A very belated Happy Christmas from Team Bonsey!
We hope you all had a joyful and peaceful time. We were certainly thinking of home and enjoying all the photos and messages that arrived .
December has been a busy month but a great opportunity to share with others the meaning and reason for Christmas. As schools break up early here, there is limited teaching in schools about this season.
It has been a great privilege to host the annual community event, Bethlehem in Swaziland. The families came from 8 different nations and explored the Bible story through craft, carols and a nativity play (see below!)
Some of our neighbours and our landlords attended too. We were also able to have some of the children from ABC Ministry. Miraculously God held back the rain until we had completely packed down and were inside, then the thunder hit and the storm fell. It had been threatening all day and with no inside space big enough and no Plan B, we were on in our knees in faith. Thank you Father.
Health clinics continued throughout December. Each clinic was followed by a Christmas meal of chicken and rice for the volunteer community workers (see photo above!). The volunteers are trained in basic healthcare and visit people in their community who are unwell. They are equipped with basic medicines and report each month on who they have seen. The Christmas meal is much enjoyed and they each receive a gift. There are 69 volunteers and counting across Swaziland…
We were also able to distribute knitted goods to families in need. A huge thank you to the Coldstream Knitters and the Love 13 knitters for their hard work and fantastic knitting. You make so many faces smile:
(No smiles allowed in Swazi photos but truly they loved their new jumpers!)
Dean continues to teach woodwork when his students are available. One of those recently obtained a carpentry job at a local hotel. Such an encouragement to see him progress and obtain paid employment which is so difficult to find here. He has some new guys who have asked to start lessons also. He has been christened “the walking pastor” as he continues to walk the area talking about his faith and encouraging people. Hollie dog gets lots of exercise!!
Miriam has completed grade 00 at school (equivalent of grade 1) and will start her last year of preschool in January:
Primary school starts at age 6 and a half, but she will need to take a test in March to get a place. We hope one of her friends from our estate will go to the same school and we can share the travel. That would be 30 minutes each way in the other direction to which we go now!
We continue to work alongside ABC ministry, assisting with whatever is required and enjoying the children.
We spent Christmas Day with other missionary couples far from home. One of the couples is new here and finding their feet. As Swaziland is called the graveyard of missionaries we talked about tough situations and cultural issues and shared Christmas traditions and foods. We were not at all sure about green beans mixed with cornflakes alongside our roast potatoes but hey, we are told its popular the other side of the ocean!! Hopefully they enjoyed the laughter and our crazy English party games. Miriam chose pass the parcel for her game.
As we look back over the last year we are thankful to God for each and every opportunity He has given us, for His faithfulness in sustaining us and for the blessing of family and friends who pray for us, support us and love us.
Thank you for being a part of Team Bonsey and for helping us make a difference.
We wish you all a very Happy New Year and His peace in 2018.
With our love
Dean, Lynn and Miriam