Greetings from Swaziland. It's a humid Sunday morning in the southern mountains near the border of South Africa. After church we are setting up our 25th bush clinic since Sept. 6th. The church building is made of thin, weather 1x4's nailed together on end. We will crowd in and sit on wooden planks and the floor. Today most of the clinic will be outside. We'll show The Passion in the church.
Yesterday we treated 268 patients, gave out 74 eyeglasses, and watched 42 accept Jesus. A thunderstorm came through in mid-afternoon and gave us relief from the 95-degree sun. I'm having a joyous time learning to speak SiSwati by explaining to each patient how to use the medicines he or she is given. The Swazis laugh at me, but repetition is the key...
We have held several clinics, like yesterday, in a community center, the likes of which are being built throughout Swaziland as a place to feed the AIDS orphans once a day. Guess who is responsible for these simple block structures which blend into the Swazi landscape? President Bush, the people tell us. We do see bags of rice and maize stored there stamped "product of the United States."
Earlier this week we conducted our largest clinic and treated 512 patients. This day was not without complications and unruly crowds, however. Our lead translator Goodwill said to me at one point: "I am carrying a heavy burden today." We all were! In prayer that morning Kalvin had asked God to give him a sign, some encouragement, concerning problems with a Swazi coordinator. God lifted the burden and "washed our souls" amid that unruly crowd. When we showed The Passion in the evening to adults, 62 accepted Christ. The new converts started to march and sing and wave their new Bibles. For one hour we spontaneously celebrated God's goodness. Thank you, Jesus!
Please pray for the wisdom and strength to finish well. We leave Swaziland in 10 days. Please pray for all the new believers. It's such a privilege to be working in the Master's vineyard, even though the costs on many fronts are great. We do not know what's happening in the United States; we have not watched TV since leaving Washington, D.C. We do talk to January and Joseph and Trisha who update us on loved ones. During "speech" time at every clinic, we tell the Swazis that Americans are praying for them.
The Minors and Taylors from Ohio are fitting in well, as is the doctor from The Netherlands. Our group of 15 young translators have endured and flourished as the traveling demands and long hours have increased greatly this trip.
We praise God on so many different fronts, not the least is our home fronts where you lift us up to the Throne of Grace. Thank you, dear ones.
Love in Jesus,
Jan Tuinstra for The Luke Commission