Can you believe we’ve lived in Africa for a year? Wow. Me. Neither. It literally came and went in a flash. We stayed extremely busy and enjoyed (almost) every moment as we navigated through unknown waters. It propelled us forward at a rapid speed. This was probably so we wouldn’t quit, pack our bags and say “Bye.” The almost moments were SO VERY HARD, confusing, sometimes painful and for me could be debilitating. However, Jesus was with us when we were struggling to make sense of why anyone would move here, experience a new culture and fight some bloody spiritual battles on a sometimes daily basis. Can I say this though?? It was worth it. It IS worth it. These children are worth it. The Swazi people are worth it. GOD IS WORTH IT! Which is why we are saying "YEBO" (Yes!) to another year at Project Canaan. We are also building a long-term volunteer house on Project Canaan that we will be able to enjoy while we are here!! We have broken ground, the foundation has been laid and cement blocks are going up as I type! (see pics below!)
Here’s a SMALL peek at why ALL of this is worth it…
There are 191 children (as of today), under the age of 7 on Project Canaan. They are the “rescued ones” as I like to call them. Each of their stories are heartbreaking, tragic and yet their story has changed course as God moves them one by one to Project Canaan...a place of HOPE. They have names and faces to us now. We know their giggles, personalities and challenges. We are watching the joy and laughter return to their little broken hearts. One by one.
There are 80+ Aunties and Uncles (caregivers) who will raise this generation of children until the age of 18. They will teach them everything that a mother and father could, along with nurturing, educating and most important…LOVING them! This is where my biggest joy flows…I get to see this happening. I have the incredible opportunity and responsibility of encouraging them when things get hard. They have their own tragic stories. I love watching them grow daily in the word of God and see them reach for Jesus and rely on Him. I see their battles, scars and how they overcome. The sacrifices they make daily are heroic. The women, now my friends, are growing in confidence, learning who they are in Christ and that with Him, all things are possible. We’ve seen them surrender their lives to Jesus, choose to be baptized, stop practicing cultural witchcraft and choose a new Way. The Way.
There are 280+ Swazi people employed by Project Canaan. Each of them represent an average of 13 people they are providing for at their homestead. Three thousand six hundred forty (3,640) men, women and children that can now purchase food, housing and other basic needs. They were unable to provide before God lead them to Project Canaan. With an unemployment rate of 70% in Swaziland, Project Canaan is having a huge impact on the surrounding rural communities. HUGE.
There are single mothers and children that live in our “Safe Housing”, who now have refuge, a home to live within the walls of Project Canaan. Their children have food, shelter, education. The women have an opportunity to work on the property. They now have dependable childcare so they can do that work and provide for their family. They, too, are growing in Christ with weekly bible studies, prayer, encouragement and daily discipleship to battle everyday issues.
There is so much more I could write about and not enough paper, words, or time to adequately describe what we see God do here on a minute by minute basis. It is overwhelming and really unbelievable at times. And at times the sacrifices we’ve made hurt. Deeply. We miss our kids, grandson, family and friends. However, God has ever been before us, gently reminding us of a bigger picture. As we have prayerfully considered our next steps, God has VERY clearly reminded us that our work in Swaziland is NOT finished. We believe deeply in the vision and mission of Heart for Africa, the team here on the ground and what God is accomplishing before our eyes.
We believe in the Swazi people. We believe this generation will take back what the enemy has stolen. This generation will take back this territory for the Kingdom of God. Discipleship is a long game and we are ALL IN. We don’t take this responsibility lightly and we have counted the cost. We have said, “YEBO” (YES!). We will continue our work for another year with these beautiful people and in this breathtaking place. We cannot do it without GOD, and we cannot do it without YOU.
We have been completely humbled and we are reliant on God’s provision, which comes through YOU! If you have generously supported us this last year, THANK YOU!!! We ask you to consider standing alongside us for another year. If you have been unable to do so in the past, we ask you to prayerfully consider partnering with us now by becoming a monthly sponsor or making a one-time donation. Please, won’t YOU decide to make a difference in the countless orphans, vulnerable, hungry and hopeless in Swaziland?
Thank you for your continued prayers, encouragement and investment in our work. We CANNOT do this without you! And remember, when WE GO, YOU GO!
With love and gratitude,