God continues to give John and me a burden for Swaziland. Tom and Doreen Strohm of Jesus Cares are exploring how God might lead them in ministry for Swaziland as well. The four of us meet regularly to pray for God's guidance, provision, and wisdom as we tentatively plan a trip to Africa in 2008. God continues to challenge me to greater tests of faith. He's really called us to trust Him for finances, and has already proven He is faithful even when my faith falters! My heart burns and yearns to be there again, yet I want to remain entirely in God's will and not get ahead of His plans! Please keep us all in prayer as we seek Him!
Please also keep a very special little girl in prayer. She is the first child I connected with there. When we got to church, Lori and this child's little sister made eye contact and reached for each others' hands as they headed into church. I was, quite honestly, shy with the kids and not sure how to act. "My" little girl looked at me questioningly for a few moments before coming up to ME and holding MY hand to lead me into church! What a beautiful welcome.
She sat with me during the service, and during praise and worship we held hands and danced together. She's the one who got a tiny bit of money from an illustrated sermon. After church she bought candy with this precious money, and offered it to me!
The next time I saw her was at the school at one of the care points. I didn't recognize her at first until Lori pointed her out to me. She was positively beaming to see us! During recess she insisted I come watch her play dodge ball. She was really very, very good. She also helped me to console another little girl who was crying.
The village from which she comes is the poorest of the poor, and AIDS and other diseases are rampant. She has less than nothing, sees such heartache, loss, and death every day, yet is eager to love and be loved.
This vibrant, generous, loving child has been referred for testing because of HIV symptoms. My heart is breaking. Please pray for her to live out the full life God intended her to, whatever days He has numbered for her. Please pray that her days will be filled with His joy and hope and that her light will shine brightly for Him.