Serving Those Who Serve
I had the opportunity to travel to Swaziland for two weeks this past February and March 2017 to “serve” in whatever way Mary-Kate and the Hosea’s Heart team needed. I knew I would be there as a “background” person – to assist – as my husband, Steve worked with Mary-Kate and the Builder/Architect… but I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like. I am a “doer” by nature, so I must say, “being” is something I’ve always had to work on. Always be careful when you go on a “Mission Trip” with your own vision, because God usually has a different plan.
My plan was for ME to purchase food to prepare freezer meals for Mary-Kate to use after we left, and for ME to take her out and treat her to simple surprises. Well all of “my” plans changed, as God prepared me for how HE wanted me to serve. How do you serve those who serve others, you ask? Humbly.
It is always humbling for me watching the life Mary-Kate and the Hosea’s Heart team live: usually giving up most comforts of “home” while serving the girls of the Litsemba Lemphilo home and the young women attending the “Blossom House Training Center”. Like I mentioned, MY vision for this trip was to assist in whatever was needed to accomplish the daily tasks of running Hosea’s Heart. I watched, and I learned. Yes, you are never too old to learn.
Steve and I had the pleasure of living with Mary-Kate, Lucia, and Benji for those two weeks, so I was able to watch up close. I watched as Mary-Kate gave up her bed/bedroom for us so we could sleep in comfort. I watched as I found out the answer to my question, “How in the world can she get done what she does in a day?” I watched her get up early each morning to start her day in prayer while getting Benji and Lucia breakfast before sending Lucia off to school. I watched her pick a favorite Bible verse for the day and construct an artful drawing of that verse to help remind her of God’s faithfulness to her. I watched her highlight and focus on what she felt God telling her for the day, and then off she went. I watched her walk down a dirt road to teach English as a second language to adult students of ACC (African Christian College). I watched as she returned from there, ready to snatch a simple lunch I prepared for her before she met two of the girls from the Litsemba Lemphilo at her flat to homeschool them for the afternoon, oftentimes not getting done until 3:00. I must say, watching one’s adult child do what they love best is one of the most fulfilling and wonderful moments. Mary-Kate shines when she teaches. She pours herself into the students and into learning herself. She has always loved teaching, and you can tell it is a highlight of her day. Then I watched her head out in her “Noah” van into town or to the girls’ home to have Bible study or team meetings, etc. When she returned at night, she tucked the little ones in bed, sang them songs and taught them prayers. Then I watched her finish her day in prayer, as she read the evening prayers from the Magnificat I gave her from Grandma Martin.
Besides all of the “watching” I did, my SERVING involved simple things like: cooking all day, creating favorite meals to freeze for Kate to enjoy for the next month, (only to have the electricity go out for the next 18 hours,) and washing and hanging out clothes between rain storms. (You’ve got to come to Swaziland to see their rain storms; nothing like in the U.S!) Serving looked like cleaning up the house so Mary-Kate didn’t have to worry about cockroaches, playing with Benji and Lucia so she could get some more details planned out for the “New Roots” expansion with her Dad, and helping Ayanda apply for colleges. “Serving” was listening to Kate play music with the kids on the guitar and Jambe. It was visiting with Tenele and Ayanda as they each shared their recent life situations that brought both excitement and fear. Serving was sitting with Shashie as she showed me her beautiful beaded creations and talking with excitement about how BB helped set up her own business/personal banking accounts. Serving was humbly stepping back from “MY dream” by going to the Blossom House Training Center to see how Rachel and Mbally, along with others, continue to grow the “Tenele’s Treasures” product line without me. And so it went for two short weeks.
It was by no means a glamorous trip, but it was probably the most fulfilling trip of the four that I have had so far. Oh, and as far as MY plans of buying food and treats for Mary-Kate… well, like I said, God had other plans. I HAD TO RELY ON GOD to provide through OTHER PEOPLE, since my debit card wouldn’t work the whole time we were there. We also never got the opportunity for me to exchange my dollars into Swazi currency so I couldn’t treat her anywhere. As a matter of fact, she ended up treating us. Talk about HUMBLING!
God taught me the joy of “being” and quiet serving. It was not as I had planned, only much better and more fulfilling to see God work in His timing and in His way, not mine.
(Submitted by Peg Martin)