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Holding a statistic vs. reading it

I asked Marc Shifano, “How did your trip to Swaziland impact you?”   He answered, “I’d read the statistics. But then I traveled to Swaziland and I held a statistic and talked to a statistic and sang to a statistic. It was totally different.” Marc has returned focused on living his …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I asked Marc Shifano, “How did your trip to Swaziland impact you?”
He answered, “I’d read the statistics. But then I traveled to Swaziland and I held a statistic and talked to a statistic and sang to a statistic. It was totally different.”
Marc has returned focused on living his life in light of eternity. He says, “I’ve heard that if things don’t change, Swaziland will cease to exist by 2050. I want to give my life so that things change.”
What alarming statistic do you need to hold?
What problem is big enough that you want to give your life to change it?

Comments (10)

  • I remember how horrified I was when Clinton first shared those facts with me back in 2007. My heart still breaks over it. I’m praying for miracles…

  • Thanks Marc.

    How can it be that a country the size of New Jersey will cease to exist if we, the western body of Christ do not step in?? How can it be that in ten years, the adult population of Swaziland will no longer be alive. In two years there will be about around 200,000 orphans. IF!!! If we don’t step in. IF everyone did something. Wow, the possibilities. We know God can do anything with or w/o us, but He calls us to partner with Him! What a privilege!!

    Oh Lord I pray over Swaziland, I bind the spirit of AIDS, and I bind the spirit of death in the name of Jesus. I speak life in you Jesus over the land and all the people. I pray Lord that you would rise up more people like Marc, that would hear your hearts cry for Swazi. Oh Jesus, you have the power to reverse the statistics over Swaziland. We come along side Marc and pray against the 2050 stat that says this country with people that you love will cease to exist and we give you all the glory!!

  • **mArC** The Schifano Tribe

    Yup. “If something doesn’t happen” stuck out to me. I saw an eternal goal there. Bring Kingdom to that place and have something for me and my family to look back on in 40 years and say “Someone’s life was touched by Jesus through us. They encountered God’s Love, with no strings attached.” Thanks for your encouragement and prayers. We will need them.

  • Seth thanks for this and it caused me to reflect on a quarter century having consulted with–among others–World Vision, CARE, Feed The Children, World Relief, AERDO, The Salvation Army, Holt International Childrens Services, USAID, Food For The Hungry along with European charities and smaller groups.

    Part of the problem for the public is that the marketing and fundraising machines for many organizations don’t handle “data” well.

    Claims can be exaggerated. Needs inflated. A poor grid is offered to help understand how $100 in “this” country is better stewardship than in “that” one.

    And we have deadened the sensitivities of so many people with slick marketing campaigns and overwhelming data dumps. I’m just saying…

    That is why AIM strikes a cord for me.

    The work is real.

    And in the end every individual stands before the Father having to defend what they did with their time, talent and treasure.

    The over saturation of our culture with information renders some people paralyzed to put everything in perspective.

    That is why sensing the pain first hand, smelling the wafting oders of death and having your heart broken is so important.

    This caused me to think. And pray. Thank you.

  • Anna Coffey (WR Alumni – Jan 09)

    Wow! This is short but so powerful! It is so true though. I have heard the statistics of how HIV/AIDS is effecting those in Swaziland but it wasn’t real til I got to spend time with DeeDee (a woman who recently died of AIDS) while there.

    And Marc, thank you for fighting for God’s Kingdom! “There are real lives waiting on the other side of your obedience.”

  • Reading a statistic is nothing like embracing one. Thank you for this short but powerful reminder to press on in some dimly lit places, spiritually and metaphorically speaking.

  • Truth be said, nothing can make up for holding a statistic. You can hear this, but it just does not hold any water untill you come here and be part of what God is doing in Swaziland.

    Here is not just bad statistics, but also love,hope and a movement of people from the first World investing their money, their time and effort to bring change.God is on the move.

    Swaziland will not cease to exist, but will be a pillar of hope in the future and a place that will be known for turning the tide of despare.

  • I’m a Swazi citizen. When I get back home from school
    (in South Africa) I am pained by the worsening situation there. It’s not fair… i say to myself. So may people want to make a change but the resistance is far too great. I have altered my dreams and goals to include my country because i realise I can’t abandon my blood… my marrow. Thought the situation makes me want to run I cannot abandon my people. Thank you all for what you are doing for Swaziland… the prayers, the missions, everything. I pray that more Swazi’s will rise up and realise the reality of this situation and that we will join forces and restore this wonderful land to its glory.

  • My husband has asked me to consider going on a trip to Africa, but I tell him I know if I go, my task will be to hold dying babies–and that’s something I just can’t emotionally handle. But, thank God for those who can, and do!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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