Hello friends and family! It's Josiah here, trying to help Laura out a bit since she's been doing all the heavy lifting as far as writing is concerned. Anyway, let's catch up!
From Birthdays to 10ks, donuts to barbeques, trips through rural Swaziland and Johannesburg and a bout with tick bite fever, August was a busy month!
It's always interesting to look back on a month and think about all that's gone on. It seems it's an exercise we rarely undertook in the United States. Weeks and months seemed to all blur together and we somehow perceived a lack of time to reflect on them. That's one of the truly humbling things about this mission experience. Our want to share our blessings and experiences with you forces us each month to reflect on all that's gone on and take stock of where we are. Here's a brief summary of the month Laura turned 31 :).
While the kids at St. Anne's and Salesian were still in school, until August 10th, we scrambled to get as much time in with them as possible. Laura went almost every day to Malkerns to make sure she had a chance to see her girls, and I spent a little more time on the basketball court and playing music with the primary school kids. Some of the highlights included a 3 on 3 tournament organized and run by the varsity basketball team. Over 20 teams participated and the kids had a blast. The eventual winners were the San Antonio Spurs, even though we're a long way from Texas. The school also hosted a 10km fun run on the day before school let out, and well over 100 students and teachers turned out to run the course in the rain. We finished, a bit cold and wet but feeling great about ourselves. It was a great way to close out the semester.
As soon as school was out we were able to host the kids from the Don Bosco Children's Homes at Manzini Youth Care for a "braai", or as we would term it back home, a barbeque. We grilled 150 chicken drumsticks and they all got gone with a quickness. The kids played soccer, basketball and had a great time, even when the planned movie went bust because of technological issues. We plan on having them back before we head out to finish the movie.
For the second year in a row, Laura celebrated her birthday in a Salesian house. Just like last year, the Salesians didn't disappoint. We went out for a day at the movies and a little bit of shopping and good food, only to return to a dinner of Laura's favorite things, and gifts from the whole community. Although birthdays are one of the days we miss our family and friends the most, the Salesians pulled through for another beautiful celebration.
Toward the end of the month we headed to Johannesburg to wrap up some unfinished business on the big proposal that has been a big focus almost since our arrival. Laura also went to observe an amazing program, Love Matters, which would receive funding if the proposal ultimately comes through. As soon as we got out of the car in Joburg, however, I was shivering and went down for 5 days with what we eventually figured out was tick bite fever. It could always be worse though, everyone around us thought it was malaria! Funny how a tiny insect can drop a full grown man just like that. The experience made me appreciate and marvel at people who are truly sick and who fight their battles so graciously, and thank God for our good health. When we arrived back in Swaziland, Laura got a great opportunity to see the true heart of the country when she rode along with the social welfare team to bring the children from the homes to their families for a visit.
I'll wrap up by saying you're all in our prayers. We're forever grateful to you for helping us take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity. Our time here comes to a close soon, and that will bring with it a lot of complex emotions. Please pray for us, that we can finish strong and transition smoothly back to life with all of you!
As always, we'd love for you to check out our one second a day video journal. May God bless and keep you!
Mission Life: Month Ten
A few seconds a day in the life of two Salesian Lay Missioners in Eswatini and South Africa too!
In other news this month we were also able to celebrate Marie's (my Swazi mom, Laura's mother-IN-LAW) birthday with her. Later, some wonderful friends in Joburg took us to the Cradle of Humankind after I recovered from the tick bite, and finally we were able to witness a true Salesian celebration as the brothers can be seen below performing a song and dance for Father Francois's farewell as he leaves the province to take a new role in Madagascar.