Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Giving without creating dependency (3)

This topic still seems to be very popular, therefore I thought it may be a good thing if I shared another story from my own experience. If you are interested in previous posts on this topic and you have only recently started reading this blog, then you can find them here and here.
This story is more recent. Through what I cannot describe as anything else than divine inspiration, our congregation in Swaziland came to the conviction that we should become more involved in the HIV/AIDS problem. You may not know this, but Swaziland is the country with the highest HIV infection rate in the world. If you haven’t seen anyone dying because of AIDS, then you will never really understand what it is that we have to cope with. Our church is involved in home-based caring and presently around 130 volunteers are involved in this ministry. The story is really amazing to read. You can download a copy from here or go to http://www.swazimission.co.za/English/aids.htm and click on the link which reads: “On Becoming the Hands and Feet of Christ in an AIDS-Ridden community”.
A certain congregation in South Africa, about 160 km (100 miles) from us decided to get involved with this project. Their first few visits were aimed at building relations. Then they started collecting clothes and blankets for the patients and delivered it personally in Swaziland. On one occasion they found a brand new wheelchair and delivered it personally to them. Then they got professional people in their congregation to help with extra training, people such as dieticians, doctors, eye specialists, etc. They have committed themselves to visit Swaziland once every three months. (We are expecting a visit from them tomorrow and they are bringing a dietician with them to help with training again.)
They realised that they can’t do the physical caring part, but through their relations with the caregivers, they now bring something for them on every visit as a way of encouraging them to continue with the task. What we are now trying to establish, is a personal relationship between a family in this congregation in South Africa and one of the caregivers. This family will then undertake to make regular contact with the caregiver through SMS, praying for them and through any other way they can think of.
Obviously a team from the USA or somewhere in Europe which travel thousands of kilometers to get here will go about this differently, but the principle described above can work and can make giving in missions something greatly spiritual. And this type of giving does not create dependency, because the future of the work is not dependent upon these people from South Africa. It definitely makes the load much lighter to bear and we constantly pray for more people to get involved in this way (one family for each of the 130 volunteers that we have at present), but even without them, the work will continue.

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Friday, June 15, 2007 - Posted by | Giving, Partnership, Theology

3 Comments »

  1. Hallo Arau!
    Ek weet nou hoe om by jou blog uit te kom. Ons besoek Saterdag was vir ons – soos altyd – leersaam en opwindend. Ons het maar net weer onder die indruk gekom van die nood van Afrika. Ons gaan ons ook daarvoor beywer om nie net 24 gesinne te motiveer vir 24 vrywilligers nie, maar om aan te hou totdat ons 130 gesinne gevind het om jul 130 vrywilligers te ondersteun – al moet ons wie weet hoeveel gemeentes hierby betrek. Hou aan om die goeie werk te doen!
    Jaco van Niekerk, en
    NG Kerk Ermelo Getuienisbediening

    Comment by Jaco van Niekerk | Monday, June 18, 2007 | Reply

  2. I just discovered your blog and I am impressed! I have been searching for information on the net for what issues affect missionaries. I am leader within a ministry in Seattle, WA and we are planning on providing support to missionaries in general and I’m researching to see what issues consistently arise for them. I have added you to my RSS feed so I can see when you post. I look forward to reading all your articles. Our ministry right now is to the disadvantaged in our community, but we also train others to reach out as well and this is where our ministry to missionaries will stem from. If you follow my name/link that is my personal blog, but our ministry website is http://www.sbmin.org if you are interested.

    Comment by Maya | Monday, June 18, 2007 | Reply

  3. For our English-speaking readers who are struggling to read the first comment: This is Afrikaans, one of the eleven official languages in South Africa. I’ll come back to what Jaco wrote there in my next post.

    Maya, thanks for your kind remarks. This really makes blogging about the topic that I’m the most passionate about worthwhile and I do hope that you will be able to get some ideas as I continue with this blog. A had a look at your website and it was good to see what you people are doing. May God bless you in your ministry. You may also want to check out our website: http://www.swazimission.co.za or you can click on the link on the blog where it says Swazi Mission. In the future I will definitely be writing some more on what we are doing.
    Arnau

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Monday, June 18, 2007 | Reply


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