Greetings from Swaziland!
Wayne & Ingrid Wilson – Swaziland
We have been here just over one month and so far everything is going smoothly. Slowly but surely our basic furnishings have arrived. Even though we are anticipating the delivery of two more small pieces, it is no big deal because they are not essential for daily living.
Well, where do we begin…during the past month we have been received and properly orientated by our hosts and have quickly jumped into our new lives. Our first Sunday here, we were officially welcomed into the church. Featured was an award winning special guest choir from another one of the churches in the denomination.
Although a significant number of people speak English here, it is their second language. So, every now and then we meet people with whom it is difficult to communicate. Sometimes when there is a communication gap we speak in Portuguese to see if that might be a bridge, and on occasion it works. Hopefully in another couple of weeks we will begin learning the local language called Siswati.
Swaziland is truly a kingdom with a real monarch. Presently, we work in the city of Manzini(where the mother church is located) and live in Mbabane(the capital city.) The people are amazing: kind, sensitive, sincere and with over the top senses of humor. In the north and central areas, the skies are blue and are filled with puffy white clouds, reminiscent of any witnessed on any one of the Pacific islands. And the landscape is breathtaking with rolling hills of corn, sugar cane, peanuts and pineapple. In fact Ingrid and I regularly see and feel similarities between Swaziland and the Hawaiian Islands everywhere we go. If we didn’t know any better, we’d think that we were only 3000 miles or so from Los Angeles and that the ocean was just over the hill. However, in a couple of weeks we will visit the southern part of the country, the part most hit by a long drought, famine, and consequently, severe food shortages.
As you may remember, our primary assignment here is to work with one of the indigenous independent Christian churches of Swaziland known as Kukhany’okusha Zion Church. In English, the word Kukhany’okusha means “New Light.” Although small compared to many other “mainline” denominations in the kingdom, they have strong spirits and great work ethics that place them on the cutting edges of theological reflection and social justice work. Historically, they were introduced to Christ by a Dutch missionary in the late 1800’s, yet after his departure they quickly made Christianity their own by introducing African songs, dances, and the laying on of hands to their worship services. Today they are led by Bishop A.M. Dlamini(the “D” is silent), a visionary and faithful leader.
Kukhany’okusha Zion Church defines itself as “a church with a mission.” Presently it is guided by four pillars or mandates. They are:
1)Spiritual Growth(Worship and Spiritual Life), 2)Membership Development(Evangelism), 3)Financial and Material Sustenance (Stewardship), and 4)Love and Care for Others(Service).
During our recent six-week stay in the US, so many people told us that they could not physically do what we are doing. That was a sign to us that this ministry is our destiny and our calling. As we come to a close, there are a few specific things that Kukhany’okusha would like you to know about them.
1) They are a church on the move that has a principle directive to become more self sufficient through a variety of development programs and projects.
2) You are welcome to Swaziland! As a small kingdom/country, which exists between the countries of South Africa and Mozambique, they believe that they have something unique to share with you. So consider coming to Swaziland yourself or sending a couple of young adults during the summer month of August(their best month to receive guests.)
3) They have a unique worship style and theology that is Christ centered, yet indigenous, as they strive to strike a balance between young and old, men and women, traditional and non-traditional.
Please continue to pray for us and we will do the same for you.
Rev.Wayne and Ingrid
Wayne & Ingrid Wilson are missionaries serving in Swaziland and Mozambique. Wayne serves with the Kukhany’ Okusha Zion Church in Swaziland as development project officer of the Mozambique Synod of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa. Ingrid serves as the Coordinator of the women’s work and will serve part-time as women’s coordinator of the Mozambique Synod of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa.