Swaziland - Day 4

On Thursday, our 4th full day in Swaziland, we headed to the community of Ngowane (N-go-wa-nay). I think everyone on the team was a bit nervous because this would be our first time doing homestead visits. A homestead is a piece of property where a family lives and there are usually multiple huts on this property - cooking hut, adult sleeping hut, children sleeping hut, living room hut, etc. Our goal when visiting these homesteads was to share the Gospel in a very clear way and give the people an opportunity to come to Christ if they hadn't already. After sharing with them, we were then supposed to invite them to the afternoon Bible study we were having at the local school. We divided into teams of 2-3 people plus a translator.

Here is a typical homestead

On our way to Ngowane, we came across this dam...out in the middle of nowhere, but beautiful!

View from the dam's welcome center - last potty break before the rural area!

Very rough road to Ngowane

When we arrived, we split into our teams and began walking in opposite directions looking for homesteads to visit. My team lovingly appointed me as the first person to share the Gospel because "I had been a missionary before." :) So, as we're walking down the road looking for a place to visit, we came across the woman pictured below. We greeted her and our translator began a conversation with her. The next thing I knew, the translator was looking at me saying, "Okay, you can share the Gospel with her now!" Talk about jumping in feet first! :) That kind of took me off guard, so I said a quick prayer and began talking. I'm sure my words were a bit jumbled and not quite as clear as they could have been, but I'm thankful the Lord is the one who actually saves people, and it's not based on OUR words or lack of words! She claimed to be a believer, so we asked how we could pray for her, prayed, and were on our way looking for the next place to share.

We came to this homestead where we found two men outside working on a car (sure wish Daniel had been with us!) and a woman (the wife of one of the men) working around the yard. The men were not interested in talking with us about spiritual matters, but the woman invited us into the round hut pictured below.

My friend Jill was able to share with her and she, too, said she was already a believer. She did ask us to pray for her family, though, because her husband is not a believer and it makes life at home very difficult. It was obvious she was very broken over her husband's spiritual health, and she asked us to pray for peace in their home. I shared with her that true peace will not come until all family members are believers. She agreed, and we prayed with her.

The second homestead we visited is pictured below

When we arrived here, we found this 19-year-old girl, Pilile (Pi-lee-lay) home alone. She was very willing to sit and talk with us, but she did not seem to have much hope. After sharing the Gospel with her, she said she believed in Christ and went to church. She then asked several really good questions and we were able to point her to different scriptures in the Bible which answered her questions. She shared with us that the reason she was home that day and not in school (she's a senior) was because her mom is an alcoholic and she had come into her hut early that morning and beaten her. We prayed with Pilile, and when we finished I looked at her and tears were just rolling down her face. Needless to say, this girl captured my heart and I will never forget the time we spent with her. Please say a prayer for her, if you get a chance!

After leaving Pilile's, it was time for us to meet up with the rest of the team for lunch before our afternoon Bible studies. We got a quick picture with our new friend, Khetiwe (Ke-tee-way) before heading out. We met her on the road when we met the very first woman, and she went with us everywhere we went after that! We called her our tour guide because she kept saying, "I'll show you which homesteads to go to!" She was awesome!

After lunch we walked over to the school for Bible study. We all began in this classroom with singing and prayer, and then the children headed outside while Rachel and I and the adults stayed inside. We taught them the story of the paralytic man who was healed by Jesus when his friends carried him to the house where Jesus was teaching and lowered him through the roof. After we were finished, we asked if they had any questions, and they asked some great, CHALLENGING questions!

My teaching buddy and roommate for the trip

Steve Allen (missionary) told us that after Bible study was over he was going to sell some Bibles to the people. He said they used to give them away, but people were taking advantage of them, so they had to start selling them for a minimal price. He asked all of the people to go outside and line up on the other side of the door. I asked why he did it this way, and he said if they stayed inside and brought the Bibles out the people would surround him and just start grabbing - that's how desperate they are for Bibles!

So, Maria, one of our translators, would crack the door, take their money, and then hand them a Bible very quickly. He only had 12 to sell that day, so once they were gone, they were gone.

I could not get over how eager they all were to get a Bible AND how limited the supply was. Steve said his Bible budget each year is only $800. That's enough to buy 5 boxes of Bibles with 16 Bibles in a box. I knew immediately that I needed to share this with my church. I did, and the gracious people in my church have donated money to go towards Swazi Bibles. I pray that one day every Swazi will have the chance to own their own Bible!

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