The Indiana e-Christian

News and information from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana

Shelbyville Completes Mission in Swaziland

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The children from the Mgungundlovu Neighborhood Carepoint Center (NCP) were playing hoop ball on the well compacted soil, throwing the ball at a single metal hoop attached to a dead tree post when the mission team of eleven sponsored by First Christian Church, Shelbyville, arrived for their visit on a July afternoon.  The children skeptically slowed their game to a stop as the curiosity spread.

This NCP is housed with one of the rural satellite churches of Kukhany’okusha Zion Church (KZC).  KZC has been a Global Ministries Church Partner with the Disciples of Christ and United Church of Christ since 1982. 

The minister gathered everyone in the new, but already stained by red soil, building and welcomed the group graciously.  He introduced the team from Shelbyville. The team leader, Janice Wilson, assured the Swaziland children that although paler than typical, the visitors were also members of KZC.

It did not take long before all the smiles, singing, and laughing drew everyone together.  The smiles, singing and laughter also acted as a camouflage to dire conditions.  Beyond the noise and chaos of passing out oranges and sweets, donning newly self decorated t-shirts, fitting for new flip-flops, learning songs on kazoos, and being presented with food for the NCP that will last for a week or two, were the signs of the devastating circumstances that the children faced daily.

These children are the faces of the brutal statistics of Swaziland.  They are orphaned and vulnerable children left behind by the HIV epidemic.  Like many statistics, the numbers seem sterile until one steps into the reality of distended bellies, thrush, lesions, yellowed eyes, coughs, and children raising children—all there right along with the smiles. 

One girl, about nine years old, was taking care of others.  She is not the only child, nor the youngest, that is the head of a household, and she is not the only one who is sick.  She has lesions around her mouth, nose and eyes, and she is likely HIV positive herself.  Two team members lay hands on her to leave her with a blessing that cannot be taken away.

That does not always seem like enough. 

Considering the improbable truth of the statistics and living conditions of those in extreme poverty and disease, what becomes even more improbable is how much is learned about joy, faith, hope and the audacity of love.  It is improbable how much KZC accomplishes with such scarce resources.  It is improbable how much humanity shares, despite cultural, economic and language differences.  Yet improbable is not impossible. 

Janice Wilson is a member of First Christian Church, Shelbyville.  She can be reached by email at


Written by ccindiananews

September 2, 2010 at 12:56 pm

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