Nonsikilelo (aka Ziggy) is a 14 year old girl. Her father has died, leaving
her and her seven siblings orphaned. Her mother was without a job. Her main
source of food was found at the CarePoint.
Ziggy has always attended children's church on Sundays, but it never
impacted her. She was coming to the CarePoint for her daily food, but she
was neglecting basic responsibilities. She was misbehaving both at the
CarePoint and at her home, not doing her chores, coming home late, and
disobeying the teachers and her mom.
Since Ziggy started coming to the CarePoint youth group, she's been
changing. She learned about prayer. She then taught that teaching on
prayer to her siblings. Then they all prayed for their mother to get a job.
And God answered their prayers by providing a job for their mother.
Ziggy is now an active member at youth group, often teaching her family and
her peers the lessons that she is learning from youth group and putting them
into practice. She is obedient, willing to serve, and happy all the time
We asked the teacher what was the main reason for Ziggy's change. Her
reply, "She has received Jesus, the real Jesus, because Jesus is the only
One who changes the person. It's not us."
Praise God! Please pray that Jesus would continue to change a whole
generation of youth here in Swaziland, one person at a time.
Monday, November 29
Nonsikilelo (aka Ziggy) is a 14 year old girl. Her father has died, leaving
As we look around Swaziland, everything is green and lush. Panoramic views abound in all directions. It truly is a “beautiful” country and quite pleasing to the eye. As with most things, this wide angle looks better. As we dig into that landscape we see some of the most abject poverty we have witnessed. Children with distended tummies and skinny arms due to malnutrition, mud huts with no water or electricity, a generation missing, death, lack of opportunities … hopelessness?. How can there be such a contrast? Can people (as defined by their circumstances) see this beauty? Or are they too focused on where/when/if the next meal will be?
Here is the hard pill to swallow for us; people here are generally happy-despite their surroundings. They are not rushed, not in a hurry, wave and smile, are prayerful of if/when they will have income or food. Death hurts many here as deeply as it hurts us-perhaps some have been so accustomed to it that they are numb and emotionless-it has been a way of “life” for too long. Given the right “opportunity” (not handout), some here have found great success. Some would rather not try(just like America-but we have a social system that this country does not). Many like GiGi, have received great educations, gone on to great employment, and are starting to return the favor to others in their community(she runs a CarePoint on her own, with her own money and cares for 100+ children every day).
If we think WE can change Swaziland by what WE do here, we are mistaken…if we can help our local friends and partners change Swaziland with opportunities created around them-we will have success…in time. Perhaps one day-all will see the beauty of this place, duplicate the efforts of those who desire to make change, put an end to HIV, love one another, and have vision beyond their own understanding. Bheki Themba has that-he is passionate about making sure that there is always a replacement in his career-so that when he moves on, ministry continues and starts to grow itself…true discipleship. Truly seeing the beauty amidst the ashes.
Sunday, November 21
Karl shares his compelling story - From Zimbabwe to Swaziland. A missionary journey.
Children's Cup Christmas Celebrations- Comfort and Joy! find 10 to give $10
Saturday, November 20
We are preparing for Thanksgiving in Africa..our first. We even found turkey today(a rare and precious commodity here). 30+ friends(who are now all family) will get together, not watch sports, and not go Christmas tree hunting…BUT we will celebrate!
There is much to be thankful for. God’s journey for each of our lives will always take us there and back again…and at the end of that- we can always be thankful.
(picture-little guy in Mozambique at Pastor Isaac Williams CarePoint and HPC Moz. When I question “why me” I can look to these kids and see how blessed I am-no matter what happens to me)
We know that through the ups and downs, we are not alone, and not the first to experience it. Psalm 21:1-2-David is rejoicing and saying how great God is.. Psalm 22:1-2-David is questioning why God has left him. The great news is that God will NEVER forsake us and NEVER leave us
Tuesday, November 9
We have felt SO encouraged these past few days. Yes, circumstances can certainly appear overwhelming-but does ANY of it surprise God? NO WAY. Knowing that and coming to an understanding of actually Believing that is a process. We see where God’s hand was even in the accident last week. 6inches potentially separated us from being among the living. The impact point was absorbed mainly by the front left tire,assembly,axel,etc.. (the left side/doors, windows, panels, shocks, will all have to be repaired replaced)—yes, REPAIRED. We will not have to purchase a new vehicle, and for ¼ the cost of a new car here-we can get this one fixed. (hoping for a sweet multi-colored car :-))
Cars can be replaced/repaired.. people can not be. For this we are grateful(although-if Jesus decided to take us both at the same time-AWESOME!!)
From this circumstance we are developing a DEEPER relationship with each other, and more importantly- a profound deepness with the Lord.
We are alive, the location of the accident was yards away from a hospital- doctors were on scene immediately, the lady in the other car has now been released from the hospital, and we are sorting out with them (we have 3rd party insurance-similar to liability in the USA)how to proceed and stay out of court. The police department(multiple filings, fines, locations) have issued a summons for a court hearing, but we believe it will be canceled.
We are doing well, not just from the accident, but from ALL of the “stuff” that has been going on. There is a large challenge that we are in-and continues ahead of us. We will not give the enemy any credit, so will simply say- “God does all things well!”
We received 100s of emails and notes of encouragement, scripture, and more. We are SO blessed by SO many. THANK YOU for your prayer and emotional support in what was a very dark time for us. The ups and downs of international missions are extreme, and we are encouraged!
Friday, November 5
We are cranking the praise and worship music. We WILL NOT let the devil win this, we stand strong on Christ, on HIS promises. He is greater, and HE has a plan!
SO grateful for friends around the globe offering up their prayers, their friends, their intercessors. We are really going to TICK off the devil now!
Tomorrow’s mercies will be new!
Faith is fading, desperate for your prayers.
Earlier today, we asked for prayers for Christina-she is doing better, but now we ask for ourselves.
Today(we are ok physically-Mitch has a large bump on his head, Char has a stiff back) our car (a 12 year old Toyota Rav4) was totaled here in Swaziland(we have just had it 6 weeks and spent nearly $8000 for it-supply and demand dictates prices here).
We have been here 2 months, and never felt attacked so much. Our emotions are spent. Upon arrival we discover that Children’s Cup has faced the loss of a major donor and multiple CarePoints will have to be closed, and many of the local Swazi staff will have to be let go. At the same time-we are trying to locate children who have moved due to the governments schooling system-creating issues for the other major organization that funds what Cup does on the ground. Monumental tasks to say the least. We are strangers in a strange land, where the culture is so counter to that in the USA-it is indescribable. 3 weeks ago the founder passed away shortly after landing in Johannesburg(was bringing a team with him to Swaziland). The Africa Director (son in law and daughter to the founder) was forced into high speed to clear everything, arrange for transport of “Pops” and get the family back to the United States. (pray for them too) This put Mitch in charge of Swaziland, and us absent “soul mate” friends (the Rodgers).
Systems, procedures, politics, and more that are truly unchartered-along with initial culture shock, and all that went with it. Lightning storms, power outages, water outages, telecommunication problems, driving on the other side of the road, speaking a different language. To say the least-we felt alone, ignorant, and defeated.
We know that this is what the enemy is wanting us to feel and see. We so desperately want to go home, but deep down inside know that we are supposed to be here. Faith is fading, we hold on by a string. We know that the only answer is prayer- we need you to pray for us. Please, we do not understand all that is happening and going on, but we do see that the devil is throwing in a lot of distractions. We know that he does not want this ministry to continue, to impact children and transform this country. We are filled with doubt (this we know is not of God), but are being fully transparent with you.
THIS is YOUR ministry- your prayers and support got us here-YOUR prayers will help keep us here and get us through this storm. The only thing in our head right now is a song from a card that arrived just yesterday (one of those digital cards) from Mom Bobbi in the USA. Casting Crowns “Praise you in this storm”. We so want to praise Him, we are struggling just to utter the words.
Tomorrow we fill out police reports, pay fines, and start looking for transportation (or see if what we have can be repaired…I do not know if/how that could be). Please do not misunderstand; we are not asking for pity, we are recognizing that we are not able to do this alone. We are under attack, and do not use those words lightly. We have no power left within us-it MUST come from our Father. Please pray.