Sunday, August 16, 2015

Packing A Fresh Perspective

I’ve noticed that guests have the awesome ability to help us see where we live and what we do with a fresh perspective. Last month, we had a short-term team from University Covenant Church visit us at New Life Homes. They enthusiastically joined us in our life here, from the mundane to the exceptional—and helped us recapture a fresh perspective about ministry in Swaziland. 

Nick Bua, Mandi, Christine and Andres Zarate, Ellie Kammert, Amber McIntyre, Tommy, and Rod Layman

From the get-go they were intent on showering the children with tangible love. They brought soccer cleats, shirts, and gear for all the kids. I think we’ve mentioned that soccer is practically an obsession here. The kids were absolutely delighted.

One of the most exciting projects they organized was the purchase and construction of a new play structure for the children’s homes. We’ve had the same structure for at least ten years, and it was beyond the point of repair. Check out the wonderful gift they left us!

One of our visitors, Andres, was kept very busy with welding projects. He even trained a few of the older children and employees in some basic skills. After working some incredibly long days, it was amazing to see what he was able to accomplish!

The team completed signs that have been on our “to-do” list for over a year. Now, when you drive by New Life Homes, you know exactly what we have for sale. The signs turned out really well, and we’ve already had new customers because of them.

Some of the ladies kept the children busy after school and on the weekend with crafts and dance classes. They learned everything from ballet to hip-hop. I also appreciated help in my classroom, with team members teaching lessons, listening to children read, and marking papers.

We finished their two-week stay here with a weekend trip to Hlane, one of Swaziland’s game reserves. Tommy and I especially enjoyed getting to spend some downtime with them. What a special group of people! They worked selflessly and really encouraged us with their love, support, and heart for missions. 

Did I mention they even brought an entire baby shower with them? We were blown away by the gifts they carried with them, from our family at home and our “extended” family at UCC. We felt really blessed!


  1. I was just talking to Lauren about you guys yesterday! It sounded like a great trip. Thanks for the update! :)

  2. This brought tears - everything was planned and thought out so well for your specific needs - right down to the loving affections of a baby shower! Thanks for sharing about this special visit from "home."

    *we're friends of Peter and MaryJean :)

  3. Thank you so much for having us--you two were great hosts! It was an amazing trip! I'm also very glad to hear that the signs helped bring in new customers. :D