Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

Our Dear Friends & Family,

We are now a week into 2017, and as our New Year has begun, our family wishes to say a huge "Thank You" for your continued love and support as we serve here in Swaziland!

We crossed over into 2017 at our awesome place of fellowship here in Swaziland: Healing Place Church (or HPC).  It was a great time of fun, fellowship,  thanking the Lord for His faithfulness in 2016, & seeking His face for 2017.

The vision the Lord gave our family for last year was: "Compassion, Discipleship, Catalyst!". It was a vision of focus, where the Lord was shaping our work into these 3 categories. 

Compassion: We as a family are called to compassionate ministry - to show the LOVE of Jesus in tangible ways to people that are suffering.  We want offer His Hope, not just in words, but also in action.  We are engaged in compassionate ministry at a few different locations, but our main work is @ the children's ward in the Mbabane Government Hospital.  Our goal is to consistently minister there at least once a week.  I'm so thankful that we were able be there nearly ever week in 2016!

The hospital is never a fun place to be admitted, and that's definitely the case here in Swaziland.  When looked at with human eyes, the hospital can seem a very depressing & rough place - the facilities are not the best, the level of care much lower than someone in the Western world would be used to, less access to needed meds, & it doesn't always look, sound, or smell good.  Mothers & Grandmother's need to live with the patient who is admitted in order to care and see to their needs.  It's not uncommon to have a child admitted for 1 month.  Recently, we knew a pair of twin babies that both suffered burns...they were admitted for nearly 3 months!

It's hard to live at any hospital for a length of time.  It's hard to see your child suffering and you feel like there is nothing you can do.  It's hard to see other parents (maybe even the one in the hospital bed next to you) lose their child, and you wonder "What's going to happen with my baby?" Again, when viewed with human eyes, things can seem hopeless, & death can seem to reign in this place.

But that's where God comes in!  He has sent us to be a light in the darkness! Where death seems to reign, we choose to speak the reality that "Jesus Christ Reigns in this place!" Where there is suffering, he uses broken vessels like us, to be a conduit of His LOVE & Compassion.  To be an extension and representation of His heart that says "I love you & I am with you in this suffering."

Really what a privilege it is to be an ambassador for Christ.  I am totally unworthy, but yet he still uses me to shine His Love. 

What do we do at the hospital?  Obviously, we pray for supernatural healing for the precious kids, pray for their caregiver, and speak the words of hope of the gospel, and words of comfort.  But this ministry is also a ministry of presence.  We spend time with the children and their caregiver.  We endeavor to be a listening ear. It's hard to be there, and so we want them to experience that someone is tangibly with them in this (& more importantly the Lord is with them).  We also believe that we should come with something: so we always bring some fruits to hand out, some gum and sweets, and as we can provide, small toys and/or crayons and coloring sheets.  Our goal is to share & show the love of Jesus, practically help, encourage, and bring joy, leaving a smile on someone's face. 

This ministry costs us about $20 dollars a week.  There were 3 times in 2016 that we didn't go because we simply didn't have the $20 to buy the supplies, & it's our passion that we need to have something practical to bless the patient. If it wasn't for our friends, family, & KAC for supporting us we could not do this. 

Please keep this ministry in prayer! Along with Zwakele & myself, we have 3 wonderful ladies as part of our team, who are dedicated week in and week out.  Please pray that the Lord would continue to use us as a source of His awesome love, hope, & comfort! 

God bless you!

In our next blog we will continue to share about these areas of vision and where we believe the Lord is taking us!