Life in Swaziland

We send blessings to each of you from the beautiful kingdom of Swaziland in Africa! Since we arrived here in March, we have been blessed with many new friends and new experiences. We work with the Kukhany’Okusha Zion Church in Manzini, which has 70,000 people, and is one of the two major cities in Swaziland.

We send blessings to each of you from the beautiful kingdom of Swaziland in Africa! Since we arrived here in March, we have been blessed with many new friends and new experiences. We work with the Kukhany’Okusha Zion Church in Manzini, which has 70,000 people, and is one of the two major cities in Swaziland. The church name translates to mean “new light church.” The congregation provides help for 8 different feeding stations where many rural children live without parents or just one parent. Daily, volunteer Grannies prepare two nutrition-infused hot meals and a preschool is also provided.  We have learned that many elderly folks also come to get a hot meal, since Senior Centers and Meals on Wheels are not available. We joined many young people from this area in clearing a portion of land at one of these Neighborhood Care Points called Mgungundlovu. The chief there donated a large area of land for crops as part of a plan to become self-sufficient. It will then be plowed and planted. Another activity here is to meet with people in the congregation who are taking courses in theology to help them minister to their neighbors, friends, and coworkers. In addition, the church hosted a first annual Youth Conference in 2013, where young people discussed issues they are facing in society ranging from AIDS, inequality for women, to unemployment and poverty. These energetic young people are currently preparing a proposal to create a Youth Education Center. They hope to help build a bright future for their churches in the years to come. They discussed and learned about many topics facing youth in today's world including unemployment, violence against women, and AIDS among others. A micro-loan project for women who need a hand to start a business has been started recently.

When we were not working for the church, we have been able to spend a few days in one of the many Game Parks of Africa. Swaziland has 4 nice ones, and South Africa has some too, all of which are within driving distance. Kruger Game Park is the largest and most well-known of these parks, but there are other nice ones where we can view many majestic animals of God’s creation! We are in awe when just in front of our car we can watch groups of elephants, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, and impalas, as well as lions, cheetahs, hyenas, leopards, crocodiles, hippos, and my personal favorite, the kudu. There are also some of the most beautiful birds in the world! It is difficult to list all of the fascinating creatures visible here, including the dung beetle and an occasional poisonous snake! We had an exciting experience with a young cobra in our neighborhood, and our 6 year old loves to tell the story of what happened and how “Daddy killed it after seeing it flare its hood at him.”

Recently, our supervisor came to visit Swaziland from her office in Indianapolis. Sandra Gourdet has helped to build a strong partnership with churches throughout Africa during the last 30 years. For at least 18 of those years, she and her husband served this area as missionaries, so she relates well to the people here and they relate well to her. Sandra’s short visit here was an attempt to renew personal friendships and build even stronger family bonds between Christians in the Northern Hemisphere and those in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as to check on the progress of programs supported financially by Global Ministries. We see many dreams, plans, and discussions on the heels of Sandra’s visit. It is a good way to begin a new year, and we hope that just as we expect blessings here in the months to come that you too will stand on God’s promises to fill all of our cups to overflowing!

Terry and Diana Hutter serve as Long-term Volunteers with the Khukhan’Okusha Zion Church in Swaziland. They serve as coordinators of the development programs.