Monday, December 24, 2007

1 Corinthians 15:55

We received a text message Saturday morning at 06:42 from Peggy Dlamini, our teacher at Murray Camp. She had just gotten news that Sthembiso had passed away. Sthembiso was one of the volunteer cooks at Murray Camp. At a clinic Teresa and Rajni did last week at Makholweni, Teresa had commented on seeing Sthembiso and how absolutely frail and weak she was. Sthembiso had been on ARV's for six months. Here, you are not started on ARV's until your CD4 count is less than 200. To understand this, you have to realize that by that time you are already exhibiting major AIDS symptoms. For Sthembiso, being forced to wait to start ARV's didn't help her.

The good news is that Sthembiso is now with her Lord and Saviour. We met with her family this morning to offer what prayer, comfort and support we could. We offered some Emalangeni towards the funeral and coffin. She is survived by her mother (in South Africa) and father, grand father and at least one brother. She was in her mid twenties. She had three children, all of whom died before reaching their one year birthday.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Helpless II

While we were at the Maphiveni Christmas party, I received a call from one of our new teachers at the Fonteyn CarePoint in Mbabane. He was extremely upset, and said that one of the children had swallowed a metal object and was choking. I asked him if she was breathing and if he remembered the Heimleck maneuver that I had just taught them in class last week. She was breathing, but could not speak. He said that he did remember, but she was lying on the ground face down. I instructed him to stand her up if she was still conscious and try the maneuver. At that point I went to be alone and pray. I asked the Lord to please save her and not to let her die. I then called an ambulance to go to the CarePoint. The next call I received was good news! Praise the Lord! The metal object was out! He said that he couldn’t get her up off the ground, so he did back blows like we learned to do with babies, and it worked, the object came flying out of her mouth! I asked if she was ok and he said that she was crying because she was afraid, but she was fine otherwise.

God’s timing is perfect! This teacher was amazed that he had just learned about choking and was then able to use this knowledge for this situation. God is so good! I give Him all the praise, honor, and glory, for He has done great things! Amen!

We had a clinic today (20-Dec-07) at Mangwaneni in Manzini. We were trying to target the children, but they were bringing adults also. A woman came in leading a young man up to the chair. He could barely walk, from weakness and was going blind, as well. I knew what I was I was dealing with when they told me that he had only been this way for a month. I asked if he had been tested for HIV and they said yes and that his CD4 count was only 94. I asked why he wasn’t on ARV’s and they said that the place that they took him wouldn’t start him until he had a chest x-ray to check for TB. They said that they were charging R98 for the x-ray, and they didn’t have money to get it. I told them that they needed to get him to the government hospital as soon as possible to get him started on ARV’s. At that point I felt very helpless again. There was nothing I could do for him except give him some vitamins and some oral rehydration salts to help with the diarrhea. I pray that it is not too late for him to get the help that he so desperately needs.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Last week we saw a little boy about 6 years old, who walks like a little old man. He has severe pain with every step that he takes. His little joints are extremely swollen and painful. When obtaining a history from the teacher at the Lagoba CarePoint, she told us that he had previously been on treatment for TB. The teacher asked if this could be the TB attacking his bones. The doctor (Rajni) that is with me from the States said that it could be, especially if he did not complete the treatment, which it seems, he did not. This little one hurts everywhere that you touch him; his back, legs, feet, hands, and every joint. The suspicion when a child has TB is that there is a great possibility that he is HIV positive as well. He had also been attacked by a pack of dogs. He had a huge gash on the top of his head, and a bite on his thigh that had a bandage on it. We asked the teacher if she would talk to his mother or care giver about going with him for HIV testing this next week before everything closes for the holidays. The teacher did talk to her and she is willing to go if she can get off from work.

As the boy walked out of the room, Rajni said that she felt so helpless! I know that feeling well! If he were in the States, he would be in the hospital having tests run to see what is wrong, and he would have good pain control. Here, all we could do for him is place him on an antibiotic and some Ibuprofen for pain. Please pray for this little one, that we may be able to get him the help that he so desperately needs!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Maphiveni 2007 Christmas Party

Hot and sunny. Big difference from Saturday. Today we had around 350 children from our Maphiveni CarePoint for Christmas. The program was awesome: thanks to our own Dynamics kids, Celebration Church, Christian Family Church, and Gugu Dynamite (our children's pastor extraordinaire). The community turned out in force as well and had a good time. Face painting, jumping castles, tug-of-war, jump rope, balloons, necklaces, and a mini medical clinic. Christy was an angle all day!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Manzini Area Christmas 2007

Saturday was cold & wet. It has been raining for three days and Saturday wasn't any different. But the kids didn't seem to mind or care. We bused in close to 2500 children from all the Manzini area CarePoints. That translates into 5000 hot dogs and buns. Each dog slathered with tomato sauce & mustard. A lot of dogs!

A visiting team from Celebration Church in Georgetown, Texas helped with jumping castles, tug of war, face painting, and anything else they could find to put their hands to. Volunteers from Christian Family Church in Tambankulu and Checkers Community Church in Mbabane as well as from the local high school helped make the day a success and special for the kids.

The kids had fun and were ministered to as well. No one went home without having heard the true meaning of Christmas, which is a real reason to celebrate!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December 5

Blog entry 04 Dec 07

I saw the 15 month old baby girl in the hospital today from the Mangwaneni Mbabane CarePoint that we have been taking to Baylor for treatment for AIDS. Her 20 year old mother is one of our cooks at that CarePoint. She looked so helpless as she held the sick baby, and wiped her runny nose.

The child could hardly breathe. She was so thin and emaciated that it looked like her neck couldn't hold her head up. I thought, if this baby were in the States she would be in ICU. Here, they were only giving her IV antibiotics, no oxygen, no continuous IV drip, no machines, etc.

The mother asked if we could help to transport her and the baby to Baylor tomorrow to get her ARV's. She was supposed to start the ARV's tomorrow, after going for a month for the adherence counseling. I wondered if it was too late. I prayed with her and the baby before I left.

When I got home, I called one of the doctors from Baylor to see if she could bring the ARV's to her instead of moving the baby from the hospital. She said that she would try.

05 Dec 07

I received a phone message from the teacher at the CarePoint. The baby died about 1:00 this morning. This young mother was distraught to say the least. Sandra and Jacci went to pray with her and find out what we can do to help with the burial. She asked if we could help with the coffin and food. We will gladly try to help with this. Please pray for this young mother, who is now alone.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

November Update

God's Grace

One day at clinic, I saw this young lady, 24 years old. She looked very sick. I thought, she must be HIV positive. She had a baby on her back, who was also sick. The baby was not hers, she said that her baby died last December. The girl had a very bad cough, sores in her mouth, difficulty breathing, and her voice was very hoarse. She said that she had been tested for TB and she was negative. She has also been tested for HIV, and she is positive, but has not been started on treatment. She didn’t go back to get the result of her CD4 count. She said that they gave her a lot of pills, but she didn’t know what they were for. I asked her to promise me that she would go back to RFM the next day and get CD4 count and let them see how sick she is, so that she may get started on treatment. She had tried going to Baylor earlier that week, but could not be treated there because she does not have a child which is HIV positive. She promised that she would return to RFM the next day.

I felt led to ask her if we could pray for her and if she knew Jesus. She said that she didn’t, so I asked her if she would like to know Him, and she said yes. We had her repeat the sinners pray with us and she accepted Jesus into her heart! Praise the Lord!

She has been back to see me several times, sometimes, better, sometimes worse. She is going to RFM, but she has not been started on treatment yet. I am trying to keep her infections and symptoms under control, until she gets started on treatment.


I realized today that my strongholds are worry, fear, anxiety, and helplessness. Satan feeds me these lies when I get down and weak. If I don’t stay in the Word, and seeking after my Savior, I believe these lies and fall apart in a heap of helplessness, and self pity. It paralyzes me to the point that I can’t focus or do anything. Everything seems too big for me to tackle. The truth is that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! If I choose to believe the truth, instead of lies, I can and will do all things through Christ! God, please give me the strength to trust you with each day! Everyday! I love you so much, help me to allow you to be my strength, and stop trying to be strong on my own! Your strength is made perfect in my weaknesses. I believe you and want to know you, want to glorify you, want to experience your peace, want to find all my satisfaction in you, and to enjoy your presence!

God Knows "T" By Name!

I have spoken in the past about a little girl at one of our Care Points who is 16, my oldest daughter’s age, but she looks and acts like a 10 year old. We will call her T to protect her privacy. She has started going with us monthly to Baylor for treatment for AIDS. Her mom is also positive and on treatment. They were both doing really well for a while. She had even started attended school again, which she had not been able to do in quiet a few years.

One day I received a call from the head nurse at Baylor, she said that they had to take her off of her ARV’s because they were not being given to her correctly or consistently. This is more dangerous than never started them at all. At this point we realized that her mother has a problem with alcohol and is incapable of giving her the medications correctly.

We found out that a lady who has a child that is positive that has been going to Baylor with us from another CarePoint was moving into the area where this little girl is. This lady and her daughter moved in with T and her mother. This lady has taken over giving T her drugs and making sure she eats, etc. Praise the Lord!

Unfortunately, T came down with pneumonia, and had to be admitted to the hospital. She could hardly breath that day, and had to be placed on oxygen while she was at Baylor clinic. When I got the call, I rushed to see her. I didn’t find the beautiful smiling face that I had seen the last time I saw her. Instead, I found a child that could do nothing else but concentrate on getting her next breath. We got her to the hospital, and after a few rough days, I went to visit her and I was greeted by the beautiful smiling face that I knew. She was discharged a few days later, and is now at home, finishing her last few days of school for this year! Praise the Lord!

I just found out today that another one of our little ones that we take to Baylor has been admitted to the hospital. This one is only 15 months old. I will go and visit her tomorrow. Please keep these little ones in your prayers! They are so fragile, but we serve a God who see’s and knows and cares!

Flat Tyres & Lumps

I have to give this praise to the Lord! Last Friday I traveled all the way to Manzini (30 minutes from where we live), and back, and then all over Mbabane, running errands and taking kids here and there. That night, Daran and I went to get a bite to eat and have a little time alone, while the kids were at the youth service. The Brennan’s even picked them up for us to give us more time! Anyway, we had a nice dinner, and Daran was following me home. We ended up having both cars since I dropped the kids off and went to the office to get him. I had a flat tire on the way home. I noticed that the car was driving funny and pulling to one side, so I slowed down and put my flashers on. Daran followed me to a place where he could change the tire safely. I am just so thankful that it did not happen while I was on the highway to Manzini, or around town, with the kids, or by myself. God is so good, He even takes care of the little things!

One more praise! A couple of weeks ago, I found a lump on my collar bone. Being an oncology(cancer) nurse, it really worried me. I told a few people and had them pray. I couldn’t get in to see the doctor for a few days, so I had to decide if I was going to trust or worry. I can’t say that I was trusting the whole time, but God is faithful! I saw the doctor, and she said that it was not anything to worry about. It looks and feels like a lipoma, which is a fatty cyst, which is harmless. She will check it again in January to make sure it hasn’t changed. The Lord reminds me that if I am going to trust Him more, I must know Him more. Lord, please help me to draw close to you and hold on tight!!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Community Service

This week the form 2 students (same as 8th grade), went to 3 different CarePoints for community service. These students are from Waterford, which is the private secondary school that 2 of our kids attend. They were split into groups of about 25 each and spent 2 hours dancing, singing, and playing games with the children. The kids at each of the 3 CarePoints, were so excited and enjoyed the extra attention so much. The last day was at Zombodze, which is a very new CarePoint. The kids at this CarePoint are in pretty bad shape. There are several here that we need to get to Baylor for HIV testing. Many are very thin, and many of their clothes are just rags. As you see in the picture, the one little boy has a blow out in the back side of his pants and then also a hole in his under pants. The Waterford kids that went to this CarePoint really connected with these kids. They were so sad when their teacher said it was time to go. These kids may not be the best behaved students in class, but they definitely were touched by these little ones, and they related so well with them. Many of the students spoke SiSwati and were able to communicate with these kids. The enthusiasm that these students had as they played with these little children, blessed me so much! This is an activity that we would like to repeat each year.

Missing 4 year old boy

We had a scary experience this week at one of the CarePoints. A little 4 year old boy was missing for a 24 hour period. The story that one of the kids told us was that he was taken by someone in a car who offered him sweets. The mom, police, and people from the CarePoint and community were looking for him frantically. We were all praying. The next night, someone dropped him at the police station. Praise the Lord, he was not harmed. The next day, I was able to talk to him (thru an interpreter). He said that he was not hurt, and that he just went to town with a friend. Evidently, the friend left him in town, and he just went to someone’s house and slept. I’m not sure if he knew the person or not, it was not clear. When the person heard the boy was missing on the radio, he dropped him at the police station. Praise the Lord for watching over this little one. We were able to rejoice with his mother that he was returned and unharmed. We prayed with him and the mother and thanked the Lord for His mercy and goodness!!! Please continue to help us to pray for protection over these children.

Piano Recital

Danielle and Joelle both played piano in a music recital on Saturday afternoon. They have been taking lessons from these guys for about a year now. The name of the place is Yanza Music. It is run by a young Swazi guy, by the name of Muleki, who is Danielle’s teacher, and Kish is Joelle’s teacher. These two guys really love the Lord and they love music as well. They are both very talented musicians. They both play the piano and sing. I love to come to drop the girls off and hear Christian music being played and praise and worship songs being lifted up before the Lord. Muleki played and sang a song that he has written about the love that God has for us in giving His only Son to die for us. It was the most beautiful song I’ve heard in a long time, and the obvious love that he has for the Lord was very evident. Several praise and worship songs were sang at the recital, and the Spirit of the Lord was very present. The recital was outside, and people were sitting on the grass next door listening. I am so grateful to have the girls sit under these guys to learn how to love music the way they do and to proclaim their love for the Lord in their music. Kish, Joelle’s teacher, has always got a beautiful smile and always has the kids smiling, as well. I just want to thank the Lord, even for the little things!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Share a Pair" Project

Remember our post from June titled "Cooks Feet"? Well much thanks to two of our friends in the States who took it to heart and gathered enough shoes for all the cooks at our CarePoints. Syndy and Lori were here last week and were able to be a part of blessing the cooks at several of the CarePoints. We continue this week to make sure all the cooks have new footware. Remember these ladies are completely volunteer, but without their selfless dedication to the children, there would be no CarePoint. Thank you Syndy and Lori! We could have named this post Stylin'.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Flip-Flops for Everyone

The organization "Heart for Africa" had somewhere around 6000 flip-flops donated for here in Swaziland. The Children's Cup CarePoints were selected to distribute them. That means every single child and cook in all our CarePoints receives a new pair of sandals. The majority of the children are barefoot and Teresa sees many with major gashes caused by the broken glass that litters the ground (pretty much everywhere). We hope this will help in at least avoiding some of these injuries. These shots are from Kakhoza. Thank you to Heart for Africa!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cracked Head

No its not about me (Daran) although it's been insinuated (alright, straight to my face by a few!) before. My Pajero has 160K kilometers now, 80K are mine. So what about a sudden lose in power and overheating problem? The head is cracked in three places. I'm told this particular model has a major design flaw: the cooling system must be 100% or the engine will over heat. No margin for error. Talk about under design. So with minimal blockage in the radiator, we are now 15000 Rand lighter.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Celebration at Makholweni!

We helped host a team from Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida this week. They spent Saturday morning with the teenagers at Makholweni. After games and activities, they shared in song and testimony. Our prayer here is that we can open up opportunities to continue to mentor, teach, disciple, and pour into these young lives. Without the hope and purpose found in Jesus, these kids are destined to be the next victims in the ongoing battle for their very lives. While satan promises lead to death and despair (try visiting the AIDS clinic or the government hospitals), Jesus offers only eternal hope, healing, and compassion.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Uniforms for Madonsa

The school uniforms for the kids at the Madonsa CarePoint school were handed out yesterday. These are uniforms sewn at the Makholweni sewing project. Alice is teaching the girls there to sew and using the uniforms to train them. The kids love the uniforms and it helps make them and their caregivers feel they are part of the school!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


The Mission of Mercy CarePoint at Maphiveni is moving along well. We have jumped from sixty kids coming to over 200 per day now. The building is coming up nicely. We expect to have it completed by the end of October. The Christian Family Church in Tambankulu will be responsible for the operation of the CarePoint. Pastor Duarte has a great heart for the community there and is already providing free informal schooling for 70 students in first thru seventh grades.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Trust & Recovery

Abuse & Counseling

We now have a trained counselor working with us in the medical clinics to work with the kids who have been sexually or physically abused. Her name is Lauren, she is from Zimbabwe. She is a precious girl who loves the Lord and just wants to be used by Him.

The numbers for abuse are very high here in Swaziland. We examined a little 8 year old girl from one of our new care points last week. She was complaining of having a discharge. Upon examination, it was evident that she had been raped. She told us that she was HIV positive. Her mother and father both died with AIDS. She is living with an aunt who doesn’t know much about her. She has a skin rash all over her body, ringworms on her head, swollen lymph nodes, and some kind of vaginal infection. She has not been started on ARV’s, because when she had her CD4 count done, it was “too high”. They hadn’t taken her back for another one because it costs money that they don’t have. We will try to get her to Baylor so she can get on ARV’s. Lauren (our counselor) met with this little girl this week. She had her draw pictures of who is in her heart, or what people are important in her life. She drew a picture of an older man, and Lauren asked her what emotion she had when she thought of him, and she said fear. She didn’t admit to being abused, but this was the first session and trust is very difficult to attain with these children. Lauren gave her a toy and a sweet, and when they were finished, she asked her if she was her friend. The little girl said no. It will take time and a lot of patience and the power of the Holy Spirit to break through the brokenness in these little lives. We are praying and believing God to make beauty from ashes and gladness from mourning, as God said in His word in Isaiah.

There is another little girl who is about 6 years old that Lauren is working with also. She was raped by an older man a few months ago. The teacher from the care point brought her to the clinic. She said that she doesn’t participate, respond or try in class. When she came in, she was very shy and subdued. Lauren took her and began to have her draw pictures of who was in her heart, and pictures of herself happy, then sad. This little girl responded very well. When she came out of her first session with Lauren, she was smiling and holding her hand, she had a new friend. The transformation was amazing! She had her second session this week. Lauren said that she had her draw a picture of herself and put it on the wall in the exam room. When they finished, she had her stand on the chair looking at the picture of herself and say a prayer for God to heal her broken heart.

There is also a 13 year old that came to me at the clinic a couple of weeks ago complaining of vaginal itching and discharge. When we began to question her, tears started to fall down her cheeks. We prayed with her and tried to get her to talk, but she wouldn’t. Lauren met with her this week also. She denies that anything happened, except that this man tried to get her to come with him. Lauren is afraid that something has happened to this girl also. As she builds a trusting relationship with these kids, they will open up and she will be able to help them by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

We would like to see Lauren train our teachers how to counsel some of these children as well. She would also like to train some of the older girls that have been abused to help the younger ones. We are not sure what we will do once we start finding more and more abused children. How will we get them out of the situation and keep them safe? These are questions that only the Lord knows the answers to right now. Please help us pray for wisdom in this area of our ministry.

We are so grateful to the Lord for sending us Lauren to help us with these difficult situations that we face almost on a daily basis.

Cooks Bible Study

Our Bible studies with the cooks are going very well. They want to learn about things like how are we supposed to treat our husbands and our children. They are drinking in the word as it is given out. We talked about Tamar today and how she was raped and no one helped to heal her broken heart and she lived in her brothers’ house, a desolate woman for the rest of her life. If she had had Jesus to come and turn her ashes into beauty and mourning into gladness, she would have lived a different life than she did. We talked about that we are the bride of Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and how he picks up the broken pieces of our lives and makes us whole, new, and undefiled. I told them that when Satan lied to them about who or what they are, they are to tell him they are the bride of The King! Women are so suppressed and mistreated/abused here in Swaziland, they need to be reminded again and again, who they are in Christ.

Friday, August 17, 2007

New CarePoints

Ground breaking and construction has started on two more CarePoints. A team from (mostly) North Carolina was here last week and started digging the foundations at Logoba and Maphiveni. The community has finished digging and has started on the foundation and block work These sites are Mission of Mercy sites where we have been providing meals for the last 6 months. It will be great to have a finished CarePoint so we can start the education and other activities.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Jesus the Lightning Rod

Why is that a school that touts tolerance and "why can't we just all get along" is so intolerant of Christianity and Jesus? They will go out of their way to cancel a popular non-compulsory program that teaches abstinence till marriage, even after the "Christian" component has been removed, but will force all students to be part of a "gender awareness" program (GAP) that was contested by many parents and students. Today at Waterford, everyone who wanted to be part of GAP wore a sign that read "I am silent today in solidarity with all those who have to remain silent because thier sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Why is it we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands? Let's break the silence." Gabby chose to wear a sign that simply read "Jesus Loves You So Much!" She was attacked by students and teachers alike as being 'so' intolerant. How is it on one hand someone can push for tolerance of anything and everything, but mention the J word to them and immediately you become the target for everything intolerant? We are so proud of Gabby. But we also worry about her. It would be so much easier now to have stayed in the safe walls Hosanna offered, or the wonderful and safe confines of Healing Place. Please keep her, Nathanael, and Danielle in your prayers. Waterford needs a strong witness.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ground Breaking at Zombodze

The newest Mission of Mercy CarePoint has been started at Zombodze. We have been suppling food since March and have close to 250 children coming daily. We staked out the building last week and started digging the foundation today!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It Was Cold Last Night!

It is winter here in Swaziland! We were able to give out blankets to the students at two of our schools today. The children at Ngwane Park and Mangwaneni were all smiles when we gave out the blankets. Much thanks to the youth at Messiah Lutheran Church in Downingtown, PA for their generosity and thoughtfulness in putting together these packages.
The homes here have no heat. Especially when you consider the poverty most of these kids come from, these blankets were a true blessing!

Monday, July 02, 2007

School Uniforms- Sewing Project

We passed out the uniforms for the 40 students at Makholweni a week ago. The uniforms were made by Alice and the girls in the sewing project at Makholweni. Alice is a volunteer form the community that has come to the CarePoint and is teaching some of the older gilrs there how to sew. Their first project was to complete the school uniforms. The kids in all our CarePoint schools will get uniforms from the sewing project at some point. This is a great win for the girls learning to sew and the kids at all our CarePoint schools.

4 CarePoints - 1100 Patients

Dr. Beyda (Mission of Mercy Medical Director) and his team did an awesome job last week! We were at Logoba (we are working towards a CarePoint there now), Madonsa, Kakhoza, and Maphiveni (also a CarePoint in progress!). The doctors, nurses, and helath care workers saw many illnesses: HIV related, cancer, hypertension, infections, infected wounds, diabetes, etc., etc. The children and adults at Maphiveni were noticeably sicker than the population around Manzini. The impact of the combination of poverty and distance to health care is obvious on the overall health of the people there. We are hoping to get final community approval this week so we can start construction there this month. Pastor La'Salette Duarte and her church in Tambankhulu were fantastic. They will be helping and overseeing the daily work at the Maphiveni CarePoint. It is refreshing to work with a church here that truly has the poorest and neediest at heart. These pictures are from the clinic on Thursday for the community of Maphiveni.