Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wonderfully Made

Over the past two months Tommy and I have received some very special news... both of our sisters are pregnant with the first little ones.
(Congratulations John & Beth Tinsley and Dan & Megan Quinn!!)
We are already blessed with a niece and two nephews (see pic of Ashley, Jack, and Charlie with Nana and Opa below) and we are thrilled about the imminent addition of two new little ones!

Like any proud Auntie and Uncle, we are more than happy to share pictures of our soon-to-arrive nieces or nephews!
This is Baby Tinsley (Tommy's sister and brother-in-law), due in late April.

Last week, Megan and Dan (Mandi's sister and brother-in-law) invited us to participate in the gender determination ultrasound appointment. What an incredible experience, to see this little one wiggling around! Baby BOY Quinn will make his arrival in early May.

Of all the things we'll miss, meeting these two babies when they enter the world is definitely at the top of our list. However, we know God is good and He is in control. We already feel blessed beyond measure and so full of love for them! Please lift their parents up in prayer--for safe and healthy pregnancies and for preparing them to raise their little ones according to His will.

"Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things." [Ecclesiastes 11:5]

Please pray! We drive to Colorado Springs this Sunday (with one pit stop in Salt Lake City). Please pray for safety for our long journey. We will be attending a three-week training session for missionaries entering the field. Pray that we would be willing learners as we soak in information about culture, life balance, and field work. Pray that we connect with other couples and develop some new friendships.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


My dear friend Courtney Welden competes her first Ironman today. This incredible feat includes a running a marathon, completing a 112-mile bike ride, and swimming more than two miles.

Courtney decided to use this opportunity as a platform to tell others about New Life Homes and raise additional funds to support our work there.

Regardless of what happens today, Tommy and I are so proud of Courtney! She has chosen to approach a demanding feat in such a purposeful way--what an amazing woman! To see her video about the race, check out our previous entry "Tri-ing for Something Greater."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Mighty Moringa

We were surprised to find out recently that the profitability of the agricultural enterprises that support New Life Homes have changed dramatically since we were there in 2007. At one point, a robust laying hen operation was the most profitable operation that supported the farm. Today, the moringa has taken over the top spot.

The leaves of the moringa tree are incredibly nutritious. They are rich in protein, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, and minerals. 

Here's a look at some of the nutritional benefits.

Currently, the leaves are harvested, dried, and ground into a fine powder.
Here are some photos of the moringa dryers on the farm.

The drying process stabilizes the shelf-life of the leaf. The powder is then sold at the local market or consumed on the farm. When cooking, ground moringa is added like a seasoning and the nutritional value of the meal is enhanced immediately--and we've heard it's pretty tasty too!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sometimes the Chicken Doesn't Make it Across the Road

People often ask about what we will eat while in Swaziland. We will eat a plethora of vegetables, a passel of corn and corn by-products, rice, and a whole lotta chicken. Raising chickens has become a very successful income generating enterprise at New Life Homes. Live chickens are sold at markets in the capital city, Mbabane.

Tommy and a few of the farmhands loading up the birds early in the morning.

The chickens raised for meat also are harvested to support the many growing bodies on the farm. Every few weeks the farm is covered in feathers as a number of women from the community help with the harvesting and cleaning of the birds.

Another way chickens are utilized (in a bit less gruesome fashion) is through the large free-range egg production enterprise. The eggs are gathered, cleaned, and packaged on the farm and are sold in grocery stores throughout Swaziland under the much sought after “Likhaya Lemphilo Lensha” or “New Life Homes” label. 

The value of chickens cannot be understated in Swaziland. Whenever you and your family sit down before a heaping plate of BBQ chicken, think about us--it is almost guaranteed that we are having chicken for dinner too. I probably just had to work a little bit harder for my meal!