Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Latest Up Date

Today we are still adjusting to being back home in Oklahoma. It is way too cold for us. We could have gotten along fine without the snow this past week-end. Missing winter was not going to be a problem for us.

Will has been to the Cardiologist and his family Dr. and both assure us that he received the needed care while in Johannesburg, South Africa. Tomorrow he will have a couple of tests run just to make sure all is working well with his heart. The main problem was an electrical problem with his heart that was corrected with a shock to put him back in normal sinus rhythm. Medication should take care of this problem.

We thank each of you for your prayers for us as we went through this time and for a safe trip back home. God is so good and has been with us through it all.

Pray for us as we adjust to life back in Bethany. We are having some down times as mentally we were not prepared to return this soon. There are so many dear friends that we did not get to say our good-byes. Many of them we know we will see in Heaven and the rest we are praying that God will continue to work on their hearts.

May God continue to Bless you as you live for Christ.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Back Home in Bethany, OK

Praise God we arrived back in Oklahoma yesterday. Tired, yes, but oh so happy to see some of our family and friends waiting for us at the airport. Will tolerated the trip well as BFC had made sure that he had the best of care taken and we both were able to rest on the plane. We are now back on our: wkstemen@cox.net e-mail and would love to hear from you. Tomorrow we see the Cardiologist and will go from there. God is good and will continue to heal, strengthen, guide us and give peace in the days ahead. Thanks for all your prayers an support. We may be back in the US but part of us will always be in Swaziland with people that we love and will continue to help from this side of the world. Everyone can pray, give and do things here to help this great country.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Up Date

In just a few hours we will be heading to the airport to board a flight on Delta for the USA. The last 9 days have been very different than we thought our last days in Africa would be. God only knows that part of our lives. We just need daily and even hourly place our lives in His hands and follow Him all the way.

Will has been resting a lot and walking several times a day to build up his strength. BFC & Sheri Gilliland is making sure we have an easy flight back home. All along this journey God has provided and taken care of us. Thank you for all your prayers and support. We have so much to share with you. We love you and look forward to seeing you real soon.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Heading Home

Today has been good as we have rested and tried to walk some but it has rained off and on all day. Will gets tired but regains strength after resting. We are booked on a flight to leave Johannasbug, South Africa on Sunday evening. That should get us into Oklahoma City Monday afternoon. The team that arrived the day this all started with Will also arrive in Oklahoma on Monday. We are looking forward to hearing about all the music video taping, meetings and plans that were made. Our thoughts have been with the team and their many projects.

We look forward to catching up with all that has happened in your lives these last few months. To our family, we will be home soon and you better have the coffee and tea ready.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Relaxing at a B & B

Will was discharged from the hospital this morning. He has been resting and walking around this beautiful place Praising God for His healing touch. We are looking forward to being back in Oklahoma soon.

Footprints in the Sand

This was taken while we were on Holiday in Cape Town. Will ask me why I took this picture and I didn't know but I didn't want to delete it. Another 'God Thing' that we have seen again & again.

Last night while talking to the Lord and thanking Him again for all He has done for us especially in the last few days, I was reminded about this picture. Jesus has walked in front of us to work out details that only He could do, He has walked beside us to comfort and guide us and He has CARRIED us when we were to weak to walk. The song 'What a Mighty God we serve' just keeps running through my mind. He is Mighty and Worthy to be Praised.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Up Date

We had a good day. Will was up walking a lot in the halls. He is weak but is feeling more like himself every day. Dr. said if his blood work was OK in the morning he would release him as long as he just rests a lot at the B&B across from the hospital. He said things look OK for him to fly on Sunday. We want to thank all for your prayers. There have been so many God things in all of this. We have much to share. God is faithful to walk with us or carry us as we need his strength.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


What a whirl wind few days, but God is Faithful and has been with us every moment and every mile. In the last blog I wrote that Will had a spell that caused the Dr. to want him to return to the USA --- ASAP. Well God still has us in Africa. Saturday Will had 2 episodes of his heart racing and being very dizzy. On Friday we had been told that he had a TIA. Saturday morning he was admitted to RFM with what the Dr. was now saying his heart was in Atrial Fib. RFM had no heart monitor working and they could not do another EKG because the machine was locked up and they couldn't find the person with the key. Do you know understand why we need to work with RFM and their clinics. After much phone calling by the Dr. and Barbi Moor who had arrived the evening before from BFC, we transported him to Johannasburg, South Africa. It was about a 5 1/2 hr trip by ambulance of which he tolerated fairly well.

He was admitted directly into CCU and was given medicine to try to convert his heart rate back to normal sinus rythem. When that didn't work they did an electrical shock to convert his heart. Praise the Lord that worked.

Today he was moved into a regular room and has been up walking some. He is still having some dizziness but is gaining his strength after being in bed since Friday afternoon.

We hope to be able to move him to a motel tomorrow or Thursday where he will rest until we are given the ok to travel home. At this point it looks like we may get to leave on Sunday.

Again we both want to thank you all for your prayers. We have received calls, e-mails and messages from all over the world. What a mighty God we serve. Looking forward to seeing our family and friends back in OK real soon. You in Ohio will have to wait until we can travel again.

God Bless you all and keep praying.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Leaving Swaziland

It is Saturday, 4 A.M. and I can not sleep. My mind is racing with things to do. God has proviged an early flight for us to return to Bethany, OK.

Will has not been feeling the best for a few weeks but nothing we could pinpoint. Yesterday he had something happen that the Doctors here feel he need to have more testing that can not be done at RFM. They told us he needed to see a Doctor in South Africa or in the USA. We chose to come back home since our leaving date was fast approaching anyway.

God opened the doors for us to get a flight that leaves Manzini at 2 P.M. on Sunday. Hence there is much to do. My Swazi Sister, Valarie's, daughter is coming in to help me pack in a few hours. My Sister is helping to pick up the slack of transporting the team to various places.

Our GO TEAM arrived last evening and came directly here to pray with us and help us make some needed decisions.

God is providing and guiding us each step of the way. Praise God for all those He has provided to help us in so many ways. Please Pray for the following:
1. The GO TEAM members as they continue to do what God wants them to do in this precious country. Barbi, Harlan, Hal, Fred & Kathy.
2. For a healing touch for Will.
3. The packing that needs to be done.
4. Our early, sad good-byes to many of our dear friends
5. Safe travel

Look forward to seeing many of you, our family and friends soon.
Love you all.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Observation - Education

Education is very expensive for the average Swazi family. We know a family with boys ages 16,15, & 11 and a girl 13. From our observation they are considered on the high end of middle class here. They do not have enough money to send them all to school. Guess who is left out. The 13 year old girl. Also from our contact with the family she is a very bright, intelligent child.

The average cost per child is between $500 to $1000 per year depending on the school and grade. Also all children must have uniforms. The average income per family is $3000 to $5000 per year.

This country will not progress as it should until there is free education at least through grade 7 which would put Swaziland on equal footing with South Africa. There are way too many children not in school.

The facilities for education for the most part are very poor. There is often not enough desks, chairs, or books.

Athletics might often be over emphasized in the U S, but other than soccer we see very little here in Swaziland.

We who have been involved in sports realize that it is good for our health and often gives young people something to do. The adolescents have hormones raging and they lack this outlet. We believe this adds to the promiscuity and of course the HIV/AIDS problem.

It would neat if the SNU Soccer team could come over and play against some of the Swazi club teams.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Observation - Agriculture

Our first GO TEAM last July-August was designed to minister in 4 areas. There was a Medical team, an Education team, a Compassionate Ministries team, and a Construction team. HIV/AIDS has been declared as the number 1 problem in Swaziland. There is much starvation happening with more predicted in the near future.

Could we on some group partner with the Swaziland Department of Agriculture to look into a possile solution? Could they try soy beans, which takes less moisture than corn (maize).

The above picture is how many out in the Bush still plow their fields. Some have tractors but there are still many that can not afford them. Some communities have a community tractor.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Observations on Irrigation

With a better retaining system, Swaziland could utilize the climate. The Winters are mild enough that food could be grown all year long with irrigation. Crops that thrive in cooler weather could be grown during the Swazi Winter. Warm weather crops can be grown during their Summer. This Summer almost no area of the Country was without adequate rain fall. This has been the best year of rain fall for quite a long time. With the right rotation of crops most good farming areas can grow 2 crops per year. This is already happening in smaller garden plots. It would be good is agriculture training were added to the University curriculum.

Hey, by the way today was the first day we have not used the fans since early November. It was a beautiful Fall like day for us. We love this weather.

Have a team from BFC coming in Friday so things are getting quite busy.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Picture of Maguga Dam

We are planning to give you some observations from our view point about Swaziland. You have read in our blog a lot about the shortage of water but we have found that there is no shortage. There is just a need to have a better, consistent controlling and containing what they have.There are only 3 Dam Systems that we have observed. We have visualized many other areas where a system of dams could be helpful. More wells (Bore holes as they call them) will help, but the long term solution would be something more like the Tennessee Valley Authority or the Lake of the Ozarks systems. With the right systems this country could support 2 times as many people.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Visa Update

Thanks for your prayers. We now have the permission to stay here until we come home in April. Government in Swaziland moves at their own pace and we just need to adjust. Anyway we are not illegal in this our 2nd home. Thank you all for all your prayers and support. We are praying for you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


What a morning! Jim Copple, Bernie Murphy, Chris Ringwalt and Jerry Lambert are here from the US doing assessments dealing with our Swaziland Partnership. We sat with a Support group for HIV/AIDS. Jim ask questions and 3 of the people volunteered to tell their story. A 52 year old man with a family was diagnosed in 2003. He went for testing because he was very ill and was having trouble seeing. At the time he did not suspect that he was positive. He then had to go to South Africa because Swaziland did not have ARV's for treatment at that time.

A lady with the name of 'Happy' and that she showed all over her face became a care giver for the HIV/AIDS Task Force in 2004. She was tested as she was encouraging others to do and was positive in 2005. Her husband didn't want to test or have anything to do with it so he skipped out on her and the children.

Another shared that she (a Mother of 12 children with 8 living and 7 grandchildren) tested positive in 2004 after becoming quite ill. Some of her children will not be tested due to not wanting to know the truth. Listening to her share made us feel that she is very concerned about each of her family.

Some of the challenges each one shared was the lack of food that is a must in order to take the ARV's. Also the stigma among the community they live in and among their family members. They shared the challenge of getting to the Hospital where they receive their ARV's.

All seemed open to share about their situation and tell others about the need to be tested. They shared about the positives of the Support Group where they can openly share what they are going through and feeling. They help one another if there is lack of money to get the proper treatments.

One of the projects that is being started here is a garden plot where these people can raise some food for themselves and also can see the extra to the community for profit. The gardens are started by loving people from the US who donate money to fence in the gardens, and buy seeds for then to begin.

Mary Magagula and Evelyn Shongwe the Task Force Directors gave them clothes that had been sent here from the US and some food. They were given a Relay to Life shirt 2003 from Ohio and all put them on immediately.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Fall Day

What a beautiful day. Fall is in the air. During the last 4 months we have had a lot of rain. It would be cool for a day (70's) while it was raining, but the next day it would be back up in the 90's or higher. Over the week-end we had a lot of rain, which is not good for the dirt road back to our flat. Today it was partly cloudy and partly sunny (take your pick). The humidity is down and the temperature stayed in the 70's. This is probably the beginning of the dry season. In Swaziland the rainy season is during their summer and the dry season is during their winter. We discovered in that in the Southern part of South Africa (about 800 miles South of here) their rainy season is during their winter. It was quite dry when we visited early in February. We were certainly in a lot of rain as we came back closer to Swaziland. This is the first time we have experienced such consistent weather patterns. Where we have lived in the USA you could have moisture or dry weather almost any time during the year.