Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why Nsoko, Swaziland? Why The Bowmans?

Swaziland is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa. In 2002 the country had a population of 1.2 million people, today it stands at 860 thousand. By 2012 the Swazi population will be hovering round 500 thousand. Of that over half...nearly 250 thousand will be orphans. In the remaining adult population the HIV/AIDS rate stands at 42% today and that rate is continuing to climb. The country itself is one of the poorest nations on earth. 70% of the population lives on less than $1 a day with no access to clean water and improved sanitation. 40% of the population is suffering from starvation. Most of these are orphans, being raised by older siblings in orphan led households.

Because the community knows these are orphan led household it is commonplace for these unprotected children to be forced into oppressive labor or worse but no more uncommon for the girls to be repeatedly sexually abused. 80% of Swazi girls have been raped by their fourteenth birthday.

Those children who escape the terrors of oppression and abuse must still face the daily task of walking from their family homes to a care point where they will receive one to two meals and clean water. This process which can be distances as much as six miles each way occupies the children's entire daily life leaving no time for education, agriculture, or economic opportunity.

We do not believe this is God's will for the children of Swaziland. We believe that God meant it when he claimed that he would be the Father to the fatherless. We believe that God takes his title of "defender of orphans" most seriously. We also believe that God has staked his reputation on the church, and we as a family feel therefore called to make good on his promises to the fatherless orphans.

So after establishing the problem, and God's desired response of his church to the problem comes the question of why our family. In January of this year my wife and I traveled to Swaziland on a one week vision trip. While there our hearts were captured by God for His purposes for our life intersecting with these children. This led to an amazing chain of events upon our return home through which we came to be partnered with our sponsoring organization Adventures In Missions and their sister ministry G42 whose plan was to plant a village designed to raise these children in a safe enviroment. God has shown myself and my wife that our pasts and our skills indvidually will be joined together for his unique glory in the roles we will fill within the Nsoko Orphan Village.

In the security of the village the children will recieve food, education, agricultural and economic training, and most importantly be discipled so that when they "age out" of our program they are equipped with the skills, and love neccessary to partner with the Kingdom of God in caring for more of this overwhelming orphan population. Our plan is live among these kids and to love them in a way that instills the love of God for orphans into these orphans so that our work is recreated in their lives as they mature into young adulthood.

This vision will bring the hope of New Creation to the hopless realities of the Swazi orphans. That is why some one must go, that is why we must go.

1 comment:

Ericka Bennett said...

Kevin and Christi -

EXCITED FOR YOU GUYS!!! I've heard such great things from Seth about you - can't wait to meet you. Keep trudging through, I know support raising can be a challenge, but I'm encouraged when I remember Jer. 32:27- "I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?"

I remember too some great advice from my mom, "If you don't meet the devil head on, you must be walking the same direction he is!" HA!

I pray God will continue to give you direction and clarity, and will provide and bless this season as you step out in obedience and faith.

Not sure if you've seen it, but here's the video we made in Swaziland this summer: www.nsoko.org (feel free to use it!)

Hope to meet you here, or see you there! Glad to have you on board helping us bring HOPE to Swaziland!

http://erickabennett.myadventures.org