Swaziland - Day 2

Our 2nd full day in the country was our first full day of ministry. We left the mission house that morning - which is pictured below (the front building is a carport and one-bedroom apartment and the back building is the house where we stayed - 3 bedrooms, 2 baths - very nice!)

and headed for the Mbabane (capital city of Swaziland) Government Hospital. Our task here was to visit the 4 children's wards and pray with the children and parents who were there. We also brought a bunch of small toys from the U.S., so we gave those out to each family.

It doesn't look too rough on the outside, but looks can be deceiving! It's probably not a place where most of us would feel comfortable receiving medical care.
Each ward is lined with beds, and the mothers (or a relative of some sort) are required to stay with the children because they act as primary caretakers. The nurses do not feed them, administer medicine, change diapers, etc. That is all the mother's responsibility. There's usually one chair beside each bed, and at night the mother's just stretch out on the hard floor beside the beds. Food is not provided for the caretakers - they must either bring their own or purchase some from the hospital. AND they must pay their bill in full before being discharged. So, if you can't pay the complete bill for some reason, you are stuck there until you can...and each day you're stuck adds that much more to your bill. Absolutely crazy!

This is the first little boy I prayed for and his mother.
I had a feeling walking into the hospital that this might be a difficult task for me since I am a mother, AND I'm pregnant! :) I was right! I prayed for 4 different children, and as I prayed for each child, I wept. You see, I had just read an email the night before from Daniel about how Riley had been sick several days before. Daniel called the doctor, took Riley to the office, saw the dr. within an hour and was home with medicine in no time. Within a couple of days, he was already feeling better. Some of these children have been in this hospital for weeks and have shown no improvement, and I can't help but believe that part of that is due to the care (or lack of care) they are receiving. I couldn't imagine sitting with my sick child (some more sick than others) and waiting days just to see a doctor. In some faces I saw hopelessness. How thankful I am that the God of HOPE was with us that day! Oh how I pray that each family in each of these wards feels His presence on a daily basis and knows He is in control.

Below is a mother and son who desperately need His peace. This 6-year-old boy has TB and pneumonia. The mother didn't say, but I would guess he is dying of AIDS. She was so desperate for someone to come to his bed and pray. When I finished she was so grateful and smiled a huge smile. I'm actually kind of glad she wasn't smiling in the picture because it helps to show just how desperate this situation is. Please keep praying for this family! I don't know their names, but God does!
After leaving the hospital, we were scheduled to go to the Swazi Candle Factory to shop for handmade candles. This is one of my favorite places to go in Swaziland, so before the hospital visit, I was pretty excited. However, as I was walking away from the hospital, I kept thinking, "how can I go from seeing such great need to shopping for candles?!" I felt very unsettled about the whole thing, but then the Lord calmed my heart and helped me to see that each candle I bought to give away (which I was proud of myself because I didn't buy a single one for our home!) could serve as a prayer reminder. I did end up buying a bunch of candles, but they will be in homes all over Hughes Springs, and also in Arkansas, Tennessee and Maryland. My hope is that every time my friends and family see these candles they will stop and pray for the people of Swaziland.

After heading back to the mission for a quick lunch, we were on the road again driving toward two different churches where we led afternoon children's Bible studies. The team split up, so three of us and a translator went to Peace Baptist Church while the rest of the team and translators went to Nsintsa Baptist Church. We split up 3 and 5 because Peace was supposed to have 20 maybe 30 children at the most. Nsintsa was believed to have at least 50, if not more. As it turns out, we had close to 50 while they had between 30 and 40. :) It all worked out well, though. The children were SO well-behaved, so we didn't have any trouble teaching our 50.

The road to the church was very rough, so we had to park at this homestead and walk the last 1/4 mile...
UP a steep hill! :)
Peace Baptist Church
Rachel (center) and Maria (translator) are telling the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den
The children preparing to make Lion masks - the church also has a preschool during the week, so that's why there are small tables and chairs...very helpful when attempting to do any craft with preschoolers!
Roar!! Our goal was for the children to learn the story and then go home and tell their families. Before we even left the church, there were children outside telling adults the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den - love it! May God's fame and glory be spread throughout the mountains of Swaziland!
Outside teaching the children some tag games
The preschool teacher, Wendy. Please pray for her as she teaches the small children day in and day out.

A busy, yet very challenging and fulfilling day of ministry! Needless to say, after this first day, we were all pretty excited to see what the Lord had in store for the rest of our time in Swaziland! And boy did He have a lot! More to come soon!

1 comment:

  1. I love reading the details about your experiences, Laura! How heart-wrenching it must've been with the kids and moms at the hospital. I will try to remember to pray for them and their strength, that they'll know where to find eternal hope. The scenery is so beautiful and reminds me a lot of the mountain areas here in Bolivia!