Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Back in the USA!

So we are back in the US until the 22nd of January. Gabby stays on to acclimate to US culture (get a driver’s license, get a car, get a job, etc) before starting college here in the fall. Please pray for her as transitioning from Swazi pace and culture to the US can be difficult.

Teresa and the other children return to Swaziland January 22 while Daran will be staying on for a number of weeks to continue raising funds for both our family support and the projects we continue to develop in Swaziland.

We are still looking for opportunities to share the projects God has given us the privilege to develop with any groups, small or large, church, home or civic. We would be grateful for any meeting that can be organized for us. We’re committed to traveling to where ever meetings can be organized.

Our number while in the US is (978) 558-3251.

We have made several recent posts to our blog that we would invite you to view:

Subtle Health Rationing

CHIPS Clinic

CHIPS Children’s HIV Intervention in Swaziland

We have a vision for developing a holistic medical clinic in the Maphiveni area to proactively cater to the HIV+ children and caregivers in this area. In addition, to help address the long term poverty issues there, we want to begin developing a community centre that will help empower the most vulnerable to provide for themselves and give them control of their lives thru micro finance and personal income generation projects (like making jams, harvesting moringa, quality handcrafts….).

God continues to be very good to us! We are looking forward to continuing the work and ministry in Swaziland with your prayers and support.


Daran & Teresa Rehmeyer

African Leadership Partners

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Subtle Health Rationing

Whiteside was gloomy about the future of Swaziland's AIDS response "now that the money's running dry".

"I think it means that we'll start rationing - it'll be a subtle form of rationing where we'll say we'll provide treatment in [the eastern provincial capital] Siteki and if you live 30km away you won't get treatment because you won't be able to get there; or, you used to have to wait four hours to see a doctor, now you have to wait 12 and some of you die in the queue," he said.

"We don't have the courage to ration in an explicit manner, so we will do it in an implicit manner."

Swaziland: Declining Customs Union Revenues Threaten Aids Response,16 November 2010

There was some shock registered as I read this. Maphiveni is 50km from Siteki. The CHIPS programme was developed because effectively, the people in this impoverished community were already being denied access to care at Good Shepherd Hospital in Siteki only because there was no way they could afford the transport to the hospital.
But to read a prognosis from one of the premier HIV/AIDS researchers here in southern Africa stating explicitly what would be the outcome of even further reductions in government support for combating HIV/AIDS was still a shock. The children, mothers and people of Maphiveni deserve better.
Please join us in praying for the funds to move ahead with a dedicated clinic in Maphiveni to serve the HIV population in this area.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Homeward Bound

We are beginning the process of planning for our (short) seven week trip back to the States: December 5 thru January 22. While we will be spending time with family and saying goodbye to Gabby, we would welcome the opportunity to share what we have been doing and our work going forward.

URGENT: understanding that this trip straddles the holidays, we would still welcome any opportunities to address groups (Bible studies, prayer groups, civic organizations, etc) over this period that would be interested in what is going on in Swaziland. We have been promised ‘frequent flyer’ miles so any trips off our scheduled itinerary are still possible.

We have made two recent posts to our blog that we would invite you to view:

CHIPS Clinic


CHIPS Children’s HIV Intervention in Swaziland

We have a vision for developing a holistic medical clinic in the Maphiveni area to proactively cater to the HIV+ children and caregivers in this area. In addition, to help address the long term poverty issues there, we want to begin developing a community center that will help empower the most vulnerable to provide for themselves and give them control of their lives thru micro finance and personal income generation projects (like making jams, harvesting moringa, quality handcrafts….).

God has been very good to us! By His grace we have survived many rough spots here over the past few years. We have been blessed to be able to join in prayer for requests from some of you in the States. Life can be challenging whether you are at home or in a foreign culture. We look forward to continue to work and minister in Swaziland with your prayers and support.


Daran & Teresa Rehmeyer

Sunday, October 24, 2010

CHIPS Clinic

What can I say? Valleys, deserts, furnace, pain, despair, brokenness, hurt, sorrow. These are all emotions or emotional states that many of the Swazi people face on a daily basis. God has allowed our family to suffer just a little bit of some of these over the past two years. Maybe God allowed some circumstances to happen to strengthen our faith, or to help us be more empathetic to others who are hurting. Of course our suffering is nothing in comparison to what many people face on a daily basis.

Our work with the CHIPS program in the rural areas of Vuvulane and Maphiveni has not been without its challenges, but God has allowed us to reach the forgotten poor people in these areas with much needed medical assistance for HIV/AIDS and TB. We would like to see this work expand from just in-community testing, counseling and transport to an actual holistic clinic where all of the medical needs of our patients can be met.

We had the opportunity to visit the St. Phillips Mission last week with our CHIPS team. It was an awesome experience sharing with our dear friends Sister Diane and Sister Barbara, who also have such vision and passion for helping the people of Swaziland! They have developed a system there where they work in the nearby communities making sure that no one goes without medical assistance for HIV/AIDS, placing orphans in school, and caring for the poor. The clinic there for HIV/AIDS patients takes care of all of their medical needs, whether it be TB, diabetes, or high blood pressure. They also have staff that are called 'default finders', who go out and get the patients who miss their appointments and bring them in. They have a staff of about 13 people working with them for this medical mission. They are really making a difference in the communities that they work in.

We as CHIPS would love to duplicate this program in the area that we work in. As of now we have 2 staff, 2 missionaries, and have just hired a 3rd staff who will start in December. So we would have to grow in staff and in funding to make this work. We would also like to see a community center where income generation projects can take place, as well as English literacy training and day care. These are the dreams we have for our program for the future. We place these dreams in God’s hand and ask that His will be done and doors open as He sees fit for this work that is HIS in the first place. We want to go the direction that He wants. Please help us pray for His will and His hand in all of these things.

We covet your prayers for our family. It has been a difficult 2 years for all of us, as well as a time of growing and drawing close to the Lord and to each other. Satan would love to discourage us and cause us to lose our faith, but we know that all things work together for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. What Satan means for destruction, God will use for His glory and honor. So although we are tired and weary, our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is strong by His grace and mercy. He is always faithful!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Liyana the Movie

Here's an exciting development! Perhaps you can help.

Many have seen the award winning film Peter & Mary Jean Kopp's son Aaron made about New Life Homes. It has been selected for screening at several international film festivals. It has also been an outstanding tool for ALP to give people a good look at what ALP is doing in a remote corner of Swaziland. As a result, a broad spectrum of people have been drawn into the circle of knowledge, on-going interest, and support.

For some time Aaron's dream has been to develop a full length documentary that accurately depicts the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in Africa. The message would flow from the lives of the children in our care at New Life Children's Homes.

This venture is close to becoming a reality! He plans to do the first and major portion of the filming in December and January.

He has had amazing interest and support from across the spectrum. One of the ALP Board members, Dr. Bob Beilke, Pediatric Psychologist at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, Washington, who has worked with the New Life Homes children and caregivers several times is very keen on this project. He believes it could significantly help the children process their experiences through the story-telling approach Aaron has in mind. Bob expects the children will make progress in their own healing from their traumatic backgrounds.

In addition, awareness of this successful model for orphan care will be significantly extended. We expect to see more resources made available for future developments.

We need some help to get this off the ground. The goal is to raise close to $25,000 before the end of October. The good news is that we are already more than half way there!!

Please visit the wonderful website, You will find a number of great images, entertaining and informative video clips, and interviews.

You can make a difference by helping to get the message out through a donation, joining close to a hundred motivated partners. Pledge right on-line, or by mailing a check to African Leadership Partners, designated for "Liyana the Movie".

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vusile & Jabu

We had a chance to visit some of the areas helped by CHIPS in Lubombo this week. Especially gratifying was visiting Vusile and Jabu. Both live at the same homestead. Jabu is being treated for Kaposi Sarcoma (an opportunistic HIV related cancer). She had begun treatment with the help of CHIPS, but quit because of the side effects of the chemotherapy. CHIPS Jabulani and Mary convinced her to restart treatment last week. She met someone in the treatment center who was suffering worse side effects than she had been. I think it help her realize she could do it and see it through. Jabulanii commented that the blemishes typical of KS were beginning to fade and shrink.

Vusile, on the other hand was scooting about, happy and smiling in the walker donated for him by Cindy Martin with All for Jesus. Vusile has cerebral palsy and with no care or treatment available, was left to craw on the ground.

Please pray for Jabu's continued recovery and treatment, that Vusile would have access to proper medical intervention and for our continued ability to show God's love and compassion to these communities in a powerful and real way.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


Here are some recent pictures from Maphiveni and CHIPS. Thanks to Ian and Jenn! They show a community volunteer that has helped us greatly by identifying people who are sick who are part of CHIPS and those who would benefit from being part of the program. We supplied the fencing to help her protect her garden (the chickens and dogs were ruining it before). Also shown are Mary and Jabulani (and a cute baby).

Friday, June 18, 2010

June Rehmeyer Update

It has been a few months since we sent an update. That means we need your prayers even more as we have all been exceptionally busy (overwhelmed sometimes?).

This past month ended on a very tumultuous note. A dear, sweet, Godly mother of three passed away after a very short illness. We had both worked with her while we were a part of Children’s Cup. Gugu Dlamini was one of the most vibrant, alive, joyous people we knew. She was a very dedicated mother. When we moved last year, we had given her two of our dogs. Her kids were overjoyed to have them as pets. We will miss her infectious laugh and quick smile. We know the staff at Children’s Cup will miss her tremendously as well. She was a special lady. We are in the process of setting up a memorial fund for her three daughters to help cover university tuition after they complete high shool.

This month started with Daran beginning a new term at the Lighthouse Ministry Training Institute, teaching Money Matters: God’s Answer to Poverty to the newest class. Unexpectedly, there were about six students re-attending the class from the previous terms (which means it was either very good or they are really boredJ). The glass etching is still being used as an integral part of the Life Skills Training. We are hoping to move the glass kiln to the site next month to start experimenting with slumping glass.

We welcome the addition of Ian and Jenn Stephens to work with us in Tambankulu and CHIPS (Children’s HIV Intervention Programme in Swaziland). Ian and Jenn are here serving under TEAM. They have been in Swaziland for a number of years and specifically moved to Tambankulu to assist us with CHIPS. We are thankful for their commitment and confidence in the programme.

Teresa is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Swaziland Breast Cancer Network. Please pray for her as she strives to walk the line between pushing for progress on providing cancer diagnoses and treatment here and not offending the powers that be in government (that neither move very quickly or have the same priorities) by pushing for progress on the new cervical clinic that the Network has the funds to build, but can’t seem to get permission from the government to move ahead with the construction. Equipment for diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer has been provided by WHO. Training is being funded by UNFPA, but nothing can move forward until approval is given. Women are dying every day from cervical cancer here in Swaziland, unnecessarily. It is extremely frustrating to know that many lives can be saved, but not be able to do anything about it!

All the kids are back in school beginning the second term. Gabby just finished a 4000 word paper that is a huge part of her grade for this year. She has been working hard, and is now looking at a few Universities in the states that she will apply to. We are praying that she can get a good scholarship. Danielle is also doing well in school. She plays the keyboard for church and is becoming more and more confident. Nathan is excelling academically, and he is also playing the bass and electric guitar at church. Joelle is very busy with sports and activities, as well as academics. She is playing field hockey, netball, swimming, tennis, cross country, judo, and gymnastics. She is also in the school choir and has a lovely voice. They are all getting so big, It’s hard to believe it sometimes! We are very blessed!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Talking Bible

We met today with the head of a missions group called Cross Connection Outreach. They are working in Mozambique to put the New Testament into an audio player for each of the native languages in that country (they have finished 3 of the 40 some odd languages spoken there). This is primarily for distribution to illiterate and blind people living in relative isolation. Their trip to Swaziland was to make connections to distribute the newly released siSwati Talking Bible to non-English speaking and illiterate people here. Each Bible is also distributed with a small solar panel so relying on batteries and that cost burden is overcome.
We are looking forward to being able to distribute these Bibles to the members of CHIPS in the Maphiveni and Vuvulane communities. Many of the people in these communities speak little or no English and are illiterate as well. We are trusting that being able hear God's word in their own language will be a huge blessing and in turn bring them to a saving knowledge of Christ!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Update on Hope

By the time Hope got to South Africa (SA) on the 15th of January, she was 32 weeks into her pregnancy and she was too sick to receive chemotherapy. She had to wait there until the baby was 38 weeks. She had a C-Section on the 4th of February and had a healthy baby boy, Praise the Lord!
I received an email from her doctor on the 11th of February saying that she was waiting for payment from the government so she could start treatment on her. At that point I sent an email to the Director of the Ministry of Health and made some phone calls and prayed. She did finally receive her first treatment a couple of weeks later.
Hope came home from SA the first week of March. The baby died on the 4th of March for unknown reasons. She said that the baby was not sick. When I received the message through my Swazi staff, they said that she believes that the evil spirits killed the baby because she had traveled with him before he was a month old. Traditional Swazi’s don’t take their babies out of the home before they are a month old because they believe that they are vulnerable to these things, which is very sad.
She was scheduled to return to SA for her second treatment on the 11th of March. However, government transport is not running again and she can’t get there. Unfortunately, this is the end of the government fiscal year and they have run out of funds. I have tried every way that I know to get her there, but I can’t pay for her to go, because if I do, I will have to do it for all of the others and I can’t do that. There are 33 patients right now that need to get to South Africa for treatment or doctor’s appointment. Ten out of the 33 are cancer patients, who need care and treatment. It is so sad to have to tell them that there is nothing I can do. Many of them are very sick.
I just got word today, 18th March that the government is releasing some funds to start transport again next week, after not running for 3 or 4 weeks. They usually run on a weekly basis, except for holidays. However, it will take many weeks to catch up and get 33 patients there. The ambulance only seats 6 people. Starting on Monday, they will reschedule all of their appointments and then make the transport schedule. I have asked them to please give my cancer patients priority so that they can get back to their treatments, which are supposed to be on an every 3 week schedule in order to be effective. I was told to call back on Monday. Please help me pray that this process will go smoothly and quickly for the sake of the lives of Hope and the other patients here in Swaziland.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


I am writing today about one of the breast cancer patients, who we'll call Hope. She is 38 years old and was diagnosed with breast cancer last year in September. She came with a large tumor and she was also pregnant. The Cuban oncologist and surgeon wanted to abort the baby right away to save the mother. She already has 3 other children, and they thought that it would be better for the other 3 children to have a healthy mother. You see, the same hormones that are high during pregnancy, also feed the breast cancer and make it grow and spread. So, we had a meeting with the oncologist, surgeons, and gynecologists at the government hospital. The gynecologists did not want to abort the baby, mainly because it is against the law in Swaziland and they did not want to have to plead her case with government. They didn’t believe that it was a matter of life or death for the mother, which is the only way the government would allow an abortion. The oncologist and surgeons did believe that it was a matter of life or death for the mother. We decided to get a second opinion from an oncologist in South Africa.
The oncologist in South Africa said that she could give her chemotherapy since she was in her second trimester of pregnancy. So, the mastectomy was done first on September 10th, and the paperwork for getting her to South Africa was started. During this time, the oncologist in South Africa had stopped taking patients from Swaziland because the government hadn’t payed her in 5 months. It was becoming very expensive for her to continue buying the chemotherapy without reimbursement. So there were many patients waiting to go to South Africa for treatment by the time things were settled between the oncologist and the Swaziland government. The hospital transport was really busy and patients had to wait a long time for the appointment for transport. Patients need to start chemo within six weeks after the mastectomy. Many of them were way over that time frame. Hope was one of these, but the doctor said to send her anyway and she would see her. By the time she got to the doctor in South Africa, on the 2nd of December, she already had metastatic disease, which means that the disease had spread to her lungs and to a lymph node in her left clavicle area, above her chest.
The doctor was planning to start treating her before Christmas. She was scheduled to take hospital transport on the 21st of December. She traveled across the country to the hospital, ready to go, and there was no transport (the driver never showed up). Then she was scheduled again for the 4th of January, again, no transport (same story). By the time we saw her in clinic again on the 14th of January, she was very weak and short of breath. Also, we found something suspicious in her other breast. When we checked with the hospital transport, the next available date was the 26th of January. She was so afraid, weak, and crying. By this time, she was 32 weeks pregnant.
We (oncologist, nurses, and surgeon) all sat and felt like crying ourselves! What do we do now? Then I remembered that Daran (my husband) was going to South Africa the next day to pick up friends from the airport. I decided that I would go with him, and take the patient. I called the oncologist in South Africa, who was on leave, but had been corresponding with me via email. She told me to bring her and she would make the arrangements with her partner.
So, we started our trip to Johannesburg, South Africa the next day. I was able to talk to her about the Lord, a little bit, enough to understand that she does know Jesus and to tell her that we have people all over praying for her and her baby! That brought a big smile to her face. She was also complaining of sharp pains in the area of her mastectomy. At the border, she was so weak, I had to help her walk, and she couldn’t stand in line for very long. By the time we made it through the border, she was exhausted, especially since she had already made a 2 hour trip with public transport that same morning just to get back to Mbabane. She slept in the car. About an hour into the trip we had car trouble, but praise the Lord, we finally made it! She was admitted to the maternity ward, and I had to leave her soon after arriving to the hospital. We still had to go get our friends and get back to Mbabane before the border closed at 10pm and it was getting late. She didn’t want me to leave, but I told her that we were praying and that I would call and check on her. She is in good hands, the Lord and the doctors there!
Please keep Hope and her baby in your prayers! I believe that the Lord will protect this baby and bring healing to this mother, in the Name of Jesus! I will keep you posted on the progress of these two who are both very precious in the eyes of our Savior!

Monday, January 18, 2010

CHIPS Moves into Macethuka

A week ago we made our first official CHIPS visit into Macethuka. Macethuka (which means 'sleeping on your back') is a settlement of sugar cane farm workers who work in Vuvulane, a sugar cooperative. The people here are living as squatters, but allowed to stay as long as they work in the fields. Over seventy people attended our CHIPS introduction meeting. Teresa discussed the purpose of CHIPS and who is eligible to participate: primarily HIV+ children and/or HIV+ caregivers to the children.
Daran took the opportunity to address the men of the community to encourage them to take responsibility for their health. They, like most men around the world, wait till they are literally on death's door step before they will admit they need help and seek health care. It is a sign of weakness to seek medical help! For many that means a death sentence. In early January we received another message from Jabaulani that yet another man from Maphiveni (in his early 40's) had died just a week from being initiated on Anti-Retro-Virals (ARV's) with CHIPS. He had waited too long to seek help.
This past Friday, Jabulani and Mary visited Macethuka again to begin the process of registering people into the program (those who may already know they are HIV+) and to begin the process of educating and identifying children and caregivers who should be tested (because of ongoing health issues, family history, etc).
Mary was hired in November to give CHIPS the capacity to expand into additional communities. This is the first of two additional communities we'll move CHIPS into this year. Mary also brings the expertise to begin HIV testing in the community. If we can test in the community, it will reduce the number of people-trips required to Good Shepherd Hospital's HIV testing centre and make more seats available on the khombi (passenger van) for other CHIPS participants. We do however need to purchase an additional vehicle so Mary can get to these communities. We would ask that you would consider partnering with us to facilitate this. A decent vehicle that will survive the gravel roads will cost us about 35000 Emalangeni (about $5000 USD). CHIPS saves lives.