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Stories of Swazi students daring to hope
When I lead others in working among the young people of Swaziland (many of them young people who are HIV-infected), it is an overwhelming experience. Here are a few short testimonies from Swazi students who reached out to their peers through our ministry.
All the schools that my team went to were in the rural areas. I noticed that there were lots of girls in the lower grades, but as the grades went up, the number of girls grew significantly lower. A headmaster told me this was because girls often left school if they became pregnant, and that others were sidelined when there wasn’t enough money to pay school fees – their brothers got preference.
I began to share with the girls that I had determined to get a good education, so that as a Swazi woman I could be financially independent. Their eyes began to light up as they realized that they didn’t have to conform to the ‘role’ that rural society had given them; of early marriage, teenage pregnancy; early death because of HIV/AIDS.
I saw them come to the realization that their dreams are not as far out of reach as they thought. Some of them dared to dream of a bright future for the first time. I didn’t realize that something I had taken for granted all my life (my education) could bring hope to some-one else.
As we were driving out of a school one day, a group of children ran out to our vehicle and started banging on the windows. “Please, please don’t leave,” they shouted, their faces giving away the inner turmoil they were in. The vehicle stopped and students flooded around it and encircled us. We were speechless. We opened the windows and they looked upon us like they were looking at the messiah. All they wanted was for us to stay. We stayed for another half hour, and then we took off again. Tears were rolling down my cheeks and I felt a fluttering pang in my heart.
A certain boy shared with me his story of a girl who bewitched him so that they could be in love. This she did through some food that she gave to the boy. The boy was warned by someone else whom she had bewitched about what had happened, so he did not ask her out, even though he wanted to. The boy would have nightmares every time he resisted the girl. He said some man had prayed for him but he felt so much pain in his body . I asked him to allow us to pray for deliverance. We fasted and prayed for him. He was delivered. He felt himself stretching out and his chest got itchy inside. We prayed again and it stopped. The boy got delivered from that spell.
On the first day we showed the movie here, we were interrupted after 20 minutes by a girl crying loudly. When I attended her, she said the same thing had happened to her. A teacher had promised to pay school fees for her if she slept with him. She hadn’t told anyone and now she was able to tell us. Later on she decided to turn to God.
After being with the students, I asked one boy, how is life? He said that it is not good, he wants to die. I asked him why and what was bothering him. He said some of his friends don’t respect him. I told him to call all of them. After we were all together, we prayed for unity and brotherly love between them. After the prayer we just hugged each other like in the bible. The next day I asked the same boy, how is life? And he replied, life is great, it is good.
great stories i enjoy hearing stories like this from u and ben and others who r in the mission field stories like that remind me that there r a lot of people who r in need and just a simple interaction w/ these types of kids, gives them some kind of hope and joy i’d like to take a part in that myself someday after continuously hearing stories like that!!