Taking Prayer to Rural Swaziland
By Kay West, Leader in Swaziland
Ten years ago you would have voted me least likely to succeed as a missionary in Swaziland. I was timid, soft-spoken and shy. My husband and I used to live in Phoenix, Arizona, and he didn't even want to cross the border into Mexico, let alone travel overseas. Today, by the grace of God and His equipping and strength, my husband and I are preaching, evangelizing and leading in Swaziland. The Lord is fantastic beyond belief!
Swaziland is a small country in Southern Africa with 1.3 million people. The primary language is siSwati, with English as the secondary language. We moved to Swaziland in June of 2010. I had visited this African country two years prior when the Lord gave me such a heart for the moms. With a master's degree in counseling, I was there to help the women, specifically with grief counseling. My husband and I later visited Swaziland in 2009. It was during this trip that God gave us the vision for what we were to do there.
Recently, I started our first Swaziland groups, which cover seven schools in prayer. We also held an area kickoff meeting. I was nervous as to how many would attend since not one woman showed up at 9 a.m. when we were supposed to start. However, when we finally started an hour later, 12 women showed up. As my pastor said, Jesus started with a dozen and they changed the world! These ladies are on fire for Moms in Prayer! Of the 12, three felt called to lead a group and the other nine want to be in a group.
Being part of Moms in Prayer here is vastly different from the USA. Due to the high rate of HIV/AIDS in Swaziland (more than 25% of the population has a positive diagnosis), the women praying for the children are often gogos (grandmothers), aunts, older sisters or simply women from the same village who care about the children. While the AIDS epidemic is sad, it is also heartwarming to see the community strive to take care of all the children, including the many orphans.
Many of the women in the rural area where I live do not speak English or read or write. Even though they pray in siSwati and I pray in English, miraculously we are able to understand each other well enough to pray in one accord. The siSwati language is beautiful to hear as they lift their voices to the Lord in intercession.
Another fun challenge I’ve experienced while training them is the cultural norm for prayer here. Swazis pray all at once—and loudly! The concept of praying one at a time is new to them; yet they embrace it and tell me they are learning so much about prayer through the Four Steps. God's beauty is so evident here. One of my favorite groups is in a village with mud huts. We meet under a huge tree and sit on straw mats.
Nkulunkulu kuhle! “God is good!”