Swaziland... Last month alone, we had contact with over 5600 children... God
is doing AMAZING things here. THANK YOU!!!!
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This week we are rolling out “True Love Waits” to all of our Carepoint kids...well, the ones that are not attending the Reed Dance. TLW is a way to educate children that they should wait until marriage to have sex. Our hope is that through love and education, we can start to change statistics here in Swaziland-decrease the teen pregnancy rate and decrease HIV infections.
The Swazi culture is ok with topless women. The Reed Dance is a traditional opportunity for Swaziland's maidens to pay tribute to the Queen Mother. Although the King has used the occasion to choose wives a few times,(He currently has 13 wives) the ceremony is not about him primarily. The king's own children partake in this event.
The annual Umhlanga(oom-shlawn-gah) (Reed) Dance is an assembly of about 20,000 young maidens (recently reaching 100,000) who bring tall (4 m) reeds to present to the Queen Mother. These reeds are then used to build windbreaks around the Queen Mother's residence. The Reed Dance usually lasts for a week and the king only attends the last day as a sign of respect to his mother. He also uses the occasion to thank the young girls who have traveled long distances to attend the event by slaughtering cattle and presenting them with a feast before they return home. During the week; men, women, boys and girls “camp” out. There are a number of celebrations, but the biggest is that all of the young maidens wear traditional attire and are topless.
We do not speak out on politics, culture, or history here. Our prayer is simply that for those families that participate in the reed dance activities would appreciate a lifestyle of abstaining and waiting for marriage-and true love.
Whilst complaining about being cold (have my stocking cap and gloves on, and heading to a bed with multiple blankets) as the temperatures drop into the mid 40s outside with rain (and low 50s inside our house).. I realize how GREAT I have it.
So many of the families we work with do not have the luxuries that we enjoy, or have the resources of a house that keeps major drafts out, have extra blankets, warm clothing, hot soup for dinner, etc.
Lord, I pray you will keep them warm…These are the things that keep me up at night. Dealing with my own whining, when thousands have it so much harder-forgive me Lord.
We are blessed beyond belief to see what the community, churches, families and friends from Beach and
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So a missionary family (Prince family) started a new game.. I believe I scored 12 today.
How my day shook down:
Drove to Matsapha(town)-saw 1 herd of cattle.. 2 were peeing. Saw 2 men on the side of the road peeing.
Early morning visit to police station to secure restraining order(it’s all good)-meeting delayed until tomorrow.
Departed for the Cup Global Leadership Academy in Mbekelweni.
Enroute-2 herd of goats (perhaps the proper plural is herds) crossing the road…at least 3 goats were peeing. Oh yah, one more dude on the side of the road relieving himself.
Was encouraged and excited to spend time with 23 of Swaziland’s brightest (our GLA students)-these young adults INSPIRE us all.
Off to New Village to meet with a child..again, whilst driving 1 more man and 1 more cow(in the road) … you guessed it- Peeing
Spent time at New village while the child(a 2nd grader) wrote a lovely letter to her sponsor in America in English(I LOVE IT when these worlds collide)
Prayed with the teacher and child and headed out towards Mvutjini
You will never believe what happened next!
Had to wait 10 minutes for a local herder to move his cattle down the winding dirt path-up and down hills…and lots of “action” (I lost count) took place
Got to Mvutjini-spent time with 2 very special kids (and saw more writing letters to their Mission of Mercy sponsors) delivered gifts and prayed with and for the community women and teachers. Played with a few kids on a seesaw.
Took off to head back to Mbabane(where the cup office is).. and along the side of the highway… one more fella releasing fluids.
Yes, sometimes you have to make a game out of your day-and This Is Africa. I scored a loose 12 on the “CowWhizzer” scale as created by the prince family. Points for every animal(including human) seen peeing in close proximity! (I am still giggling)- Mitch
How amazing to be able to look back and see just HOW God was and is moving. It is to no one’s surprise that our initial months living in the field were challenging. Through many of those challenges-we were blinded and could not see through them. The incredible thing is that GOD knew and was navigating it all for us. It has been the longest, shortest, hardest, easiest, craziest year of our lives… and OH what a way that HE has grown us!
A quick review:
-Arrived in country to the news that ½ of the Children’s Cup funding was going away-impacting thousands of kids and multiple CarePoints and ½ of the local staff
-Child issues with location and moving creating concern for another major funder of the ministry
-The founder of Cup passed away, and we are slid into a leadership role for the ministry and operations as the Africa Director needs to go back to the
-A major car accident
-Kids located and systems in place to keep even better tabs
-New partner found to take over operations of CarePoints impacted by loss of funding
-Christmas holiday(in the heat)
-New missionary family arrives (and bonds are formed with the rest of our missionary family here)
-New ministries are birthed (I Am Not Forgotten home for Orphans and Vulnerable children expand, School Fee Assistance programs, Discipleship programs, Global Leadership Academy has 23 full time students becoming passionate for serving others with character…)
-children abused / killed
-A trip to the
-In sharing about abused / killed children-a community decides to impact
-Growth in the ministry beyond our dreams in depth of teaching and expansion of number of CarePoints(places where kids come to be safe, eat, learn about Jesus, are taught character, serving, homework, receive medical care and more)
The best things have truly been watching and being a small part of sharing God’s love with the children and staff here in
Our focus remains on training up leaders to one day replace us and target the programs for sustainability without our assistance. This may take a generation, but we believe we are working with and molding the future leaders of the ministry and the country. We see a great reason to CELEBRATE, as HOPE is found to many. We are BLESSED to get to be a very small part of that.
We have truly seen that what the enemy intends to use to kill, steal and destroy with… GOD will use for good and for His Glory.
Has it been a struggle? You betcha…but we see God moving, we trust His leading, we hear Him more clearly, trust Him more completely and have gained a profound dependence on the Lord that we thought we had a year ago-but really did not.
Our observation: Life was easier for us in the
We could NOT have been here, or been a part of what GOD is doing in
Char and I did not understand why we could not have kids, but thanks to you- we have 4,811 of these precious African children. THANK YOU!
Pop’s(the founder) would say “Hope’s Name is Jesus”… we see today that that is true in any and all circumstances!
Empty boxes from Feed My Starving Children double as bumbo seats at Children's Cup CarePoints. One of the volunteer cooks said she was trying to teach her baby how to sit up. (thanks for the photo Stephen Prince)
Well, we are back and in full swing here in Swaziland. The brief trip to the USA was nice..the best part was seeing so many friends and family that came to the park for Hills Alive. Christian music and that festival have been a BIG part of our lives for so many years- we felt SO loved.
We realized that we no longer “fit in” in america.. we still don’t “fit in” in swaziland… ahh, Limbo-what a beautiful place to be!
We have heart breaking stories, stories of hope, stories of joy, and stories of miraculous intervention all to share…just keep checking back here and at www.childrenscup.org
SPECIAL thanks to the community of BEACH ND!!! Enough funds given to build an entire new Carepoint building(where kids will come each day for meals, education, healthcare and bible clubs) at the no named community of Section 19! OH we are SOOOOOO EXCITED!!!