Sawubona from Eswatini

Here’s a glimpse of the four VanderWal boys, amid today’s stories from the “front lines.” These three normal 5-year-olds and a little brother participate in all the bush medical clinics, even if it’s just playing soccer with the Liswati boys. You’ll enjoy their insights.

Jacob, whose health is much improved, said, “Mom, I just can’t wait until all of Eswatini loves God.” He’s a boy of few words, who makes friends easily with young Emaswati.

Luke is the theologian, who analyzes The Passion anew after watching it 50 times. He considers the extent of Satan’s power and the supremacy of Jesus. He talks about heaven as often as he talks about matters on earth. One day when he was helping me in the pharmacy, I offhandedly said, “You ask a lot of questions, Luke.”

“I’m a talker,” he replied. “What do you expect?” and stomped off to offer his services elsewhere.

On a 2.5 hour drive home one evening after 237 people accepted Christ, Luke asked his parents: “If we weren’t missionaries, would those people have asked Jesus into their hearts?”

Zebadiah runs up after the names of new believers have been written down: “How many people got saved today?” He does not stop asking until someone answers. Before each clinic Zeb asks: “Are you ready to sweat?”

Every morning we gather in a circle to pray before departure. Two-year old Zion faithfully declares: “To the work, Luke Commission on assignment,” running all the words together. Zion has been nicknamed Mdonjla by our translators. It means “always helping, strong man.” He helps load the trailers, speaks SiSwati in the pharmacy, gives out cards in the eyeglass line, and assists Harry and Echo as they console and treat the sick.

Grace is continually blessed as she fits eyeglasses. Three elderly lady friends put on their new glasses and told her, “We are beautiful.”

What do people say when they can suddenly see after years of poor sight? “I can see the children playing…” “I can thread a needle again…” “I can see my goats clearly now…” “I can read my new Bible…”

Climaxing a difficult day when people in the eyeglass line had been usually impatient, an old man who had been pushed out of line finally got his turn. “When I tested his eyes,” Grace notes, “I realized he probably had seen very little for 20 years. But we found just the eyeglasses he needed. When I put them on, his face lit up and tears fell down his cheeks.” (Thank you to all who donate glasses! God finds just the right match, time and time again.)

Thank you, too, to all who have prayed for SiSwati Bibles. A shipment of 400 Bibles and 1,000 New Testaments came two days early, an unheard of event in Africa where everything is late.

The Bibles arrived just in time for two big clinics where hundreds were saved but lacked God’s Word. Zulu is almost like the SiSwati language and is read in southern Eswatini. Consequently, we have ordered 1,800 Zulu Bibles, expected next week. (Thank you, Jesus). Please press on in prayer, though; we need more SiSwati Bibles and have been told none are available until July.

Please pray for our 13 translators, also. Echo thought they’d appreciate a vacation day, only their 2nd day off in a month. However, most wanted to work. Echo asked Emmanuel, “Why don’t you want to take off tomorrow?” He answered, “I’ll miss lunch.”

A quick footnote: A hospital administrator called Echo, asking her to pick up the leg which had been amputated from our patient mentioned in an earlier update. Echo quickly contacted his relatives so they could bury it. “I’ll do almost anything for the Emaswati but transport maggot-infested body parts.” Cultural differences know no bounds.

Love in Jesus,
Jan for Harry and Echo, Kalvin, Grace, Luke, Jake, Zeb, and Zion