of her own.

Lomasontfo is now receiving the love and support a child needs to thrive.  No longer looking for her next meal, and knowing the love of a family. 

She is now healthy in body, mind AND spirit.  From the start we watched an orphaned child used to being ignored and fending for her self, to a child who now knows the care and love from others.

Loma, a child who would eat everything in sight and hoard food, now knows that another meal will come again.  The Lord truly hears our cries and provides for our needs!  The Lord’s provision of His children shines bright through Loma’s life, and it is only the beginning.

Lomasontfo who was literally rescued out of hopelessness now has HOPE and a bright future!

(story by the queen of awesomeness- Nurse and Missionary “Jessie Bohannon”)

Thursday, October 13

Dream Center

We are reallly excited to see construction continueing on "The Dream Center" here at Mbekelweni Swaziland. We will use this facility to conduct seminars, skills training, character workshops, introduce young people to career potentials and a church on Sundays... one more step in helping people go from Hurt to Hope!

Friday, October 7

I Am Not Forgotten House Mom

Thank you to missionaries Randy and Karen for overseeing the IANF(I am not forgotten) homes with Children’s cup in Swaziland… check out what GOD is doing there!

 

We would like to share with you about our newest “I Am Not Forgotten” home and our newest house Mom, Ntombie.

 

This new house was built this past spring and has been a safe haven for many children that needed care that they were not receiving at their homes and/or by their care givers. For some time, Ruth Dlamini was the “mother” to these beautiful little children, but she has since moved to South Africa at the Lord’s direction.

 

You may ask, where do you find a mother to “mother children who are not her own?” Only the Lord can do that!

 

As we prayed and asked the Lord for his direction on finding a new house Mom, we were also looking to see who the Lord had raised up to be a “mother” to these beautiful children. The answer was right in front of us at the Children’s Cup CarePoint where the children would eat Monday through Friday. Ntombie is one of the facilitators or teachers at the Mbeklweni CarePoint. She has been with Children’s Cup for years and has demonstrated her love for the Lord and her love for the children.                                     

 

When we asked her if she would consider being the house mom, her fist response was let me pray about it and seek the Lord. Ntombie or “Pretty Girl” which is her nickname, came back to us with a huge “YES!”. Ntombie knows the love of a mother. In conversations with her, she said her mother is one of her best friends. Even to this day if she has questions, she will call her mother and ask for insight and wisdom.

 

We are praising the Lord for his faithfulness and direction. We are thrilled that in the midst of change, our God is a personal loving Father who is intimately involved in every decision in the lives of his

children.  Psalm 23:1-3 is a beautiful expression of our Father’s love.  It reads, 

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”

 

Pictured above is Ntombie with Sibonelo, the youngest little girl,  who is full of smiles in her mommy’s arms. and Tjengisile, one of the oldest girls. After Ntombie’s first week as “mother” Tjengisile  said, “Can Ntombie be our mother forever?”

 

Please pray with us for Ntombie, that the Lord will give her strength, wisdom, and that the Lord will lead her and guide her in this new God given role as mother to these beautiful children!

 

Saturday, October 1

Update from Mitch n Char - Education is key

One of our kids “Siyabonga” is 12.  He is in the 2nd grade (pictured above with the big smile).  He wants to finish school and be a pastor

 

The other photo is of “Ncgamphalala” .  He is 9 and in the 3rd grade.  He loves math and wants to be a teacher.  We asked if where he would be if he was not in school.  His response broke my heart. “I would be herding cows for the rest of my life”…

 

There has been so much that God is doing in Swaziland.  We are in awe that He is revealing himself in every detail-big and small.  We trust that He knows about and has the solution to what we are going to share with you and ask for your help with.

We try not to make outright appeals for folks to get involved, but we are seeing a pending desperate need arising. 

We cannot and will not comment on the government or political situation here in Swaziland.   With that, we are facing a catastrophe with the Orphaned and Vulnerable children here in Swaziland.  The government was covering their school fees (in some classes 75% of students fall into this category).

School fees bring education, education brings ideas, opportunities, and employment-and we know that anywhere in the world-that is one of the biggest keys to break the cycle of poverty.

Char and I have had a dream that we could help at least 200 kids with school fee, uniform and levy’s assistance.  Here is how that breaks down:

Primary school – around $125 for fees and $50 for uniform(schools vary, but this would be average)

Secondary school- anywhere from $300-$700 for fees alone. 

Average unemployment here is close to 50%, average wage for those working is around $140 per month(and that is considered fair-good pay). 

As you can see- people here can simply not afford to pay for their children’s education.  Most homes average 10 persons living in them(neighbors, aunties, grandmothers have all taken in neighborhood children that have lost parents)

Will you help us to help them?  Please prayerfully consider a special gift of any amount.  Go to www.childrenscup.org , select donate and our names.  ALL new funds we receive in the next 2 months will be used to help kids like Siya and Ngampa (nicknames) go to school in January(our school year runs january-november)

 

God bless you, we miss you and love you-and are SO happy that YOU are allowing us to serve here in Swaziland.

 

Mitch and Char  <><

 

Tuesday, September 20

Peace in a storm

Odd that one can feel so safe in the middle of what can be construed as chaos.  The past two days here  have brought about major strikes and protests..this time it is the Khombie drivers(public transportation bus drivers).  Lots of speculation as to why they are protesting, but they have ceased the transportation for folks to go home in the 2 largest cities(ours included).  This is a country that relies HEAVILY on forms of public transportation.  10% of the population have vehicles…walking and khombie are how everyone gets everywhere.

Protests brought police, beatings, rubber bullets, fights, stones, shouting, mobs, burning tires, etc…

FIRST OF ALL- we take NO chances, and instruct all of our staff to avoid any and every crowd.  Today we even locked  the office(locking staff inside) until everything in the community dissipated.  The reality is that they are not upset at us, but you never want to be near a mob-never know if/when they could turn.

So why would we feel so safe and comfortable?  I believe it is an inexplicable “God thing”.  Someone once told us “The safest place to be is in the center of God’s perfect will”… well, that should sum it up!

Safe, ready for bed, resting and having a nice cup of tea(afterall-Swazi was british until the 60s)

Again-we promised not to “sugar coat” missions to you.  We owe you the good, the bad, the real, and the sad.  Rest assured- we are GREAT, passionate, and focused on the ministry ahead-  GOD is doing some AMAZING things in Swaziland!

Friday, September 9

Siphelele's story

Nurse and fellow missionary Jessie recently wrote this powerful testimony of a life being changed.  Char and I have a dream of sending over 200 kids back to school with partial scholarships and school fee assistance… would you like to help?  Education changes lives here in Swaziland.  And when school fees are as much in some cases as 3 months income-many children do not get to go…

 

 

Siphelele comes from a family of ten, living together in a small one-room house. The house is in such poor condition that their front door will not close. So they've replaced the door with a sheet of plastic to help ward off the cold and critters at night. Most days the meal that Siphelele and her siblings' receive at the Children's Cup CarePoint is the only meal for that day.

Siphelele's father was in a car crash many years ago injuring his legs and now walks slowly on homemade crutches. Her mom has a greatly underdeveloped mental capacity, but lovingly does what she can to take care of the kids.

The family's income comes from collecting empty glass beer bottles for seven cents per bottle. For a time, her father was bedridden fighting a bad case of tuberculosis. To help bring in money while their father was sick, Siphelele and her siblings were found running around town late into the afternoon collecting bottles that were lying around the bars. Having to skip school to search for empty beer bottles, they often missed their daily meal from the CarePoint.

As you can imagine, Siphelele's family does not have the money to pay her school fees. Yet, she is a bright child and her heart's dream is to attend school. In fact, when she grows up, she wants to be a teacher so she can help other children do well in school.

However, without someone sponsoring her school fees, Siphelele has no hope of seeing her dream come true.

School fees to Siphelele mean the difference between an opportunity to take steps out of a life of poverty or continuing the cycle of hopelessness, teenage pregnancy, greater risk of HIV contraction, and perpetuating another generation in the cycle of poverty.

Attending school gives her the opportunity for an education that can provide a good steady job.

For Siphelele, attending school makes all the difference in the world.

 

Saturday, August 27

Newsletter update from M n C

Thanks again for all you mean to us, and the countless children here in
Swaziland... Last month alone, we had contact with over 5600 children... God
is doing AMAZING things here. THANK YOU!!!!

Image too small? Click it!

Tuesday, August 23

Reed Dance week - Young ladies (specifically Virgins) gather for topless occasion

This week we are rolling out “True Love Waits” to all of our Carepoint kids...well, the ones that are not attending the Reed Dance.  TLW is a way to educate children that they should wait until marriage to have sex.  Our hope is that through love and education, we can start to change statistics here in Swaziland-decrease the teen pregnancy rate and decrease HIV infections.  

The Swazi culture is ok with topless women. The Reed Dance is a traditional opportunity for Swaziland's maidens to pay tribute to the Queen Mother. Although the King has used the occasion to choose wives a few times,(He currently has 13 wives) the ceremony is not about him primarily. The king's own children partake in this event.

The annual Umhlanga(oom-shlawn-gah) (Reed) Dance is an assembly of about 20,000 young maidens (recently reaching 100,000) who bring tall (4 m) reeds to present to the Queen Mother. These reeds are then used to build windbreaks around the Queen Mother's residence. The Reed Dance usually lasts for a week and the king only attends the last day as a sign of respect to his mother. He also uses the occasion to thank the young girls who have traveled long distances to attend the event by slaughtering cattle and presenting them with a feast before they return home.  During the week; men, women, boys and girls “camp” out.  There are a number of celebrations, but the biggest is that all of the young maidens wear traditional attire and are topless. 

We do not speak out on politics, culture, or history here.  Our prayer is simply that for those families that participate in the reed dance activities would appreciate a lifestyle of abstaining and waiting for marriage-and true love.

 

Wednesday, August 17

Youth Sports Camp day- Aug 2011- Mbekelweni Swaziland

A POWERFUL day in Swaziland. Cool temps and clouds this morning as we had
concerns of more rain. 400 youth from 10 CarePoints came toghether at
Mbekelweni for our first annual sports camp day. Ages 12-18 showed up to
compete for trophies, and to hear about THE trophy of Heaven. Opening
ceremonies brought Njabulo(en-jah-boo-low) to speak and explain a personal
relationship with Christ... One by one, young and hopeful boys and girls
became to come forward, by the time we started the competitions- over 100
students gave their lives to Christ! OH what joy, OH what success, OH what
celebration. We would have celebrated over 1, but to see so many understand
what Christian character, relationship, and love is about- THANK YOU GOD!
Tournaments for boys and girls, Netball(like basketball, but no dribbling or
backboard), Volleyball, and Soccer.
The best part?- well, yes, it was about competing to win a trophy for each
respective CarePoint...but several kids commented "It is just great to get
to hang out and be friendly".
Coliding cultures from around the country with one thing in common-
Friendship. And the best example of that is Jesus Christ.
I am OVERJOYED and filled to the brim with a beaming smile. Our
Discipleship team pulled this off. Mduduzi (em-dah-doo-zee) was the drive
behind the whole event-and he had this great idea just 10 days ago. Portia,
Nelly and Alice jumped on board to make sure everything from the tournament
to a GREAT meal of Borewors(sausages), rice and gravy would be ready for
all. As excited as I am about all of the youth-I am 10fold more excited to
see those we are working with that are from this culture run with wreckless
abandon to reach the hurting and lost.
Today, I saw "it" working. Our end all goal-equip, don't enable...leave
this country in a better position by training up leaders. Along with the
"D-Team(discipleship)".. All 23 Interns served with pleasure and smiles.
I...AM...BLESSED!

Monday, August 15

cold?

Whilst complaining about being cold (have my stocking cap and gloves on, and heading to a bed with multiple blankets) as the temperatures drop into the mid 40s outside with rain (and low 50s inside our house).. I realize how GREAT I have it. 

So many of the families we work with do not have the luxuries that we enjoy, or have the resources of a house that keeps major drafts out, have extra blankets, warm clothing, hot soup for dinner, etc.

Lord, I pray you will keep them warm…These are the things that keep me up at night.  Dealing with my own whining, when thousands have it so much harder-forgive me Lord.

Friday, August 12

Beach ND bringing HOPE 1/2 around the world.

We are blessed beyond belief to see what the community, churches, families and friends from Beach and Golva ND have done.  Check this out- TRANSFORMING an entire community!

 

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http://www.youtube.com/embed/R94eYrDw6vo

 

 

Wednesday, August 10

A humorous day ( yes there is a "u" ...it is quite proper:-) )

So a missionary family (Prince family) started a new game.. I believe I scored 12 today.

 

How my day shook down:

Drove to Matsapha(town)-saw 1 herd of cattle.. 2 were peeing.  Saw 2 men on the side of the road peeing.

Early morning visit to police station to secure restraining order(it’s all good)-meeting delayed until tomorrow.

Departed for the Cup Global Leadership Academy in Mbekelweni.

Enroute-2 herd of goats (perhaps the proper plural is herds) crossing the road…at least 3 goats were peeing.  Oh yah, one more dude on the side of the road relieving himself.

Was encouraged and excited to spend time with 23 of Swaziland’s brightest (our GLA students)-these young adults INSPIRE us all.

Off to New Village to meet with a child..again, whilst driving 1 more man and 1 more cow(in the road) … you guessed it- Peeing

Spent time at New village while the child(a 2nd grader) wrote a lovely letter to her sponsor in America in English(I LOVE IT when these worlds collide)

Prayed with the teacher and child and headed out towards Mvutjini

You will never believe what happened next!

Had to wait 10 minutes for a local herder to move his cattle down the winding dirt path-up and down hills…and lots of “action” (I lost count) took place

Got to Mvutjini-spent time with 2 very special kids (and saw more writing letters to their Mission of Mercy sponsors) delivered gifts and prayed with and for the community women and teachers. Played with a  few kids on a seesaw.

Took off to head back to Mbabane(where the cup office is).. and along the side of the highway… one more fella releasing fluids.

 

Yes, sometimes you have to make a game out of your day-and This Is Africa.  I scored a loose 12 on the “CowWhizzer” scale as created by the prince family.  Points for every animal(including human) seen peeing in close proximity!  (I am still giggling)- Mitch

 

 

Monday, August 8

a year in the life - a profound dependence on the Lord

How amazing to be able to look back and see just HOW God was and is moving.  It is to no one’s surprise that our initial months living in the field were challenging.  Through many of those challenges-we were blinded and could not see through them.  The incredible thing is that GOD knew and was navigating it all for us.  It has been the longest, shortest, hardest, easiest, craziest year of our lives… and OH what a way that HE has grown us! 

 

A quick review:

 

-Arrived in country to the news that ½ of the Children’s Cup funding was going away-impacting thousands of kids and multiple CarePoints and ½ of the local staff

-Child issues with location and moving creating concern for another major funder of the ministry

-The founder of Cup passed away, and we are slid into a leadership role for the ministry and operations as the Africa Director needs to go back to the USA(creating a small gap for us with building relationships)

-A major car accident

-Kids located and systems in place to keep even better tabs

-New partner found to take over operations of CarePoints impacted by loss of funding

-Car repaired

-Christmas holiday(in the heat)

-New missionary family arrives (and bonds are formed with the rest of our missionary family here)

-New ministries are birthed (I Am Not Forgotten home for Orphans and Vulnerable children expand, School Fee Assistance programs, Discipleship programs, Global Leadership Academy has 23 full time students becoming passionate for serving others with character…)

-children abused / killed

-A trip to the USA to share our heart with 25,000 people-more importantly, got to connect with so many individuals that we love and miss! 

-In sharing about abused / killed children-a community decides to impact Swaziland with a new CarePoint building (thank you Beach ND)

-Growth in the ministry beyond our dreams in depth of teaching and expansion of number of CarePoints(places where kids come to be safe, eat, learn about Jesus, are taught character, serving, homework, receive medical care and more)

 

The best things have truly been watching and being a small part of sharing God’s love with the children and staff here in Swaziland.  We have hundreds of individual stories about the children, the teachers and the staff; powerful testimonies of a God that is the father to the fatherless. 

 

Our focus remains on training up leaders to one day replace us and target the programs for sustainability without our assistance.  This may take a generation, but we believe we are working with and molding the future leaders of the ministry and the country.  We see a great reason to CELEBRATE, as HOPE is found to many.  We are BLESSED to get to be a very small part of that. 

 

We have truly seen that what the enemy intends to use to kill, steal and destroy with… GOD will use for good and for His Glory.

 

Has it been a struggle?  You betcha…but we see God moving, we trust His leading, we hear Him more clearly, trust Him more completely and have gained a profound dependence on the Lord that we thought we had a year ago-but really did not.

 

Our observation:  Life was easier for us in the USA, it was comfortable, it was convenient…we LOVE America!  Without the USA, we could not be here to serve Christ in this way.  But God needed to mold and work on us as well.  A stretching and growing year for us and we look forward to what HE has for us in the year ahead. 

 

We could NOT have been here, or been a part of what GOD is doing in Swaziland without your prayers and financial support.  THANK YOU so very much.  You have and continue to equip a GREAT ministry. 

 

Char and I did not understand why we could not have kids, but thanks to you- we have 4,811 of these precious African children.  THANK YOU!

 

Pop’s(the founder) would say “Hope’s Name is Jesus”… we see today that that is true in any and all circumstances!

Tuesday, August 2

beautiful boy

Empty boxes from Feed My Starving Children double as bumbo seats at Children's Cup CarePoints. One of the volunteer cooks said she was trying to teach her baby how to sit up. (thanks for the photo Stephen Prince)

 

Well, we are back and in full swing here in Swaziland.  The brief trip to the USA was nice..the best part was seeing so many friends and family that came to the park for Hills Alive.  Christian music and that festival have been a BIG part of our lives for so many years- we felt SO loved.

 

We realized that we no longer “fit in” in america.. we still don’t “fit in” in swaziland… ahh, Limbo-what a beautiful place to be!

 

We have heart breaking stories, stories of hope, stories of joy, and stories of miraculous intervention all to share…just keep checking back here and at www.childrenscup.org

 

SPECIAL thanks to the community of BEACH ND!!!  Enough funds given to build an entire new Carepoint building(where kids will come each day for meals, education, healthcare and bible clubs) at the no named community of Section 19!  OH we are SOOOOOO EXCITED!!!

Thursday, July 7

Who stole my corn???



The whimsical life of our visitors. A common occurance in our backyard. "You know you are not in the states when..."

Saturday, July 2

Would we have Psalm 51 if David had not sinned?

I have been studying about King David a bit.  God chose him to be the next king (after Saul).  King David once said of Saul “Oh how the mighty have fallen”… King David was on a roller coaster  in his life.  A rise to “fame”, then hit by lust, coveting, adultery, murder…and he tried to cover it all up.  God knew that David must be humbled, and essentially told this dude (Nahum) all about what King David had done.  The result: Perhaps one of the purest prayers of repentance I have read.  Psalm 51.  God knew his heart, and what choices he would make…but He also knew that David would one day repent.

 

I want to live a life of trust and vulnerability around me(and I recognize that that is dangerous).  If I do it in private-I want someone else to know.  Sin could have taken David, but the Grace of God redeemed him.  It is easy to cover up, not trust, not build relationships…it is dangerous to live in the open, be accountable, and take the risk that it is not if but WHEN trust is broken.  Man will let us down, but GOD never will (I love those “but God” moments).

 

Yet-God’s example with David is that the things we should be ashamed of need to be out in the open.  Accountability to God and to man.  Our sin will always find us…what if David had been open with his courts the instant he had Lust in his heart?  What story would have unfolded? ( I truly don’t know.  However, as the story went-it is a beautiful, humbling and rekindling experience)

 

Sin is such a slippery slope…one thing leads to another, and each step leads farther away from God.  As we prepare for Hills Alive, and to speak to Christians, non Christians, and who-ever else is there, we are recognizing that no matter which step any of us is on-there is still hope.  God truly wants to redeem ALL to Himself…a truly repentant heart is a beautiful thing.  It is NEVER too late to connect or re-connect with Jesus.  NO sin is too far for God to reach from the heights of the heavens to the bottom of the oceans to redeem. (see jonah)

 

Had David’s sin not led down a horrible path, generations would not have benefited from the results of God’s redeeming grace and a true example of repentance.  Not saying that sin is EVER ok, but what choices you have made can be stopped, turned around, and buried…all for one purpose: To Glorify God and touch generations.

 

I am a sinner-and desire to be a man after God’s own heart…

 

Friday, July 1

Budget Vs. Detergent: Budget Wins...

Thought you would enjoy this post from our missionary friends and fellow bloggers.  The Prince family(OH how we love them).  This may help shine a little light on how to save money in a developing nation with prices set higher than developed nations…

 

 

We live on a budget. We've been doing this budget thing for years -- cash envelopes, etc. It feels pretty normal. But, in the States I could cut corners and save money by store-hopping, "couponing" when necessary, and being pretty strategic. I wasn't a "double coupon Wednesday" girl, or a major clipper, but if I came across one that would work for us, I'd use it. However, since being in Africa, I've quickly learned that we don't have a lot of leeway. There's one generally one store with one option, one astronomical price, and we need to pay it to get what we need.

 

If you're following along with us on this journey, you may have learned that there is virtually zero middle class. That means that prices also follow the same premise. Rice, sugar, mealie (it's a white cornmeal used for porridge), beans, and fruits and veggies at roadside stands are quite inexpensive. I can get a monster pineapple for 1 USD. That's fun. However, if it's anything that we Americans would find a necessity (that typically Africans would not), we're going to pay and pay dearly for them.

 

Here are some examples:

 

Toilet paper, nine rolls (as opposed to 12): 8-10 USD

Dental floss: 5 USD

Shampoo (your run of the mill stuff, nothing extravagant): 6 USD

Shaving cream (again, run of the mill): 6-8 USD

Mascara (Maybelline or Cover Girl -- nothing fancy!): 14 USD

Mouthwash, off-brand: 8 USD

Contact Lens Solution, one bottle: 14-16 USD

Laundry detergent, 2KG 8-10 USD

 

Even cleaning supplies are crazy expensive, and they aren't the quality that we're used to in the States. We don't have a dishwasher, so we go through lots of dish soap. We'll pay about 5 USD for a bottle of something that looks like dish soap, but we don't see many bubbles. It's difficult to clean (or so we think) without bubbles. We Americans like bubbles.

 

Nonetheless, while we're still encountering sticker shock here and there, it's also a challenge to stretch the budget -- see how far our money can go. We have an amazing team of supporters whom we are so thankful for, and it's really important that we're the best stewards of what God and the team has provided for us to be here.

 

So, with all that, I've been seeing what I can do as "minister of domesticity" to cut some corners when I can. For example, we no longer buy expensive window cleaner -- we have a lot of windows, glass, and little fingers, and the 5 USD I was spending was way too much for how little it lasted. We now use vinegar and water with drops of dish soap, and it cleans much better than anything I could buy -- without the chemicals!

 

Before we left the States, our dear Jami Shull did a little googling and made us a huge tub of the Duggars' laundry detergent. It was awesome and lasted forever. So earlier in the week I ran out of detergent and it was either shell out too much for a new pouch, or get creative. I went for the latter -- and you can, too.

 

You'll need:

 

-Bar Soap (just one bar!)

-Washing Soda or Baking Soda (one cup)

-Borax (one cup)

 

SOAP: For my first batch I used "Green Bar." If you've been in Africa for a period of time, you'll know what I'm referring to. The original recipe called for a laundry soap similar to Fels Naptha, but we can't get that here. Green Bar is a laundry soap that you can buy in huge quantities, and the Swazis use it for everything -- it's pretty amazing stuff. The only thing I don't care for is the smell, but thankfully I have a small stash of dryer sheets. As far as the soap, you can probably use anything -- Ivory, etc.

 

With this one bar of soap, you'll either need to grate it (which is exhausting!), or do something way more fun. Throw it in the microwave until it slowly puffs up and dries out. You want it completely dry, so just keep microwaving it -- mine didn't burn, and it's an awesome science experiment for you homeschooling mamas, or you bored daddies. :)

 

WASHING SODA: We can't get washing soda here, but thanks to my awesome friend google (I use him sooo much in Africa!), I've learned that if you bake baking soda -- it's "bicarbonate of soda" in Africa -- at about 300°F for at least an hour, something happens chemically and it becomes washing soda. I'm not a chemist, but that's awesome.

 

So, what you'll need next is your food processor or blender. Process the dried soap, washing soda and borax together under very, very fine -- until it looks like laundry detergent! And, here's what I got out of one batch: a little butter tub that holds 128 (!!!!) loads worth of detergent, using just one tablespoon at a time. Pennies per load, and the satisfaction is priceless. :)

Thursday, June 30

A Beautiful girl from Zombodze

 

I love this little girl.  She is obviously handicapped, but SMILES and hugs that light up the valley!!!  (then 5 minutes later, more giggles, smiles and up for another hug… she is like shampoo- rinse, lather, repeat.. )J

 

God is growing our facilitator’s heart in to loving and caring for the Carepoint kids in an extra-ordinary way. This is a story of Gugu Dlamini who is 13yrs of age.  Gugu was staying in Logoba with her mother who was mentally ill.  In 2008 mom passed away, and the community took gugu to the psycho social centre. Gugu is also someone who is mentally challenged so living with out her mother was very hard on her. After some time she started wandering around going from one place to another.   Places she has never been before just looking for some one who can love and take care of her.

 

Many Men were taking advantage of her. Pretending to love her but abusing her sexually.  But we all know that Gods love and protection was always with her. God lead Gugu to Zombodze Carepoint  were she found Prudence (the facilitator there). Prudence gave her self time to build a strong relationship with Gugu.  Prudence invited Gugu to stay with her in her home. And because of the abuse that has happen in Gugu,s  life Prudence gave her time and took her to the hospital to do the tests she needed to do with the help of the Cup Medical team. Gugu felt the love and care from the Carepoint and Prudence!  She is now adjusting she does not wander around not knowing where she going. You can tell that this was God that led her to this Carepoint.   To receive the love, care and protection there.  She is always there playing, eating and helping the cooks … EVERYDAY. Blessings to you all who are supporting our Carepoints because there are many children like Gugu who need to be loved, secured and appreciated of who they are. Gugu has HOPE and future now-and it all comes down to LOVE!

-story by Portia Dube(our awesome preschool discipleship coordinator)