Who doesn’t love witnessing a joyous reunion? It stirs up something in us, maybe a realization that it is good to be known, to be missed, to be welcomed back. Watching multiple returning team members from K2 the Church reunite with their friends from Ekudzeni CarePoint was such a highlight for me. The giant smiles and enthusiastic embraces signified so much more than people happy to see one another; it was evidence of the power of relationship, investments of the heart made over the last several years. These reunions were the visible reflection of a great story God has been authoring for as long as only He knows.
This was the first team trip I have been able to participate in without leading. Being a bystander was such a gift and blessing as it allowed me to soak in and appreciate moments in a different capacity: Watching special friends (sponsors and the children they are paired with) meet for the first time. Seeing Kevin, my husband, experience and engage in a setting he has only heard about second hand from me for many years. Witnessing the formation of new friendships that defy cultural differences. Endless smiles on hundreds of Swazi kids’ faces as they soaked up playtime, attention and snuggles from the team.
Seeing the team pull endless details together and work alongside the on-ground staff to provide a medical clinic for over 300 people in the Ekudzeni community was an event to behold. This was the third medical clinic we have conducted, and it gives us an opportunity not just to meet people’s physical needs but also to engage with them one-on-one, deepening relationships and building trust. People from all over the community walked for hours just to receive basic medical treatment and a vision screening.
I watched a go-go (grandmother) with two crutches begin her journey home after she received her prescribed medications. She was by herself and shuffled along very slowly. I was available and had access to our truck so I asked if I could drive her home. Another Swazi who could serve as an interpreter jumped in the car with us and off we went. For all I knew, this go-go lived very close to the CarePoint, which would have been a fair assumption considering how difficult it was for her to walk. However, as she continued to direct me I quickly realized she lived many miles from the CarePoint. She explained how she started walking in the dark at 4 o’clock that morning, and it took her six hours to get to the CarePoint. Over and over again she insisted she knew God loved her because He cared enough to send me to drive her home that afternoon. Such a seemingly simple act turned out to be not so small to her.
I’ve been gnawing on that 20-minute drive ever since… turning over that woman’s everyday realities in my head and trying to re-examine them at different angles. She knew she was loved by her Creator through something as simple as a ride in a truck. Why is it often so difficult for me to recognize and be thankful for God’s abundant blessings? I take so much for granted. I’m desensitized. There is so much I don’t understand yet I think we were all designed with a deep desire to be known and loved, and sometimes it’s as simple as a welcoming embrace or a short drive down a dusty road.
Originally published on Townsend Travels