"For my name will be great among the nations, from the rising of the sun to its setting." Malachi 1:11

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Warren's Update - April 2009

Greetings from warm and sunny Tshaneni!

It's hard to believe April is already here, and that Easter is just around the corner ... seems like yesterday we were celebrating Christmas! It's been almost 3 months since moving to our area of ministry, and God continues to keep us in awe. He has opened so many doors here in such a short time. We are now "settled in" you could say, and feel at home here, but at the same time still experiencing many "firsts" .... I'm sure we will continue to have those as long as we are here!

This past month found us taking our first trip to the US Embassy in our capital city, playing "hide and seek" with a giraffe on the way home one afternoon, Bert being invited to become part of a local businessmen's weekly bible study in Simunye, and in preparing for our next volunteer team, visiting a new area in the Lubombo region, Siteki, and meeting a wonderful man of God, Pastor Sigwane. There will be many more "firsts" to follow in April too .... we will have the opportunity to meet with Ms. Kelly Woody, Swaziland's True Love Waits International consultant (April 6-8), attend the Swazi Baptist National Easter Services (April 9-12), travel to Johannesburg for our first Southern Sectional Meeting (April 15-20), and last but not least, welcome and serve alongside new friends from the South Roanoke Baptist Association's volunteer team from North Carolina (April 22-30). We will also have to say goodbye to one of our friends and fellow teammate, Kimber Ringler, as she finishes her term here in Swaziland and returns to the States on April 30.

Looking ahead into future HIV/AIDS Ministry The statistics say that 40% of the one million people living in Swaziland are infected with HIV/AIDS. This means that 4 out off every 10 people that we meet are infected with this d
evastating virus. Statistics also report that the average life expectancy now is 30 to 32 yrs of age, this is leaving a huge gap in the population. These are school teachers, policemen, community leaders, doctors, nurses, farmers and the like. There are many, many children left behind without a mother or a father, or both, with no choice but to try and survive without any or little help. Reaching the ones here that are infected is proving to be difficult as it is a shameful thing to reveal that one is infected. The Lord is burdening us with the fact that they are right here in our backyard, and that they are dying every day without the knowledge of His saving grace and mercy. Before arriving in Swaziland, neither of us felt this call or even equipped to minister to AIDS patients and their families. Funny how God changes and re-directs our plans, and uses us where we are the weakest. He is leading us to research ways that we can reach into this culture in a way that brings spiritual hope through Christ and physical relief from their sufferings. We have learned that in each community/village there are older ladies (makes) and grandmothers (gogos) that know these that are sick and are not physically able to get to the local clinic for help. We have learned that these ladies are already serving their neighbors and caring for the sick. Please join us in praying for avenues to be able to connect the local church with these community servants, and that together we can minister to the physical and spiritual needs of these communities through this grass roots level. Please pray for the millions of people affected by this deadly disease, and that God would direct our steps as to how He would use us here so that the Hope of Jesus Christ can be revealed and shared with those who are dying without any hope.
For more information on HIV/AIDS, and other epidemics around the world, and their relief efforts, please visit the Baptist Global Response website, www.gobgr.org, or www.baptistglobalresponse.com.

"God wrote His name on you when you gave your life to Christ. He invested Himself in you. That's why YOU can make a difference. God wants to use you, and He has a place for you—a part for you to play, a seed for you to sow, a call for you to answer." Greg Laurie

Each time I think about that, it is so humbling to me ... to know that God WANTS to use such a regular, ordinary person as myself. He wants to use YOU and ME ... isn't it great to know that He has the perfect plan for each of us, no matter where we may be in this world!


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