The lady pictured on the left is Numsa Lukele of Khaphunga, Swaziland. See is the mother of a missionary spouse who lives in South Africa. We had the pleasure of visiting her home and communities twice over the last two years.
Numsa saw a need in this mountainous area of her country that could not be ignored. Orphans were multiplying at an astronomical rate due to the HIV/Aids epidemic. It is actually the highest rate by far in all of the world. These areas of KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga in South Africa along with the small country of Swaziland have the highest rate of infection of anywhere on earth.
Children led homes became the norm as over 1,500 orphans had been identified in eight villages around Kaphunga during the peak of the disease. Today they are working with over 900 children.
I had the pleasure to visit those villages with Numsa and her family. She is proudly pulling back the shucks on an ear of corn planted and ready to be harvested by the orphans. After she showed the corn to me she carefully replaced the shucks back on the cob so it would finish the maturing process.
Numsa had to get permission for the chief of each tribe to plant in specific fields for the orphans. Then she had to find resources to buy seeds for the planting. The children do all the work to prepare, tend and harvest the crop.
Numsa has recruited almost thirty grandmothers from those villages to work with children in each village. They teach them how to survive and provide for themselves. They also teach the truth about Jesus Christ. I was deeply humbled and touched by her mission!
Late in the day she took me to a small hut declaring that she wanted me to meet some children. They had been discovered some time back eating dirt. Both of their parents had died and the oldest was trying to care for his little brother and sister. One of the grandmothers had agreed to bring the trio to live along with her own children. I had no idea how this impoverished couple could give anything to three orphan children.
The children were excited that the tall American was showing them some focused attention. The younger children laughed and smiled. The oldest would not. He had shouldered the brunt of his parent’s death. You could see it in his eyes.
But they followed me around and all the way to the gate when I left. It meant so much to them that someone cared.
What is your mission for Christ? Who has needs right around you? Open your eyes and your heart and reach out to others who need our Lord and Savior. You don’t need formal training just a tender and loving heart.
Cathy and Danny Sartin
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Four decade veteran of youth ministry in churches, Youth For Christ and now is the Founder and Executive Director of Deeper Still Missions. Danny and his wife Cathy spend most of their time mentoring missionaries in Africa, Europe, Central America and North America. Future opportunities include South America and the Asia Pacific area.