Last month, we returned to Eswatini after three months of visiting friends and family in the U.S. We loved being able to introduce Zach to so many "new" places and people- he was a bit young to remember everything from our last trip two years ago. We packed in visits to California, Pittsburg, Washington D.C., Salt Lake City and more. After the first week, Zach announced "Salt Lake is fun!" We were really worried he wouldn't want to go back to living in Eswatini.
Zach especially loved riding the subway and planes, he was glued to the window watching landmarks pass by. Recently, Zach has fallen in love with Legos --because how can you not?-- so, "Gogo Hom' treated us to Legoland! Zach's favorite part was meeting Emmet and Lucy from The Lego Movie, which is funny since he hadn't seen the movie yet. Don't worry, he has since watched it four times!
Most of all, we had a great time stateside because we got to see so many of our friends and family! We appreciated our time with everyone who was able to see us and an especially big Thank You to those who travelled.
When we returned to Eswatini, we were grateful to arrive the same day as Capital Church's medical mission team. Brian, we're humbled by all the help you and the team gave to make sure we could make it home with all of our luggage --you're amazing, thank you! It was nice to also spend time with K2 the Church's team (another Utah church) shortly after. It's so encouraging when friends visit us, our staff, and the CarePoints-- it's a warm reminder that Christ's church is a global family.
We've hit the ground running and we're realizing that even in Eswatini it's possible to take life for granted. Some good missionary friends of ours decided to move home, and they left a few weeks after we arrived home in Africa. The morning we said our goodbyes to them, we heard that a beloved missionary family of four serving a few hours away were killed in a car crash the night before. From what we understand, a total of nine people died in the collision. Melinda met the wife/mother last year at a women's retreat. They had two young children, and the family was a few months away from finishing their two year mission commitment. It's a sober reminder to not take a single day for granted.
Work life is also transitioning. This year, two staff on Brandon's team were replaced and another two staff will move on to other things in 2020. We're really proud of our staff and we love forging deep relationships with them. It's bittersweet to have the transition because we are sad to see them go, but happy they are moving on to new things. We would appreciate prayers for next week, as we are both on the interview panel to find the right people to fill these positions.
In a previous post, we mentioned moving to a pineapple farm. Next week's interviews will include finding someone to replace Melinda in HR. She has been transitioning into a new role focusing on transforming the pineapple farm into a leadership development campus. Melinda will be the project manager to help make sure that progress is on time, on budget, and keep the development team updated. She was nervous at first when thinking about the predominantly male dominated culture and how it will work to have a young, petite, white-asian lady keeping men accountable. But, we also see it as an opportunity to show these guys what women are capable of! Melinda will be finishing this year with a full schedule, between hiring, contracts, payroll, and more. She's excited to train her HR replacement because our vision is to train Swazis to lead Swazis.
Brandon worked really hard earlier this year to take one of the trickiest parts of his team's duties-- processing high school tuition for our CarePoint kids-- and made it easier, more transparent, with healthy boundaries. So far, it's looking like all of the work has paid off. Yesterday, one of his staff said it was immensely easier and more organized this year than in the past --despite actually being more complicated. What's even better is that now more kids qualify and more families will be motivated to be involved with their children's education. Exciting!
We have more to share, but we're going to try to start updating more often like when we first moved to Eswatini. Let us know what you want to hear about- anything you wonder about living overseas or in Africa?
While we're "in the black," our incoming monthly donations do not match our outgoing budget. Please consider helping us bring our monthly funds into a more healthy place, so we can keep our momentum and focus. We need about $1,000 per month to be 100% again. We appreciate each and every donation as it's a reminder that you believe in us and support our mission of raising up the Swazi people to be healthy and loving leaders.
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