Here’s another update from Eswatini, and what a privilege it is to write! We thank you for your prayers, Dear Ones, and your financial support. Several have written encouraging email replies. We appreciate them, even though opportunity to respond eludes us.
The bush clinics are larger than ever. As we wind down (more like winding up) this term’s last 2 weeks, we see God’s hand everywhere we turn. Yesterday 649 patients were treated in a dry, parched part of southeast Eswatini. Harry and Echo diagnosed 453 Emaswati, as Grace fitted 196 glasses. We dispensed more than 4,000 packets of medicine. Thus concluded the 28th clinic with 5 more scheduled.
A Manzini policeman who lives there told us people in his area die of starvation, especially in December and January. That’s their hottest time. We packed our smaller trailer with containers full of water so patients could have a drink. It’s hot this time of year, too.
From Matthew 25 and from being with the Emaswati, Kal said the other day: “I see the mission not so much making the people ‘spiritually aware,’ but being sure they have a personal relationship with Jesus. The things we provide are tokens of God’s love for them.”
When told, Emaswati understand what Jesus has done for them. They already have respect for their Creator. We had a few young men hecklers yesterday, but that’s rare rather than the norm and still, 188 accepted Christ.
A scene oft’ repeated are women joyfully dancing before the Lord at the end of a clinic, not from receiving medications or eyeglasses but from receiving the Holy Word. Children rush to the front of sweltering, stuffy rooms or raise their hands as high as they can to say “yes” to Jesu.
This week Echo “operated” on a lady’s ear, as the woman lay on a grass mat and other patients swirled around her in the crowded room. Her hearing was blocked by a large tumor. The woman told Echo she suspected she was HIV positive since her husband and the two children has died in the past five months. Her third child was sick.
The lady did not flinch or groan as Echo deadened her ear, cut out the mass, and cauterized the wound. She gave Echo a shy hug of gratitude and walked away a few minutes later, though we cannot imagine her grief and loneliness.
The baby girl we mentioned has died of AIDS. Kal built another coffin, and we visited the hospital morgue again to claim and to dress the little body. Emaswati have difficulty “buying a box and getting transport” to their homesteads for burial; so we offered our services once again.
We took two more babies to the hospital this week. Both had pneumonia and were malnourished. They’ll probably recover – this time. The abandoned baby’s grandmother claimed her. Thanks for praying.
The man whose barbed wire infection resulted in leg amputation is recovering but still in the hospital, because he has no family to care for him at home. He’s thrilled with his new crutches bought by The Luke Commission.
Harry and Echo treated a 13-year-old boy with “the worst burn ever.” He was sleeping in his family’s hut with a leaking petrol can stored nearby. A sister entered and set down a lighted candle. Instant explosion and fire! The family home was destroyed, and the boy almost died before a brother rescued him.
Since his burns were infected, Echo drove him to the hospital, interceded on his behalf, and arranged for his mother to stay with him, a common practice. Care seems inexpensive to us since it’s subsidized by the government. To Emaswati, hospital costs are monumental.
The boy is the youngest of 15 children. His mother told us 7 children had died – 2 of TB, 2 from witchcraft, 2 from diarrhea as babies, and her eldest from AIDS just 2 months ago. True stories pile upon themselves day after day. We watch and listen, work and learn.
Humbly in Jesus,
Jan for Harry and Echo, Jake, Luke, Zeb, Zion (Mandsla), Grace, Kalvin