Thursday, July 30, 2009

At Play

"And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play." Zechariah 8:5

Following an incredible Sunday worship service (3 hrs long) we enjoyed a delicious fellowship dinner with the Swazis and Mozambicans. Then it was time to play. And play we did! We brought jump ropes, face paint, a giant parachute, soccer balls, beach balls, bubbles, frizbees, nerf footballs and candy. Lots of candy. It was absolutely magical as the dirt streets of Manzini were transformed, filled with the sound of boys and girls at play. Truly magical....just as it should be! :)

Things our eyes have seen (Mbabane Gov't Hospital)

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Deuteronomy 4:9

The day the entire team arrived in Swaziland we went to the Government Hospital in Mbabane (the capital city). We visited the children's ward and our ministry there was to bring much needed supplies (diapers, washcloths, rubber gloves, soap, medicines, eye drops), prayer and hope to the dire situation that over 50 children and their families experience there. The hospital conditions are rough to say the least. Paint peeling off walls & iron bedframes. Few nurses available to tend to the patients' needs. Family members stay around the clock, often sleeping on the floor, to help care for and comfort their sick children. We not only brought loads of supplies but smiles with armloads of coloring books & crayons, candy, balloons & small games which we passed out to the children & their families. After spending time playing & praying together our group finished our visit by singing with the Swazi people. Songs that brought smiles, laughter and joy...if only for the moment. My role was to take pictures and print them out so that each family had a picture of themselves with their child. For most it was the only picture they've ever had. How important was that? Just yesterday I heard some sobering news. Since our visit, at least 5 of the youngest children we'd visited had died. A physician at the hospital told us that in Swaziland 50% of the children under the age of 5 die. 50%!! That statistic has messed me up! God's word says we must never forget what our eyes have seen or let it slip from our hearts, but to teach others what we have come to know. We now know. We must not look the other way.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Things our eyes have seen (Manzini Primary School)

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Deuteronomy 4:9

A sea of welcoming faces---------------------students ready to help us plant
cheer/pom squad member -----Justin planting with Swazi boy-------Sue with Jane (agriculture teacher)

reaching deeply for water----------------------------------precious student
Surrounded by jungle gym boys ------------------Thankful waves goodbye
One of our first days in Swaziland was spent at the Manzini Primary School. We had the privilege to meet and work alongside the young students planting immune boosting vegetable gardens as well as painting the building which will become a future library for them (their first!). I cannot tell you how precious it was when we first arrived to have been welcomed in song and dance by the entire student body (about 200 children!). Their enthusiasm truly touched my heart. After the singing a drama group from the school performed a play in siSwati (their native language) about 'children having a voice'.....a play about abuse and who they should turn to for help. They did a nice job but it broke my heart to realize that such young children needed to be taught this because many are subjected to situations of abuse. Sad. After the play we all got busy planting & painting. The gardens (26 of them) would be tended by the 5th grade students (part of their agriculture class) with the food being used to supply not only the entire school's lunch program but also to help feed the student's families as well. Way cool! Once the work was done the 'pom squad' wanted to show us their routine that they'd been practicing. It was fun to be able to encourage them as they proudly performed for us. While watching I was reminded that "no matter where you are, children are children". Let us never forget that!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rich In Good Works

"Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them." 1 Timothy 6:18

Donating supplies for a local government hospital. Planting immune boosting vegetable gardens. Fencing the babies' house at El Shaddai so the littles ones can play safely. Building a playscape for the orphans at El Shaddai. Painting a future library at a Manzini school. Gathering and distributing food to the poorest of the poor. Above are some pics of the work projects we did while in Swaziland. God's word clearly says we should be rich in good works and give generously to those in need. Praise Jesus for the opportunities He provided for our group to do just that!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

By Name

"But now, O Israel, the LORD who created you says: "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

We've just returned from our 2 wk mission trip to Swaziland, Africa. An incredible time of seeing God work. But also an amazing time of coming to know some precious people whose names are very different than ours. Names like: Nolwazi, Gcebile, Timisile, Catseweh, Phiwokwakhe, Nkosimphile. Here are their pictures:
Their names are often difficult to pronounce (and they laughed when we tried :). But one thing is certain...the Lord knows each of them by name. They are His. Our lives have been enriched beyond words to have spent time with each and every one of them. To have entered into their world, if only for a brief span of time. They are no longer just names on a page...they are real people, and we are knit together for good. We are forever grateful! We are forever changed!