Can I just say, Wow! I cannot believe we are at the end of February in 2016! Time is flying by! It’s hard to believe that we are nearing our 18 month mark of living in Swaziland.
So much has changed in those 18 months. We aren’t the same people that left nearly 18 months ago to move to Swaziland. God has grown and challenged us in ways we never knew before. We have grown personally, spiritually, our family has literally grown in numbers…whether that is permanently or just for a season, only God knows and we are trusting in His sovereignty. Our siSwati is continuing to grow. I love to hear our kids just naturally speaking a word or phrase in siSwati, like its just second nature. For example…if someone gets hurt, they immediately say, “Ncesi sisi or Ncesi bhuti”…which is sorry my sister or sorry my brother, a very common thing to say here. Or if it’s hot out saying, “Eish kuyashisa”, or if they would like water to drink, “ngicela emanti”. I love to just listen to them while they are playing…whether its with baby dolls or action figures and they are speaking siSwati for their toys. Just a couple of examples…. I know we don’t speak it perfectly and I seriously don’t think I will ever get all the crazy clicks down but its becoming the norm to hear siSwati and English spoken in our house. My favorite thing of all is to hear them pray in siSwati…
“Thula. Vala emahlo. Siyabonga Nkulunkulu kudla. Siyabonga babe, make, Hannah, Luke, Titus, Busanda and B. Siyabonga tinja. Ngiyakutsandza Jesu.”
“Quiet. Close your eyes. Thank You God for this food. Thank You for Daddy, Mommy, Hannah, Luke, Titus, Busanda and B. Thank You for our dogs. I love You Jesus.”
There’s just something about hearing your kids pray in the native language, that we are all desperate to learn, of the country that God has called us to serve Him in…that just makes my heart overflow with joy.
It’s funny the things that we see or our kids say that are completely normal to us now. For example, our one gas station has no gas or we go to buy electricity and they are out. Our normal “traffic” consists of cows, goats, donkeys or even monkeys or my favorite…. the crazy amount of African wildlife we see just by driving down the road…. I don’t think that will ever be just “normal” to me. It is awesome! If we are going somewhere the kids will ask if we are crossing the border and if we need our passports. They’re constantly asking for raw sugar cane to eat…which since the drought has been few and far between.
As many things that have become normal to us since living here for nearly 18 months, we, as a family, are now adjusting to a new normal. If you follow us on social media at all then you know a new face as been making an appearance in our pictures and you have “met” Busanda. (Out of respect for her families privacy I won’t go into detail about her history.) She came to stay with us in November, and has stolen our hearts. She is 5 years old. Her and Titus are only 2 months apart….yea this is as close as we’ve ever been to raising twins and we started at age 5…Lets just say I have real respect for parents of multiples out there. It really has been an amazing transition where she truly does fit into our family and I see God’s hands all over it…but it has still been a transition nonetheless. I am now homeschooling 4 kids and did I mention when she moved in she knew NO English. Yes, we have some hilarious crazy stories for sure and also some sad ones. I will say nothing makes you learn siSwati faster then having someone live in your house that doesn’t speak English….although she seems to be picking up English quite easily. She’s one smart girl! We would love to make her a permanent part of our family. We don’t know what the future holds but we know God knows the desires He has put in our hearts and we are praying and trusting in a faithful Father.
On a less permanent note…we are also watching a precious, sweet 13 month old, Biyelwe, also known as B. We are watching her so her mom can go back to school. Her mom is so very smart but lost all hope of finishing school when she got pregnant and had to drop out. We have had her since mid-January and watch her Sunday night through Friday afternoon. What’s crazy to me is how easily we can forget the previous stages of our kids…like the baby/toddler stage…maybe that’s because we were so sleep deprived and just in survival mode that whole time or the amount of poop and spit up we had to clean up we subconsciously blocked it from our memory…or maybe that’s just for us moms that had kids so close in age…haha…those of you who are beginning to wonder if I really enjoyed our kids baby stages, I did…no worries! :) So we once again find ourselves buying diapers, getting bottles ready and remembering…but sometimes forgetting…a diaper bag on our way out the door. I love seeing the difference in cultures when it comes to raising babies….no one culture does it perfectly…there are pros and cons for sure. We love having B here, the kids absolutely adore her.
So since we have been here our family has grown from 3 kids to 5 kids. (during the week that is) It now takes us a little longer to leave the house, I’m cooking bigger meals, school is sometimes interrupted by diaper changes and bottle feedings or little squabbles, sometimes when everyone decides to talk at once the noise level reaches a new high I didn’t even know existed, and I’ve been behind on my blogging but this right here…my home, my marriage, my kids….this is my biggest mission field. Someone once told us to always remember: your work, your ministry can always go on without you but your family cannot. What are your priorities? If you go through your life pouring yourself into your job or even your ministry but fail to pour into your marriage or to disciple your own children, I believe you have missed the mark…. By discipling our children we will raise up warriors for Christ and send them out as disciple makers…to their schools, their sports teams, and across oceans.