Dear Ones across the continents,

Farewells, as greetings, are often emotional and full of surprises. Our closing week in Eswatini is no exception.

With that in mind, here are some tidbits and quotations we suspect will make you smile or make you cry.

  • As I write, Echo sits 7 feet from me talking to a 10-year-old girl and her grandmother who both just tested positive for HIV. Yes, they want to accept Jesus Christ right now! We’re at home today, but “mini-clinics” and hospital trips happen all times of the days and nights.
  • We have started offering HIV testing here and at the clinics. The government recently began to offer anti-retroviral drugs for those with HIV, but the drugs need to be taken monthly at special centers. Emaswati are not known for long-term planning, because it’s such a struggle to get through today…
  • Six of the first 7 adults we tested have the deadly virus. Most are women who are wives.
  • “The doctors are here!” Emaswati exclaimed as we drove into a clinic later than usual yesterday. We finished treating everyone at 1 AM.
  • An old man received his eyeglasses: “Now I can see a bee pass by.”
  • “The glasses can see better than my eyes,” said a young man.
  • When Goodwill addresses the crowds, educating them how to use their distance eyeglasses, he says: “Wear your new glasses. Do not put them in your pocket. Your pocket does not have the problem.”
  • From an elderly lady: “I can see the sky and the sun and the mountains for the first time in my life.”
  • “We can grow gardens if we have seeds,” teachers often told us last September and October. Now they have seeds.
  • “Siyabonga very much for my new dress.” This thank you was repeated for wraps, diapers, handbags, slippers, skirts, blankets, baby clothes loving made by many of you.
  • Harry to a family gathered around the bed of a pickup where their 39-year-old mother lay: “I’m sorry to tell you that your loved one is dying of cancer. All you can do is make her comfortable and make sure she’s right with Jesus.” The family was so appreciative that a doctor had finally told them what was wrong. The lady had been hospitalized for 3 weeks and then released with no explanation as to her disease or condition. “I can’t believe how people suffer quietly and without any information.”
  • Kal and I and the boys have visited the hospital maternity and pediatrics wards 24 times, giving gifts to more than 2,500 mothers. People thank us with smiles and handshakes and an occasional “God bless you” in English. Truly He does!
  • The healer (witchdoctor) lady who poisoned Big Sipho’s 2-year-old daughter to protest his Christianity has been ostracized by her clientele. Sipho said, “Because of what she did, no one goes to her anymore.”
  • “You are blessed by God. The white people are taking care of you,” said the hospital roommate of a man who had cut his hand with a machete in the sugarcane fields. The injured man came to our clinic a month later. His hand was infected and 3 times it’s normal size. He has since recovered and can return to his job.
  • One translator told us his mother keeps supper for him. One evening we unexpectedly saw that supper – 3 small turnips.
  • Another translator: “I am too blessed,” when he was presented with gifts from The Luke Commission.
  • Still another: “I will not forget what The Luke Commission has done for me,” as he tearfully buried his face in his baby son’s new clothes.

To God be the glory! Great things he has done! Love in Jesus,
Jan for Harry and Echo and the boys, Grace, and Kalvin.

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