Easter time – not just a day but a season – is about deliverance, God’s deliverance of mankind through His cruel death and glorious resurrection.
Life in Eswatini seems cruel, too, but often The Luke Commission sees glorious deliverance.
Take the lady we met recently. Traveling to a clinic site, we turned off a tar highway onto a dirt road when we spotted her crawling. Stop! We jumped out.
“Where are you going?” Echo asked.
“I’m going to church to pray,” she answered, pointing to a small cement structure on a hilltop.
“Come with us today, please,” said Echo. “I think some of your prayers have been answered.”
On the way to a bush clinic, the TLC team
happened upon this woman crawling beside
She agreed to come with us…
Two young team members picked her up and settled her gently in a TLC vehicle. She wore rubber gloves to protect her hands from thorns and rocks. Below her calloused knees were undeveloped useless limbs.
All day long, she sat under a tree and waited – for hundreds of sick folks to be triaged, for instructions to be given by Harry, for lines to be formed for eyeglasses, for medications to be distributed from the pharmacy, and for her wheelchair to be built.
Her story is simple and touching. Now 59 years old, she had not walked since age 5 when she contracted meningitis. She lived her whole life severely disabled, looking at people’s feet and legs rather than into their eyes.
As she was lifted into her new chair, about to be mobile for the first time in 54 years, tears coursed down her cheeks. She brushed them away with her rubber gloves. Then realizing she no longer needed those gloves, she waved them in the air. Eyeing the crowd, face to face this time, she exclaimed, “Hallelujah, hallelujah!”
Two visitors from California carry the disabled
lady to her new transportation.
Prayers of many years are answered
beyond what she could ask or think
as this dear Emaswatiits in her new
Consider a 70-year-old man carried into the HIV department. “I want to know what’s the cause of my sickness,” he said. HIV positive!
“I started to counsel him,” noted a TLC Liswati team member, “but he stopped me.”
“I’m dying,” he said. “No one would help me find out why I couldn’t walk, but you have. I’m happy now.”
Deliverance takes on many forms. Sick people may get better, or they may not. Both result in rescue to those who cling to Jesus.
Listen to the plight of this 42-year-old man. He smelled, stank really. Even his fellow Emaswati would not sit close to him. He had pain etched on his face, though he tried to hide his emotions.
Harry learned the man had gone to three regular clinics in Eswatini, but only had received “panado” – Tylenol. “No one looked at me,” he said quietly.
Echo talks with an English-speaking Liswati who said no one looked at him while an anal infection rages through his body. TLC did look… and help.
Behind the big blue tarp at every clinic
is the HIV department. Here Dumi
brings joy in the midst of counseling.
Echo took him behind the HIV tarp and inspected his anus. An untreated infection had caused another opening to push through his skin to rid his fecal matter.
“I wanted to cry,” said Echo. Giving him antibiotics and diapers, Echo told him: “Come to our house next Thursday, and we will schedule surgery for you. We’ll pay.” Usually surgeries cost about $100.
HIV testing, counseling, and most importantly follow-up to start positive patients on anti-retroviral treatment have taken precedent at Luke Commission clinics. “The longer we are here, the more we realize that our efforts must funnel into an all-out attack on HIV,” said Dr. Harry.
On days when TLC is regrouping and restocking and repacking in Manzini, many AIDS patients take public transport from all over the country, arriving early at the VanderWal home and waiting under the trees for their turn to receive special help. TLC reimburses them for their transport costs, since many Emaswati have no money to travel.
Harry and Echo often must intercede at various ARV centers. Patients are treated abruptly after waiting in lines for hours or told to come back another day.
Harry treats patients that gather on TLC mission house lawn every Thursday. Many have traveled long distances on public transport to receive help. TLC pays for their fares.
So weak from AIDS, this woman
awaits Echo’s intervention at an ARV
“If these patients are going to live, they can’t wait a week or a month to start these medications,” Echo said. “Some who are turned away, just go home and die. We must offer another way.”
While the depth of TLC services grows, the stories of Christ’s intercession and mercy expand, too.
And during this Easter time, when Jesus died and rose and appeared to His followers for next 40 days, we remember with humility and joy these words from Luke 24:47 – “…repentance and forgiveness of sin will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
From the nation of Eswatini to the nations of the US and Canada, we say thank you. Since He has risen indeed, we count it a privilege to take His name and His word and His love to the outermost corners.
Gratefully in Jesus,
Janet Tuinstra for The Luke Commission
It’s follow-up day at the TLC mission house. Here
Echo checks the minor surgery she performed
behindthis man’s ear at a bush clinic.