Archives For Mission Trip 2013

Hope Is Rising

August 30, 2013 — Leave a comment

It brought so much joy to my heart to read the following post. I love reliving last month’s memories of our first moments with the Bheveni children & bomake. It was such a precious time – as Margo describes – we are no longer strangers, but family. Not only are their names & faces becoming more familiar to us, but their awareness of why we are there is highly evident. We are forming relationships – trusted relationships.

This has been my heart-cry for over three years now, that God would pour His love through us – whatever it takes – so the children would have not only the opportunity for a brighter future, but be filled with a sense of hope, knowing they are valued & are not standing alone. I believe that is happening. Especially when I hear other team members’ experiences, as I’m about to share with you. In a country whose statistics are grim, even threatened by the extinction of the Swazi race – Hope is Rising. Joy is Abounding. God is moving. To the ends of the Earth, the hope of His love & salvation IS growing. 

Many of you are a part of creating that hope. You give. You pray. You write. You go. {You even buy T-shirts & take #selfies just so you can show the children half a world away how much they are loved! More on that subject in a later post.} For now, read the amazing first-hand experience of a woman whose heart has been captured, yet set free to love the children of Swaziland!

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The planning for my trip this year pretty much started almost 2 years ago – the day I got home from Swaziland the first time. I knew with the very first smile, the first hug, that it was not if but when I would return.

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The B-Team (B for Bheveni… pretty clever, right?) really doesn’t get serious planning done until the last 6 months or so before we leave. Danielle and Mike, our fearless leaders, do the hard part with the planning – the dates, logistics, the contacts with Children’s HopeChest, setting up the conference calls. The rest of us get to wait for the details. Once the technical stuff is set we get to jump in and start planning the fun stuff: what we’re going to do with the kids. We also discuss what sort of things we can bring to bless the carepoint and the kids. This can sometimes be tricky for us; our first inclination is to try to collect anything and everything that we can. Who wouldn’t want to drop an entire Super Target right smack in the middle of a field and let them loose? But we have to limit what we bring – not only because we have limited baggage space, but more importantly because our visit is not about stuff.Hygiene supplies and underwear are very helpful but they only last so long. Smiles, hugs, laughter – those memories are permanent.

With that being said, I have to say that I had the most awesome time collecting supplies. Each member of our team signed up to bring different items that we planned on handing out. It’s a collect-what-you-can-and-buy-the-rest sort of deal. I put the word out with the items that I wanted to collect and every single item was donated. EVERY SINGLE ITEM. My facebook friends rocked my world – I had stuff shipped to me from different states! I had a trunk load of candy dropped off at my house! I had people contacting me asking what else I needed. And when I came up with the idea of collecting yarn and knitting needles to bring with I had people donating bags and bags of supplies!

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I also felt like this time around I had so much support from friends and family just in general. Not that I didn’t get support during my first trip but this time I really felt the love. Maybe it’s because people realized that it wasn’t just a one time thing for me, maybe (hopefully) people felt connected to my journey and to Swaziland, maybe it was to make me shut my trap because I can’t stop talking about how much I love Swaziland – I can’t really say. I had a lot of people send me encouraging words, people generously blessed us financially, and there were people praying for me, my family, and the entire trip. At the risk of sounding ridiculously corny, I felt like I had my own little “village” cheering me on throughout the whole process of preparing for, and while I was on the trip.

I’ll skip the details of the travel time (a day and a half? two days?) and get to the good stuff: Bheveni Carepoint. We left Johannesburg, South Africa in the morning and drove the 5-6 hours to get across the Swazi border and to where we were staying. We basically dropped our luggage off at the Guest House (that’s where we stay – it’s like a hotel only much smaller) and headed to Bheveni so we could see the kids for a couple of hours. Our team this year had 17 people and of the 17, only 6 had been to Bheveni – but everyone was equally excited. As we approached the carepoint my heart sped up. I couldn’t wait to see everyone again! My mind was racing… would I recognize the kids? It had been almost 2 years since I had seen them. Would they remember me? Surely not. Will the Bomake (Bo-MA-gay – the women that keep the carepoint running) be the same? Will any of them remember us?

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We had discussed on the drive to the carepoint that we were not even going to take our cameras out during this first visit – mostly because we wanted to get (re)acquainted with our friends here and not have it turn into a circus. Also, we Americans can sometimes forget with all of our technology to actually live the moment instead of just recording it.

I tell you, as I stepped out of our bus and got the first real look at the beautiful blue building and all of the children running around it, I got goose bumps and tears in my eyes. I remember thinking ‘I’m home.’

It didn’t take long before we were surrounded with children – giggling, whispering, hands reaching out for hands. We made our way over to the “kitchen” area so we could greet the Bomake and I was surprised and in awe that most of them remembered me. My highlight from the day was when Gcebile, (Nay-BE-lay) the preschool teacher who I bonded with during the last trip, walked up to me and said “Margo!” as she embraced me. That she remembered my name after all of this time – it was awesome.

We spent the afternoon playing and talking and holding and hugging kids of all ages – it was heaven. We got to see the Bomake in action and even help a little – cooking and serving the kids. We got our first look at the garden that has become the pride and joy of the carepoint.

Even though it was only a few hours at the carepoint and it was just a taste of the joy that we would feel throughout the week…. it was an incredible day.

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Shine On!

Danielle

Travel HotDish

August 25, 2013 — 2 Comments

Do you know what a hotdish is? Its okay, no one really does. I suppose one could liken it to a casserole (for my southern friends). All I really know about a hotdish is that it must contain a meat, a can of soup, three pounds of cheese, and a mystery ingredient that has the addictive nature of crack-cocaine, but good for you. sort of.

So here’s a lot of good stuff for you. My travel hotdish. Trust me, you’ll want more after you read it!

In the last four weeks, I’ve been out of town more than I’ve been in it. Last week, my boys and I took a road trip to visit my Mom in Kentucky. I hadn’t been home since my Dad passed away in 2010, so it was high-time for a visit. Plus, it was great to show my boys where I grew up – in the sweet town of Bowling Green; the birthplace of Corvettes and tighty-whities (Fruit of the Loom). Fast cars & clean underwear always available – a lil bit of heaven!

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Ten days before the trip to Kentucky, Mike & I arrived home from Africa. You may remember me talking about taking a third trip to Swaziland, right? I’m sure I mentioned it somewhere (okay, everywhere!).

My plan had been to take the online community ‘with’ us to Swaziland by posting & sharing daily team stories from Bheveni Carepoint. Fantastic plan, right? It would have been… except in order for a plan to be fantastic, you have to actually have time & energy to execute the plan!

Our team of 17 were simply incredible – in every way. I kid you not. They worked & played together as if they’d known each other their whole lives; except that they hadn’t. Most were strangers from different parts of the United States that somehow God knit together into an extraordinary team.

Before we left, we said time with the children must be paramount. And it was. We were able to keep the children our priority – playing, holding, talking & laughing with each of them every day. We couldn’t get enough of them and they couldn’t get enough of us.

Because the children were more comfortable with us this time, we were able to see their personalities come to life. It wasn’t unusual to walk across the yard and hear several groups of kids singing together (sometimes trying to out-sing the others!). The oldest girls, especially blessed us with several angelic songs, no longer embarrassed to perform in front of us. And I’m certain that our youngest team member, Michael, age 14 spent 90% of his time on the field, playing futbol with the boys! Thank God!

Pretty loves to be held. Yes, her name is really Pretty!

Pretty loves to be held. Yes, her name is really Pretty!

The littlest babies & toddlers seemed to readily find a favorite team member’s lap to snuggle into for a nap or tickle time. Such precious moments; realizing that just like our own children at home, all they really want is time & affection. Don’t we all?

Yet, somehow in the midst of futbol, singing & baby-holding, a lot of work was also done! The proof is in the pictures below.

Several team members have stories to share. God did a work in each heart. I think we’ve all spent the last three weeks trying to process what He did and what this ‘ache’ in our hearts means to our future.

One team member, Margo, was able to put into words what many of us are thinking. Thank God for her. She entitled her first post, “The post in which I try to put my thoughts together but just end up rambling like a nut job.” Ha! I think she’s done an exceptional job of communicating her heart! Should you ever desire to go on a trip to Swaziland, you will certainly experience some of these same raw emotions and aching to step into more of the life God has for you.

Without further ado, here’s Margo aka Sweet Brown!

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Margo and her special friend!

Margo and her special friend!

I’ve been meaning to write about my trip here but I’ve been putting it off – mostly because I’m not sure how to put into words everything that I’ve been feeling. This trip had affected me differently than my last.

2 years ago when I came home from Swaziland, I jumped right back into my “normal” life. The people I met and the places I went certainly made an impact on me and I wanted to share all about it. During the past week or so since I’ve been home I have had many people ask about my recent trip. I haven’t been able to respond with more than a “It was great!” because I’ve been struggling to find the right words… and to be honest, I’m not sure that I even know exactly how I’m feeling. Don’t get me wrong – it was a great trip. Even better than the last if that’s possible. I’ve just had such a wide range of emotions this time around. I’m not sure if it’s because I was gone for a longer amount of time or if it’s because I witnessed several different carepoints – some of which were in an absolutely desperate state – but my “re-entry” into day to day life back home has been tougher.

I guess I should start in a different direction, but stick with me.

What is your passion? What gets you excited? What is the thing that gets you started and the people around you give you the “Great…. here she goes again” look? Is it the outdoors? Music? Teaching? I found my passion – Swaziland – the very first time I saw the pictures from Danielle’s first trip to Bheveni Carepoint. Something inside me clicked and I KNEW that I had know more. More about the country of Swaziland (which, let’s be honest, I had never even HEARD of before), more about the people; about the kids, about what she and her husband Mike were doing there. The more I read, the more I listened to Danielle talk about Swaziland, I KNEW that I was supposed to go there.

Most people that know me at all were floored that I would even consider visiting Africa. It’s fair to say that I am not an outdoors type of person. I hate to sweat. I hate bugs. I hate toilets that don’t flush. I am a creature of habit and comfort. But none of that fazed me as I prepared to leave my family and travel across the globe to a tiny country that was completely foreign to me. God had put it on my heart that I should go and I followed suit. Now, I have many non-Christian friends that will scoff and give the eye roll when I say that God led me there but there is absolutely no other way to put it. I had complete peace throughout the planning of the trip – even when it seemed impossible to find the funds, impossible to deal with childcare, impossible to deal with my own insecurities and anxiety.

So, Swaziland – or should I say the people of Swaziland –  that is my passion. I’ve spent the last couple of years learning more about the tiny country – about the people there, the culture, the beauty and the hardships. I have cultivated relationships with native Swazis as well as Westerners that now call Swaziland home.

Fast forward to a week ago when I got off the plane in Minneapolis after being gone almost 3 weeks. I ran into the arms of Dustin and the kids and I cried tears of joy but also tears of sadness. Sadness because I had left people that I have come to think of as extended family behind. An online friend of mine posted a quote yesterday that now makes perfect sense to me: “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” ~ Miriam Adeney.

As I’ve tried to process everything that I’ve experienced in the past month I have had people ask me about why I go to Swaziland. Why I spend money to travel instead of sending the funds to those in need and also why I go across the world when there are people in need here in the US. I’ll try my best to explain it here.

At least twice while I was in Africa I heard it said that “Swaziland’s currency isn’t money – it’s currency is in relationships.” That could be said of many places but I’ve found it very true while visiting there. The culture in Africa, at least what I’ve experienced, is not like our fast-paced, get it done now culture. Things there are much more relaxed time-wise. You slow down and get to know people. That’s how business is done. People don’t want your help – or your business – until you have a relationship.

Here’s an analogy that I’ve used to explain why people travel in missions work rather than just send cash. Say you have a garden. Your neighbor has an area that he wants to turn into a garden but he needs your help. You could just give him $100 and tell him to buy the supplies that he needs and hope for the best. Or you could take a Saturday, get some of the supplies, and go over to his house and work along side him to get the garden planted. Working together and sharing ideas will make his garden better than what it would be if it were a solo project. More importantly, you will have a shared experience and a relationship to build on.

You see, the people of Swaziland don’t need me to fix them. They don’t need Westerners to swoop in and solve their problems. What they do need is what all people need; someone to come and stand beside them and give them a hand. They need a support system. One afternoon while I was at the Bheveni Carepoint I was talking with two teenage girls. Daylight was starting to fade which meant that it was time for them to head out so they could walk home before it got dark. I had said good-bye a few times, trying to get them to start their walk home, and I was starting to get nervous that they might be out later than they should be. One of the girls pointed to my shirt (that had a picture of my 3 kids on it) and quietly asked “Those are your children?” I answered yes and she sat for a few moments before asking “Where are they now?” I told her that they were back home in the US. She looked dumbfounded and asked “But you are here? You left them to see us?” In that moment she understood something that actions can prove more than words and more than money: that I value her. That I care enough to travel to see her and her community. That is what it is all about. Creating hope.

So why Swaziland and not here in the US? There are people in need everywhere. Literally everywhere. I don’t know why – but the people, the children especially, in Swaziland have grabbed my heart. Everyone has the capacity to reach out… some will do it in their back yard and some will do it across the globe. I choose to be an advocate for orphans and vulnerable kids in Swaziland because I believe that is where God wants me. That’s why He has given me the passion for these kids.

So, in a round about way, this is how and why my journey began. If anyone out there actually reads here, please bear with me. Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to do my best to put my thoughts and feelings about my latest trip down here. Just like me, it’s a work in progress.

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Margo has written several more posts that chronicle the first few days of our time at the carepoint. I will be sharing them soon because they are just TOO good to not share with the online community that loves the children of Swaziland as much as we do! You need to see the fruit of the seeds you are planting!

Shine On!

Danielle

 

Bheveni Children

Bheveni Children

Sawubona from Swaziland!

Our team just completed our second day of ministry at Bheveni Carepoint, and boy are we tired! It has been wonderful to see so many familiar faces that remember us from our past trips. Several asked for their special friend (sponsor) by name. For example, a teenager named Thapelo, asked me if I had his special friend Katherine (kat-rin) with me; he longs to meet her because she’s been so kind to him.

There are so many stories intertwined with joy, surprise, and some even with heartache, but we want to share the top three highlights with you now before sleep overtakes.

1. Sponsor Gifts, school shoes, and backpacks (filled with hygiene items, underwear, devotionals) were given and received with lots of joy! It was a wild day of gift giving!

2. This team ROCKS! All 17 worked together so well, each demonstrating the love of Jesus as they served at their stations, and going with the flow when the plan had to change. The bomake & discipleship team were great too (and very patient with us!)

3. Homestead Visits – The staff have taken us to several of the children’s homesteads. This has been my favorite part of our time here so far – going to see where the children live. Favorite because we get to know the children better, yet heartbreaking to know they are barely making it. Without the carepoint for food, many of the children would be in extremely dire situations.

A homestead we visited yesterday is being led by a gogo (grandmother). Her own children have all died, and she is left with 5 children under the age of 14 that she is solely in charge of. She cried as we entered & talked, saying that just this morning she prayed to God that He would provide food because they had nothing else to eat. It was obvious to her that God answered her desperate prayer through us, as we laid the gifts of food & supplies in front of her that would last about 30 days. I can not remember if I’ve experienced a more holy, humbling moment. God showed up for this family and answered her prayer of faith. I pray the children see the gogo’s faith and trust in their God the way their gogo does!

Tomorrow is the FUN Day at the carepoint! We will be sure to share some photos with you from the day’s activities — just look for the sea of purple shirts!

Keep our team in your prayers as we all could use a second round of energy to play strong with the kids tomorrow!

Niyabonga,

Danielle

 

I Dare You

July 23, 2013 — 1 Comment

For such a time as this… a divine appointment to travel across the earth to be with our Swazi family once again.

 

In my journal, on a connecting flight to South Africa, I wrote this to God… after I wrote it I thought, ‘Huh, that might bless someone else.’ So here it is, like it or leave. This is how me & Jesus hang out.

I’m so completely grateful that You are allowing me to be a part of this journey.

I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why You give people desires to travel all the way around the world to minister to other people – a people not their own. Logically, we should all just stay where we are ‘planted’ and be a blessing in our own neighborhoods. But Your plan is not always birthed in logic, isn’t it, Lord?

You love a romance adventure, don’t You? Ha Obviously You do! Sending your own Son to a far-off land, to a people who needed to know Your love – regardless of the distance, resistance, or danger… no matter the costs.

Why then should it seem odd that You call your children to follow Jesus’ example to go and preach the Gospel, to share the Good News, to heal the brokenhearted? There are no lengths you won’t go to, to share Your love – you’ll even use imperfect, scarred people like me to share your Love with anyone who will receive it.

God, You amaze me, in all your profound wisdom, you really have made it simple for us to obey…trust. Go. Love. Wherever You lead – if its across the street or across the world. That’s sorta awesome.

We each have a call, which is simply what Your highest and best is for us, that brings You the most glory and draws us closer to You.

For  us, part of our call is to go be Your hands & feet in Swaziland, offering encouragement of God’s illogical, far-reaching, nothing-is-impossible love to children who have been born into a country where they must daily fight loneliness and hunger on many levels. We pray our very presence (our hugs, kisses, goofy games, gifts, and time) simply reminds them that they are valued, worthy of love and not forgotten – and that Jesus’ hands-on Love would be evident in all we do.

What is your purpose? When you are alone, what do you dream of? What do you want to be your legacy, that produces growth and hope far beyond your lifetime? I want my legacy to be eternal, so that means there may be temporal discomfort, temporal sacrifices like leaving our own boys for a few weeks a year, or downsizing to give more. More than taking fancy vacations, sight seeing excursions, or even creating ‘fun’ memories with my boys, I want them to live with a purpose – that they were created to be a blessing, to create hope in the lives of others, and ultimately to bring the Gospel message to those who would believe, no matter how far the miles may take them. Let my life be an example of that kind of love. When it comes down to it, nothing else matters.

Perhaps you don’t know your passion, what you were born to do. That’s okay… until now! I urge you to seek! I urge you to GO, find your God-given passions and use your talents for the furthering of His Love to the world around you.

Those unique desires and talents were GIVEN to you by God Himself for more than you probably think. Have a conversation with God. I dare you to ask Him to show you why you were created, how you can be a light in a dark world.

And watch out, because God honors bold, audacious prayers! You will find your passion, what makes you come alive, what you were born to do! Combine that prayer with faith-filled action to step through the doors He opens and your life will never be the same! The best part? Chances are the lives of those around you will never be the same again either, and create a legacy far beyond your yours.

 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and

glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Shine On!

Danielle

Create Hope Today!

July 23, 2013 — Leave a comment
Prayer is the difference between what we can do and what God can do!

Prayer is the difference between what we can do and what God can do!

Today a team of 17 embarks on a journey from America to Swaziland, Africa. Thousands of miles & dollars, hundreds of emails, lists & hours planning, dozens of calls & dozens of bags…

all come to this point.

July 23rd, 2013.

It’s GO time!

And still, without actually creating hope in the lives of the adults & children we are going to visit, ‘go time’ won’t matter much. In truth, the only way hope is created in or through us is in prayer followed by faith-filled action. It all starts with God, and if we wanna do anything of eternal significance we need HIS heart & His plan!

If we’re not interested in glorifying God or creating hope in the lives of other people, we might as well just snap a few pictures of cute kids and call it a third-world vacation. No thank you.

Thus, prayer must be our priority; because God is glorified when His plan is put to action.

Will you join us? We are all on this journey together – some go to Africa, some go to their prayer closets, but we are a team united in purpose, right? This online community has been incredible with unwavering faith, excited support & generous hearts for months now! {My goodness, almost 600 Create Hope shirts were purchased – and we see those Tees popping up all over place! It has been a wonderful example of unified support & faith!} 

Our team has asked for these specific prayer needs as we depart today:

-Safe travels, that everyone makes it to Dulles on time and no SAA airline strikes coming or going!

-The baggage (filled with sponsor gifts & ministry supplies) will all arrive!

-For sensitivity in relating to the children, bomake (grandmas who volunteer to cook at the carepoint daily) and each other. Pray that we open ourselves to be God’s vessels and to being used for His will.

-Pray that we stay relational-oriented, rather than task-oriented.

-That we are a blessings not just to the children but to the missionaries serving in Africa.

-To take time daily to be still and thank and communicate with God.

-That God will be glorified in everything we do!

-For all of our families back home, that things would run smoothly, for protection around them.

-Also for patience, endurance, physical wellness, no injuries, bug bites or illness. AND all of our Gal 5:22-23 fruits manifest…

-And finally, also pray for Mike & I to lead with humility, grace, wisdom & joy!

We will of course be posting other prayer needs, photos and stories along the way. Be sure to subscribe to this blog (right column) so you can know what’s going on!

Shine On!

Danielle

ps. Meet the incredible B13 Team here!

 

 

The Incredibles.

July 20, 2013 — 1 Comment
The Incredible B-13s

The Incredible B-13s

Incredible. I’ve been using that word so often lately its become the new ‘cool’, the new ‘awesome’. One or two syllable words just no longer cut it! This has been a 4-syllable season, indeed! In. cred. i. ble!  

The past six weeks, especially, have been full of incredible encounters that didn’t happen because of my husband’s good looks (though, seriously he is incredibly handsome – see photo below!), nor did these things happen as a result of my organizational skills (ha!). God showed up. He heard our desperate prayers for mountains to be moved, for heavenly provision to be made, for doors to be opened, and He has flooded us with answering above & beyond what we thought we needed. Glory to God!

One of these incredible answers to prayer came in the form of sponsorship.

151 children now have an advocate who cares, prays, and provides specifically for their well-being!

151 children now have an advocate who cares, prays, and provides specifically for their well-being!

As of last Monday, the 15th, all 151 profiled children at Bheveni Carepoint became sponsored!!!!!

I’m REALLY resisting telling the whole story here! As of a month ago, 49 children at Bheveni were waiting for a sponsor, an advocate. That number, 49, seemed HUGE, but the Lord put the desire in us to have ALL of them sponsored before our trip.

We started praying, knowing that in ourselves we could not make this happen, God had to move. We prayed like it depended on God, but worked like it depended on us – our online faith community stepped up and began talking to their friends & family, their churches, their co-workers, and as a result every single child profiled at Bheveni has a sponsor!!!! Glory to God!

Side note: there are still thousands of orphaned & vulnerable children in Swaziland who need an advocate. One such community of children attend Lesibovu Carepoint in rural Swaziland. Out of 84 children who daily rely on the carepoint for food, 37 still need an advocate. Follow this link to find out more!

In 3 days, Mike & I embark on another journey across the world to a land of people we love & a group of children we’ve come to know as family. This will be our third trip to visit, love & serve the Bheveni Carepoint Community in Swaziland, Africa, and we are taking the biggest team yet.

Our team of 17 adults & teens have been planning and praying for months, all leading up to this trip. A handful of this incredible team went with us in 2011 to visit the children, but the majority of the team are strangers.

Imagine that, going across the world with a group of people you’ve never met, to a place you’ve never been, knowing you can’t afford it, not knowing what you’ll encounter… so, if I know anything about the individuals on this team, it is that they are full of faith. And that’s enough for me. I count it a privilege to have them a part of the B13’s (Bheveni Team 2013).

Perhaps you wanted to come on the trip too, but couldn’t make it happen this year. You can STILL come… through the incredible power of the world wide web!

Throughout our trip, we will have an online diary, of sorts, for the team to share their experiences from the day, as well as photos of the children & the beautiful country, right here on Live4Change.net. Please subscribe via email (right column) so you can be a part of the journey. 

I want to introduce these incredible world-changers one by one. And I ask you to pray for them one by one.

Regina Anderson

Regina Anderson

Regina Anderson is a life long resident of Fort Worth, Texas. She is a licensed attorney and currently represents child protective services in child abuse and neglect litigation for the State of Texas. She is a sister, daughter, aunt and child of the Most High God.

 

 

Sterling Brawley (right)

Sterling Brawley (right)

Hey yall, my name is Sterling Brawley. I am 22 years old, a recent graduate from the University of North Texas with a degree in Criminal Justice. When we return from Swaziland, I will be starting a new job with AmeriCorps partnering with Habitat for Humanity. I enjoy spending time with my family, friends and love sports!

 

Margo Brown

Margo Brown

Margo Brown from Minnesota. I have an amazing husband, Dustin, and three great kids: Miles who is 13, Linus who is 11, and Greta who is 9. This will be my second trip to Swaziland and I can’t wait to see the everyone at Bheveni again!

 

 

BushFamilyCreateHoperace2013

Brittany, Pam, Britt, and Missy Bush

Hi, my name is Britt Bush. I have been an N/C Programmer at Bell Helicopter since 2000. I have been a fan of Bheveni since right before the first trip in 2010. I was lucky enough to go on the next trip and was hooked for life! These kids are unbelievable! They have hopes and dreams just like us, just like our kids. And God is going to do big things with this group because of your love and support and hope you give these children. Thanks for allowing me to be a representative of this online Bheveni community!

My name is Pam Bush. I’m an accountant and live in Fort Worth, Texas. My husband went on the trip to Swaziland a couple years ago. He was really impacted by working with the kids and wanted our whole family to experience the blessing of serving at Bheveni! I can’t wait to get there and share with the kids and meet our sponsored girls!!!

Hey y’all, I’m Brittany! I am a nursing student and have a huge heart for others. I love my Jesus, chips & salsa, baseball (Texas Rangers), baking, fishing, and spending time with my family. I feel beyond blessed to have the opportunity to share God’s love with His precious children at Bheveni Carepoint!

I am Missy Bush. I am a college student majoring in athletic training. I enjoy playing sports and anything outdoors. When I was in middle school I began sponsoring a little boy in Kenya and ever since, Africa has had a special place in my heart. I’m so excited and feel beyond blessed to finally have the opportunity to go to Africa to love on the kids and share the love of Christ with them.

KimCarawayProfilePic2013trip

Kim Caraway

Kim Caraway: I am from the great state of Texas and I graduated from Texas Tech University with a BA in Psychology and a BS in Human Development and Family Studies. I love college football especially my Red Raiders. I have worked for Child Protective Services for 21 years. After reading Radical by David Platt, God called me to Swaziland, two years ago and I made my first trip then. I fell in live with the people especially the children. God has called me to be an advocate for the Swazi children and I am humbled and blessed by this.

DeniseCasonCreateHope2013b

DeNise Cason

DeNise Cason. I am from Alabama and had the opportunity to go to Swaziland in 2011 with an amazing group of people who came together through Children’s HopeChest. My reason for wanting to return to Bhevenni is two-fold. 1 – Out of allegiance to my Lord Jesus Christ it is my duty and privilege to share the gospel with the world. 2 – I want to continue to build and strengthen relationships with the Bheveni community. The people there have such kind and loving spirits. I want to encourage and further their thirst for knowledge of God and His love and reassure them they have friends around the world who love and care about them.

 

Bobbie Dyer

Bobbie Dyer

My name is Bobbie Jo Dyer. I am originally from Tennessee but I have lived in Georgia for 15 years and it has become my home. I have two children: Braden, who is 8 and Brianna who is 4. I have been divorced, after 15 years of marriage, for a very short time but this change has allowed me to receive God’s plan and purpose in my life more openly. I have always felt called to do work in Africa and through his divine appointments and persuasion, I am finally fulfilling this calling. I am excited and eager to meet the children at that care point and to spend time with them, by showing God’s love. And I am ready to receive what it is that God is doing in my life as he draws me closer to him.

 

HaidenFloydCreateHope2013b

Haiden F.

Haiden hails from Portland, Oregon. She is special friend to Sfiso, a young boy at the Mangwaneni Carepoint in Manzini. Haiden is the Children’s Sunday School Director at her church. An avid reader, she enjoys reading books about Jesus while slurping sweet frappuccinos on a warm summer day.

 

Audrey Hensley

Audrey Hensley

I’m Audrey Hensley! I’m from New Boston, Texas and a graduate from the university of Texas at Tyler with a degree in education. I will be teaching 1st grade at New Boston in the fall!!! I felt called to go to Africa so God can strengthen my faith and trust in Him. Throughout this summer I’ve grown to depend completely on Him and trust that He is guiding me in the direction I long to be going. He’s strengthened my servant’s heart while preparing myself for serving these children as well as the kids at camp, and that could only be done when I surrendered the reigns of my heart to Him.

Theresa with her husband, Larry

Theresa with her husband, Larry

Hello, my name is Theresa Schmidt.  My husband and I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  When our children were young I was very involved with the schools they attended.  Although my children are grown now, I continue to volunteer reading with children.  I have a special place in my heart for kids and there are no borders to children in need; thus, I am very excited about our upcoming mission trip to Bheveni Carepoint – Swaziland!  I pray that God abundantly blesses our 2013 mission trip.

 

Millie Snook

Millie Snook

Millie– orphan care advocate. ardent intercessor. washington wahini. northwest native. lover of all things creative. karate choppin organic vegetable shoppin mama. happy helpmate to honey of more than 20. thankful for more years than tears with my hubby. baby whisperer. good steward tho not quite martha stewart. skiing scouting scooting along running trails. flowing on the go yogi. dribbling on the basketball court and sometimes the dentist chair. life is not a slam dunk. we all need Jesus. He’s the only One.

Michael Snook

Michael

Michael– good sport in every sport. super sonics and die hard sounders fan. been called mr hops and by Jesus. reaching for the dunk jumpin higher than the bar. always striving for the PR. ultimate goal is the higher calling. child of the One True King. “A” student. BOOM! BACON.

 

Andy, Danielle, Mike, and Jonny

Andy, Danielle, Mike, and Jonny

Here’s our little family, too. We live in Kimball, Minnesota. 🙂 Our boys will be traveling with us to Swaziland in two years. We can hardly wait for them to meet the Bheveni children that have so captured all of our hearts! They get to be spoiled by grandpa, grandma & their aunties in Minnesota this time around!

 

 

Please keep this incredible team in your prayers! Wanna see those incredible prayers answered? You can! Stay up-to-date on the mission by virtually going with us – subscribe to this blog via email, watch for updates on the Bheveni Carepoint Community Facebook Page, and of course our HopeChest Bheveni Community Webpage.

Shine On!

Danielle Brower

ps. for the record, we are not, nor do we think of ourselves as heroes going to ‘save’ the children of Swaziland, even though I’ve got a super cool picture of ‘Incredibles’ at the top! Jesus is the Hero, and He’s already saved them. We’re going to serve the kids, the HopeChest staff, and the volunteers who serve the kids every single day of the year. Our prayer is that this trip creates continued hope that they are valued, loved, and not forgotten.

Screen shot 2013-06-06 at 8.13.51 PMThere’s friends. There’s Facebook. And then there’s Facebook friends… a whole different level of friendship, right? Admit it, there are times we audibly groan when we get a friend request from ‘a certain person’. For whatever reason, you know it’s not a good idea to have them be a real life friend and a Facebook friend… yet, you click ‘confirm’ not knowing what kind of hell you’ve just signed up for. Or maybe you’re bold enough to click ‘ignore’ to your ex-mother-in-law’s friend request, hoping she’ll never know. 🙂

Well, this is one friend request that can’t be ignored. Chances are you and I are already friends on Facebook, but I’m asking you to get to know (in real life!) one of my little friends in Swaziland. They are one of the big reasons I signed on to Facebook in the first place. I think it went down like this.

As irreverent as it sounds, Jesus saw fit to use my LOUD mouth on Facebook & this blog to educate others about life in Swaziland, and call people to active compassion. I have this image of Him saying to God, ‘Well, Dad, what are We gonna do with her? She read that book by Tom Davis and now she’s a mess & can’t seem to stop blubbering for the kids half a world away. She & Mike both keep begging Me to let them help somehow… So what do You say We give them a way to help? She’s not educated. Sure they went to Bible school, but she doesn’t remember most of it, which actually is proving to be to her benefit! I say We let her use her loud mouth to tell people simple ways they can show Our Love around the world.‘ And that’s when God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit look at each other and say in unison, ‘FACEBOOK!!!‘ {yes, I do remember being taught about the Trinity in Bible School, but it doesn’t work with my story, so there. just go wave your theological degree in somebody else’s face, bless your heart.}

Shortly after that heavenly conversation, doors began to open for us to bring awareness to the desperation facing a generation of children who were growing up without nutrition, clean water, and for many, the comforting arms of a parent.

This 4-minute video is my friend request on behalf of 44 waiting children at Bheveni Carepoint in rural Swaziland. Will you accept this friend request to invest in the life of a boy or girl? I always try to convey to sponsors that it means the world to a kid when they find out they have their OWN special friend, who is praying specifically for them, who will write them an occasional letter, and knows their name! Isn’t that what we all want? Unconditional acceptance ~ someone to truly love us through the hard times and celebrate the victories with us. That is true friendship.

Wherever you are on your journey, I ask that you keep an open heart to the needs around the world, and to the truth that YOU are the answer to someone’s prayers.

So here’s your chance! Will you…

Ignore? or

Confirm Friend Request?

Shine On!

Danielle

ps. We will be visiting all the children in July. Each sponsor is allowed to send along a small gift, a short letter & picture of your family. There’s nothing we want more than to make sure EVERY child has a sponsor before the trip, so each & every one of them receives something meant just for them.

Mighty Whispers

January 11, 2013 — Leave a comment
This summer you are invited to play, help, serve & GO!!!

This summer you are invited to
play, help, serve & GO!!

Perhaps this is the summer you set it all aside and answer that quiet whisper inside you that for years has been urging you to go beyond what you think you can do, to go beyond your world, to walk in the shoes of another…

This is your time. Saying YES opens the door for God to move mightily  in & through you.

Destination: Swaziland, Africa

Dates: July 23rd-August 4th, 2013

Cost: *$1724 land costs. This includes lodging, in-country transportation, food, drinks and travel insurance. It also includes an end-of-the-trip game drive in Johannesburg. *Cost may change slightly depending on the size of the group.

 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. Luke 1:37 (amp)

Itinerary: The exact itinerary is still coming together. After meeting up with our guide, our first night will be spent in Johannesburg, SA. The following day we will be traveling five hours by van to Manzini, Swaziland, where we will stay for the majority of our trip. Here we will meet the ministry leaders and receive orientation information, before heading to Bheveni Carepoint early the next morning. We will spend the next week working, playing, and loving at the carepoint, as well as walking to remote homesteads and delivering food. The last two days of the trip will include an opportunity to purchase souvenirs, and a game drive in Kruger National Park, before we depart for the US.

Trip Leaders: Mike & Danielle Brower, Sponsorship Coordinators for Bheveni Carepoint

Isaiah 58 - the BIG IF

Isaiah 58 – the BIG IF

Purpose: Our primary goal will be to provide ministry to orphans and vulnerable children suffering through extreme poverty. We will continue to build on the community-to-community model of long-term relationships with the bomake (grandmothers) and children who live in the area surrounding Bheveni Carepoint. We go to serve alongside these amazing people, not to observe or pity them.

Payments & Deadlines:

Application and $50 deposit (made to HopeChest) need to be sent to the trip leader as soon as possible.

April 30th – Deposit of $250.00 is due (10 weeks out)

May 28th – Deposit of $250.00 is due (6 weeks out)

June 25th – Final Payment of Land Cost is due (4 weeks out – minus initial deposits made)

Send all deposit checks to trip leader, but made out to HopeChest. To pay online www.hopechest.org under the “give” tab and fill out all the information for “trip payment” be sure to use the trip code SZ130704T in the “reference” section, and your name in the Notes field. Please email Trip Leader when you make an online payment.

Flights: Your Trip Leader will book their own ticket first (by appx. March 23rd) You will be told which flight to be on. You will book and purchase your own flight, but you must arrive and depart the same airport at the same time as the trip leader. Appx. cost of airline ticket will range from $1400-$1800.

Accommodations: You will stay in comfortable and safe Guest Homes in Johannesburg and Manzini, where wifi will be accessible so you can keep in contact with your family.

Medical: To have the most benefit, see a health-care provider at least 4-6 weeks before your trip. We follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for vaccination recommendation.  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/swaziland.htm

Travel Insurance: Included in the land costs is basic travel insurance coverage.

Passport: Be sure that your passport is current and has at least 4 blank pages. You will travel with your passport at all times, leave one copy in your luggage, another with your trip leader, and lastly, another copy of your passport with your emergency contact person in the US during your travels.

Food:

Breakfast will usually be at the guest house. Lunch will vary depending on schedule (sometimes sandwiches and sometimes restaurant meals, sometimes rice & beans or pap with the children). Dinner will either be at a restaurant or the guest house.

Contact & Next Steps:

For more information, e-mail Danielle Brower daniellebrower@gmail.com

Go to www.moms4change.net/swaziland-missions-trip to find links to applications, vaccination & passport requirements, and pictures of the children we will be privileged to serve.