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, June 6, 2015
I felt so guilty for so long.
The sunset from our room tonight in Koh Samui, Thailand.
When I first stepped foot on the African continent my life
was changed forever.I
distinctly remember thinking that I could not possibly pile presents under the Christmas
tree as I had in past years for our young children (who didn’t “need” anything
to start with).The thought of
hanging hundreds of lights, decorating the house with expensive bobbles and
piling our family table up with delicious and extravagant treats, when millions
of children in Africa had NO food at all, just made me sick to my stomach.
I couldn't face Christmas 2003 in my big, fancy home and
instead our family went to a beach resort so I could escape (not that it was in
any way cost saving!) and think about how I would change “Christmas-future” for
the Maxwell family.
After spending too much money on that trip to the beach I
decided that I could never take a vacation again, while millions of children in
Africa had no food.I am not
saying that my thinking was sound, fair to the rest of the family or that I was
trying to be a Super-Christian, I just felt guilty.
Most of you know the story from my first book, “It’s Not
Okay With Me”, but we made some major lifestyle changes that included
everything from eating frozen pizza rather than ordering in, eliminating fancy
vacations, getting rid of the nice cars and eventually, moved to Africa.
Ian and I built a lovely home here in Swaziland, with funds
that we had saved from our business days.It’s technically the property of Heart for Africa, but we live in it as
the Directors of the project.I
give thanks for the safety, beauty and comfort of this home every day, but
there are days that I feel guilty for living in such a lovely place when I have
visited homes where the roofs have gaping holes and the mud walls are
Holidays are another source of guilt for me, and that leads
me to this week’s blog.During our
business days our family used to go on great holidays to the beach, or exotic
destinations, but we stopped doing that in 2003 after “Africa” happened to
me.I could not justify spending
money for four of us to fly somewhere and just have fun.But then time passed, life continued,
our family lives on three different continents and I realized we are missing
out on family time, memory making and renewal of spirit.
So I am trying an experiment.Last week Spencer, Ian and I flew to Taiwan to attend
Chloe’s High School graduation.After a few whirlwind days in Taiwan we headed to Vietnam to visit the
place where our friend/hero/favorite Uncle, Captain Jerry Coffee, was a POW for
7-years.I am so glad we made the
decision to visit this incredibly important place and learn more about the
history of this part of the world.Chloe even spotted Jerry’s photo on the wall in what is left of the
prison – a photo that Jerry himself had never seen.The visit had a significant impact on all of us.
Ric shaw ride in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Last night we started a weekend of celebration for Spencer’s
21st birthday in Bangkok, Thailand.We were stunned by the view at “Skybar” on a rooftop made famous
by the movie Hangover II (I debated telling you that part).The view was breathtaking, spectacular
and left us all speechless (which doesn’t happen much in our family!). Today we
flew to the Island of Koh Samui in the southern part of Thailand.
The sun has already set as I sit and write this blog, and it
is 9PM in Thailand, 3PM in Swaziland and 9AM in Georgia.We are watching “Anna and the King” as
we continue to learn about, and embrace Thai history and culture.I have no words to explain how awesome
this time is together.
We are having fun as a family.We are learning and growing and laughing and eating and
enjoying each other’s company.In
a week we will all be back in Swaziland for 10 days, and then Spencer heads
back to Georgia and Chloe goes to Canada.Everyone is back to “real life”.We don’t know if and when we will have an opportunity to be together
again, but today we give thanks.
I might still feel pangs of guilt (I cannot say that I
don’t), but I am giving thanks in a VERY BIG WAY for the ability to enjoy this
time as a family and for His provision.