Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Preachin' Man

In one of the videos we often share, the children living at New Life Homes share what they want to be when they grow up.

Siboniso wants to be a judge or maybe a scientist.
Zweli wants to be a DJ.
Mkhuleko wants to be "the pastor... the preachin' man."

This video, shot by Aaron Kopp (son of Peter and Mary Jean, who we'll be serving alongside), features Mkhuleko in his element.

In a country that claims the lowest life expectancy in the world, with an average of only 31.88 years, planning for the future does not always come easily for young people. However, the children at New Life Homes are encouraged to dream and hope for a future that employs their many passions, gifts, and talents.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Northern California Exposure

Nobody makes you feel more at home than the people who live in Humboldt County. Those folks are passionate about a whole host of causes--even if some might make you scratch your head. One cause that gets them fired up is supporting their own. As many of you know, Mandi was born and raised in Humboldt and has maintained many friendships over the years. With the help of Mandi’s awesome parents, Elvis and Linda, and some very generous volunteers, we held a benefit barbeque last weekend at Christ Lutheran Church in Fortuna. We even had a country gospel band, lead by Pastor Paul Demant!

Elvis and Linda served a wonderful meal that received rave reviews--especially Elvis’ chicken! We enjoyed reconnecting with old friends, and meeting some new friends as well. George and Elna Demant (pictured below) have been strong supporters of New Life Homes since we served there in 2007. Elna was so moved by New Life Homes' ministry, she has been sponsoring a child living "on the farm" for the past five years! She also regularly sends care packages to the children there. We are so encouraged by George and Elna's commitment to caring for Swazi orphans!

On Sunday we attended services both at Christ Lutheran Church as well as Hydesville Community Church--where Mandi attended youth group as a high school student. After each service we were able to visit with people who wanted to learn more about how God is moving in Swaziland. We hung out in Hydesville for their second tailgate party of this year (we were also at the first!) and ate some delicious food including tri-tip wrapped in a pancake with bbq and chili sauce.

Yeah, it was pretty delicious. Humboldt Countians, thank you all for your hospitality and most of all for your prayers and support!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Lesson on Treasure

The Bottoms' hit a major milestone this weekend--our first yard sale! And boy, was it entertaining. Not only did we love mixing and mingling with our bargain-hunting visitors, but we unloaded some serious stuff. We also unloaded our neighbors unwanted belongings (with their consent) which they cheerfully donated to support
New Life Homes

The funny thing is, we haven't missed a thing. Okay, maybe one thing--our wall clock. Yes, we're realizing the clock was worth much more than the $5 we received from it.
At least we have a new excuse for being late!

On the second day, we did some serious mark downs. A young man could not resist an ornate wine stopper that had been $9 on Saturday, but was marked down to $0.50 on Sunday. That's 95% off. Talk about a deal! Here is a picture of us among our serious shoppers:

This was another necessary step in preparing to leave for Swaziland at the end of the year. We have decided not to rent a storage unit, and will be relying on the generosity of friends and family who have agreed to store, borrow, or buy all of our earthly possessions. We're finding this to be a healthy, yet somewhat uncomfortable lesson on how much we value our stuff. Isn't amazing how much we accumulate and how tightly we hold on to it?

As Jesus so aptly put it, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

We celebrated the completion of a successful yard sale with dinner at our favorite (and only) bike-themed pizza place.
We had a lot to celebrate

Housing update: Thank you for your prayers! We officially confirmed our housing arrangement though the fall today, with only a couple weeks to spare.