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Things we don’t talk about in Swaziland

Remember the blog I recently wrote about that lady we visited in the shack who was dying of AIDS?  I just got an email that she died.  And so it goes in Swaziland. It’s a country of of pain and contradictions, of death endured in the devastating quiet of a dark shack.  It’s ho…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Remember the blog I recently wrote about that lady we visited in the shack who was dying of AIDS?  I just got an email that she died. 

And so it goes in Swaziland. It’s a country of of pain and contradictions, of death endured in the devastating quiet of a dark shack.  It’s horrific what’s going on over there.  Shame is a terrorist stalking the nation’s girls and young women because of a culture that doesn’t talk about what goes on in secret.  It’s nightmarish and someone needs to stand up and shout or at least talk about it.

This week I got this email from Kristen McGraw, a missionary to Swaziland, that says how I feel about that place:

I woke to the singing of angels this morning as the sun came up and peered through the old curtains of the window in our room. They sang of the Lord’s provision of his love and his power. “Your light will shine when all else fades…”

These songs are what keep me longing to hear more in such a silent place sometimes. The silence is deafening.

We don’t TALK about how HIV AIDS is killing our families and our neighbors.

We don’t TALK about how Thandi has been faithful to her husband and he has given her AIDS because he has been sleeping around. And she is fearful to tell him because he will blame her for giving it to him. And now her children will be left to be put to intense work by him.

We don’t TALK about the status of women here and how they are beaten and abused. We don’t TALK about how a swazi women cannot refuse her husband sex, even if she knows he is infected.

We don’t TALK about the little girl down the road that was sold by her own mother to a  neighbor to be a slave girl for her. We don’t TALK about the brothels in Swaziland run by 18 year olds and the American business men who come for the little 8 year old girl.

We don’t TALK about the children abandoned by aids that live with the grandparents, until the step grandfather decided he doesn’t want them because they will eat his food.

We don’t TALK about all the witchcraft surrounding Swaziland and the darkness that is here. We don’t TALK about the prostitute and her pimp that came here yesterday to see her two sons just to size them up to see when they can come for holiday to visit. And by visit they mean for them to work sexually. These are two of my Swazi brothers who I have loved the last three years and played with and now lived with. But we don’t TALK about it.

We don’t TALK about how I have shaken the hands of these men and I feel a groaning in my spirit because these are some of the same hands that have beat and raped. But we don’t TALK about that. We DON’T TALK ABOUT IT.

Why the hell not? My heart is screaming. My wounded soul is desperate for people at home to TALK. And if you won’t talk then I will. And you could at least have the decency to listen.

God gave you ears to hear. Eyes to see. How can anyone who hears these things and sees these things turn away? Yes when we TALK about it, it hurts. It seems overwhelming. It is too much, too sad and we ask, “What is the point if no one seems to be listening or wanting to see change?”

The point is we can change the children. We can change this next generation. What is going to happen to these children if we leave them because we thought it was too hard?

We have to start talking.

Comments (6)

  • We do have to talk about this, and act! I am reading Tom Davis’ book “Red Letters”, and as he talks about the superstars and “big names” of the world taking action while HIS hands and feet remain unmoved, I sit crying.. As I read your blog and Mollie’s, and the World Racers, I know that this is an illness which can be addressed one child/person at a time, and must be.
    I’ll listen, respond, talk, and keep listening (to God as well as the conversations…).
    Bless you, Sethfor TALKing about kingdom matters.
    In Him,

  • Thank you Seth for these words that need to be said! People are hurting all over this world and we need to give them the respect and love they deserve and realize we ARE the people that are called to do something about their suffering. When we are standing before Our God I think we will be made to realize all of the people we could have (and should have) helped.

  • I”M SCREAMING AND SCREAMING AND MY HEART IS BREAKING ALL THE MORE! It is broke for the kingdom of Swaziland but is destroyed by all the Americans who hear me screaming and would rather talk about golf, shopping or the latest Hollywood gossip. It’s like they can’t hear it and they just turn a deaf ear and walk away.

  • Great blog and I know this is also a great platform, for the ministry the LORD has placed on my heart.That would be talking to men and women yes I said women who wrestle with the spirit of pedpahelia and other sexual issues stemming from abuse.I consider myself somewhat of an expert at least experientialy. I have real authority Through my testimony of what Jesus has done for me.That is saved me from my worst fears.I know the anger/pain/fear that drives people to this sickness of acting out- which in turn only perpetuates the disease.I also know alot of the (pit falls-traps). of thinking your way through this process.Which is one of the enemys great tricks because hes trying to destroy trust in man and GOD therefore the host relys upon themselves to navigate thier way through life.Which Im sure most mature christians would concur is foolish consideringwe cant stand against powers principalities and dominions in our own strength.
    One more thing to consider in case you think me totally insane.There is aprinciple in the parable about a man who lies with a prostitute.The word says they become one.I take that to mean thier souls now are mingling he now has let whatever was operating in her into his life.What about when a child is molested?,or a woman raped.People who are stuggling with these kinds of thoughts and feelings need a safe place to share thier struggles.Lest we create a environment.Where people wont feel judged. This crap will only continue.I am not the answer but I know who is its Jesus.Ive struggled with murderous thoughts, restled with the spirit of pedaphilia,suicide,drugs alcohol,and much more that isnt pertinent to what Im trying to convey.We are the body of Christ.Lets quit shooting each other and make some plowshares.
    God showed up for me big.only because I knew where to turn when things got to hard for Mr self reliant to turn.Thats why we need to support missions.So people can here and see the message being lived out. then hopefully when the time comes they cry out to Jesus. I know hes faithful, will you be.

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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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