Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ode to a Clay Cow

In rural Swaziland, sometimes there's just not much to do. While in Swaziland for short term missions in 2006 and 2007, we can remember being amazed by the ingenuity the kids displayed! Whether it was forming a car out of old wire fencing, sliding down a smooth rock into the river, or molding cows out of mud, the kids
always had creative ideas for play.

This video, shot by Aaron Kopp (son of Peter and Mary Jean, who we'll be serving alongside), features a common form of play for Swazi children. One of the boys, Sifiso (in pink and white striped shirt), spent countless hours building miniature cows, calves, bulls,
ranches, and homesteads out of mud.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Building Bridges

Recently, we have been studying the importance of building bridges (metaphorically speaking, of course). We are learning about bi-cultural bridges, a term used to describe the relationship between missionaries and the nationals they serve. I (Tommy) can speak from experience about the value of these relationships. I formed significant relationships with two men, Raymond and Mhti, while in Swaziland. 

They helped me communicate cross-culturally by interpreting the language and customs of Swazi culture. They connected me to the greater community and encouraged others to accept me not as a foreigner but as a friend. The best part? I get to reconnect with them when we return in December!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Meet Nosipho

Nosipho came to New Life Homes in 2006, a few months prior to our first short-term missions experience in Swaziland. She was found being fed beer outside of a shebeen (unregulated drinking den) and was taken in by an older Swazi woman. A few months later the woman suffered a stroke and was no longer able to care for Nosipho. With a swollen belly and stick arms and legs, Nosipho was welcomed onto the farm at New Life Homes. Her whole being communicated fear, distrust, and brokenness. 

When I met Nosipho, little remained of the distrustful child who arrived at the farm only months earlier. Nosipho's shrieks, laughs, and constant commentary filled the air. "I'm fine. I'm fine! Mother I'm hungry. Hello Busisiwe (her baby sister). I love Mother. I love Busisiwe. I'm fine!!" 

Nosipho became my special friend, often falling asleep in my home after story time. We are eager to see Nosipho again and witness how God can make all things new!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Why Go?

As we prepare for our time in Swaziland, we've found this to be a common question. Here's our short list of reasons why we're finally responding in obedience to God's call:

Because 1 out of every 5 children in Swaziland is orphaned.
Because nominalism is widespread and witchcraft remains influential.
Because children head 15% of all Swazi households.
Because we love the country, the culture, and the people.
Because Jesus instructed us to care for the least of these.
Because God has burdened our hearts to do something about it.