Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Amazing Clouds

Today has been a rainy misty day and we love it. Our dauther-in-law, Ruth has always said she liked the cloudy days better than the bright sunshine. Well Ruth we now understand it better. We are beginning to enjoy the cloudy days rather than the sunny ones. Here are some clouds we have seen but not today. The sunsets and clouds are much prettier here. We have beautiful sunsets 3 out of 4 evenings.

God knew what He was doing when He created the earth. We have seen some pretty amazing sites. God also had a sense of humor, He created us.

What amazing have you seen today?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Heat has returned

How about this way to carry your items. We often see women with a box, bag, or pan of something on her head and a baby strapped to her back and maybe even carrying somethings in both hands. The box she was carrying was very heavy. I think she even had a smile. Barbi Moore (from BFC) tried to have it put on her head and she was amazed at the weight that these women can carry. I can't walk with a book on my head let alone something heavy.

Today we spent a couple of hours stamping linen at RFM and we think we are just about done with the linen. But there are other items that have been sent to them that need the Hospital stamp. It is so sad that they can not hire some people to do this for them on a regular bases. We hurt knowing the hospital is in such need but there are some needed things in storage just waiting to be unpacked and used. Pray that this is something that can be resolved soon.

It is about dinner time for us and too hot to cook so cheese & crackers and fruit sound cool and easy. Are you getting hungry. Stop in and we will share some. Have a great day in the Lord.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Reread Dec 18 Blog

This is Rev. Maseko and his family that we talked about on December 18th blog. See the mud house in the back ground. We can always remember to pray for people more when we have a face to go with the request. Plus the fact that we can again put pictures on our blog. So you can see what we are talking about

Had a good Worship service this morning and then had a great lunch at one of the local restaurant. So now we are just relaxing at home and enjoying a light misty rain.

Pray you have a great day. We love you all and thank you for your encouragement.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Not Much Happening

WOW! Am I excited. We have not been able to put pictures on our blog for some time and today the information came up so that we can again send you pictures that we are talking about. This picture is Matron Anna, Will and Karis in our new Christmas Duds. Do we look Swazi?

I said not much is happening. Everything was closed yesterday as it was 'boxing day' and then today we have just spent the day reading and doing puzzles and playing games. Cindy and Annette your help is needed to get this 1000 piece puzzle together.

Weather has stayed on the cooler side since Wednesday evening. We still have all the windows open and the fans going but we do not have to be in front of them all the time.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

Today we have celebrated the birth of Jesus. Some of you are just beginning your celebrations but we are now coming to a close of the day. Tomorrow is also a Holiday here so there will be no stores open and all will be quiet.

This morning we went to Church and celebrated with communion, beautiful music, drama/dance, and a message. We took Elvis, the maintenance men with us and Bob & Shirley Aldrich took their yard man Manuel and his Wife, Bennina & Baby Albert. It was a wonderful time Praising God and sharing with these that do not go to Church. In fact Manuel and his wife speak mainly Portugese as they have recently come from Mozombique. Then the 8 of us enjoyed a meal together and played a game of Triominos.

The weather is much cooler today and cloudy. Thanks for all your prayers. It was great to get some relief from the heat.

In our devotions this morning it talked about the Greatest Gift of Compassion Ever Shown. There was a quote from Gloria Gaither that we would like to share with you. God must have said, " I know what I'll do. I'll send My love right down there where they are. And I'll send it as a tiny baby so they'll have to touch it and they'll have to hold it close." Have you touched Jesus today?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Days before Christmas

We are just 2 days from Christmas and it still doesn't seem like Christmas. I guess Christmas must be cold and snowy to be right. Although that is not what Christmas is all about. We went into town today (just drove through) and there were so many people I was glad we were just going to the Post Office and not shopping. Most stores said 60% off most items. There are very few decorations and we saw very few people carrying packages. Not at all like the USA.

This morning we spent about 2 hours with a Swazi friend that is struggling with a call to the Ministry. He thinks he is to young to be called and he wants to make sure it is God calling and not other people saying he would make a good preacher. His name is Dumsani. Remember him in your prayers.

Christmas is about God giving us His son. What are we giving to God, Jesus Christ this season.

Happy Birthday to our Son-in-law Nathan. Have a good one!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Summer Soltice

Today at 11:40 am we stood in the sun and made no shadow.(actually we were in church) Swaziland is located at about 25 degrees South latitude. It is the same distance South of the Equator as South Florida is North of the Equator.

Science and math lesson: The earth is tilted 23 degrees on its axis. The angle of the sun is very close to being perpendicular to the tangent line to the earth at this time of the year here in Swaziland. (We knew you really wanted to know this information.)

Why at 11:40 am? We are at the Eastern side of our time zone. Day light now starts at 4 am and full darkness is at 7:20 pm. 11:40 am is half way between those two times. We do not have day light savings time in Swaziland.

Today the sun came up at 28 degrees South of East and it will go down at 28 degrees South of West. What is the angle of the sun rise and sun set where you live?

To our Son, this information was already in the works before your e-mail came in this morning. See 2 good minds work together.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Swazi Christmas Party

Today we were invited into the home of Matron Anna Mdliuli, who is the Head of the 17 Nazarene Clinics in the Bush. She has a real heart for health care to be given out in the rural area. She was a gracious hostess as we enjoyed a traditional Swazi meal with her and a couple of her staff from RFM. We were given a traditional Swazi house dress with head wrap for Karis and a shirt for Will. The older women usually have some kind of wrap on their heads.

We watched her daughters wedding on video that took place in March. Not long before that time her husband was killed by some robbers. He had made a statement before his death that nothing even a death should change the date of their daughters wedding. So the wedding took place as planned. It was a beautiful Christain wedding and Matron Anna was happy to share this time with us. Pray for her as this will be the first Christmas without her precious husband. She is such a loving and giving person that you just fall in love with her.

She is so excited about the work that has been done at the clinic at Sitsatsaweni. She said again today that all the Nurses call it the 5 star clinic since so much has been done to spruce it up and build a home for the Nurses.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Busy Day

Yesterday was a busy but wonderful day. We traveled 300 KM visited 2 Nazarene Clinics, Schools, & Churches, checked out 2 possible hotels for teams to stay, visited and spoke to a VBS, stopped at a home in the Bush. The Nurse that was with us wanted us to see where she lived. There we found a group of Ladies in Prayer and Fasting. They began on Sunday and would continue through today. We knew 2 of the Ladies and were so excited to see that Prayer and Fasting is still apart of the Church here.

Then the highlight of the day was to share Christmas with Pastor Maseko and his family. The 5 children ages 6 - 20all cried when they received their gift. The gifts were not much but to them it was a great thing. Then when they saw the food and remarked they were trying to save a little something so they would have some food to eat for Christmas, our hearts broke. Please pray for Rev. Maseko, his wife Thoko and their children. We thank God for your part in this giving. Without your financial support and your prayers this would not have been possible. I think of the song, "Little is much, when God is in it." How we have seen this over and over in so many ways.

Today was again exciting as we spent a couple of hours with Bob & Shirley Aldrich at RFM stamping linens for the hospital. These have been sent by people like you from all over the USA and they needed to have the hospital stamp on them. (RFM has no money to hire someone to do this so these have been sitting in the storeroom for some time) We stamped linens from at least 50 boxes. This will now eliminate the patients from having to bring in their own bedding. Again the words, "Little is much, when God is in it." There is more to be stamped so we will volunteer a couple of hours here and there until the job is finished.

This will help you know just a little of the work we are involved with. It is exciting and rewarding to know someone is being helped with the giving of God's people (like you) around the world.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


We have tried to write this several times but we just couldn't get into the Christmas spirit with the heat. Today is a beautiful day, it is raining, cloudy and very cool (70's). WOW! It feels more like Christmas. We even had a snow ball fight this morning. You have to use your imagination but Will had gone out for an erand and Karis was defrosting the refrig. The frost looked so inviting that Karis stood at the top of the steps and threw it on Will as he returned home. You guessed it Karis won that snow ball fight. Will was very surprised as he came up the steps and got icy frost thrown on him. There was none left for him to throw.

This helped us get into more of the Christmas spirit. Karis has been baking cookies and banana bread to share with our neighbors. If you were closer we would share with you but since not, guess you will just have to think about how good it is.

Then we went shopping for some items that we want to share with a Pastor on the Central District. This family of 7(we wrote about them before) live in a mud hut and really have nothing. But they do have Christ Jesus and with Him all things are possible.

Last year at this time we never dreamed that we would be spending Christmas somewhere other than in Oklahoma or in Ohio with family. But God called us to serve Him in Swaziland and we would not trade this time for anything. God has been so good to watch over us and protected us. We have experienced things that are just beyond what we would ever think we would be doing at our age. When God calls he takes into consider age and gives whatever we need to do the work. We must just be faithful to obey. He may be asking us to come back again sometime to work with these dear people that need to know Him as we do. Maybe God is calling you to go or do something beyond what you think you can do. Listen to Him and be willing. He will work out the details if it is His plan for you.

We wish you a Blessed Christmas as we all remember and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. We pray for you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Son

To our son Aaron Lee Stemen, we wish you a great day in the Lord. You have brought such joy into our lives and we continue to Thank God for sending you to us. You truly are a gift from God. It is hard to believe that you were born 43 years ago today and have been such a delight to us. May God continue to Bless you and your precious family. May He give you many more years to serve Him.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Now that we are in the rainy season (and Hot), where the goats and cows are not, there are weed-eaters. What do animals and weed-eaters have in common?

We have seen a few lawn mowers in Swaziland. An old John Deer rider at the Nazarene Theological College and a few new 22 inch push gas mowers in a store. Because of the rocks there are many places where you can not use a lawn mower, but there are a lot of places you can.

What really puzzles us is that you can buy 2 of the gas lawn mowers for the price of one of their fancy weed-eaters.

In places where you can use a lawn mower, you can mow 3 times as fast as a good weed-eater. When we talk to the Swazi's about this they just shrug their shoulders.

Maybe it is because manual labor is so inexpensive. It will take 2 men at least 10 each to mow 1 and 1/2 acres and they get paid about $4 a day. Inexpensive labor wouldn't you say? No wonder people have very little.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


PRAISE THE LORD!!! BLESSING ON YOUR DEAR PEOPLE THAT SAW A NEED AND HELPED US!!! Those 2 statements were voiced this afternoon as we watched the water flow in the community of Sitsatsaweni. The Solar Pump is in place and working producing more water than Jimmy the man doing the pump though would be. He had told us that he thought there would be between 3000 & 5000 liters per day but already it has produced more. Now Jimmy is saying he expects between 8000 and 10,000 liters per day. What can we say except 'Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow'.

One person we talked to was so excited that she will not have to drink water that is run off water from her roof or walk 3 to 4 KM to get dirty water out of the pond. We saw kids skinny dipping in that water as well as the cows and goats drinking from it.

Now our prayer is that the people will realize that they can also drink from the Living Water. Pray for Pastor Pato and the Church in this community.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Home Sick --- A Little

A few hours ago we dropped Dr. Terry Hall and Nurse Joey Colaizzi off at the airport. We have enjoyed entertaining friends from BFC and the USA for the last two and one half weeks.

At times we believe we are getting a handle on the Swazi Culture. Other times we know we still have an awful lot to learn.

The language barrier is not that big. Many want to practice and converse in English. Others are most happy when we greet in siSwati. Some common greetings and responses are:
Greeting ------ Sawubona
Response ------ Yebo Sawubona
How are you? ----- Unjani
I am fine ------- Ngiyaphila

Their English is often just about as confusing:

A is pronounced --- ah
E is pronounced --- long a
I is pronounced --- long e
O is pronounced --- long o
U is pronounced --- oo

Just like in England there is the bonnet, the boot, slip, serviette and many others to get used to. A bonnet you do not wear on your head, a boot does not go on your feet and a slip you do not wear either.

Will is Weell and Karis is Kahrees. Some call us Mr. Weell and Mrs. Weell as Stemen is to hard to say. But most often we are called Babe and Make (K is a G in their language). Are you totally confused? Well --- sorry about that.

Have a great day in the Lord. We will.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Beautiful day

The sunny was shinning and the temperature was nice. A little on the warm side but not real hot. We took Terry and Joey for a drive to Mbabane, the capitol of Swaziland and enjoyed the sites along the way. We did some shopping for true Swazi items and ate dinner at Malandela's where Terry ate the last serving of Apple Crumble. If you don't know what that is you will just have to visit Swaziland and we will take you there for a great dessert. It is a favorite to most that have eaten there and they only had one serving left when we were there. So Terry won the prize and enjoyed it.

Tonight is our last night together, so Terry, Joey and Will are sitting at the kitchen table playing a game. They are very competative at least it sounds that way. I just heard one of them say, 'it is only a game'.

The last 3 weeks have been fun, exciting and a joy to have several here from BFC. We have been very busy but it has been worth it all.

Terry & Joey will be at RFM again in the morning and then we will take them to the airport and say good bye. Their trip here has made a difference in the lives of those they came in contact with.

We will be checking out things for the next team that will be coming in March. Looking forward to whomever will be coming and praying for each of you. We do not know who it will be but God knows those that will be coming.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Medical Treatment Under a Tree

Friday after the seminar Dr. Terry Hall, Joey Colaizzi RN and Mary Magagula RN (HIV/AIDS Director) saw 25 patients at a station set under a tree. Will handed out Bibles to each patient after they saw Dr. Hall. You never know where medical aid will be given in Swaziland. It was very hot but they had the patients setting under one tree while the one being treated was under another tree. You do not have to have a fancy building or hospital to treat the sick and to share the love of Christ.

There was another couple there from South Africa that are also Mission Corps Volunteers. After talking with them we realized they knew our grandson Seth. Brian & Adrianne Matlock. Brian worked at BFC as an intern in the youth department while at SNU. What a small world we live in. You better watch out we may run into someone that knows you.

Continue to pray for those who need physical and spiritual healing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

No Such Thing as TGIF

Today is Friday but we can not say Thank God it's Friday as the work here in Swaziland continues. What a day when we can say THANK GOD THE SPREAD OF HIV/AIDS IS ON THE DECLINE. There is so much to be done but we feel God is working here to help stop the spread of this dreaded disease. When we talk to people that is the main concern of this beautiful country.

Dr. Terry Hall gave a seminar to the Doctors this morning at RFM. We continue to pray for God to fully impact this country for Him and then we know that the spread will decrease. As people turn their hearts and lives to Christ ---- only then will we see the spread decline. Pray with us for that to happen and it can happen as we bind together in His Name.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More Clinic's Visited

The Nazarene Health System has 17 clinic's in the rural areas of Swaziland. Today Colleen Copple, Leslie MacCracken of Heart 2 Heart, Dr. Terry Hall, Joey Colaizzi, RN, and the 2 of us visited another clinic. This one is training people from their own community to do community HIV/AIDS counseling. It is a very interesting concept to see their own people doing the counseling for the AIDS patients. The clinic would like to go into all the homes and get as many people as possible tested and then on treatment. Many men will not come to be tested but if you go to them they are more likely to allow the testing to be done. Then comes the challenge of getting them to stay on the treatment Rx. This Rx makes them sick without proper food so not only the Rx needs to be provided but also food.

The nurse told us today that the food doesn't last as long as the Rx because they share it with the other family members. How can a Mother or Father eat the food provided and let the children go hungry. Thus the problem of not taking the Rx as needed.

Tonight all 6 of us were together at our place for dinner. We had a great time of fellowship. Dr. Terry Hall showed us the AIDS presentation that he will be sharing with the Doctors on Friday morning. Tomorrow Dr. Hall and Joey will be spending the day at RFM. Colleen and Leslie will be in meetings in Mbabane and we plan to take it easy. HA!!!

Work for the Kingdom in Swaziland continues as it does all over the world. Keep working for Him. Love to all.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cooler Today

We had rain last night and it cooled off some but, they predict hot weather again tomorrow. We have a meeting at the RFM Hospital tomorrow afternoon and they do have a sort of aircon system. Dr. Terry Hall and Joey Colaizzi,RN from BFC arrived this morning. It was such a joy to see the Hospital personnel welcome them and great Dr. Hall with such affection. He was a Dr. at RFM for 2 years about 18 years ago. They have great respect for him. Had a chance to talk with the man that is working on the well for us and he said it should be up and ready to use by the end of the week if no delays. Praise the Lord again for life giving water.

We send our love to all. Especially all those in our Sunday School class that are having physical problems. We miss you all.