The Suffering Jesus
Today, I saw Jesus suffering in the eyes of an orphan named Nothando living in extreme poverty. She's also malnourished, uneducated, and has little hope of a future. Then, I saw the face of Christ in a man who is dying of AIDS. He cannot get up and lives in a 4 foot by 4 foot shack with nothing to eat - just waiting to die. It broke my heart.
Our other team was in the Low Veld today getting their hearts wrecked. I just got off of the phone with them and they told me they visited eight orphans living all alone, no food, water, and little hope. Two of these orphans are crippled and sit in the dirt all day. The widow who was taking care of them just passed away two weeks ago, now it's just the children.
The needs of Swaziland are so many. The pastor who preached on Sunday morning entitled his sermon, "We are dying like flies." They are. It would be hard for me to believe if I wasn't here and seeing it with my own eyes.
The hope here comes in the form of the faith you see in the people. The pastors, like Pastor Walter and Pastor Sam, who are being Christ to these orphans and widows. They are planting churches in places everyone else refuses to go. They take food to the hungry, everyday and as church they do home visitations to the dying as a congregation on Sunday mornings before service begins. Amazing people who are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Please pray for us. The ministry here is heart breaking, but our presence here is important and needed. God is doing great things in the midst of the poor in this country. Thanks for your love and prayers. Internet is bad here, but I'm updating when I can.
HELLO AGAIN FROM SWAZILAND
It took me twenty minutes to load my blog page, but I am determined! Hello to everyone and thanks for the many prayers and inquires from all of you - it is appreciated more than you know. Obviously, my heart is full with so much to tell you about our trip. Every single person who has traveled with us is changed forever. The suffering, the lack of basic necessities, the death and disease, have all been a tremendous load to bear.
We have driven all over Swaziland and spent time at numerous carepoints. One of the highlights for me, was too see Pastor Themba's carepoint. This is the one we visited as a family in June where people were literally starving to death. Orphans are everywhere because the area has been decimated by AIDS. It was wonderful to see the kids eating everyday and a the shell of a building that has gone up and will be completed. This will serve as a church, training center for education and HIV counseling, food storage, library - an all purpose building in every sense of the word. This place is truly an "Oasis in the Desert," and we have visions for a well, gardens, school, playground and kitchen. This place is a beacon of hope for the people which reveals to them that God has not forgotten and that there is hope.
I must admit that seeing children suffer and die in the dirt, literally, is a very difficult thing. Their life or death comes from what we share with them from the crumbs on our table. For all of you sponsoring churches and individuals, I want to thank you for your faithfulness. The life change that is occuring because of your love is indescribable. A little goes a long way here and our efforts are working. This is an investment that will yield HUGE returns in the Kingdom of heaven.
The needs continue to press in on every side. The more people realize that we are faithful, keep our word, and deliver real help, the more they are running to us begging us for food and sponsorship. Of course they are begging, they are desperate and needy. They've been so let down by numbers of organization who have promised help and never followed through. For those of you who desire to get your church connected to sponsorship, please contact us and we will help immediately. Email Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will get you started.
Today we are headed for one more carepoint and to do a 'Blessing Service' and ministry time for the widows who so faithfully serve in Swaziland. These women literally carry this country on their backs.