Tom's Note: Please take a few minutes to read this post from the team in Swaziland. As you do, please consider three actions...
1. Pray--only by God's grace and power can we turn back the tide of darkness in this small country.
2. Serve--you are needed in this battle and you have gifts of time and talent you can invest in the lives of these kids.
3. Give--click on the "donate" link at the top of the blog to make a gift on behalf of one of these children to bring the kingdom of God to these children.
Posted by BOB MUDD, HopeChest, COO...
Over the past 5 days we have had one compelling opportunity followed by another. The team that has been lead on this trip to Swaziland is strategic, prayerful and ready to take ownership for their part in the ministry here.
It has been a pleasure to serve alongside this team.
We currently have 12 locations in central and north Swaziland that are supported by partners. Each night the team has reassembled until late in the evening to consider each of the 6 new locations that we have visited to determine who is best suited for each (followed by a spirited hand of cards).
The number of additional CarePoint Partners will be between 4 and 6 depending on how it all sorts out. It also goes without saying that our team one the ground including Jumbo, Kriek, the D-team and Pastor’s Walter, Sam and Gift have and are doing an exceptional job.
I have seen the orphan in the depths of poverty in the Far East, Central America and Russia. This is my first trip to Africa and while Swazi people are peaceful, there should be no romantic notions about life in this country.
A 45% HIV rate, an average life span of 28 years, over 10% of the population are orphans, a 60% + unemployment rate and 40% have the opportunity to go to school. The population has declined from 1.3 million in 2005 to 900,000 in 2009. It is a quiet, painful and consistent implosion of a nation.
The cost is measured one dream, one life, one family and one community at a time.
While the success of the trip is an answer to prayer and a result of hard work, the greatest testimony comes through the stories of lives, and hopefully generations, that are altered because the hands and feet of the Kingdom are responding to His call.
I find that the pain and joy of this nation is best found by asking each person I encounter what is their dream for their life.
Imagine a 5 year old who is a 10 mile walk from the closest school but can articulate a plan, school names and his college preference even though he lives in a child headed home.
Imagine a grandmother who has lost all 7 of her children to HIV and at 70 years of age, not having eaten for over 3 days, takes care of 9 grandchildren in a 10 X 14 home.
Imagine a 23 year old who speaks 3 languages, has a 3 year old child, loves the Lord but has not been able to find any work for the past 3 years.
These are 3 real life stories that were encountered during our house visits today.
God’s heart breaks for those created in His likeness.
Titus 3:8 says ‘I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people’.
‘Devote’ does not notate simply a spirit of compassion or feelings of sorrow for those in need, it compels one to action that is not contained in a ‘day of service’ but rather a commitment to living a life that holds others as more valuable than yourself and results in your life of charity and sacrifice sustainably meeting the needs of those in pain.
This happens one life at a time. Do something now! God is bigger than the statistics.