Working with vulnerable children in Eswatini
Richard and Becky Floy spent time this summer taking part in a mission trip to Swaziland. Find out more about their trip and the work of Challenge Ministries Swaziland UK in this post written by Rich & Becky.
Mission Impact Team
This summer we headed off to Swaziland (now known as Eswatini) as part of a Mission Impact team with Challenge Ministries Swaziland UK. Swaziland is an African nation with one of the highest prevalence of HIV AIDS in the world. The average age of the population is just 18 years old, with 70% living beneath the poverty line. Swaziland has become a country of orphans and vulnerable children.
Small things that have a big impact
The vision of CMS is to raise a generation of children who are free from neglect, abuse and poverty through discipleship, education and the teaching of godly leadership. We spent a fortnight meeting some of these children, helping out with feeding programmes, playing games and singing songs at local preschools as well as teaching in one of the ministry’s schools. It often seemed we had so little to offer, but we were encouraged by one of the team leaders who told us that in Swazi culture adults do not play with children, and therefore not to underestimate the impact that an hour of our time playing ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf?’ or kicking a ball round would have had on their little hearts.
As well as caring for over 400 orphaned and vulnerable children throughout Swaziland, CMS has established a number of ministry plants in rural places by local pastors in order to serve those in the most deprived areas by bringing healthcare, education and assistance to their community. On one occasion we were invited to visit a rural homestead of traditional mud and stick huts. The community is completely reliant on the nearby river for their water supply, and we had the privilege of laying hands on the women of the village to pray blessing and favour upon their community.
CMS also runs rehabilitation programmes and undoubtedly one of our most memorable moments was visiting the CMS women’s centre. Here, the evidence of the sufficiency of the gospel to transform broken and vulnerable lives was so beautifully on display. Experiencing the presence of God as the ladies began to worship with just their voices was something neither of us will ever forget.
A place of hope
Our final week was spent in Bulembu, a disused mining town in Northern Swaziland purchased by CMS in 2006. It is being restored to a place of hope; providing care for 350 children and young people. Sustainability is a key priority for the transformation of this town, and we were able to experience how the six onsite business enterprises are run with the vision of providing financially for the entire childcare programme. Amongst many highlights, a real joy was sharing dinnertime with six of the boys and their house aunties, chatting about their favourite footballers and their hopes for when they leave school.
It was such a privilege to spend time in such a beautiful country and experience how God is bringing kingdom transformation to the people of Swaziland through the work of CMS, one life at a time. We’re really excited to see what God continues to do in this amazing place which will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Thank you Rich and Becky. If you want to know more about their experiences please speak to them. They are hoping to host an evening later this year, exploring the mission of CMS UK and sharing more details of our trip.