Through a Volunteer’s Eyes
When Kirk and I decided that we felt God calling us to serve somewhere, we had no idea what we were looking for, where we should go, or what we should do. So we prayed and thought about what we would enjoy. We decided we would like to be in a third-world country, working with children, and farming if possible. That is exactly where God took us. He led us to Pasture Valley Farm in Nhlangano, Kingdom of Eswatini home to Peter and Michelle McCubbin with their 2 children Luke and Claire, 24 orphans, and 80 Jersey cows. There were so many confirmations along the way that we never once second guessed that we should have gone elsewhere.
Peter and Michelle walk by faith, just “normal people” allowing God to do “extraordinary things” through them. We loved serving side by side with them, watching God work in the lives of Swazi children. We arrived in late July and stayed on the farm until late November. Throughout our time there we were able to experience things that we had never experienced before and may never experience again. We were able to milk and butcher cows and drink fresh milk daily, learn all about plant life and sustainable farming, and put out veld fires by hand. More importantly though, we were able to witness God’s transformative power in the lives of the children. We saw children who had some of the most horrific backgrounds learn to laugh, to trust, to smile, and to play; to learn to be kids again. We had the great joy of showing the children love and watching them open up to us. Although we were involved in teaching the children in preschool, helping with their homework, dance lessons, etc., we learned just as much from them; especially about God’s ability to make something beautiful out of something broken.
Peter and Michelle have set up their children’s homes with the importance being on family- which is exactly what they are. The children boast their 23 brothers and sisters, makes (mothers), babe (father), gogos (grandmothers), aunties, and uncles. Therefore, when one stays at Pasture Valley for an extended amount of time, they too, quickly become a part of the family. And not only the family on the farm, but also Peter and Michelle’s families who are quick to take anyone into their homes and make them feel welcome.
This orphanage is unique in the fact that each child has a role to fulfill and does not get ‘lost’ in numbers. They know they are loved and cared for, and are shown that on a daily basis. They get to help out in the home through cooking and cleaning, as well as on the farm, whether it is weeding, planting seeds, cutting down trees or washing cars. The responsibilities they are given help them realize how important they are, and that when one is a part of a family every person has to help out in order for things to get done.
Peter and Michelle are passionate about the community they live in and desire to serve and help in any way possible. They are involved in many aid-organizations throughout Kingdom of Eswatini and are constantly looking for ways to improve living and health conditions, schools, AIDS counseling and education, and business opportunities for those in need. They are the epitome of being the “hands and feet of Christ.” Kirk and I loved every minute of our time working at Pasture Valley and hope to return soon to visit our adopted Swazi family.