Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all

My trip in Swaziland yesterday took me to an area where I’ve never been before – an area known as Jerusalem! I made a remark at one point to my two passengers travelling with me that I felt like Jesus, where it is stated in Luke 9:51: Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 😉
The purpose of my visit to this area was the result of an appeal by the local community that they also wanted to get involved with the people living in that area who are infected with HIV. We had expected to have 27 people there, but due to the rain only 13 turned up. That’s a reality which we have learnt to live with, as they all have to travel by foot. On our arrival I had a pleasant surprise to find that the group of 13 also included two men. After having explained to them what our vision is – To become the hands and feet of Christ in the community – and also sharing with them my personal journey with God when He convinced me that this is what He wanted me to do in Swaziland, we then explained to them how home-based caring works and also said to them that, as we were not receiving any financial support for this program, they had to accept that they would be doing this work solely because they believe that, if Christ had been living as a human person on earth today, this is what He would have done.
The meeting went very well and there is great anticipation for the training of these caregivers which, God willing, will start on Monday.
But then I ended the session by specifically thanking the men for coming. In Swaziland men and women still have very traditional roles which they play. The men are in charge of the household and certain tasks will be done by them. The women care for the children, make sure that water and firewood are fetched, cook, wash and obey their husbands. Traditionally, men will not do such a degrading task as caring for a sick person. And this is why I’m so thankful for the two men who volunteered to become part of this home-based caring program. For men to be willing to do work like this is a miracle. But because the Swazi men can influence society in a much greater way than the women, it is essential to have men doing this work. Without this it will be extremely difficult to make people realise the serious effects of HIV and AIDS.
I ended by quoting from Mark 10:43 & 44: Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
I said to the men that, by being in the midst of the servants, they are proving themselves to be leaders.
But isn’t this true in the Western church as well?


Thursday, October 11, 2007 - Posted by | Africa, Church, Culture, HIV & AIDS, Home-based Caring, Mission, Poverty, Social issues, Swaziland, Theology


  1. Once again I am delighted to see what the L-rd is accomplishing through you and your ministry. Even here we find that many more women will involve themselves in ministry and it is difficult to get men involved. However, if men are given opportunities to serve in a way that is most natural for them (building/fixing things, working on equipment, etc) they then find themselves getting enthused about other areas as well. It is exciting that these two men are getting involved and hopefully it will spread as they talk about what they are doing.

    Comment by Maya | Friday, October 12, 2007 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the encouragement. I don’t know whether you have ever read the document which was published on how this ministry started. If you have fifteen minutes to spare, you should read the story: On becoming the Hands and Feet of Christ
    There you will see that the ministry also started with seven men. Unfortunately one of them died and another stole someone’s cow (a very sad story) and as far as I know he is still on the run from the police. But the others are still going strong. It is not as if I think that the men are doing a better job than the women, but in Swaziland, when men are involved, it gives a kind of recognition to a project which will be difficult to obtain should they be absent.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Friday, October 12, 2007 | Reply

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