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Saturday, August 3, 2019

Profound coincidences?

Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku speaking at our 10th Anniversary celebration.
We have all heard the expression “a picture is worth 1,000 words” and that is true. I was explaining that to one of my young Kenyan’s recently, that if you look at a picture, it might take 1,000 words or more to put that picture in to words, but when you see the picture, no words are needed to be expressed.  That was a new expression to him, and he liked it.

I have several “epic” photos that I want to share with you today that I think are profound, and worth many more than 1,000 words each.  Your 1,000 words will be different than mine, but I hope you are moved and encouraged by the short story of each.

The first photo (above) is from the 10th Anniversary celebration on July 18th at the Imphilo (Living) Theatre. It is a photo of the Deputy Prime Minister of Eswatini and me laughing as we finished up the program for the day.  He is a good man, a good friend and a cherished partner.  The fires had already been started up on the mountain beside us (visable to all in attendance) and we were about to plant a tree to signify that all we do is to be rooted in love.  None of us had any idea what the next 36 hours had in store for us, but at that moment we shared joy.

The second photo is a handmade drawing that Chloe made for Ian and me as a gift to recognize and remember the 10th Anniversary celebration.  It is pen and ink on canvas and she wrote/drew in all the names of all 239 children living at Project Canaan in the shape/design of our Rooted in Love theme that had a profound coincidence in how much it looked like her new tattoo (see blog  It is stunning and something I will treasure always.  Thank you for thoughtfulness and creativity Chloe.

"239 children in 10 years" by Chloe Maxwell
The third photo is of my dear friend Cheryl Lucas and me. I met Cheryl many years ago (like 25 years ago) at Pizza Pomodoro in Knightsbridge, England. She was the incredible DIVA who entertained us all on Wednesday nights. I had an office in London then (ONYX Europe) and made sure that my monthly visits to the UK office ALWAYS included dinner at this little underground bar/restaurant.  Ian flew Cheryl to Toronto to perform at my 40th birthday party, complete with her full-length red lace dress and feather boa, and my broken leg from my Kenya trip.  Together we danced and sang the night away, only to put her in a limo back to the airport at 6AM the next morning. Oh, those days … 15 years ago.

Cheryl contacted me through Facebook recently and said she would love to come and serve with us at Project Canaan. I was so excited, I almost jumped out of my skin, and I told her about our plans for Music on the Mountain, July 21st.  My favorite DIVA of all time got on plane and joined the celebration. It wasn’t until the end of our trip as we reminisced that we realized that the Ian and I also flew her to Canada in 1998 for Onyx Marketing’s 10th Anniversary too (!), and now she was in Eswatini performing at Project Canaan’s 10th Anniversary.  Honestly, how do we explain that profound coincidence?

NOT TO MISS VIDEO AHEAD:  Ian just spent the past two hours trying to find a photo of Cheryl back in 1998 and he did even better ... you will see an old video that he found in the Maxwell archives of me introducing Cheryl at our party. Ohhhhh, I was so young (and thin!).  ENJOY!

The photo below was sent to me last week by our friend Jessica Condrey.  It is a photo of Spencer and her husband Seth, taken 8-years ago before we moved to Eswatini.  We were in a North Point Community Church small group with the Condrey's and we adopted them all in to our family.  All five of them came for the 10th Anniversary celebrations and Seth lead worship on stage at Music on the Mountain (with Cheryl Lucas in the photo below).  Epic.  Then Jessica sent this photo from 8-years ago – notice Seth’s t-shirt? It says, “Rooted in Love”.  Profound coincidence?

Spencer and Seth 8 years ago - check out Seth's "Rooted in Love" T-shirt!

Seth and Cheryl performing at Music on the Mountain 2019

 This next photo is of a gift that our friend Melissa Trivisonno painted for our 10th Anniversary. It is the “Ten” painting.  If you look closely she has painted ten of each element:  ten tree roots, ten hearts, ten mountains, ten branches, ten flowers, ten waves of water, ten flames, ten rays of sunshine and ten stars.  It would take far more than 1,000 words to describe this gift and what it signifies and means to us all.  This will be proudly hung in our new O2 building.

"Ten" by Melissa Trivisonno
And lastly, I leave you with a series of photos of the chapel burning, taken by Dr. Mark McGee who was evacuated from our Dental Clinic into the back seat of my car . There is an old song that says, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.”  Of the 63 buildings on Project Canaan, the chapel is the only one that burned down.  The world watched with us on Facebook Live as it happened, and the world wept with us.  

Last night we had a US Heart for Africa Board of Directors meeting and there was lots of discussion of “why God?”, “why the chapel?” etc.   Board member Robert Holmes provided us his thoughts on “why” and it took our breath away. He told us that as he watched the chapel burn, in real time on social media, he felt the Lord saying, “I will burn down my own house so that no other building has to be sacrificed.”  Profound.


Many people have been praying for a double portion to be placed on us and it was also mentioned in the meeting yesterday that perhaps that chapel was too small, and it should be doubled in size when it is rebuilt. We believe that is true.

I have written too many words in this blog, but I hope you will get a glimpse of where I have seen the mighty hand of God in the past few weeks, and how my heart can be at peace in the knowledge that He has been with us at every step, even in the hot and hard ones. I hope you are encouraged by this same knowledge today.

If you would like to make a contribution to the emergency fund to help us rebuild fences, replace drip irrigation or help rebuid the chapel, you can do so at these links:

Live from Eswatini … I have no more words today.


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