Prayer for Swaziland: Matthew 22:15-22
God of Love and Hope – walk with us as we consider what it is to be a global citizen in this earthly world. We are grateful you continue to celebrate us – your people – as your treasured creations. We see, oh God, around the world there is such diversity – diversity of people, of experiences, of understandings – and yet, to you, we are all equal in your eyes. Remind us that Love is essential to building and connecting the human family, and remind us we must continue to work on and share that love; that we must not keep it a secret, but must be a proactive lover of humanity. You have shown us that this IS the way to help heal hurt, pain, and suffering by giving us your son, Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of what love is.
God of Hope, be with us, and be with our partners in Swaziland, and around the world, as we send all of our love and prayers to be with them in places where basic needs are often difficult to come by. Give them strength to continue responding to the cries of their people in the face of economic challenges. When food is scarce Lord, please provide. And when hope is scarce Lord, please provide. At the point of deepest need, oh Lord, hear our pleas. From our doorsteps to the ends of the earth, let us act as a movement for wholeness in our all-to-small world. Remind us that the little we do at home does have an effect on those on around the globe. God of accompaniment and solidarity – you know us, you know our hearts. Let your people around the world know that we are praying for them today. In the spirit of sharing the peace and love, and hope of Christ – in your name we pray. Amen.
Mission Moment from Swaziland:
Today I will share with you about our Mission Partner Kukhany’okusha Zion Church in Swaziland. I have been lucky and blessed enough to walk WITH the amazing people of Swaziland for the past 10+ months. They share with me, and teach me – each Mother of the church adopting me as her own, and each young person treating me as sister.
As I wander thru my life here, I continue to reflect on my own gifts, privilege, and blessings. I am an educated white female from the richest country in the world; what I know about hard work and lifting myself up from low places is incomparable to the lives and experience of people who live day to day in this part of the world, in extremely different circumstances. I continue to marvel at their spirit and will to not only survive, but to be positive – happy even – in the face of an otherwise dire situation.
Some have estimated the HIV/AIDS statistics to be as high as 1 in 3, the highest rate in the world, per capital. The rate of death is astounding, and many many children are left with 1, or no, parents to care for them. Grandmothers, Aunts, or nice people in their communities are left to care for these children – providing clothing, food, and a place to sleep. Additionally, the unemployment rate is estimated to be between 40-50%. This is a tough economy to live in. There are limited government structures in place; therefore, churches and other non-profits are left to fill the gaps. Kukhany’okusha is doing just that – responding at the point of deepest need – knowing that prayer isn’t enough to cure HIV, or bring parents back from grave.
Statistically speaking, in Swaziland, Zionists tend to be poor, uneducated, and predominately located in rural communities. This is also true about the majority of Kukhany’okusha members. And yet, they have a long, and strong tradition of helping the needy, even though many of them are needy themselves. This passion is what has compelled them to become actively involved in the Neighborhood Care Point (NCP) program: a concept of UNICEF, supported by Council of Swaziland Churches, implemented by local churches. While the majority of Kukhany’okusha churches are rural, they support 8 NCPs, operated directly from their congregations. This is possible through the direct support of monies received through Global Ministries.
NCPs serve one meal a day, seven days a week. Three of these NCPs also offer preschool education. It is the goal that eventually all NCPs will offer preschool education. The vision and mission for the Kukhany’okusha NCP program is so strong, a separate non-profit called Kukhany’okusha Cares for Children Project (KCCP) has been registered with the government of Swaziland for the church to focus their efforts, and raise funds in direct support of HIV orphans and vulnerable children. The core support for this program comes directly from a partnership established on a visit to Swaziland by a group of Disciples in Indiana and Kentucky; since then, the walk has been hand in hand, and because of this, Kukhany’okusha can do so much to feed hungry children and respond to the growing needs of their communities. With more mission partners, more children can be fed; more jobs can be provided, and more outreach in rural communities can be done. UNICEF has repeatedly praised Kukhany’okusha for being the leading example of the way faith-based organizations can and should respond to this crisis in Swaziland – proactively, spiritually, and communally.
The sense of community here has always been a strong part of the traditional Swazi identity; the concept of Ubuntu – a life philosophy best defined as “I Am Because You Are” – guides the love and care of each person here in Swaziland. However, as the country continues to develop and ‘compete’ with the developed/western economy, this spirit of Ubuntu has suffered, especially in the more populated areas. It is the determination of Kukhany’okusha to remind people of this spirit – and as Christians, to respond out of love.
As children of God, we are each beautiful creations. The people of Kukhany’okusha remind us what it means to give – to honor God by respecting, loving, and reaching out to each other, at the point of deepest need.
I am so lucky to have become a part of this family – and I hope by my story today, that you also can feel like a small part of this family. Through Global Ministries, Disciples and UCC partners in mission give much hope and inspiration to Kukhany’okusha - they are grateful for your love and support of their work, as am I. Blessings to all on this Sabbath day!
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Lizzy Beach)
Follow Lizzy’s blog at: http://lizzybeach.tumblr.com/
Video Resources for Swaziland:
Interview with Lizzy Beach: http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/videos/video-mission-moments/lizzy-beach.html
Global Ministries International Partners in Swaziland:
- Kukhany Okusha Zion Church which has 36 congregations in Swaziland (5,000 member) and South Africa (7,000 members). To learn more, click here: Kukhany Okusha Zion Church
- Council of Swaziland Churches which was founded in 1976 and has 10 member churches and 26 staff persons.
For more info on Swaziland: http://globalministries.org/africa/countries/swaziland/
Global Ministries Missionary in Swaziland:
Lizzy Beach, a member of Compton Heights Christian Church, St Louis, Missouri, and Tapestry Ministries in Berkeley, California, assists with youth development programming, administrative development, and program development and sustainability with the Kukhany’okusha Cares for Children Project (KCCP), a project of Kukhany'Okusha Zion Church in Swaziland.
Pray for Partners without Global Ministries Mission Personnel: Dominican Republic
For more info on the Dominican Republic: http://globalministries.org/lac/countries/dominican-republic/