SO-WE-GO is the name Southern Nazarene University gives to its student groups that travel throughout the world on special mission assignments. My guess is SOWEGO is SNU’s response to Jesus’ command, “Go you into all the world preaching the gospel….Even so send I you.” Jesus says, “Go” so we go! SNU has nineteen SOWEGO teams this year going to distant countries around the world. One of them is on its way to Swaziland for two weeks in May.
We met this team last January when on a Sunday night after church they came to our home in Bethany for pizza. Including four nonstudent adults, fifteen people are coming, ten women and five men. They will conduct two one day Bible Schools at our Child Development Centers at Ntondozi and Nduma, take food and medicine to AIDS and TB patients in rural areas guided by volunteer Swazi women Task Force leaders, tour Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital, Gassett Dental Clinic, meet with internet technology ENACTUS, worship in two Nazarene churches, work at Manna Farm, visit a wild animal reserve, and go to a Swaziland cultural village and native dance show. Dr. Ami Dillard is among this group conducting free medical clinics.
SOWEGO’s main Swaziland project is painting the nurse’s clinic in Siteki. Siteki is a town about an hour’s drive east from our main Nazarene station in Manzini. Siteki has a long Nazarene history. The English Speaking Church of the Nazarene BFC has partnered to build is in Siteki. Our Nazarene School of Theology (part of South Africa Nazarene University [SANU] is across the street from the clinic. SOWEGO will be housed at SANU. A team of about ten nurses plus three professional painters from the hospital will join SOWEGO to paint the entire clinic inside and out.
As you can imagine much planning and work both in Oklahoma and Africa goes into an international project like this. SOWEGO team members have been months raising their own air fare and other expenses, praying and planning together, anticipating cross cultural adventure and ministry.
As all of their activities in Oklahoma have been going on, Emmalyn and I have been working for their arrival here in Swaziland. Before traveling a five hour overnight drive to Johannesburg to meet SOWEGO at the airport we have been busy since January coordinating every moment of the team’s time in Swaziland. Our work has involved arranging transportation, lodging, food, paint and equipment, tours, worship services, financial details between SNU and Swazi venders, Skyping with Bethany to arrange the daily itinerary, visiting where the team will go to make sure everything is in order, and buying food in advance for the team’s sack lunches during work days. We spent one entire working day in our flat’s storage shed sorting through absolutely everything left from other teams over the years, cleaning the shed, and labeling contents in every suitcase, box, bin, and bag. We did this to know what we have here to add to what SOWEGO is bringing. We have soccer balls, Frisbees, and Styrofoam cups, candy, three parachutes (for games), VBS games, gifts for kids clothing, and more in addition to things for other teams such as Celebrate Recovery, AIDS Awareness, Task Force, Construction, Medical bags, and a lot of miscellaneous stuff. After a whole day in the shed I considered naming this blog, “Shedding Light on On Site Coordinators.” It sure helps me appreciate what missionaries and other coordinators are doing around the world for their teams.
As we await the arrival of these dedicated students from SNU to join us in Swaziland, please remember them in your prayers. Our desire for them is a life memory of Swaziland that forever makes them one with the international world family. Our desire for Swaziland is that the love of Christ and compassion of the Global Church of the Nazarene will touch individual lives physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually.
They’re ready. We’re ready. SOHERETHEYCOME!