Sunday, May 26, 2013


Over five years ago, in January of 2008, I returned to Swaziland after nearly an eighteen years absence. Betsie and Anna were also on that trip.

To say that God used those ten or so days to totally change our lives is not an overstatement. God didn't just use it to change our lives, He used it to change the lives of our whole family. After all, just this past summer we sold our farm, moved to an inner-city ministry, and began making yearly trips back to Swaziland, all in preparation for moving there to live and serve.

A few months after returning from our 2008 trip, Betsie --- who was then only twelve years old --- wrote a poem about a little Swazi girl we met. She hadn't forgotten her then, she still hasn't forgotten her.

In less than two days, we leave once again for Swaziland. Once again, we'll meet children who will be forever a part of our memories. And this time around, we'll also be meeting children who will stay a part of our future as we prepare for our new lives in Swaziland. Those little children who might seem insignificant to the greater world, are not unimportant. They are very important to our Lord, important enough that He is calling people from different places and walks to leave it all behind and follow Him to Swaziland. They are important to us, important enough that I think of them every single day with longing.

In light of our upcoming departure, I'm sharing the post I wrote on June 8, 2008, which included the poem written by Betsie.


When we were in Swaziland, one of the most memorable things we did was to visit and interact with the children who attended some of the Children's HopeChest and Adventures in Missions carepoints. Many of these children receive their only food at these carepoints. But not only do they receive food, they also receive love from concerned adults...something that too many of them aren't getting anywhere else. In a country with the world's highest HIV/AIDS rate, many households have older children raising younger children. Or if they do have a loving parent involved in their lives, that parent might very well be dying from HIV/AIDS and too sick and weak to do much or its a poor, overworked grandmother trying to raise a score of grandchildren and greatchildren left behind when their parents died or left for cities in search of work.
The situation is truly heartbreaking. Yet despite the horrific conditions, the children are still beautiful. One of the precious ones that stands out is a little girl named Cebisile. We met her at Enaleni, a carepoint started by Swazi pastor Peter Langa. There was just something about her that reached out and grabbed our hearts...and didn't let go.
Months later we still remember her. And in her honor, my 12 year old daughter has written this poem.
You were so little, just a baby
And yet so much was expected of you.
You had to take care of yourself, you had to survive.
When I saw your face I fell completely in love;
You were so innocent,
I held you and you laughed and smiled.
Will you ever laugh again?
Will you remember me when you are older?
Will you remember the girl that came all the way from another land to hold your hand?
Will you remember me?
I will not and cannot forget you.
If you would like to be involved in ministering to Cebisile and other children through the ministry of Children's HopeChest, visit their website. Every little bit helps. Even $5 will feed an orphan like Cebisile for a month.


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