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Swaziland needs you – 10 reasons to go

95 orphans 2 4ab8fd4a
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
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:
 
95 orphans 2“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
help?”
 
“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?
 
swazikidsTomorrow 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.
 
swazi babyFour 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.
 

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