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Swaziland needs you – 10 reasons to go

Becca Christian, an AIM missionary in Swaziland, had a typical day last week.  Here’s what she heard as she walked through the Swazi high school where she ministers:   “Becca, I hate to tell you this but one of your girls just dropped out of school, she’s pregnant..”   “The gi…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Becca Christian, an AIM missionary in Swaziland, had a typical day last week.  Here’s what she heard as she walked through the Swazi high school where she ministers:
“Becca, I hate to tell you this but one of
your girls just dropped out of school, she’s pregnant..”
“The girl you
have been ministering to, she was out of school last week, we sent her
home because she was possessed by a demon.”
“There’s no Bible at home,
my parents only refer to the ancestors.”
“Dear Becca, please help, I’m
HIV positive.”
“The women keep coming to me from the community asking
for food and I don’t have any, I don’t know what to do.”
“Hello, my name
is Lindiwe. My parents are not working, my mother is sick. My older
brother was paying for my school fees and he just lost his job. Can you
“You see the teacher that just walked by, she recently gave
birth to twins, and one of them just died.”
“Did I tell you about my
sister-in-law? She went to the doctor and they told her the baby died
inside of her.”
“I can’t believe what happened to pastor…he was put in
the isolation room in the mental ward”..
“Two students’ parents just
died; they have no one. The money from government went to relatives who
took the money for themselves.”

*        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
Dear God – I read this and I don’t know what to say – it’s appalling.  What is going on in this country?  These are real people who are coping with the implosion of their country as AIDS consumes it in ever more terrifying ways.  They live in a country consumed by death, a place with a 30-year life expectancy, the world’s lowest.  It plays itself out daily in the whimpers of hungry children and in the conversations of Becca Christian.  Whatever else I’m doing, whatever you’re doing, how does it stack up to this? What do we say at the end of our lives to a God who asks us to care for the poor and needy who are just a plane ride away?
Tomorrow Karen and I put our money where our mouth is – getting on a plane to Swaziland.  We’re going to one of the worst sections of the country to spend the better part of a week with 300 orphans who have nothing – no parents, no food, no real homes, no prospects.  They’ve never lived in a place where getting a hug was normal. They’ve lived their whole lives with the dull throb of pain – hunger, fear, loneliness, sickness.  It never goes away.
I’m serious about this stuff. We need to do something other than just
figuring out how to make our lives a little more comfortable here in
America. Sometimes we make this out to be more difficult than it needs to be.  Could you comfort a teenager who just found out they have AIDS?  Could you hug ten orphans every day and tell them that they’re special?  Could you encourage a pastor who has buried half his congregation? 
If you could do these kinds of things, and if you can commit to listening more than you speak, and if you don’t mind living simply, then you can spend a year alongside Becca.  You say money is an issue? You can live in style on $1000/month.  You worry about the language?  They speak English.
Four years ago God introduced me to Swaziland and its nightmare and two years ago he told me to apply Isaiah 58 by bringing them right into my own home. Two months ago my son answered the call to Swaziland – too late to help baby Moses (at left), but not too late to bury him and comfort his mother. 
When he spoke to me, God told me that many of the people I hang out with would get to do this stuff.  I hope that includes many of you reading this blog right now.   And if it doesn’t, I hope that what you’re doing is something that makes God smile and leaves you fulfilled.  Otherwise, let me bold and challenge you this way:  You really should join me. 
No, you can’t get on the plane tomorrow.  But join me in committing to something bigger than your present world and it’s demands.  Join me in making a difference in this world.  Two couples I know (the Bowmans and the Deetlefs) went there and got so wrecked they’re going back to bring a little hope to some of these people.
Some of you really should read through that list above and pray something like this: “God, if there are any of these people who I can love in some way, please show me.  And I don’t have a clue what that might look like.  Still, while I may be busy and I may be a little conflicted, God, I’m available if you want to tap on my shoulder.”
 And if he  does that, there are many of us who will help you figure out what to do next.

Comments (7)

  • It’s so encouraging to read this article. I will definitely be praying that God can show me the way to glorify Him and to show His love to other people. I really want to go to Swaziland!!!

  • Dear Dadi Seth,
    We are praying for the Swaziland.May God provide all things which they have need in that country.I pray to LordI want to go overthere and work for them.
    God bless You.

  • Seth, I really want to go somewhere with our two older boys on a mission trip, can you point me to the right contacts?
    (they are 11 & almost 13) I am a 33yr old female. (my husband would stay home with our three younger children 5, 3, 1.
    I have felt India for some time but my husband’s heartbeat is missions and Africa.
    I’ve never known anything about Swaziland until reading your blog. Thank you,
    and may God bless this trip in every conceivable and inconceivable way.

  • Hey!! 🙂

    Last night I was reading in Luke…and came across verses 29-32 in chapter 12…it reads:

    And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

    32″Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

    And then today I read Romans 1:16-17:

    It’s news I’m most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God’s powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else! God’s way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: “The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives.”

    And it hit me when Jesus said that he didn’t come to condemn the world…and I understood why Paul was NOT ashamed of the gospel of Christ. It’s not about shaming people…or making them feel bad…or being scared of going to hell. It is about rescuing people…from situations like Becca Christian hears about everyday…God PROMISES to give REAL life…and to take care of the people who trust in Him…who have faith in Him..and that is why He seeks the sick…cause they will listen…and He will heal them…He promises to!! That is what I can’t wait to get over their and tell people…He IS their answer…and not in the cliche way people say it over in America…He is real…oh so real…and He can fix that situation over there…He can heal people…He can give them food to eat…and clean water to drink. He knows they need those things!! We just have to go over and tell them that!!

    Now I am crying!! 🙂

  • This posting brought tears to my eyes. I left part of my heart in Swaziland with those precious people. I am forever gloriously ruined!

    Seth, your passion for the poor, the outcast, the widow, and the fatherless is a fire that is sparking an entire generation. My son, Ian-age 15, is heading to Swaziland on Thursday with AIM. I count it a privilege to know he may get to see your passion lived out loud among the people I fell in love with last year.

    My prayer is that Ian will become ‘gloriously wrecked’ as he walks among the extreme poverty in Swaziland.

    Thanks for sharing your passion with the next generation… keep preaching, Seth…. they are listening.

  • While I am heartbroken for what is happening in Swaziland, I rejoice that there are other young people standing up to speak the truth and let the world know that there are people just like you and me who are in dire need, and that WE can help them. It is our responsibility to help those in need. Before last year, I had never even heard of Swaziland. Then I helped out with a talnet show that raised money for some of my peers to go to this broken nation and help plant gardens and build dorms. After the show was over, I honestly thought that I’d never really have anything to do with Swaziland again. However, God has other plans for me. Over the last 15 months or so, I have become more and more involved with helping this little but no less important country. So far, I haven’t done much more than write poetry and help with various events that help spread awareness of their plight, but I am praying that I can go with a team to Swaziland next summer, if not sooner. Those I know who have been to Swaziland say that I am destined to go there. I hope that it is true. For now, though, I will keep you and those in our beloved Swaziland in my prayers.
    Keep on Shining, Seth! God is gonna use you for great things!

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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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