Wednesday, May 31, 2006

To see the sun rise or set against the mountains, I had only to walk outside the little circle house where we stayed. We were on a hill among many, able to overlook a Swazi village in the valleys below, where herds of cows wandered along the many dirt roads (actually, more often the paved highway!), young people waited at the bus stop, older women walked along the road balancing full 50 gallon jugs on their heads - no hands - and not a single drop spilled. Roosters crowed and the smell of cooking fires burned outside tiny little houses while young children played outside.

This is Swaziland.

Guava trees, orange trees, lemon trees, papaya trees - all right on the campus where we stayed. Emmanuel Wesleyan Bible College is educating the students that will become pastors and minister in their country. We worshipped with them, in English and SiSwati; we ate with them; we discussed ministry with them. These students go to EWBC on scholarship, and most of them are already pastoring or ministering somewhere. Their hearts to serve the Lord in this little country are evident. And they are so needed.

See, statistics say that 52% of the people are infected with HIV or AIDS. Statistics are wrong.

90% of the Swazi population is infected. And if nothing is done to stem the violent spread of the AIDS virus, the Swazi people will be extinct in less than 50 years.

The Swazi culture is so steeped in withcraft, some of the men falsely believe that they can cure themselves by having sex with a virgin. Rape is prevalent, and girls as young as 6 years old are being affected.

Basically, lots of people are dying.

This is Swaziland.

The LORD is raising up His people in that country, and they are going to battle for Him. In the following days I will tell you individually of all the men and women standing up for the children, and the adults, in their particular areas of ministry, and helping to educate and feed them.

The Swaziland I saw was one where the LORD's power is more prevalent than the death Satan is trying to spread. It is a small country with incredible people He has set aside and called to do His work, and they are being obedient.

Obedience. It was a theme for my team during our 2.5 weeks learning from and being blessed by the amazing people we met in Swaziland. Consider the word: OBEDIENCE.

"Jesus replied, If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23


P.S. Thank you to all who prayed for my team! Please pray for us as we have come back different and bonded to each other and the Lord in new ways... Not all of us came back at 100% health, though the Lord did bless us with good health in country. Levi and Tom were sick on the flight home, Rachel was getting over a nasty cold, and I seem to have developed the flu overnight... Thank you for your prayers!


At 9:39 AM, Blogger LisaTeegarden said...

What a picture you have given us Lauren. What a needy people. Not unlike so many around the U.S. and world. How thankful we are for your heart for missons. YOU ARE A BLESSING TO OUR FAMILY, and the PRAYFORBJ Family. I look forward to more on your mission. Lord, please send bless the Swazi people and the missionaries and your work there. Thank you for being GREATER than Death itself. God, Please Bless Lauren, Whitney,Brent & Deanna extra these days ahead. LOVE YOU'S. Aunt Lisa

At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lauren - obedience in our Lord's words is key to world peace, no hunger, less suffering and so much more than we could imagine. Among the selfish, affluent, self-serving American people, there are those who show a different path -- one for and of our Lord. Ones who see the suffering and know the answer and try so hard to share and bless others with the gift of His love and care. Thank you for being one. Thank you for showing others the Way, the Truth and the Light -- so that they may, too, become one. Lord, please bless these missionaries with good health. We need them here to do their work and spread Your word and works through them. Please especially bless Lauren, that she be filled with Your healing grace and strength for a speedy recovery this very day.

At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elle! Amazing.. I can't wait to hear more. See you tonight. :)

At 10:46 PM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

I have a good friend who worked with True Love Waits in Zimbabwe a few years ago--very similar situation. In much of our country, we have virtually insulated ourselves from the horrors of AIDs. It seems we have virtually insulated ourselves from the horrors of sin, in fact--we're so protected we don't even realize that our actions make a difference.

They do! Thank YOU for making a difference, Lauren. Thank you for encouraging those fellow servants at the college, and letting all the people see Him in you. I'm sure BJ is thrilled that you not only made it to Africa, but ministered in the name of Christ.

Praying for your soon recovery (gotta be ready to help drive to Tulsa, right?!)

with tender love,

Marti, aka Mama P

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Lattany said...

I am so glad to hear you have returned safely and that God met you and your team on the trip. I could not be more excited to hear about your trip.

Fairfax, VA, USA

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