We first went to Swaziland in July 2014. On June 29, 2017 Here We Go Again. I am writing four months before we leave. Here is how our returning to Swaziland has come about.
Barbi Moore asked us to come to her office at 2 p.m. January 17, 2017. The drive from our house to her office was less than five minutes. It was not unusual for Barbi to want to talk to us about Swaziland, since we lived there for a year as on site coordinators for Bethany First Church.
On the short drive to the church I casually said to Emmalyn, “I wonder if Barbi is going to ask us if we would be willing to pray about go back for a second year.” And that’s exactly what Barbi asked. We were not prepared to give her an immediate answer. Yes, we were open to the idea, but first we needed to discuss this opportunity with each other and our son and daughter-in-law. Our leaving imposes responsibilities on them to care for our house, mail, cat, and more. The Financing for BFC’s coordinator’s in Africa for a year is a challenge we needed to consider as well since the first year we had money and wrote a check to BFC to cover our salary. We can’t do that this time so there will be fund raising in one way or another.
Dale and Laura encouraged us to do it. They thought it was great at our age (75 &70) that we would be offered another opportunity for full time ministry. In the process we agreed that they would visit us in Africa in November if their schedules allowed. What an opportunity for them. On Sunday morning, February 19, 2017, Pastor Rick Harvey brought us to the platform and introduced Emmalyn and me as the 2017-18 On Site Coordinators for BFC’s Partnership With Swaziland.
So what about this? How do I feel? People ask if I’m excited and I say no. I’ve been there, know the land and people, understand inside and out the job description. Actually, more than getting on an airplanes and flying 21 hours to Africa it feels more like getting on a bus and going back to work. That’s my matter of fact answer to how I feel. But, of course, there’s the ministerial cross-cultural, and spiritual part of it. There is the sense of being in God’s divine will for our lives. Having been home for a year and a half when I talk about Swaziland I still well up with emotion, and wipe tears from my eyes. I realize I could not be going back again except with a heart for Africa and a love for the Swazi people. I have a soul stirring compassion for the most helpless and vulnerable of the world; AIDS infected orphans, sick, homeless, and hungry, until people like those of us at BFC who give money and send coordinators to find them and care for them. There’s an old saying and I’m finding it true for me, “When you leave Africa you never get the dirt of Africa out of your heart.” To my own amazement I find even now when I talk about Swaziland my heart is beating Africa, Africa, Africa.
The first year there I wrote about 68 blogs. Before I went I wrote blogs about my heritage that brought me to ministry. I wrote about the flight over. I wrote about first impressions. I wrote about people, places, pleasant things and pestilences. I wrote about BFC’s partnership, how it ministered to AIDS victims, orphans, churches, involvement in nursing, education, dentistry, farming, Celebrate Recovery, and pastoral leadership. The reach of our influence is incalculable.
I don’t know what I’ll be writing in volume 2 of germansinswaziland.com. Enough people are telling me to keep writing, so I will. I’ll just tell you what I see, what I feel, what I think you should know, and trust what I write will inform, inspire and entertain.
Thank you Pastor Harvey, Barbi Moore, and all BFC for the thrilling experience you are intrusting to us once again. My only regret is that by our going a second time there may be another couple who could have had this privilege had we not taken it from them. If so, tell Barbi today that you’re considering volunteering for next year. I highly recommend it. You won’t be sorry. Special recognition goes to Laura German for her assistance with the blog site.
So now then, Here We Go Again. Let’s share the second half of 2017 and first half of 2018 together. I expect we’ll laugh and cry along the way and through it all I hope you always feel intimately involved in BFC’s Partnership With Swaziland.