Sunday, November 24, 2013

Storms & The Light of The SON

Our Dear Friends & Family,

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have HOPE:  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” – Lamentations 3:21-23  

In the past 2&1/2 months we have seen our fair share of storms, both physical and otherwise.  No one wants to go through a stormy period in their lives, and sometimes the storms of life feel like they are too much to handle.  Our family has really been trying to focus on the truth of the above verse that the LORD’S LOVE NEVER CEASES, and He is so faithful to us.  He never said we won’t have storms, but He did promised to be with us through them.  Because of that, we have great hope!  

We have had weeks of stormy weather here in Swaziland that caused much damage around the country and left things upside down…no phones, power, water, internet, ect.  Here are some pics:  

But we also faced some other kinds of storms as well:  Family members being sick, a couple of friends suddenly passing away, stressful situations, a family member struggling with suicide & some spiritual attacks to name a few. 
However, in the midst of the storms we are thankful for the Light and Hope of our Lord Jesus!  Without Jesus' love & active work in our life how would we ever be able to weather the storms?  No matter what happens, no matter what darkness we face, we are so thankful for the light of the Son of God.  We have the hope of Christ; that Jesus will never leave nor forsake us, and that really means so much!
Throughout this stormy season there were some victories as well!  One such was the opportunity to baptize just over 20 people at the end of September.   Some of those baptized had simply never made the decision to go for it, while others were new believers who recently gave their lives to Christ.  It was an honor and a blessing to be part of such a great service!    

A Big Announcement:  Forward! 
October 15th marked 2 years of serving at the Sandra Lee Centre.  Before we began serving @ the SLC we made an initial 2 year commitment.  Through much prayer over the past year, as well as much counsel with KAC leadership, we have decided that we not be making another 2 year commitment to serve there.  In fact, we will be leaving the SLC roughly 2 weeks from now.  We gave our decision to the director’s mid-September so they would have 2 & ½ months of notice.  While in some ways we are sad to be leaving the SLC, we are also excited for what lies ahead!  Starting in January 2014 we will begin serving on staff with YWAM Swaziland.  YWAM stands for “Youth With A Mission.”  The focus of their ministry is discipleship & outreach.  

Why the transition?  Well it really goes to our gifting and calling.  The position at The Sandra Lee Centre required us to be there 24/7.  The demands of the position did not really leave any time to pursue other ministry opportunities.  While being on staff with YWAM we will have much more freedom to be active in other ministries we know the Lord has called us to.  This includes hospital visitation outreach, teaching again at a local bible college, doing outreach in rural areas, and being more active in church ministry.  We have been friends with the staff of YWAM Swaziland for more than 5 years now.  We feel the team and ministry there will really be a good fit for our family an will allow us to better walk out the gifts and calling the Lord has placed on our lives.  We are excited for what lies ahead!                
We also are not saying goodbye to the children or caregivers of the SLC!  This is very important for us!  We will still lead the House mothers & Aunty’s in a weekly time of worship, bible study, & prayer.  We have assured them that we are still committed to them & their well-being, and are there for them if they need anything.  We also will be spending 2 afternoons a week at the SLC working with and spending time with the children.  We are so glad that we will continue to be in their lives!          
As we move over to YWAM in January nothing will change in terms of how we raise and process our financial support.  People can continue to support us by donating directly into the offering at Kenmore Alliance Church, or by giving online at KAC's website:  In both cases the support must be indicated that it is for the "Brock's in Swaziland."  We also will continue to use this blog to communicate our updates.  Also, look for both Zwakele & myself on Facebook as we often upload pictures on there or share prayer requests.  

Prayer Requests
Please stand with us in prayer in the following areas:

1.  For Our transition – As we continue with all the details of moving out of the SLC and into our new home.  YWAM’s headquarters are in the same city of Mbabane, and we have already rented a house near the YWAM base.  Please keep us in prayer as we deal with all the work of packing and moving.  One great thing is that Thandeka has made a friend who lives right next door to our new home.  She is a 3 year old girl named Dimpho.  Here is a picture of them: 
2.  Peaceful & restful sleep – Part of the spiritual attack that we have faced has been in troubling nightmares that have affected all 3 of us.  Please ask the Lord bring an end to these attacks, and that we would sleep peacefully.       
3.  Our health in general – All 3 of us have continued to fight various sicknesses for some months now.  Please ask the Lord to bring healing to us and to sustain us physically. 
4.  Our relationship with the children at the SLC – We have tried very hard to reinforce the fact that we are not saying goodbye to the children.   We have constantly been telling them that we love them and will still be around and in their lives.  However, we obviously will not be around as much as we were before.  Please keep us all in prayer as we adjust to this change.  

In closing thank you so much for standing with us as we serve in Swaziland!  Because of your financial and prayer support we are able to fulfill the calling the Lord has placed on our lives.  We really appreciate your love!  May God bless you and your families abundantly!         

For the King,   
Dennis (for Zwakele & Thandeka)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Some Great Reasons To Be Thankful!

Friends & Family,

Some Great News!
We first want to thank you for your prayers regarding our internet situation!  We have had a breakthrough and I am updating this blog post from our own house in Swaziland!  After months, & months, & months, the telephone company finally came and installed our internet a few days ago.  Right away I got to updating this blog.  What a blessing it is to be able to communicate right from where we live!  Thank you for praying for this, and we look forward to being in contact much more often in the future. :)    

The Highlight of our last few months...
We were so blessed to have a visiting missions team from our home church, Kenmore Alliance Church.  The KAC team was here from the 7th to the 19th of July, and they were a huge encouragement to our family!  We know the Lord really sent them at just the right time for us!  Their love and all the work they did were a huge blessing everywhere they went!  It was also fantastic to have some old friends return on the team as well as to make some new friends from KAC.  The team spent four days ministering here at the Sandra Lee Centre, and four days working with an awesome medical ministry called The Luke Commission.  They also ministered at a government hospital, and at Ludlati Care Point in the rural community of Ngculwini.    

KAC Team @ The Sandra Lee Centre

The KAC Team worked hard to install these water tank stands at SLC!

Dennis with some of the great men from the KAC team.

The stands today complete with the water tanks. 

One of my personal highlights working alongside the KAC team was ministering at the government hospital.  Before coming to the Sandra Lee Centre, I was very involved in hospital visitation and outreach ministry.  Being back in the hospital alongside the team made me realize how I still need to be involved regularly in this ministry.   No one ever wants to be in a hospital anywhere, and for sure you wouldn't want to be in the government hospitals of Swaziland.  The level of care is very poor.   People are suffering often needlessly because of lack of proper equipment and medicine, and many times people are suffering in their last days alone.  It seems like such a dark place, but we as Christians have the chance to bring the light of Christ to this darkness.  It is a tough ministry for sure, but it is a very needed ministry and such an awesome opportunity to offer the hope & love of Jesus Christ.  I have been back to the hospital a couple of times this past August.  I know this is a ministry that our family needs to be more and more involved in in the future.   
It was also great to be with the team ministering in the rural areas of Swaziland.  Whether it was with The Luke Commission, or spending time at Ludlati Care Point, to be in the rural areas again was refreshing!  Ludlati was a care point that we used to minister at while we were with AIM.  That community and the care point has a special place in my heart!  

The KAC Team observing The Luke Commission staff perform a surgical procedure. 
The team helping to restock medicine that will be offered free to people in the rural area. 

John & Musa putting together a wheelchair with some help from Thandeka.

Bheki & John teaching @ Ludlati Care Point
Katie & Phendulile teaching the younger kids outside @ Ludlati Care Point

The KAC team also purchased 30 chairs for the preschool class at Ludlati Care Point!

A Personal Dream Come True! 
When Zwakele & I were first married we were able to build my mother-in-law a 2 room house made of concrete blocks.  Zwakele, her mother, and my sister-in-law had been living in one room stick and mud house until then.  It was a huge blessing to get them into a safe & secure concrete structure.  After the 2 room structure was finished, my mother-in-law still had one of her children living at home along with 3 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild!  2 rooms were not enough!  So about a year and a half ago we started extending her house to 4 rooms.  The project was carried out bit by bit as we had means to do proceed.  The extra space was finished just before we came home to the States in December 2012.       
When the KAC team was about to depart they made a special financial gift to our family.  Because of that gift we were able to make a personal dream of ours come true!  First, we were able to install wires, outlets, lights and everything else needed for the 4 room house to have electricity.  Secondly, we were able to pay the large fee for the electric company to come and install the electricity.  Well we are very happy to announce that the company just came this past week to install the electric poles and connect the house!  What a huge blessing this is for our family!  Without the love and generosity from the KAC team I can honestly say this would not have happened anytime soon.  We are so thankful to Lord for this amazing blessing!  I (Dennis) grew up in the great privilege of the middle class suburbs of Buffalo, NY.  Thankfully, we always had lights, heat, a refrigerator, and other appliances that made our lives much easier.  It's so easy to take that for granted.  My mother-in-law is in her 60's and she never had electricity up until this past week.  She is so very happy and thankful for this blessing.  A huge "Thank You" to KAC & it's mission team for helping to make this dream come true!  And of course a huge "Thank You" to JESUS!               

Zwakele's mom's house, showing the pole of the newly installed electricity!
Zwakele & Thandeka inside the house showing the fuse box and the refrigerator! 

Meet Celucolo
Just last week we received the 30th child to the Sandra Lee Centre.  He is a 6 year old boy named Celucolo.  His name is a bit hard to pronounce for the native english speaker, because in the Siswati language each letter “C” means one makes a click sound.  Celcolo originally came from a rural area in the northern part of the Swaziland.  He was placed @ the Sandra Lee Centre by government social workers after he was discovered in a very dire situation.  He is now living with 4 sisters and 3 brothers in the Blue House at the Sandra Lee Centre.  Will you please pray for him as he adjusts to life @ the SLC?  Please pray that he will really be impacted by the love of Jesus and feel very welcomed to his new home.  Thank You!   
Celucolo (in front) with his brother Sibusiso from the Blue House

Would you please keep us in prayer: 

1.  This Saturday (7th September) I have the awesome privilege of speaking at a men's & single father’s fellowship outreach.  Will you please pray that the Lord will use me to communicate His truth to the 30+ men that will be in attendance?  Also, in the next couple of months I will be preaching a lot on Sunday mornings both at the church we regularly attend, and at some other church's that have invited me.  
2.  Thank you for your prayers for our ministry to the staff at the SLC.  Things have been going well in this.  Will you please pray for Zwakele & myself as we continue to minister to the care givers of the 30 children here.  We meet every Friday morning for worship, bible study and prayer.  Please keep those times lifted up and also the many opportunities throughout the week we have to listen, give counsel, and pray with these ladies.  Please also pray the love of Christ would be so evident amongst all the staff at the Sandra Lee Centre. 
3.  Please pray for our health.  This past couple of months all 3 of us have had various repeated sicknesses going on.  Nothing major, but regular cold, flu, & stomach bugs that have sidelined us at times.  Would you please pray that the Lord would bless us in this area so that we could stay effective in ministry.            

We are so thankful for your continued love & support to us!  Thank you for standing with us in prayer, we need it!  We also pray for you our family and friends of our support team regularly.  May the Lord bless you all!  

For the King,   
Dennis (for Zwakele & Thandeka)       

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hard Work, Trials, & Some Success!!!

Hitting the Ground Running...
After a couple very long days of travelling we arrived back in Swaziland on the 5th of March.  We had a nice little welcome sign on our door made by some of the children of the SLC.  It was great to be back in home in Swaziland!! 

We took the 6th of March to rest and start to unpack, and then on the 7th of March we hit the ground running, fully back to the work.  I ended up needing to unexpectedly preach in our very first Sunday back in Swazi (the 10th) and from then on all seems to be a complete blur up until today.  We have been very busy! 
We were so happy to be back with the children of the SLC.  Of course many of the boys proudly told me: "We have been practicing with our lightsabers while you were gone!" :) 
In our second week in Swaziland my mother-in-law started to have a bunch of medical problems.  She first went to the government hospital in Manzini, but they would simply give her pills and/or some type of an injection and send her back home.  We would ask her: “What did the Doctor say?”  She would tell us “He said nothing.  He just gave me these pills.”  No one wants to be a patient in any hospital, but being a patient in the government hospitals in Swaziland is so very difficult.  The facilities, resources, and level of care are simply terrible.  Even as an admitted patient, it is hard to see any doctor at all.  You are not really allowed to ask questions regarding your care, and if you do start to ask questions you are hushed up & rarely get an answer.  You really have no voice.  I know the US medical system has tons of flaws, but after living here for nearly 9 years I have such an appreciation for the health care that we do have access to in the USA!   
So, after seeing what was happening to my mother-in-law, we decided to take her to a private clinic.  There are 2 really good private clinics in Swaziland.  The difference in care compared to the public government hospitals is like night and day.  The kicker is the cost!  It is very expensive for any persons budget!  Sadly, for most Swazi people this care is never an option.  Well, after 5 clinic visits, and a bunch of blood tests over a 3 week period, we thankfully we got some answers and my mother-in-laws health condition improved greatly!  Thank you Jesus!  Basically, she was experiencing complications from Diabetes & complications from medications that were conflicting with each other.  We were able to get her on the right medication and also a meter to regulate her blood sugar.  We thank the Lord that she is now doing well!  It's only because of the financial support we receive from our friends and from our Kenmore Alliance Church family that we were able to get her the proper care that she needed.  We thank you so much for your love to us!                  

Easters with YWAM!
In Swaziland celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is referred to as "Easters." This is mainly due to the fact that many churches have multiple day services that happen from Wednesday or Thursday through to Easter Sunday.  This year our good friends @ YWAM Swaziland hosted a special day for the children of the SLC.  It was an amazing celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection! They prepared a great time with teaching, worship, fun games, an Easter egg hunt, and a special meal.  It was a lot of fun for both the kids and our staff!       

Some of the YWAM staff leading us in worship
Some great teaching on what Easter is all about!
Sack races!
Zwakele & Thandeka getting in on the fun!
Thandeka w/ her friend Siphiwe having fun. 
In the first half of April a lot of our effort was spent on working with the children of the SLC to get ready for their 1st term exams.  We now have 21 different children schooling in grades 1-6.  The children’s first school term ended on the 24th of April and they were all happy to have a bit of a break.  We were happy that we had 4 children who placed in the top ten of their classes! 

The directors of the SLC, Mike & Robin Pratt, left for the USA in the last week of April and were gone throughout May.  With their departure we were busy “running the show,” and had a lot of extra responsibilities.  Some of those responsibilities we were used to, like preaching @ Checkers Community Church where the Pratt's are pastoring, picking up and sorting through various donations, paying staff, various admin, and helping to care for the SLC’s chickens, rabbits, and goats.  However I (Dennis) was able to help in a new way as well.   This new job was driving 2 of our goats to the "Dip Tank."  Goats and cattle are required monthly to go to the dip tank, where they walk through a tank of water & a medical solution that is designed to keep ticks and other parasites away.  It is part of a regiment to keep them healthy.  Well, in all my 9 years here I had never taken animals to do this!  It was quite an interesting and comical process of myself and another staff member trying to get two goats into the back of a pick up truck, and then drive them to the rural community of Gobholo where the dip tank was located.  I was happy to help out and will never forget the experience :)!!!  Some pictures are below:             
Some of the donations from Hammond's Pick n Pay that needed to be sorted through
You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get 2 goats into the back of a pickup truck!
Quite an imposing & slippery road to the dip tank!

The beautiful rural community of Gobholo, where we have to dip the goats. 
About a half hours drive from the SLC

Meet Nonduduzo! 
Sometime in the middle of May we received our 29th child to the Sandra Lee Centre.  Her name is Nonduduzo and she is a beautiful & lively 7 year old girl.  Nonduduzo was a child who attended the AIM Neighborhood Care Point in the community of Bheveni.  This care point was one of the places that both Zwakele and I ministered at while we were with AIM.  We are so happy to have her at the SLC!!       
Nonduduzo or "Nondu"
Nonduduzo came from a tragic situation in which she needed to be removed from immediately for her own safety.  Sometimes it is sadly quite a lengthy bureaucratic process to get a child in need placed into a home like the Sandra Lee Centre.  Nevertheless, Nonduduzo needed to get away from the situation right away.  Good friends of ours, and missionaries with AIM, Steve & Amy McAdams, welcomed Nondu into their home for over 3 months until she could be officially placed @ the SLC.  They stepped up to the plate big time and helped this beautiful girl in need!  Because Nondu only came to us in May we had a challenge finding a school that would take her mid-year.  It was my (Dennis) job to try to get her a place in a school around our community.  It took many days of visiting different schools, meeting with principals and teachers, praying, and flat out begging.  But finally the Lord provided a place for her to go to school!  The only catch was that all school fees needed to be paid for literally that day, and then Nondu needed a complete uniform, new shoes, stationary etc.  Again, because of your love and financial support to the Brock family here in Swaziland we were able to get all of this done & Nondu into school immediately!! Thank you Jesus!!  Nondu is so happy to be in school and she is already doing well in her 1st grade class!  Zwakele & I are humbled and privileged to be partnering with God as he brings His restoration to Nondu's life.  Please keep Nondu in your prayers as she gets used to life @ the SLC.      

Nondu in her new school uniform for St. Mark's Primary. 
Our supporters made this happen! 
Thank You!!

Some Prayer Requests
Would you please pray with us in the following areas:  
1.  KAC Mission trip to Swaziland.  We are privileged to be hosting a team from our home church in less than a month from now.  12 wonderful people will be with us from the 7th of July through the 19th.  Will you please pray as we continue to get all the details and preparation done for this trip.  We are very excited to have this team coming!  
2.  Please pray for our role in ministering to the staff at the SLC.  We continue to have weekly times of prayer, worship, & bible study with the women who love and care for the children.  Please pray that the Lord would lead us in this effort and that we would see greater levels of love and unity amongst the staff of the SLC.    
3.  Communication problems.  Since we arrived back from the USA we have been trying to get internet installed right in our house.  We applied for the service even before we left for the states, and reapplied as soon as we got back!  Well, as of today we are still waiting on the company to even start the first step of the process.  In order for us to use the internet we currently need to get to the internet café in town.  It is really hard to get away from our work @ the SLC during the day, and the café is not open after our work hours.  We really need something to happen in this issue!           
In closing, thank you so much for your continued love and support to us!  We really appreciate and need your prayers!  Our family can never say thank you enough as your love empowers us to live out our calling the Lord has given us!  May God bless you and your families!