Friday, October 02, 2009


Traci VanSumeren, a young American woman, is serving in Swaziland for several months with Adventures in Missions. She posted this on her blog:

Some time late in the night, two of the Real Life leaders were talking in the kitchen. They were a bit startled when out of the dark, a face appeared in the glass window. When they opened it, there was a young Swazi girl. She told them her name--Ncobile (name changed), and expressed that she was looking for Bailey. Immediately, they realized this was the girl that Bailey had told the team about just a few days earlier. Bailey wore the glow of new friendship, and spoke passionately about this young acquaintance she had met and poured her heart into at one of the Care Points.

Though the hour was late, they welcomed her into the house, and went to find Bailey, knowing there was more going on than just a casual visit. As it turns out, Ncobile's step-mother had kicked her out of her house that night. Her dad was gone--at the clinic for some health concerns of his own. She walked several miles, barefoot, and under the black sky--no streets lights to be found--in order to get to the team house. Bailey was comforted to know she thought of her as a safe haven, but had no idea what to do. Ncobile is only fourteen and is seven months pregnant--raped by her uncle.

Bailey fixed some food for Ncobile and kept her company in the kitchen, while the leaders tried to discern what to do. The Pastor's phone was switched off, so they had no choice but to walk over to his house. They were grateful that they could see some of his lights were still on, but though the walk was brief, the air was cold and the path was dark. There was also the eerie thought of the black mamba lurking nearby--seen as recently as the day before. How did Ncobile make that walk barefoot; in the dark without a flashlight; and alone? It must have taken her almost an hour from where she lived.

Ncobile speaks English incredibly well, and especially for not having finished school. She spoke with restraint, though, clearly masking the years of hurt and anger just below the surface. A hateful and neglectful step-mother, her real mother deceased years before, an abusive uncle, an ill father, and an entire culture willing to look the other way while her life comes crashing down. Where is God in this? How do you convey to her that He has been there all along? What words will restore her hope? What conversation will bring her spirit back to life?

After Ncobile finished eating, she, Bailey, and the Pastor sat down to discuss the situation and come up with a plan of action. A few minutes later, they concluded that Ncobile would stay with the Pastor's family for the night, and they would move forward the following day. How frightening it must have been for Ncobile to leave her homestead and her community that night, uncertain of what her appearance at the team house would mean; unsure of what would happen to her and her unborn baby as a result. This is unparalleled hopelessness; the desperation of a child coupled with the burden of an adult.

Matthew 5 calls us to be the light of the world. Without even realizing it, Bailey had shone that light for Ncobile. The lights of the team house were visible in the dark of the night, but it was the light in Bailey's compassion, love, and joy that drew Ncobile here.

Matthew 5:16 "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

To read more about the ministry going on in Nsoko, Swaziland, visit:

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