Mission Life: Month 3, From the Kingdom of Swaziland

Today, January 31st, we celebrate the feast of Saint John Bosco, the reason we are where we are today. Ironically also on this date our time to “tour” the country of South Africa comes to an end and we find ourselves in The Kingdom of Swaziland. There is much going on here and much to be done as well. We are eternally grateful for the first quarter of our time here. I can’t believe we are already ¼ of the way through our commitment, yet we feel we are just now even beginning to somewhat figure out our place here.

This month’s highlights include the installation of a new provincial for the AFM province, lots of meetings and being able to meet with the University of Johannesburg to start a relationship in which they are now going to send SIX interns to one of our schools; four social workers and two community development majors. These will be invaluable to the school and pending this year’s trial going well we will have the opportunity to expand this to some of our other schools. We also spent a week in Cape Town working on a partnership for a large amount of funding which would greatly advance the goals and work of the province here and have at least temporarily relocated to Swaziland where we have been able to celebrate Don Bosco and the installation of their new Salesian parish priest in Malkerns.

Along with this we are learning the names of a most all the kids we get to spend time with on the weekends in Booysens (whom we will greatly miss if our stay in Swaziland is extended) and they are learning about the Salesians and Don Bosco. In regards to Swaziland however, as I type this there are over 1,000 kids on the campus of Salesian High and Primary schools right outside my window. It is exciting for us to be in Swaziland and around so many kids on a daily basis.

We are trying to grow wherever we are planted, but if you know us you know our love for youth and therefore even though our jobs here greatly impact the services provided to them we miss our direct work with the children so it is very refreshing for us to get to be present with them whenever possible.

I hope you enjoy our month 3 video diary for a little more insight into our day to day lives. It’s certainly not always exciting writing proposals and strategic plans and budgeting and assessing programs, but it is the mission we were given and we are thankful to be able to put our career experiences to use in such a practical way.

The last day of the Novena to John Bosco was for family, friends, and those in need. Know we miss you all and are praying for you as is Don Bosco, especially those of you who care for all the little ones and the little ones we love and miss SO much!

O Saint John Bosco, you were full of compassion toward all people, especially the young, who suffered from illness, poverty, hunger, injustice, and alienation. Pray for all in need, and for us too, that blessings of God and the protection of Mary Help of Christians may be on us all, to heal us, to strengthen us, and to comfort us. Pray for our families, especially for our young people that they may be kept safely in God’s grace. Intercede for us in life and in death so that we may eternally sing the Divine mercies in heaven. -Amen.

More fun January adventures include Josiah's birthday/fun day filled with theme park and movie fun, bio-dance class with the youth at Salesian Life Choices in Cape Town, Josiah climbed Table Mountain with our new friend, Pedro, Vietnamese food with Fathers Peter and John, and we got a personal tour of Father Robert Gore's brother's College of Magic in Cape Town! To learn more about the College of Magic and its unique way of reaching youth and empowering them click here.