Six Months In

20150122_091627 c

Back in Swaziland from two months home in Bethany finds us more ready than we anticipated for doing what comes next.

While home we had multiple meetings regarding BFC’s Swaziland Partnership.  We spent many hours with Barbi discussing the coming Go Teams, with Bill Dillard regarding construction of Siteki English Church and work at Manna Farms, with Tim Brown and Ann Loper regarding finances, a pleasant lunch with Pastor and Annette Harvey (Pastor Harvey is coming to Swaziland in March), Ellyn Marsh regarding Celebrate Recovery, SNU’s Joel Mullen coordinator for student mission teams, we skyped with pastors and laymen from Texas and California who are coming to Swaziland in March, and had a Saturday working breakfast with the BFC Swaziland Partnership Council who laid hands on and prayed for us.  In our home we hosted the SNU student Go Team.  Having all of these planning sessions after living in Swaziland four months has brought into focus not only what we have to do in our last six months but also where to go and whom to call on to get the jobs done.

So, after 20,000 miles round trip we are again in Manzini, Swaziland prepared for the work ahead.

The first four months were relationship building, learning our way around geographically, getting familiar with the culture, and seeing needs to relate back to Bethany.

The next six months we are here to do the coordinating for the coming Go Teams.  Barbi and her secretary Pat Burton will do much of the coordinating from Bethany, i.e.: air and hotel reservations, state-side making sure everybody has passports, shots, that sort of thing.  Over here we will be busy coordinating work sites, work teams, local transportation, restaurant reservations, meetings with pastors, district superintendents, churches, church dinners, Sunday services, and a myriad of miscellaneous minutia, all of which is vitally important for a flawless experience of those coming to Swaziland at personal financial and other expense to participate in BFC’s Swaziland Partnership.

As the days fly by and the task before us unfolds I’ll blog and let you know what we’re doing, and how it is coming along.

One cannot be here in this capacity without being moved with compassion by the needs we see and the overwhelming love and giving from you back home.  Whatever I write about the mechanics of coordinating, intrinsic to it all is the attempt to convey the spirit of love motivating all of us on both sides of  the Atlantic, and I must say more than just Americans because help comes from Europe, Asia, Canada, and other places around the world.

The Swazi people repeatedly, sincerely, and emphatically want us to tell you how much they appreciate all our Partnership is doing to help them spiritually, physically, and relationally to be a well nation.

The needs are great but the illustration of the beach comber tossing star fish back into the ocean applies here.  The needs are so many, but what we are doing makes a difference to this one, and that one, and this one, and that one.

A wonderful song is ringing in my mind:

 Make Me a Blessing

Sing to the Lord #533

Out on the highways and bi-ways of  life,

Many are weary and sad.

Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,

Making the sorrowing glad.

Give as was given to you in your need.

Love as the Master loved you.

Be to the helpless a helper indeed.

Unto your mission be true.

Make Me a Blessing, Make Me a Blessing.

Out of my life may Jesus shine.

Make Me a Blessing, O Savior I pray.

Make Me a Blessing to someone today.

20141106_112506 c

cdg

Ready to Go Back

African sky c Our two months home in Oklahoma have been busier than relaxing and more productive than anticipated. Let me explain.

The flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta was 17 hours. We rented a car and drove to Columbia, South Carolina to meet our daughter-in-law Laura. The day before Thanksgiving our son Dale graduated from basic training at Ft. Jackson. Two days later we all landed in Oklahoma City. As we walked through security Barbi was standing there waiting for us with a bouquet of flowers and a pumpkin pie because I like pumpkin pie. Lenard and Mary Skodak were there with their van to drive us home with our 6 suitcases.

During our time home we had time to rest and enjoy being home but Swaziland was constantly a part of our working vacation. Here are some of the people and meetings we had with them:

Barb Moore for debriefing, planning, strategizing, brain storming, working on finances, travel plans, Go Teams, and conversations about much-much more.

Bill Dillard about the SNU Go Team, Manna Farms, and Sitki English Church building construction.

Joel Mullin about the SNU Go Team.

Lunch with Pastor Rick and Annette Harvey.

Ellyn Marsh about Celebrate Recovery.

Meeting and phone conversations with Pat Burton about dates for plane tickets both in January and July when we come home.

Breakfast with the BFC Swaziland Partnership Council who concluded the meeting laying hands on us and praying for our last six months.

We had doctor’s appointments. I had hand surgery on a trigger finger.

We spoke several times: Sunday school, Sunday night, and two missionary chapters at BFC.

We invited the May SNU Go Team to our home for pizza.

Somewhere in all of this was Christmas with a night of music at our church, a night with Dale and Laura downtown to hear The Nutcracker at Symphony Hall. I talked Lenard Skodak into going downtown on a freezing cold night to ride the Bricktown canal boats only upon arrival to find they were not running. Mary joined us another night to see a play at Jewel Box Theater. Emmalyn flew to Phoenix to visit her brother. Friends from Topeka, Kansas were our house guests for Christmas day.

January 8 was my son’s 31st birthday but we were all so busy on January 8 that we celebrated in advance on January 6.

On January 8 at Hart Hospital South Emmalyn and I had an hour and a half meeting with our extra special nutritionist Meghan Manogue. Before we left for Africa Meghan gave me diet changing instruction for healthy eating, specifically for my diabetes and potassium intake. From Swaziland I would e-mail Meghan questions about African food. She researched and answered all my questions. Consequently when I returned from Africa my blood tests showed perfect numbers and I even weighed one pound less than when I went to Africa. Therefore for excellence in service beyond the call of duty Meghan Manogue has been awarded entrance into the Who’s Who Hall of Fame with all its rights and privileges of germansinswaziland.com.

For four months I longed to see Cuddles and love her. When I finally saw her she wasn’t even interested in seeing me. I still love her but she proved the saying, “People own dogs but cats have staff.”

Our time back home ends in a few days. Our last six months in Swaziland will focus on working for the Go teams. The many meetings in Bethany will help us enormously because of our face to face planning with the leaders of those teams.

Emmalyn and I thank all of you for welcoming us home, taking us in, and sending us back knowing you care about us, support us with prayer, and even read my blogs!

cdg

Thokozani 2015

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-image36277292Remember these beautiful and catchy songs of past years?

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love. That’s just the thing that there’s just too little of.”

“Let there be peace on earth. Let this be the moment now.”

“I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.”

Happy songs pull on our heart strings. They make us feel good; for a moment, before reality sets in. The world is not at peace. Not loving. The world does not sing in perfect harmony.

Innocent civilians are victims of terrorist attacks. Helpless children are born of moms and dads both dying of AIDS. They become orphans homeless and hungry wondering alone looking for food and a place to sleep. These are realities of 2015.

But into 2015 comes other songs, life changing songs, lasting songs of love, peace, and harmony.

O I could sing forever
Of Jesus love divine-
Of all His care and tenderness
For this poor life of mine.
His love is in and over all,
And wind and waves obey,
When Jesus whispers, ‘Peace be still!’
And rolls the clouds away.

It’s just like Jesus to roll the clouds away.
It’s just like Jesus to keep me day by day.
It’s just like Jesus all along the way.
It’s just like His great love

It’s Just like His Great Love
Sing to the Lord
#393 v4

As in other years with tender compassion the Church enters 2015 singing The Servant Song of love, peace and perfect harmony:

Brother, let me be your servant,
Let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let you be my servant too.
We are pilgrims on a journey;
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ light for you
In the night-time of your fear’
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony,
Born of all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony.

The Servant Song #679
Sing to the Lord

This is what BFC’s Partnership with Swaziland is, dear friends. Multiply The Servant Song times all the ministries, all the missions, all the programs, all the institutions, books, counseling, services, and selfless giving of all God’s people in all His Churches all around the world. Multiply miniscule times perpetuity and the unfathomable sum is beyond infinity.

You make a difference in 2015. Hold steady. Keep going. When 2016 comes you will look back and know you made a difference. Even more, you will find in giving you have found love, peace, and perfect harmony with God because, “Greater is he that is within you than he that is within the world.” Time passes so quickly. We only have 365 days in 2015 to make the world a better place.

I wish you a Happy New Year

As a matter of fact, the Swazis have given me the name “Thokozani” which means in siSwati, “Be Happy.

Be Happy in 2015.

Thokozani 2015!

Happy+New+Year+Banners ccdg

Merry Christmas

1628892- cIt is Christmas in Africa, and Oklahoma, and all around the world. How can we not rejoice together in one global Hallelujah!

“More important than man walking on the moon is the miracle of Jesus walking on earth.”   James Irwin, NASA astronaut

Looking out of his Apollo 15 window on his way to the moon James Irwin said after blast off the earth filled his window. In time the earth diminished to the size of a basketball, then a baseball, then a golf ball, then a little blue marble that he could place between his index finger and thumb. To this microscopic speck of dust we call earth in the Andromeda galaxy came God’s gift of unfathomable, unconquerable, underserved, unending, infinite selfless love. His gift, the Christ child of Bethlehem’s manger.

God’s existence cannot be proven yet believers know Him. Proof of an afterlife does not exist but through the ages Christ of Christmas keeps giving eternal life. Forever Jesus remains the Prince of Peace, Joy… to the whole wide World.

From first century Roman oppression to twenty-first century terrorism the miracle of, “God with us,” remains the same.

Whenever, wherever, however the Christ child of Christmas is proclaimed to be the Son of God he elevates conversations, he upgrades civilizations, he uplifts the down trodden, he brings hope and peace to peoples of the world.

Words cannot express the joy of Christmas. This joy is more than the Christmas goose dinner of Charles Dickens’s Tiny Tim, more than the wonder of a child’s face on Christmas morn awe struck at presents under the tree. Christmas is all about love, the love of God come to earth. Christmas is the love of Jesus redeeming humanity, reaching back in time before his birth, extending to the end of time.

Today’s world flashes with violence, terrorism, war, brutality, martyrs for their faith, unspeakable rage and fear. Yet, think of this; Christianity alone has the message to bring all humanity into one family. Not so called Christianity of Crusades, not so called Christianity of witch hunts. Biblical Christianity alone acknowledges sin, offers forgiveness, freely gives redemption, and everywhere it is allowed to flourish individuals and societies are better off.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and two-thousands years later we still behold his glory.

Nativity.png c

cdg

Rains are Coming to Swaziland

th5CZ0FW3P

And when it rains, it pours!

BFC coordinators are all brought home to Bethany to wait out the African summer rains in December and January. The rains coordinate with Christmas and New Year allowing us to truly be Home for the Holidays.

The first half of our year in Swaziland has been a busy time of learning our way around, knowing who does what, adapting to the culture, visiting the many projects of BFC’s Partnership, making friends, and being the onsite people to do major and minor hands on things; as major as purchasing materials or attending meetings and reporting back to Bethany, to minor things such as making sure a UPS package delivered to Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital is hand carried across the station to the dental clinic.

When we return in January the assignment changes and quickens. Two Go Teams are coming from BFC and another from SNU.  Before they arrive in Swaziland Barbi, her secretary Pat Burton, and others are working on their end for these teams as Emmalyn and I will be working on our end making sure every day and every detail is nailed down before the Teams arrive in country.

On a personal note one of the most fulfilling things for me has been writing these blogs. Credit has to be given where it is due and this is a good time to give it.

My daughter-in-law Laura German introduced me to this Word Press website last April, set it up, designed it, and throughout these four months has monitored it, tweaked it, and continues working on photos in the slide show. On occasions when I have needed help, input, comments, or opinions Barbi Moore has been my sounding board but not before my wife Emmalyn proof read and suggested better ways to say things and especially correct my spelling.  Ellyn Marsh contributed to the Celebrate Recovery blog. Pastor Rick Harvey has made himself available and once when I needed his advice he proof read and commented on a blog.

I am guessing that this will be my last posting until we return to Swaziland at the end of January. If I have anything to add over the holidays I’ll do it.  Sometimes a thought hits me like this one at 2 a.m. If I don’t write it before I go back to sleep I lose it forever.  If inspiration hits me in the next two months I’ll post it.  But if I don’t, I’ll be back in February.

Thank you for reading. I’m not doing anything that all the other coordinators haven’t done.  What I’ve tried to do is give the folks back home a word picture of what BFC is doing here and what it is like to be on site coordinating it. It is a labor of love turned into one of my life’s most fulfilling experiences!

Dale

Celebrate Recovery

thTM02VFWV

Cultures differ, problems vary, but human nature does not change nation to nation.  People struggle with hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

Enter into their world of silent suffering Celebrate Recovery.  It is a safe place to talk, to cry, and a safe place to experience open expression of secret pain.  There comes into this safe place freedom to share and in sharing recognition of the suffering of others with their own hurts, habits, and hang-ups.  With others develops trust, and with trust confidence.  Confidence enables a glimmer of healing.  The process may be long but with healing comes wholeness, and with wholeness comes freedom to Celebrate Recovery.

In January 2013 Ellyn Marsh came to Swaziland with two CR trainers Brenda Rice and Len LaRosa. The four Swaziland district superintendents selected and invited four persons, two women and two men, to participate in the Celebrate Recovery training and prayerfully become leadership for CR in Swaziland as CR develops.

The philosophy of CR internationally is; one cannot lead what they have not experienced. Therefore, all leaders in CR are first participants.  It is also important that both genders are represented in CR leadership because men and women separate for a comfortable group place to share from the heart: consequently, their own gender leaders are needed.  The sixteen Swazi lay persons were carefully chosen by their superintendents and told their training would take a full year, possibly longer, as they allow God to perhaps allow God to do this healing work in their own lives before they could start anything in their own churches or districts.  From this first group of trainees two representatives from each district were elected as District Leaders for Celebrate Recovery.  Zandile Mavuso and Rev. Glory Dlamini are two who received this training in 2013.

Ellyn returned to Swaziland in July 2014 to meet with all those trained in 2013 and new leaders accompanying them from every district. Today twenty nine lay leaders have been trained in Swaziland Celebrate Recovery. It was at this 2014 meeting that Zandile Mavuso emerged as the Swazi national leader for Celebrate Recovery.  One of the issues discussed at this meeting was how to make Celebrate Recovery work in Swaziland.  Ellyn shared that at BFC no church meetings occur at the church on Tuesday nights other than Celebrate Recovery.  This allows total anonymity of people coming solely for CR.  It was through the help of two Swazi ladies, Mary Magagula and Evelyn Shongwe, that a plan was worked out specifically for Swaziland where people do not travel after dark and come to church mostly on Sunday mornings.

Zandile Movuso cWith Celebrate Recovery becoming established in Swaziland under leadership of Zandile, let me introduce her to you.

Zandile is a gifted Swazi woman who just last month in October 2014 graduated from Southern Africa Nazarene University with a degree in Theology. During her years of study Zandile was the Swaziland Central District Church of the Nazarene director of Sunday Schools Ministries.  Upon graduation from SANU she resigned her district Sunday school position to give full attention to implementing Celebrate Recovery in Nazarene churches throughout Swaziland’s four districts.

With the training Zandile has received from Ellyn and the work she has done on CR while in school and administrating Sunday school ministry, she is now ready to lead the trained Celebrate Recovery leaders.

In summary, CR was introduced to the district leaders in 2013. From those early meetings in 2013 an organized network has been developed for setting up groups in local churches. They are now ready to begin CR and it will be through Zandilie Mavuso’s leadership that they will taking the next steps in local churches throughout Swaziland.  Celebrate Recovery is well on the way to becoming a significant ministry here where so much emotional and psychological needs are so great as in any country with people suffering from hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

When she comes to mind, please pray for Zandeli, her team, and the multitude who can benefit from Celebrate Recovery.

cdg/em/bm

Dear Go Team,

thL7HGZJEG

Thank you for volunteering to join us in Swaziland where your heart will be blessed and perhaps lives changed.

Emmalyn and I are very much looking forward to your arrival. Already we are actively working with Barbi and Pat to attend to your every need while you are in Swaziland.  We want to satisfy your desire to be engaged in meaningful compassionate ministry and return home knowing you have significantly contributed to BFC’s Partnership with Swaziland.  You will see firsthand much of the work among AIDS and orphans.  You will tour Manna Farm as well as contribute to a hands-on project.  The expert builders among your Go Team will hopefully complete the construction of English Speaking Siteki Church in process six years. On Sunday you will worship in one of our local churches.

Task Force” is our ministry in the distant rural areas where BFC provides food and medical care to those too sick, poor, or remote to get to medical care at a clinic. You will give food to people who have no other food than the food BFC provides for them.  You will also see recipients of Task Force ministry living in indescribable poverty with grace and dignity.  They are miserable in their illness but sweet in their spirit.  Their Christian testimony in the midst of suffering will amaze you, humble you, and if you let it, break your heart.  At a minimum you will return hope more mindful and appreciative of the blessings you enjoy every day.

Along with the work you will do here Barbi is directing Emmalyn and me on our end to make sure you get to see Swaziland, experience the people, food, culture, countryside, and have time to shop.

Emmalyn and I will be in Bethany December and January during the rainy season in Swaziland. We look forward to meeting our Go Team in Bethany and on Skype January 4th.

Thank you again for joining the March Go Team. We will serve you in every way as best we can to make your time in Swaziland everything you hope it will be.

Sincerely,

Dale & Emmalyn

cdg

We Voted

th6XGH9S97

thGGD5RMDB c

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                        Because we care about:

 Our Church

Our Family

Our Country

Our State

Our Freedom

Our Constitutional Ammendments

Our Culture

Our world

Our Legacy

cdg