We look forward to these updates, knowing that you are praying and giving and deserving to hear from us in Swaziland.
The medical clinics out in the bush are sometimes in schools, sometimes in churches, sometimes in chief's kraals, and sometimes at "carepoints." The most unexpected happens at carepoints - structures where orphans are fed once a day. One butted up against a goat pen. Phew!
To date, however, we have always found a place to show the movie about Jesus' death on the cross, although often the doctors work outside, the eyeglass center is under a tree, and the pharmacy operates out of the larger trailer. And Swazis accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, no matter how hungry or young or old or sick or needy.
A school we visited yesterday on a mountaintop (literally) was full of underfed, undersized children. But they were wise enough to see Jesus for Who He is - the Savior who said, "Let the little children come unto me." They did, some 250 of them.
At another school this week far away in northern Swaziland, we gave 180 packages of vegetable seeds donated by several U.S. seed companies. It's planting time here. The Luke Commission's only requirement for school seed-recipients is that the soil be turned and a garden plot be readied.
The 15 teachers and 500 students knew nothing of our seeds or stipulation. But God did. You guessed it. Each class had staked out a garden.
One teacher said, "We want to teach the children how to grow food, even though we had no seeds and did not know from where they would come..." Does this make you smile or cry? It does us. Once again, we say, "thank you, Jesus!"
Medically, Harry and Echo continue to see intestinal worms, ringworm on heads, and bladder worms. Those are all treatable with the free medications we give and explain how to use.
The AIDS pandemic is another matter. Harry said: "I see young mothers between 20 and 30 who have the HIV virus as do their babies and young children. The women's skin look weathered and all their youthfulness has been drained. The babies are sickly and thin and not nursing well. They have diaper rashes and mouth sores and coughs and runny noses."
We treat the symptoms and encourage them to look to Jesus. We have all learned to recognize these precious ones.
Echo diagnosed a 3-year-old boy with psoriasis. A rash covered his whole body, the worst Echo or Harry has ever seen. His siblings and relatives ostracized the little boy fearing he was contagious. When Echo explained there was no cure but also no cause to fear, the boy's mother exclaimed: "I am free now because I know it is harmless."
With one third of our 31 scheduled clinics completed, we often say we've "been bushed." However, that's just after a long ride home over difficult and dangerous roads. We are renewed by God's grace, your prayers, and a night's sleep. Please pray for our safety.
Love in Jesus,
Jan for Harry and Echo, Kalvin, Grace, Luke, Jake, Zeb, and Zion