Practice what you preach. Learn before you teach. Put some muscle behind your words. Walk the walk. Action speaks louder than words.

TLC staff member Sipho Mabuza considered such thoughts; the “still small voice” within sounded louder and louder.

That’s what he’ll tell you today with a big grin which turns into sparkling laughter.

You see, Sipho Mabuza, longtime member of The Luke Commission, gentle leader, Christ follower who takes the Great Commission seriously, passionate male-circumcision recruiter at TLC outreaches, 39-year-old husband and father of four—three living—children…

…is now himself circumcised!

Sipho proudly displays his own patient chart, as he comes and goes from TLC’s surgical room.

It happened at the last 2014 TLC outreach. How is the patient doing now? “Great,” Sipho says, “no pain since day 4. Only a little before. I know I’m not all healed until 6 weeks, but I am fine.”

Sipho’s spirit was pricked, poked, and prodded months ago. “I was telling the boys and young men that they needed to circumcise. But the ‘medicine’ I was giving them I needed to drink first.”

Master crowd organizer Sipho arranges the girls and boys in separate lines so they can each talk to the doctor.

Early in the 2014 TLC outreach season, Sipho told the surgical team, “I will do this!”

He waited until the 73rd of 73 outreaches, so as not to miss any work. “I wanted to keep on recruiting,” he says.

Sipho explains the merits of male circumcision at TLC outreaches.

When Sipho was explaining the benefits of circumcision—60% reduction in HIV transmission, hygiene improvements, and fewer STIs in adults—he realized his own hypocrisy. “I didn’t like when they asked if I was circumcised.”

Sipho admits he would try not to answer but found that difficult. “Many people are like Thomas. They want to see, have to see, to believe you.”

Now Sipho is talking to other male members of TLC staff. “They’re going to follow me,” he confidently declares. “No one pushed me. Only God. I will not push anyone either. But they will follow.”

A few or many – Sipho commands their attention.

In 2014, The Luke Commission circumcised 2,497 men and boys. Each patient received two follow-up appointments.

It’s all part of the aggressive, don’t-give-up battle against HIV/AIDS.

by Janet Tuinstra, on the ground with TLC