This episode is dedicated to my Penn State hoodie that tragically passed away this weekend. Rest in Peace.

Here we are. In Eswatini! In the mountains. Working at Care-points. Life is good.

Where the blog left off I was in Guatemala. Sine then, it’s been a pretty crazy ride. I illegally shared the gospel in Communist Vietnam, saw an ancient monk monastery, went atop one of the world’s biggest towers in Ho Chi Minh city, surfed the breaks of Da Naang, and played chess in the street. Then we left Vietnam. Then we failed.

To cut a long story short, the fellowship of W squad drove some 10 or so hours to a Vietnam-Cambodia border with hopes of a smooth crossover. Foreigners were not allowed through so we drove through the night to another border. Foreigners were not allowed through this one either. By now our visas were expired. After a couple more days in Ho Chi Minh we were forced to spontaneously rush to the airport and fly out. I was having the time of my life at a Vietnamese zoo when we got the call to get to the airport as soon as possible.

I met an awesome Australian man on the plane, moved into Siem Reap, drove an hour to and from the villages for ministry everyday, ate bee larvae, learned how to wheelie a bike, visited one of the wonders of the world, watched my friends get attacked by monkeys, shaved my head, saw several Cambodians get baptized a week, dominated the local soccer fields, mixed countless bags of cement in the hundred degree Cambodian heat, watched the Super Bowl in the morning, helped start a swim program that bussed kids into the city to teach them how to swim.

It was a fun time in Southeast Asia.

Then I took a long bus ride, spent a day in Bangkok Thailand, visited one of the ten biggest malls in the world, drove to the airport, flew for eight hours to Ethiopia, spilled flaming hot coffee on myself, picked the cup back up after cleaning the mess, spilled it again, flew five hours to South Africa, took a bus to Nelspruit, and settled down for debrief.

Old Vic’s Travelers Inn

For our debrief of Southeast Asia we stayed at an inn in Nelspruit, South Africa ran by a man named Crazy Dave. Crazy Dave and I became good friends and he imparted much wisdom on me. I had six one on ones with leaders, wrote the greatest talent show skit ever, got disqualified from the talent show for being too creative, tried to write a blog about it, failed, scared myself to death doing an 87 mph rope swing off a cliff into a chasm of death, ate Harry’s famous Pancakes, took a safari, learned everything to know about rhinos, hopped on a bus, and went to Eswatini.

I hope you enjoyed my summary getting you up to speed. There’s about a dozen unfinished blogs that never got posted and about a dozen more that were never even attempted during the time period.

First Week In Swazi

We arrived on a Tuesday afternoon. The Swazi AIM base is quite the facility. The squad now lives dispersed between the four main rooms of the base. There is a boys room, (bunk beds, three toilets, three showers, sixteen men) a kitchen/ dining room, and two girls rooms.

Where do I even begin with so much to talk about. Living Conditions it is.

It is hot here. Like really hot. I got sunburned the first two days and have hidden from the sun ever since. Something small gets put out for breakfast, PB&Js are for lunch, and a cook comes and makes dinner. We recently got off a weird stretch of three straight sausage nights for dinner. In the boys’ room I have a top bunk but I have recently moved my mattress to the concrete floor in order to be hit by the fan at the night. All sorts of moths, ants, praying mantises, and other assorted insects like to attack us in the night but at this point we are prepared to defend ourselves. Just two nights ago all hell broke loose when a para-trooping praying mantis kamikaze attacked Nick Furtado by jumping from the ceiling onto Nick’s bed below. When we leave the door open at night it is cooler because a breeze comes in. Sleep is hard to acquire out here.

With the whole squad living together for the first time since Guatemala I have been having the time of my life. Spike Ball, card games, and board games have been awesome post-ministry activities.


Here in Swazi, everyone is doing the same ministry. Due to dicy cultural differences, teams of women cannot be without men here. Because of this, the two male teams have been split in half, with groups of three or four boys being assigned to each team of women. These co ed teams each head out to a different care point each day. At these care point our job is basically just to love the children there. The children walk many miles each day to attend school and be fed lunch there. The kids hang at the care-points for hours after class each day and we come to hangout and play with them. It is beautiful to be a part of because the kids adore us so much. As soon as you arrive you are ambushed by hugs as kids swarm hope you, reaching over each other just to touch your arm.

The afternoon of the first day of the afternoon, I played center mid in an eleven on eleven soccer match between the kids on a dirt field. After a few hours of being scorched by the sun I scored a goal to tie the game one-one. The game dissolved shortly after and I could not have complained, I was either about to drink water or shrivel up into a wisp of dust.

The second day of ministry was one of my favorite days of the trip so far. Some of the older kids came up to me early on and started asking me questions about different Bible stories. After impressing them with my historical knowledge, they began pressing with more and more questions which I was excited to answer. We spent the entirety of the afternoon discussing the Bible, Swazi history, different countries, geography, what America is like, and whatever other questions came to their minds. Their English is quite good as it is taught in school and knowing English is important in South Africa and Swaziland.

An Up and Down Weekend

Friday night I got sick. Really sick. Run to the bathroom every twenty minutes sick. Up all night running back and forth to the bathroom sick. It was bad. Saturday morning I had a high fever and thought I might have been dying. Conveniently, I was not dying. Close, but not quite. I ended up sleeping some of it off and coming out much better off for it in the afternoon. After talking with one of my absolute favorite people for a few hours I was feeling close to a hundred percent. The bug went its course in record time. Most other people were not as fortunate, some were sick for days.

On Sunday we walked thirty minutes to the nearest church. We arrived early, and a few women were singing Gospel songs. Their singing was beautiful and I felt very cultural standing there in the boiling hot Church building. Then the pastor showed up and went off on the keyboard. For two hours the entire congregation of Africans and white American missionaries danced in the back of the Church. It was one of the most fun moments of my life and I’ll likely remember it forever.


This time last year when I considered the possibilities of different career choices, “African Beekeeper” did not place highly on the list.

This week so far, Douglas and I have not attended the care-point for ministry. Instead, we have been assisting a local ministry in a beehive building project. We are the only two people on the squad not working with the regular ministries and we have undertaken quite the adventure. Our first job as beekeepers was to spend our entire first day dissembling pallets for wood. Gathering this wood, we have prepared the materials for the beehives we will be building. Today, we checked up on active beehives inside of a massive Swazi farm growing macadamia nuts, bananas, and avocados.

I cannot say I expected to be an African Beekeeper. I also must say I am having the time of my life doing it.

The Ben Norcia Experience

Within the World Race community, “one on ones” are a common way to get to know people, go deep in conversation with friends, and get personal time with someone while living on a base with fifty other people. A one on one is basically just a designated “one on one” time for two people to hang out.

One of the best parts of Swaziland so far has been my attempt to have a one on one with everyone on the squad during our five weeks here. So far I have met with about thirty percent of the squad, and I have learned so much about different people. Pursuing people whether I naturally run in the same groups as them or not has been an amazing learning experience. Asking questions and seeing new perspectives has taught me a great deal as everyone has some wisdom I can take from them. I have started thinking of my “one on one” journey like my own personal podcast and the recent guests have all been amazing. It’s a blast.

It’s Getting Late, lightning is flashing all around, the thunder is roaring overhead, and moths keep attacking me in my bed so I suppose I’ll leave it off here. Love you guys, thanks for reading

Until next time…

John and I singing some country