A little over 5 years ago, I began my journey with Hosea’s Heart in Swaziland. It’s crazy to think back on that time. God changed me in so many ways when I thought I was going to change others and help to start a girls home. Throughout that first year as we strove to start up the girls home, it was a struggle… but finally, with 2 months left in my year in Swaziland, the girls home opened! The first 5 girls entered the home around April 13, 2013, and I headed home to the States in June of that year. Fast forward 4 years from that date, and I was heading back Swaziland…but this time with my husband Dustin. It was Dustin’s first time there, and it was definitely God’s timing that brought us back. I have wanted to return ever since I left in 2013, but God had different plans. He was not only preparing my heart to return, but He also was preparing my husband’s heart to say YES to going with me. It was a great trip. We went for 10 days, from April 19 – 30, 2017. And it wasn’t until we arrived and I was talking with Mary-Kate that we realized it had been 4 years almost to the date that the home had opened its doors.
It was strange returning to Swaziland at first. It felt like I was home, but it also felt very different. Those first few days were taken in silence as I took everything in. I had had dreams about being in Swaziland again since I had left in 2013, so it was a strange but wonderful feeling to be back, and since I had last been there, the girls home grew from 5 girls to 17 girls! It was truly amazing to go there every day and see the girls interact with each other; they look and act like a family. It was really awesome to be a part of their lives while we were there for 10 days. On the last night, we had a 4-Year Anniversary Celebration in honor of the girls home opening four years prior. It was wonderful to see all of the girls participate and share what the home means to them. It brought me to tears how open and honest the girls were with us. We also got to hear them sing praise and other songs. It truly was a blessing to be a part of that night.
On a more logistical side of things, looking back 4 years ago to now, the home seemed to be running well. They have a new house mother/Auntie, who seems great for the girls. They also have more yearly interns/volunteers; I was pretty much on my own after the first month in my 2012/2013 trip, (obviously with the support of Hosea’s Heart and Mary-Kate who came to visit during that time.) I think it’s great that there are multiple interns and that we are wanting to add more interns and volunteers to the mix. As we grow and expand the girls home and ministry, we will definitely need more hands to help out.
Returning to Swaziland with my husband was more than I could have asked for from God. He has blessed me over and over again with these girls. Yes, they may be hurting and struggling through their life experiences, but the one thing I saw when I was there in 2012/2013 and again in 2017 is that the girls in the home are full of JOY, love for God, and a passion that can’t be contained. And all the glory goes to God for providing a home for the girls to be safe in and to learn that they are loved and cared for by Him.