The highlight of our trip for me was our time at the Moriah Center. Moriah Center is run by a South African woman named Diane and her staff of four Swazi women who serve as the teachers. Diane and her small staff have amazing dreams for the future of Swaziland, and those dreams start in Big Bend.
Big Bend is a sugar colony in eastern Swaziland, lying on the Lusutfu River. The only enterprise in the area is the sugar. The plantations stretch as far as the eyes can see. In this area the sugar company controls everything. The electricity, water, and roads are used as the sugar company sees fit. Every skilled worker for miles around is on the payroll, and does only the work the sugar company orders be done. The sugar fields are plush green and yet only feet away from these seemingly endless acres of lush green is the harsh dusty reality that most of the sugar companies workers are oppressed into.
Moriah center, though an Oasis of hope in that depression, is so much than just another care point. Diane sees Moriah Center as the foundry of a new Swaziland. The UN population estimates for 2050 do not include a future for Swaziland. At a 46% AIDS rate the nation is dying. So Moriah Center is a place where orphans and the vulnerable children are being provided the future of God's Kingdom. Like the Biblical Mount Moriah this is a summit of God's presence.
As I wrote last night about the ABC of ministering in Swaziland, Moriah center's beauty is how they are already participating in all three steps of this plan. Even more exciting is their dreams to multiply into a more grand temple of the living God.
Appetites - Most of the care points we visited while in Swaziland were feeding a community of children who came and spent the day at that care point. During school holidays that number increased since those kids who were able to attend would no longer come once enrolled. Moriah center is not content to feed only those children who can not attend school. Each morning as the children able to attend school are walking past the Moriah Center, the staff is outside with a high vitamin nutrition drink that the children can drink as they walk. There as sandwiches available for those who would have no means for lunch to pick up and take with them as well. After the school age children are past an in their schools, Moriah Center then recieves the preschool age children who will be given the nutrition drink and sandwich in the morning, as well as a hot meal like the other care points in the afternoon. Diane's dream is to have the resources to provide a second hot meal after school hours where the her students and the school age children could receive a meal as they travel home.
Basic Education - Currently Moriah Center provides a preschool to begin the learning the process with her students. There are 3 teachers and they take local children and give them a basic education that will prepare those with the available resources to attend school once old enough. That basic education is not enough for Moriah Center. Big dreams for the future include and elementary school that would be able to continue the education of those who do not have the resources to goto school otherwise. Even bigger plans for the future include a sewing school, a carpentry school, and an electrical school to teach the children a trade they can use to break free from the cycle of poverty.
Christ - Kid's Church, Girls Purity Training, Bible Club, and a local Christian church are all part of the ministry at Moriah Center. Moriah Center is providing a backbone of Christian education that will be vital to the future of the Big Bend community. These young children and teens will be raised up hearing a message of God's plan for community rather than the plans they see modeled in the broken homes around them. Young girls are being taught about God's plan for sexuality, and His desire for purity in the marriage bed. Moriah Center realizes that a generation of Godly girls will need to be met with a generation of Godly young men, so it is therefore desiring to add Marriage, Family, and Purity training for the young men as well.
The beauty of Moriah Center is the ability to dream beyond a simple ABC plan, and instead be challenged to grow into a body that will be able to meet the needs for a new future in Swaziland.
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