On May 31st, 2012 the Maxwell family boarded a plane and moved to eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland) to live at Project Canaan. I hope to update my blog on Saturday mornings and share, as honestly as I can, the highs and lows of our life in Africa. We are living on a farm in a remote part of this tiny Kingdom and are serving the community as well as the orphans and vulnerable children of the nation. Thanks for joining us.
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Saturday, December 29, 2012
Sometimes things just don't go as we plan them to.
Sometimes I have pictures in my head.I don’t know if I put them there or if
God does, but I get an image of something that I believe is to come and with
prayerful consideration work towards bringing that picture to reality.
A couple or examples would include: Grandma’s Cows in Kenya
2007, Litsemba 2010 in Swaziland and Christmas dinner on our patio last Tuesday
at Project Canaan.I will explain.
In 2007 I had a picture in my head of a team of people from
Canada and the US herding cows down a long winding road in Kenya and delivering
them to a group of women living with HIV/AIDS in order to help them generate
income and to feed their children and Grandchildren.When that day came and I was walking with a switch in my
hand I knew that the vision that had become a reality had come from God.
In 2009 I had a picture in my head of thousands of orphaned
and vulnerable children gathering in a large stadium in Swaziland and as they
gathered together. They sang praises to the King of Kings and reclaimed the
Kingdom of Swaziland for the Kingdom of God.The following year I stood in awe as streams of children
arrived from all over the country of Swaziland for Litsemba 2010 and filled the
Somhlolo National Stadium for a day of praise and worship.
In the fall of 2012 I had a picture in my head of all the
people who are living at Project Canaan and all the babies from the El Roi baby
home gathering together on our patio for Christmas dinner.I had shipped the fold up tables from
the US, we would use benches from the chapel and everyone would bring food from
their own family tradition.We
would grow and slaughter our own Turkey and Guinea Fowl, Helen would make
Chapatti bread from Kenya and Jamie would do some home cooking from “the
south”.The babies would sit in
high chairs and together we would overlook the beauty of Project Canaan as the
sun set over our shoulders.
Christmas day arrived and so did the 28 of the 30 people who
live/work at Project Canaan along with the 22 babies who live at the El Roi
baby home.But the photo wasn’t
quite as I had seen it in my head.
A huge storm came up in the middle of the day so the patio
was wet and wind blown.A large
tarp was hung at one end (the end where the beautiful sunset should have been
seen) to keep some of the gale force winds away so that we could actually sit
outside.The storm took out the
power for most of the day so the turkey never did finish cooking (good thing we
cooked 4 small chickens early in the morning as “extra” meat in case the
unknown turkey was not enough).The
Guinea Fowl that we slaughtered looked more like an ugly Cornish hen and there
was absolutely no appetite appeal with it at all.Of course Helen’s Chapatti arrived well made because her
stovetop is gas, not electric. Jamie could only use oven or stovetop, but not
both at once so the cornbread stuffing made it, but the gravy didn’t (first
world problems?). Of course
with no turkey there was little need for gravy.Mark and Austin Klee didn’t make it at all because they got
some kind of African bug and were very sick at home. The next day I was told by
Ian and two others, who will remain anonymous, that they really doubted the
wisdom of my plan to have us all together, especially the 22 babies part.But I had heard that with the cows and
Litsemba as well (by many).
Christmas day was a comedy of errors in a way.The day did not turn out at all like
the picture in my head, but in many ways it was perfect, in every way that
mattered.Spencer was home from
University. Chloe and Ian were here and healthy.We were surrounded by friends and family from Canada, the
US, Kenya, Ireland and Swaziland and we had 22 babies who reminded us of why we
were all living in Swaziland.
I am sure that Mary and Joseph looked back on the day that
Jesus was born and shook their heads (maybe even laughed?) at the circumstances
surrounding his birth.A
stable?Really?No room in the Inn? No hot water for baby birthing?No midwife?Not an ideal situation, but truly the best day of their
My cousin Kim feeding baby Esther
December 25th, 2012 will go down in my books as a
great Christmas, not because of the gifts and food, but because of the people
who we were with.I am thankful
for all who have supported our move to Swaziland and all who have supported
each individual who has been called here to serve the Lord through the children
of Swaziland.I consider it a true
gift to live here and call Swaziland “home”.I am eternally thankful for having a beautiful family, a
beautiful home and the best job in the whole world.
As we close out 2012 and look forward to what is in store
for 2013 I encourage you to give thanks for the things around you that may not be
as you had planned them, but are still good in His eyes.That is the standard by which we should
measure “good”, not ours.His ways
are not our ways, and His plans are not our plans.
Happy New Year to you all and may the Lord bless you and
keep you as you follow Him and seek His will for your life.
Live from Swaziland … I am off to put new TOMS Shoes on
hundreds of children’s feet!