(re-posted from May 2007)
On Thursday I was out with the women for our regular meeting. We’ve been making lots of bags lately… this month we’ve made over 300, and they are pretty much all already spoken for. Here’s a picture of my friend Ruby working on the sewing machine that is at the care point she cooks at. Ruby is my Swazi mother. When my parents were here she told my mom, “I am number one! you are number two!” Of course I don’t agree with that, but it’s nice to have a mother in Swaziland! 🙂
When we meet to cut fabric we also have Bible Study and prayer time. Since January we’ve been working through the major stories of the Old Testament. We look at an OT story, and then study the parallel truths in the New Testament: We started out by looking at creation and the fall, then studied Romans 5, where what we gain “in Adam” and “in Christ” are compared. When we studied Jacob’s encounter with God and his resulting new name, the ladies were really impacted by the fact that when we come to know Christ we also receive a new identity that’s not based on what we’ve done, or what’s been done to us, but on who God declares us to be in Him.
On Thursday we talked about how the Israelites were forced into slavery and mistreated in Egypt, and that God heard their cries for deliverance and sent Moses to liberate them. We talked about the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, and God’s mighty demonstrations of His power through the plagues. We looked at the night of the Passover, and then the New Testament scriptures that show that Jesus is our Passover Lamb. I LOVE the word of God and the way portions of it that were written hundreds of years apart are so clearly intertwined. The Bible is not just a record of God’s random acts of kindness to the world—it’s his amazing plan of salvation woven through each chapter and verse.
When we got to prayer time, a women named Thoko ( togo) raised her hand to share. She said,”Pray for us. Many of us feel like the Israelites in Egypt.” Her request is so revealing of the lives that Thoko and many of these women face, and the hardships they suffer.
Thoko is 50 years old. One of her 8 children passed away about 2 months ago. She was only 9 years old. In the last month another child (11 yrs) and Thoko’s husband have been ill and hospitalized. Thoko also takes care of 3 of her brother’s children who have been orphaned. Her husband has been unable to work for a long time because of an injury, so money Thoko makes from selling bags is the only source of income for her homestead. When you talk to Thoko you can see that she is grieving the loss of her child and feeling the weight of the hardships in her life, but she is always the one to share at Bible study—thanking the women for their prayers and God for sustaining her.
Please pray for these women. Pray for their protection. Pray that they would experience God’s presence in the midst of hardships. Pray that they would see God’s deliverance in their lives.Pray that they would feel God’s mighty hand sustaining them. Pray that they would continue to call out to the God that hears and responds to their cries!
On a lighter note…
Ellie is still really cute! She is embracing being 2, and leaves a mess wherever she goes. In the last few days I’ve cleaned up many many random spills and messes…a box of pasta, a bowl of pasta, a bag of chips, a bottle of liquid fabric softener, a bottle of baby oil, milk, juice, the once nicely folded clean clothes off the line, and even as I’ve written this all the dvd’s have been removed from their shelf and scattered across the room. (I need more shelves that are out of reach!) Sometimes, just to make the spills extra exciting, Ellie hops on her pink toy motorcycle and drives over them to “spread the joy” a little bit more. Ellie’s learned the “clean-up” song from her Barney videos, so usually after she makes a mess she triumphantly dances and sings, “Dee-DUP! Dee-DUP!” (Clean up! Clean up!). In spite of all the craziness, I think she is GREAT, and she makes me smile like no one else!
That’s all for now. Thanks for checking up on what’s going on in Swaziland!