Hard to believe 2014 has arrived so quickly!
Even harder to believe, I will be 38 years old next month. Y’all, I’m totally not mature enough to be 38! Just this week, you would’ve found me in the kitchen, dancing with my boys to the tune of Weird Al’s “White & Nerdy”. Thank God no one else saw the awkward gyrations & off-key rapping that occurred… except God. Wait. What if He even turned His head from such shenanigans? Nah, I’d rather imagine Him jumping off His throne, poppin a few sweet moves & singing ‘I wanna roll with the gangstas…’ because Jesus is smooth & realz like that.
As much as we all like to be immature & have fun, there is something very important I’d like to share with the Live4Change community.
Have you noticed that 99% of the time I blog, it usually circles back around to our missions work in Swaziland? This post is no exception! I can’t help it – the Lord has wrecked my heart for the precious children & adults of Swaziland, Africa. I really can’t explain it. Just like I can’t explain why my eyes are hazel – its just part of my DNA.
Just as I rejoice with the successes of my own children, I rejoice with the Bheveni children when they are given an opportunity to grow, shine & change their community. The blog is full of such opportunities, but today I want to tell you about an amazing young man, who needs us to celebrate along with him!
Children’s HopeChest has a fairly new program called the Swaziland Leadership Academy. Every year, about a dozen young adults are chosen from all the carepoints to attend. These young adults are not chosen randomly. Prayerfully, the field staff choose the young adults who have continually been a blessing at their local carepoint.
One of Bheveni’s young adults, Bhutana (Boo-tawn-a), has been chosen for the 2014 Swaziland Leadership Academy!!!
Bhutana has shown amazing character and leadership potential and will get the chance to spend this coming year being discipled and trained to return to Bheveni in 2015 as a CarePoint leader! WOW! Way to go Bhutana!!
Bhutana is 21 years old. He started coming to the carepoint about 5 years ago. We learned that he was being raised by his brother, and together they were trying to take care of 6 younger children because their parents had died. Did you hear that? Eight children were being raised by each other. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. And fortunately for Bhutana and many other children in the region, they found food, clean water, friendship, and hope at Bheveni Carepoint. Everyday for years, Bhutana has walked 45 minutes to get to the carepoint, I’m sure thanking God for this beacon of hope & provision that is in his community.
A staffer from HopeChest told me “As he moves on to this next stage in life, please keep him in prayer as the devil loves to attack when we are at our best.” These are wise words. I ask that you join me in praying for Bhutana, Octavia and all the SLA students. They need it.
Check out the short video. It explains the goals & vision of the SLA program. It features Octavia, who was a first year SLA graduate, and returned to serve at Bheveni Carepoint. In the video (wearing a red shirt), she speaks several times about her desire to change her nation.
Our 2013 team met her in July. Y’all, I don’t say this lightly. She exudes the love of Jesus as she serves, leads, and disciples with complete joy & humility. If the SLA program had anything to do with her transformation, I know that Bhutana’s experience & return to Bheveni in 2015 will be life changing not only for him, but for the entire community. The Bheveni children need a Godly example of what a man should be. There are very few in a nation that has been ravaged by HIV/AIDS… until now. God is raising up a generation that will lay aside their own agenda, their own desires, and be a vessel that God can use to heal a nation. And He’s using the Swaziland Leadership Academy to do it. If you’ve EVER thought your prayers & donations are being thrown to the wind, think again. This is proof that you are investing in the eternal Kingdom of God!
ps. We are returning to Swaziland in July. Would you like to join our team? Find out more here Swaziland Mission Trip 2014