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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Something has shifted


Photo credit: Bryan Throgmorton
A few months ago I was contacted by a Pastor in the US who wanted to know if we would like a 30 foot high cross planted somewhere on Project Canaan.  They were going to give it to us for free and come and install it, so I said “YES!”.  I didn’t think much more about it until Monday when I realized that Pastors Bill and Carol from Christian Cross Ministries would be here on Friday and we needed to choose a place for the cross.

I met with a few people to get their thoughts and then Bryan and Allen started to slash their way through the bush up a mountain to find the “perfect spot” for the giant cross.  Nothing is easy here, nor was that climb, but once they reached the desired spot Denis and his team went in and cut a path, carried the 550 pound (250 KG) steel cross up the mountain and prepared for the “planting” on Friday.  It was just one more thing on my list of things to do, and I was thankful to have a team of people to do all the heavy lifting (pardon the pun).


It was another hot and sunny day in eSwatini as we made our way up the mountain and then something changed. This “to do list” item became a profoundly important moment in time, ten years after we first stepped foot on the land.  

We are building a traditional Swazi homestead at the bottom of the mountain where our children can continue to learn about their culture, cook over an open fire, sleep under a grass roof and even grind maize. The cross is located above where this homestead is being built and  as I thought about this, I had a sense that something shifted. It’s hard to explain, but it was as if another declaration was being made over the land. We officially dedicated Project Canaan to God in 2009, but putting this cross up, with the blue sky shining and our Primary School children, teachers, volunteers and maintenance crew in attendance went beyond the words “powerful and moving”.  The Swazi homestead represents a new beginning for our children and perhaps this tiny Kingdom and the cross is a reminder of what a new beginning really is all about for all of us.

Painting of the Swazi homestead courtesy of talented Melissa Trivisonno!
I have no idea why God chose Ian and I for this task, but words cannot express how my heart feels knowing that we are fulfilling the calling that He has on our lives. I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I were not here.

Speaking of how my heart feels, let me give you a short Nokuphiwa story that will bring you joy!  (If you don’t know who she is please read last weeks blog at https://janinemaxwell.blogspot.com/2019/03/nokuphiwa-no-koo-pee-wah.html ) 

Nokuphiwa has not gone for surgery yet, and is still having testing done and meetings with various doctors. This past week she was invited to an event for children who have been burned, hosted by the Boston Fire Department in conjunction with Shriners hospital.  The kids were learning to paint and when she came out of the building she proudly showed everyone her very first painting.


“What is it?”  I asked. 

I was told that she painted a dolphin diving in the ocean, and written in the clouds is her name.  Think about that for a moment. Here are a group of children, all who have been burned, gathering for an afternoon of painting, and this child from the deep bush in Swaziland paints a dolphin swimming in the ocean.  It is as profound to me as the cross on our mountain top. 

Something has shifted, or maybe it's just me.

Live from Swaziland … I stand in awe of His goodness and mercy.

Janine


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