Friday, May 27, 2011


Ruth Williams is a young woman serving short-term in Swaziland as part of Adventure in Missions' WORLD RACE. She'll be spending basically a year of her life going to many different countries serving God, His precious "least of these", and discovering what God has for her life. As my regular readers know, my heart was stolen a long time ago by the children of Africa and one day I'll return to spend my life loving the people of Swaziland. I wanted to share this post written by Ruth. It is a very good description of what is going on there and why God is calling folks to GO!

I have been warned about Africa ever since training camp.... From rats crawling everywhere.... to living in your tent the entire time... to wanting to pack your bags and go home... consider us warned. What I did not prepare myself for was the brokenness I would feel deep in my heart.

The first day we arrived in Swaziland we were dropped off at our house for the month. Yes, a house. Praise Him. We live in a 3 bedroom house with a kitchen and a living room. There's an amazing front porch... that overlooks gorgeous mountains that absolutely take our breath away. Immediately upon arrival I took a deep breath and concluded that Africa wasn't going to be as miserable as I had thought.

We received a schedule for the month and the first day of ministry said, "Hospital visit." Okay, cool we got this. We walk an hour to the hospital and we met up with one of our contacts there. She explained to us that we would be hanging out in the children's ward for the morning... loving on them and handing out beanie babies. Okay, we got this. After talking to the administrator, we headed in. I immediately start bawling uncontrollably. It is one big room. Beds everywhere. Beds closest to the door were the newborns... some all alone. If the child has a parent at the hospital with them, the parent sleeps on the floor or sitting up in a chair. Kids were there for a wide range of things. From a cough, to TB, to a broken arm, to being covered in burns due to being shoved in a fire when results came back HIV positive. There is a specific room off the main room for abandoned children. Most are abandoned due to HIV. Swaziland is estimated to be extinct by 2050 due to the AIDS epidemic. I threw that in in my last blog.... but it was just a statistic in my head. It was not real life to me yet. I hadn't looked in the eye of a kid who had just months to live. Consider me wrecked.

For the past week we have been hitting up carepoints. Carepoints in a nutshell is a big plot of land set up by AIM to provide a place for the kids in the area to come daily and eat a meal. It is crazy how far some of the kids come... for most of the kids it is the only meal they get in a day. At each carepoint there are women called "gogos"--grandmothers-- who cook the food for the kids. Carepoints can have up to 100 kids coming each day. Some gogos have up to 20 kids living in their homes at a time. Crazy ladies. So awesome. I secretly want to be a gogo.

Our main mission this week has been to go to the carepoints and get profiles of the kids. Take pictures of them, get all their information and in the long run get them financially supported back in the States. It's weird to be on this side of things. In the past, I have easily blown off the opportunity to support a kid.... for 30 bucks a month or whatever it is. Anytime that opportunity came up I would easily justify why I didn't have that money. Who am I kidding? Now that I have seen the eyeballs of these precious babies. It's no longer "just a kid in Africa..." It is one of my babies with no shoes walking for miles looking for their next meal.

Today we went to the same carepoint we went to yesterday as well. Yesterday was a bland day due to a hardcore thunderstorm. Today, I woke up not feeling too hot so I had a mediocre attitude upon arrival to the Themali Carepoint. We were told we had 30 minutes until we had to start the logistical work so I immediately head towards the dozen or so preschoolers on the playground.

Sidenote- It's crazy how the five year olds act like parents to the younger ones. Legit they carry them on their backs and make sure they get food... even wipe their noses. Nothing like I have EVER seen in my life. Makes me tear up just thinking about it.

Anyways, I was sitting in the shade with three of the little guys on my lap. One taking my earrings in and out, another touching my "white girl hair" and the other one trying to teach me how to click like they do every other word. I look up and this absolutely flawless little baby--couldn't have been more than 2 years old-- staring at us about 30 feet away. She looks... takes a few steps... She is wearing this adorable little homemade looking dress with big flowers on it... and a little pair of leggings that had holes all in them. No shoes. I watch her for a few seconds then get sidetracked (by my future kids in my lap). A few hours later while overwhelmed with a lot going on, she appears in front of me and gives me this look of "I've been watching you and I trust you now..." and I reach out and pick her up. It broke my heart when I realized she didn't even know how to be held. She was just stiff. I cradled her and just loved on her for the next 30 minutes or so. All I could do was just sit there and pray over her. As much as I joke about putting kids in backpack... I knew I couldn't be the superhero in this situation. I soon found out her name is Amanda (With the African accent I naturally had to get the girl to pronounce it 3 times. ahh-mon-dah). Amanda literally stole my heart. It was her first time at the carepoint. I have no idea how long she walked to get there... what her home looks like... how she knew to come that day. It's beyond me why a 2 year old would be out on the streets of Africa alone. I believe with every ounce of my being that the Lord put her there to solidify my call to the little African babies that will be all up in my future. I thought twice right when I picked Amanda up... I felt like I may have been slacking on my job for the day but the Lord overwhelmed me with his smile of affirmation that I was doing exactly what He would be doing if he was physically with us at the carepoint. He is so good.

My heart behind writing all of this is not to get a pity party going for Swaziland. As sad as it is, the hand of the Lord is all up on this place. It is beautiful. The Lord has given Seth and many others a huge vision for Swazi and has blessed it. All I can do is beg you to pray for these babies though. I have no idea where they go after the carepoints, no idea what they even call home or who has direct contact with them. All I know is that this place has stolen my heart. I know that in 2 weeks when I leave this place it will not be the last time I am here. I pray but I absolutely know that the Lord will call some of you here to show these babies how to be held.

To read more of Ruth's mission adventures, visit her blog:


The photos included in this post, except for Ruth's avatar, are from Swaziland ministry trips my family has gone on over the past few years.

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