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, March 3, 2018
I see you.
One of the things I love the most about Swazi culture and
language is the greeting “Sawubona” (sa-woo-bone-ah).It simply means, “I see you”.The appropriate response is “Yebo” (yeah-bow), which means,
“yes”, as an agreement that you have been seen.
They are three simple words that perfectly acknowledge
someone’s very existence - I SEEYOU. In today’s busy world where so
little of our time is spent relationally, I think truly being “seen” by someone
Our home for abandoned babies is called the “El Roi Baby
Home” and “El Roi” (El–row-ee) is the Hebrew name for the “God who sees”.That name is found in the story of
Hagar in Genesis 16 (it’s a great story – check it out for yourself).
We chose it as the name for the baby home because it is the
GOD WHO SEES the baby in the pit latrine who rescues the baby and it is the GOD
WHO SEES who saves a child from being eaten by river crabs.I often receive angry comments on
social media where my readers are angry at the mother for dumping a baby or
leaving a child on the side of the road or in a bus stop, but I find myself
quick to defend those young mothers because I can only begin to imagine the
level of hopelessness a mother must in to do such a thing to an innocent
child.I am quickly reminded that
the GOD WHO SEES and saves those babies, also sees and wants to save the young
Shirley’s mother calls me every few weeks from prison to
check in and see how Shirley is doing, see how I am doing and asks about the
other babies.I feel such empathy
for this young woman who is living with guilt that is seemingly endless. But El
Roi sees her too and I pray that her mind and heart will also be healed one day,
just as little Shirley has been healed.
Shirley enjoying KFC ice cream - a "right of passage" when each child moves up to Emseni.
Healed and restored.
This week it was the El Roi who saw a young 18-month-old
baby girl locked up alone night after night by her prostitute mother.The baby would cry so long and so hard
that the neighbors finally couldn’t stand it anymore and called the police. The
police arrived at the broken down stick and mud hut and found the baby inside,
eating her own feces.We were
called and that baby is now at the El Roi Bay home – HE saw her, WE see her,
and her future is filled with hope and love.
I often wonder how many people really believe that God sees
them?Would we behave differently
if we thought that God was watching us all the time?Not in a critical way to catch us doing something bad, but
in the way that a loving parent might watch their children play out in the back
yard through the kitchen window, smiling with joy and pride. That might be
something for you to ponder this week.
Live from Swaziland … it’s nice to be seen by The One who sees all.