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Saturday, May 2, 2020

Spencer and Jane got engaged!!

Jane and Spencer in Swaziland in 2008
How’s that for a headline?? 

Last Saturday we had the privilege of congratulating Spencer and Jane on their engagement, and we got to do with 200+ of their little brothers and sisters here in Eswatini.

It all started on a Heart for Africa service trip in 2008 when Jane and her family decided to come on a 11-day volunteer trip to Swaziland.  I remember their family well because they lost ALL of their luggage, except for the dental supplies that Dr. Jay Balasz (Jane’s dad) needed to practice dentistry up at the El Shaddai children’s home.  Their luggage didn’t arrive until the day they left, so their whole family borrowed clothes from other people and there was not a single complaint heard from any of them, not even teenagers Jane and her brother Sam.  I have recently learned that since that trip the family only travel with carry-on luggage!

No one could have imagined that 12 years later we would be living in Africa, and that a "chance" meeting through a volunteer trip to Swaziland would end in marriage. God's plans are SO much better than ours!

Painting a roof together in 2008
Spencer and Jane remained friends, and with the invent of social media they were able to stay in touch over the years.  Spencer’s education/life journey took him from Canada to the US, back up to Canada and then on to Spain to complete double Master Degrees (International Business and Marketing Management). 

Team photo - were you on that team??
Through his travels and long distances their relationship grew and it became clear to everyone that they were in love. Jane came to Swaziland for Christmas a couple of years ago and we got to know, and enjoy this beautiful young woman.

At Christmas 2019 Spencer told us that Jane was the one for him and he wanted to propose to her in June. We had a family trip planned to Cape Town to celebrate Chloe’s graduation and Spencer invited Jane to join us, with plans to propose at the Spier vineyard the day after we arrived. He even spoke to Jane’s parents secretly and invited them to fly in to Cape Town and surprise Jane after the proposal was complete.  We were all very excited about the plan and looked forward to a grand celebration!

Then COVID-19 hit, and plans had to change. Last Saturday Spencer invited Jane to his apartment in downtown Chicago and popped the question.  He had arranged to have the Balasz’s, Chloe and us on a ZOOM call to share their big news (even though we were all aware of the plan), but it was a wonderful surprise for Jane.  




Ian and I had a surprise of our own!  We joined the zoom call from the children’s campus and after we congratulated the happy couple, we asked if they would like to tell the kids?  They said yes, and so we turned the computer screen around for them to see 200+ children gathered to hear the big news!  Following Spencer’s announcement, the children performed a dance to the song “HAPPY” from the “Despicable Me” movie and then Rose and Gabriel presented them with a congratulatory banner and Christine and Shalom presented Jane with flowers from Khutsala, virtually, but they are being shipped to her in Chicago!  Below is a very short post (due to Blogger restrictions), but you can see the whole seven minute performance on my Facebook page from this past Monday.


Jane is finishing her Master degree in Clinical Psychology and starts her year-long practicum in June.  What an interesting time this is for that particular area of specialty, with children traumatized from the effects of COVID-19, social distancing and school closures.  The Lord certainly chose the right person for that role and we know Jane will thrive in this field.  Spencer is working in a consulting position in Chicago and will start his “real” consulting job with EY Advisory in Chicago in July.


We are so very happy for this young couple and thrilled to join the Balasz and Maxwell families together.   May the Lord bless their time of engagement and preparation and give them a life time of love and happiness.

Next Sunday is Mother’s day and our church service will be LIVE on the Heart for Africa Facebook page at 9:00 AM  EST.  Please invite your mother to join you for church on line, and join us in celebrating all the women who serve as Mothers/Aunties/Gogo’s to our 261 children. Don't forget to shop at www.khutsala.com for a beautiful Mother's Day gift that also supports our children.  We have MANY new bright and colorful new products!

Live from Eswatini … this mother’s heart is full!

Janine

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