Early Lessons in Love
I am greeting you from the fascinating Kingdom of Swaziland in Africa! We have been here less than a week, but we are enjoying the end of their summer as a pleasant change from the record-breaking snowstorms we recently experienced in Kansas.We experienced the lovely music of their acapella praise and worship Sunday morning. They had several people give personal testimonies, and they prayed corporately for several people suffering from illness. We were introduced and welcomed into the congregation and they gave Terry a Swazi name of “Tembe” meaning “Hope” but the women are to be thinking of what Swazi name to give me. As for now, since we are “elders” we are referred to as “Pepe” and “Magu” (papa and momma).
We were pleasantly surprised to be allowed to bring our beloved ten year old miniature weinie dog. We were blessed to get an opportunity to visit one of the church’s NCP locations (Neighborhood Care Programs). This one was quite far away, so we spent all day getting there, eating a lunch, having a prayer service, then coming back to the hotel. The church here began the several NCP programs to bring aid to OVCs (Orphaned and Vulnerable Children) a few years ago with an American couple, who first visited the church through an arranged Global Ministries visit, helping organize and begin the funding for it.
They have built and are running a preschool and primary school. They had the preschool children each present themselves to us in English–“Good Afternoon. My name is ____. I am 4 years old and live in _____.” Each one of them shook a hand of each of us (2 church members were with the 3 of us). Then they sang for us in English “Twinkle, Twinkle” & “Old MacDonald” & “Wheels on the Bus.” They were precious, and Terry is charging the camera now so we can send photos. After feeding us a nice meal of chicken, rice, beets, carrots, and slaw (all hot items cooked in pots over outside fire), then they showed us around. They showed us how the head of the preschool’s house was destroyed recently in a terrible storm. It was a 3 bedroom simple house, but she very much would like to rebuild. Her family has had to move in with friends, so they are cramped but not really complaining. Victoria enjoyed playing with the children for awhile, then she got a bit short with them because they “kept following her everywhere and she wanted to be alone now.” We spoke with her about being rude and she will lose Ipod time (movies or phonics games) while she considers being more understanding of others. One 8 year old girl even gave Tori a coin, which is likely the only one she has. We tried to give it back, but her mom said “she wants to share it with her.” What a lesson in love!!! After a prayer service where the adults and children sang praise songs, then the adults prayed a general “Thank you Jesus for loving us.” Then 1 man laid hands on the President of the Manzini Church and prayed for his continuing healing, until he is fully restored to good health. It was such a touching exchange of love, because the Manzini church brings supplies every two weeks, and the rural people pray for and with those from the “city.”