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Saturday, November 9, 2019

What if?


We are in Toronto this weekend … our old “stomping grounds”, and it’s weird.

I remember always wanting to live in Toronto because I thought it was the greatest city in the world. I loved the noise, the high-rise buildings, musical theatre, the speed of life, nice restaurants and skanky bars that we would visit to listen to live music.  I didn’t mind the traffic or the cold weather or the snow, I just loved Toronto.

But it seems I have changed.

I cannot express how happy I am to have our family together. Spencer flew in from Chicago, Chloe drove in from St. Catherine’s and Ian and I drove from Ottawa, after spending a few days visiting the Maxwell family and our friends from the Egg Farmers of Canada.  Nothing makes me happier than having the four of us together, anywhere in the world and for any amount of time.  But I am starting to get homesick.  I miss my little ones. I miss their squeals of joy, their never-ending chatter, their hugs, their innocence and I miss my Swazi friends and family. 

There is a purity of spirit that I feel when I am at Project Canaan, and while most people in the country are living in abject physical poverty, their internal joy overflows from their smiles to their words of encouragement and thanksgiving.  But I don’t see that in North America. 

As we have traveled the past 20 days to eight cities in Canada and the US, I can’t help but notice the poverty all around me. It’s not poverty of income or wealth, it’s a poverty of spirit.  I got in the elevator to get to the AirBnB that we are staying in and I greeted the people and they just looked away as if I was crazy.  Everyone is moving so quickly to get to the next thing on their schedule, but rarely taking the time to be present where they are (I too am guilty of that!). I’m not saying everyone is like that, and I am not doing a good job putting words to my thoughts, but I feel a sadness and emptiness here that I just don’t feel back in Eswatini.   

I often wonder “what if” we had said NO to this calling to serve “the least of these”?  I would never have seen the miracle of Princess walking or Holly and Ivy hearing or Jonathan being raised from the dead.  I would never have understood how “life-giving” fresh water really is or how terrifying fire can be or how often a chicken lays an egg (!).  But most importantly, I may never have learned that God IS our provider, His grace IS sufficient, and His mercy is new every morning.  I have learned that from living in Africa.

 

This weekend we will see friends from high school, our business days and our life in Toronto. There is no way for me to adequately explain the joy (or the sorrow) of living in Eswatini, but hopefully they will see it in our eyes and hearts.

To my Swazi friends and family – you have changed me, and I will be forever grateful for your patience, your kindness, your grace and your love.

Live from Toronto … I don’t miss the cold weather!

Good morning Ottawa.

Janine

 PS - if you want to come visit us tonight or tomorrow please check this link for times and locations. 



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