Anywhere you go, it is really the people that make a place.
I have been stewing on the idea of writing a blog entry about the people we live and work with for some time now. Perhaps a form of “show and tell” … allowing our people at home the chance to look into the window of our relationships and see who it is we’ve come to love and now have to leave. No matter how you shake it out, goodbyes are hard.
All of these folks are hard-working people, dedicated to the mission of serving children with the love of Christ. It is with joy and pleasure that we worked alongside these people and with a heavy heart that we say farewell.
The moms…. Over the course of our stay here in Swaziland, I have learned something about these women. Strength. Courage. Dedication. Commitment. Compassion. They love the children of New Life as if they were their own.
I love Make Shongwe for her soft heart and loving soul. She bathes the kids with gentle touches and encouraging words.
I am amazed at the hard-working character of Make Johnston. She is rock-soild and she can be counted on for anything.
Make Msibi (Happy) has a leadership that the entire farm respects and she is looked to for advice, decisions and knowledge. Her longevity deserves respect… it is tough work and she is still here.
And I love Make Khumalo’s spirit. She has an insightfulness that seems to give her the ability to look into the window of your heart. She understands people and her honesty (sometimes brutal!) is spot-on. She is a truth-speaker.
As my days at the school were coming to a close, I realized just how much I loved the people I worked with everyday. I spent most of my time with the teachers at the school and can count each one of them as a friend.
Make Dlamini was (is) my first Swazi friend. I’m pretty sure she knows everything there is to know about Swaziland and Rob and I both learned SO MUCH about Swazi culture from her. She is thoughtful and considerate. When all the rest of us get caught up in the business of teaching, she is the one who will remember an important detail concerning a friend. I love her sense of humor and her deep desire to bring people together and develop community.
Make Dludlu also needs special recognition as the new head teacher of the school. Full of energy and enthusiasm, she leads the school with gusto. I’ve grown to respect and love her. She is easy to talk to and is willing to share her own heart. Make Dludlu is a fantastic addition to the school and she will take New Life Primary to the next level… and beyond.
And of course, how can we neglect the children of New Life Homes and the students of the Primary school that come in from the community? What joy. I think each one has captured my heart.
Rob forged some pretty special relationships too. Mthi, Ray, and Bomber are also my friends, but Rob spent countless hours working alongside these guys and laughing at who-knows-how-many dumb jokes. If you know Rob, you know about the humor…
The truth is, these guys are first-rate. They work hard, but not just work… they work for the greater good. They look out for the farm in a way that is always seeking out ways to improve. It is not just that they show up for a paycheck, but they participate, demonstrating to the kids (and everyone else) what it means to have skin in the game. Thanks guys… for a job well done.
Finally, I must say something about our neighbors. They weren’t a part of the New Life Community, but they were very much a part of our lives. They listened and shared. They cared for our kids…even babysitting for days at a time. They basically walked this season with us and to be honest I am not sure how we would have fared without them. They are generous, considerate, and offer a servant’s heart. We will miss you Sean and Nicole!
And though we come to the end of this chapter, we are not done with the story. As God is closing doors for the Taylor Family in Swaziland, we clearly see Him opening doors for us elsewhere.
We are now in the States and with the help of our sending agency, our church, and the prayers of those around us, we are participating in a time of home assignment. We continue to minister and we need your prayers and continued financial support as we finish the discernment process for our next assignment. We have been blessed over and over again as you all minister to us and we look forward to sharing God’s plan for us more fully over the coming weeks!
Now the advent season is here and Christmas is approaching. Will you consider a year-end Christmas gift for the Taylor Tribe? We continue to raise support in preparation for God’s call on our family. Take a look at our sending agency’s website… they make it easy.
As always, we love you and we will see you SOON!