The March Go Team to Swaziland has come and gone. Reflections follow:
- Our visits to two child development centers where we interacted with children will remain unforgettable.Our compassion team acted out David and Goliath for the children at Ntendozi. Only Go Team members understand what was so side splitting funny about this, but those of you at Montrose can find out if Pastor Dave shows you his candid photo. We played with 60 children, were with them when they ate food provided 5 days a week by BFC, saw their solar water well and garden, the fence, and kitchen provided by BFC.Over 100 children came to greet us at BFC’s new Child Development Center in Nduma. Crowded into a hot and dark room with no water or electricity the children sang and recited scripture for us before they were all fed a nourishing meal. The children loved getting their picture taken and seeing themselves on our cell phones. Pastor Sipho Mahlelela took us to see the land given to them by the area chief for a new location for a church, parsonage, and CDC.
- We visited distant homesteads with Task Force where we ministered in homes of A.I.D.S. victims. Pastor Jeff Johnson told us of visiting a beautiful intelligent young woman with plans for college and a professional career. Her life is devastated now because she contracted A.I.D.S. from her boyfriend who has abandoned her and left her alone, sick, and physically weakened, unable to work, with a two year old child to support. This lovely woman is devastated and angry at herself for a mistake she made. Her life’s ambitions are shattered, replaced with hopeless remorse and shame.
- On a brighter note our builders installed 14 big steel windows and 3 small ones at the Siteki English Church. Pastor Stanley, Emmalyn, and I worked months to get the steel roof put on before the Go Team arrived and missed the deadline by a week. There were just too many VAT stamps delays, delivery delays, and the like. This delay was my only disappointment. We invisioned a roofed building with doors and windows installed making a secure building possible for electrical wiring to be pulled. Montrose even sent an electrician, but the delay of roofing prohibited the electrical installation.
- Our entrepreneurs worked at Manna Farm, a project of the School of Theology, to help pastors grow crops to feed their families and sell crops for a profit to supplement their income.
- We hosted a District Superintendent’s retreat and Day of Encouragement for pastors and wives on the East Swaziland District.
- Four clergy were on the Go Team including myself. Rev. Rick Harvey of BFC made his second visit to Swaziland. Rev. Dave Roberts of Montrose Nazarene in California came on a fact finding trip for his church Rev. Jeffery Johnson is District Superintendent of the S. Texas District and came representing 91 churches in Texas.
- Swazi leaders came from all over Swaziland and filled the Family Center at Sharp Memorial Church to welcome our arrival.
- On Sunday we worshiped at Soweto Church where our warm welcome and African worship service was enhanced by an overcrowded sanctuary with few windows on a very -very hot day. Rev Themba and his congregation graciously made this a special Sunday for us in their two hour worship service. On Thursday Rev. Themba received eye surgery at Siteki Good Shepherd Eye Clinic from Dr. Brad Farris from Dean Magee of Oklahoma City.
- The comfortable George Hotel in Manzini and beautiful Mabuda Farm in Siteki were our two residences for this Go Team.
- This Go Team had a big sense of humor. I do not remember when I last laughed so hard as I did rehearsing for the David and Goliath skit and again on the day of presentation when we put on costumes, wigs, and told the story. We ate together worked together, shared devotional moments together, wept together, and prayed together. We became one in purpose and fellowship.
- Dr. Terry Hall visited all four districts of Swaziland presenting a one day seminar on “An A.I.D.S. Free Swaziland in One Generation” to leaders of our churches. The goal is to stop the spread of A.I.D.S. in one generation. One generation is defined as 25 years. An A.I.D.S. free Swaziland will happen by successfully accomplishing the goals of medically ending transmission of the virus from the infected mother to her baby (already happening when pregnant women avail themselves to early treatment), ending concurrent r sexual relationships (multiple partners), male circumcision, and condom use.
- Our last moment together was a 5 a.m. African Safari at Kruger Park in South Africa. In just three hours of driving through Kruger in a camouflaged bus with no windows we saw all 5 of the “Big Five” wild animals. We saw Elephants, Cape Buffalo, Rhinos, one Leopard, and a Lion. We were told it is rare to see all five on one safari. We saw many giraffes (not in this Big Five list).
- At 9:45 a.m. Sunday March 22, 2015 we said good bye to the March Go Team. They headed one way to Johannesburg airport and home. We turned the opposite way back to Manzini for our final four months in Swaziland as BFC on site coordinators.
- “Thank you” Barbi Moore for planning every detail of this complicated nonstop schedule. Your work was flawless in a most gracious way with and without your bull horn.
- Our work was not done. Dr. and Mrs. Hall returned to Manzini with us for two more days of HIV A.I.D.S. training of an A.I.D.S. free Swaziland in One Generation.
I mentioned our last four months in Swaziland. In April we work for Ellyn Marsh and Celebrate Recovery. In May we work for Southern Nazarene University’s Go Team. In June a Go Team comes from Canada and we will welcome. In July a Go Team comes from BFC. BFC is looking for the next on site coordinators for 2015-2016 to continue on the work of our Partnership with Swaziland after we say good-bye to Africa and return home to Bethany July 31st.