This year has been flying by.
When we got back from furlough after Christmas, we spent the next few months adjusting to new positions. Brandon is in charge of the new media and marketing department (pictured above) and, of course, IT. Brandon has the challenge of keeping old —sometimes ancient— laptops running and slow internet on. His new media and marketing department makes sure that our ministry stories are heard by our overseas partners so donors can see how their support is making a difference and that we are using our time, talents, and resources wisely.
I now head the newly created HR department. I know HR, marketing, and IT are not the first things you think of when you picture a missionary, but good stewardship of employees and resources are essential in any workplace —let alone one that runs on the good faith of donors.
The first part of my year was mostly spent creating an employee handbook and writing the annual contracts for our 90 local Swazi staff. About a third of our local staff are shepherds at our CarePoints; they directly engage our 7,500 kids four days a week. Other staff take care of things like sustainability projects, administration, maintenance and food deliveries.
Now that it’s already September and the year is quickly coming to an end, it’s easy to feel discouraged. Ministry can be hard to quantify and sometimes it’s hard to see where you’re making a difference or if you’re making the right decisions.
In the midst of this reflection, I happened to see a friend post an old photo of us on Facebook. My face, 12 years younger, smiled at me with my smile, but I saw a different person. I saw a young college student who had no idea where the next decade would take her. She didn’t know she would get married just a few years later, have three pregnancies, but only one child to raise, move across the world with her awesome God-loving husband, have amazing days in ministry fellowship, but also have hard days when the reality of severe poverty makes it easy to question if we’re doing enough, too much, or even the right way.
My experiences have given me a clearer view of the world, of God, of life. It took a decade for a bit a wisdom, and I’ll need several more decades to do everything God has planned for me. It certainly puts this last year (heck, three years) in perspective. I can’t be impatient to see change, because that’s not how God works. He doesn’t rush, sometimes it takes decades, sometimes only days. I think it’s God patiently waiting on us to grow and change so we do what’s right that takes the most time. In the end, I can only say that I did what I could with the time given to me and I hope I made the best of it.
Jesus said it’s foolish to try to build a tower without counting the cost first because you may be unable to finish what you started. (Luke 14:28-29) We’re seeing that the cost is much higher than any one person (or ministry) alone could give in building what we believe God wants to accomplish in Eswatini (Swaziland). We’re developing a more accurate picture of the dimensions of the mission and the scope of the change we think God wants to accomplish through us personally here.
We might not be as far along as we wanted to be, but we’re seeing our time here more clearly and how we can work and move in ways that are more effective —and that’s exciting.
Please join us in praying for our more joy in life & work, our staff to grow in skill and effectiveness, and our ministry to push to new heights of service and new depths of God’s love —so we can be refreshed to do it the next day, week, and year!
Please private message us on Facebook if you have any prayer requests, we would love to pray with you!
P.S. Here for your viewing pleasure is Zach, our son, offering his commentary of a Peppa Pig episode while eating a quesadilla: