PRAY FOR US!
The Petersons have just moved to Swaziland to begin a life of loving God as they love His precious children that He brings into their lives. Some of these children are tiny babies, some are wrinkled grandparents, some are youth in the prime of their lives. All of them need Jesus and need our prayers.
Will you pray for them today? The Petersons and those they have been sent to love? Here are is a heartfelt prayer shared on their blog during their first few days in Africa:
Pray for us...the children of Swaziland. We like to sing and dance, hear stories, run, jump and cuddle on your lap. We love to kick soccer balls, but usually our playthings are rocks, sticks, rusty tin cans, discarded glass and plastic. We see many of the older children walking to school, proudly dressed in their various school uniforms. We hope to attend primary school, someday. Sadly, too many of us will start school but not be able to finish because we have no money to pay the fees. Our tummies grow large, not because we eat too many sweets; it is because we don't get the proper nutrition. Our noses run and get crusted over with dirt. Many of us have only one parent, as the other one may have left home to find work; or, perhaps has died from sickness. Some of us have no mommy or daddy, so we live on a homestead with a grandmother or auntie. We often have to walk several kilometers, all alone, in the hot sun to a carepoint for our one meal of the day. The carepoint is good for us, because we can sit with other children and not feel so lonely. For some of us, at the end of the day, we walk back home over the same red, dusty, thorn-covered pathways before the sun goes down for the night, to an empty homestead. For us, the nights are long and frightening. You see, we have nobody to hold us and whisper 'sweet dreams' into our ears. We are alone...the most vulnerable. Who will protect us from things that go bump in the night? Wild animals and dangerous snakes; or worse: evil grown ups that know we're alone in here...praying for morning to come. Please, pray for us!
Pray for us...the teenagers of Swaziland. We have had to grow up much too fast. We have seen things and heard things that most adults will never be exposed to. Many of us have had to bury one or both of our parents, usually while we hold on to younger brothers and sisters in their sorrow. Some of us live on a homestead with extended family...but for some of us we are the "grown-ups" of the family. We have to look after the little ones. We don't want to complain about that...but sometimes we just want to be young and carefree. We dream about attending university or even completing secondary school. For most of us, however, this will only be a dream. We often have too much time on our hands. With fewer and fewer adults to walk alongside of us, guiding us and instructing us in the ways of the world; we often find ourselves experiencing things that our bodies feel ready for but our hearts and minds are too young to handle. So, some of us have little ones of our own...also depending on us to provide for them. This becomes overwhelming to us; still just kids ourselves! Slowly, our dreams of hope and a future may melt away becoming more and more just about daily survival. Our childhood stolen because of circumstances beyond our control. Please, pray for us!
Pray for us...the adults of Swaziland. Our circles of community are shrinking with each passing year. We have lost husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers and friends. We find ourselves young widows and widowers; single parents. For many of us not only are we young, single parents; we also are sick. We know that soon our children will be left alone trying to live a life here that is, often, full of hardship and difficulty. Just day to day chores are extremely time consuming and hard. We have to walk several miles just to collect enough water to get through the day...every day. Some of us have jobs that cause us to be away from home all day, or even days/weeks at a time. We are the fortunate ones, having work. Still, it often is not enough to supply everything our family needs. The school fees are often the first to go...our babies must eat, no!? Our community is often shrouded in secrecy and shame regarding things like illness, infidelity, addictions and abuse. We wonder if our neighbor hides any of the same sufferings. We would benefit so much from sharing our sorrows...but that is very foreign to us. Too often, we suffer in silence and isolation. This is a painful and lonely way to live. It is an even more tragic way to die...alone. Most of us believe in God and in Jesus Christ, His Son. However, very few of us have ever been truly discipled and deeply understand an authentic relationship with Him. This, alone, would change our lives...for eternity. Please, pray for us!
Pray for us...the go-gos of Swaziland. We are the oldest witnesses to what devastation has spread across our beautiful country. We are the grandmothers, the caregivers. We have buried so many of our husbands, so many of our adult sons and daughters. Our backs may be bent from cooking over open fires all day. Our shoulders may sag from the weight of carrying sacks of maize and beans on our heads. Our arms may ache from hauling gallons and gallons of water for miles and miles. Our faces may be covered with deeply creased lines from the oppressive sun, dusty winds and (mostly) from the countless tears we have shed for our families: for our people; our Swaziland. What remains strong, however, are our hearts and our resolve. We continue to carry the responsibility of caring for the least of these...the most vulnerable children. We feed them and watch out for them the best way we can with the resources we have available to us. We are slowly disappearing, as time marches on across Swaziland. We are growing tired and weary as we near the end of our days on this vast, red earth. We sometimes find ourselves looking out across the landscape...towards the mountains in the distance. What lies beyond them? Where is help coming from? When we finally are able to rest...who will take our place? By far, that is the heaviest burden we bear. Please, pray for us!
"I lift my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." ~ Psalm 121: 1-4
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." ~ Micah 6:8
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." ~ Matthew 7: 13-14
"The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." ~ John 12:25-26
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." ~ James 1:27
To read more about what God is doing thru the lives of the Petersons in Swaziland, visit their blog: http://ericandjen.myadventures.org/