The Reason For 2011’s Building Project

Meet  Gudzagudza, Andiswa and Karabo.  These sweet little ones is why we are doing this year’s building project.

They are three of the most adorable children I’ve ever seen.  They live in the rural area of Swaziland about 67 km from St. Paul’s in Manzini.  They live in the community where we (One Child, One Heart) are helping a small Methodist congregation of mainly women, gogo’s and children finish their church.  The circuit’s Trust Properties Committee approached me in December, 2008 and asked if I would consider this building project.  The congregation had worked very hard over the years to lay the foundation and build the walls, but then they ran out of money.  Since this is a very rural and poor community without a lot of options to earn money, it was going to take many years to get to the point of finishing this church.  The ladies want to finish the church so they can have a little pre-school for the OVC’s that live in the surrounding area and use the church as kind of a community center where they can start some sort of an income generating project so they can help take care of the OVC’s.  So, two years later, in December, 2010, we started working on the project.  This project will be a little different from what we did at Lomngeletjane because the congregation will be responsible for paying for or contributing the labor.  We are only paying for the building materials.

Mahlatsini Methodist Church in October, 2010.

During December and January the inside of the church was cleared out and a few unnecessary windows that posed a security threat were closed up.

A ramp was also built so that the elderly could enter the church easier. In addition there is one young woman who is in a wheelchair. Now she will be able to attend the services. Her name is Fikhle. She is so happy that the church will have a ramp.

It has taken awhile to get things going again this year, but finally about two weeks ago construction finally got underway again.  My goal is to have the church finished by May.  I’m hoping if I put that as a finish date, perhaps it will be finished before July.  We’ll see!

The roofing tresses. Each is made by the carpenter using very rudimentary tools. The tresses have all been built and put up on the walls. Each joint will be wrapped in what they call hoop iron to prevent the roof from coming apart. We are using "gum poles" for this roof because it is much cheaper than regular timber and the Swazi's say it is very strong. Gum Poles are used in most traditional and even some newer Swazi buildings.

The carpenter and builder are fitting the purlins onto the tresses. Once all of the purlins are in place, they will attach corrugated iron sheets.

The last two pictures were taken yesterday (April 5th) when we went to Mahlatsini to check on the progress.  It was while we were out there that I saw the three precious children.  I went to take a picture of them and without thinking, while I was taking the picture I said “How are you?”  I was so surprised when one of them said loud and clear “I am fine!”  My heart soared and I had to blink back the tears of joy.  This church is being finished for these children and others in the area just like them.  Jesus said “Let the little children come unto me.”  I pray these children and many, many more will come to personally know Jesus in this church.  Today as I’ve been thinking of these children and their possible future, I’ve held a vision that these three little munchkins just might grow up to be the next Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo with a faith so strong that even the fires of a blazing furnace can’t tear them away from their belief and trust in God.  At least that is my prayer for these little ones.

I just happened to bring a loaf of bread and peanut butter with me yesterday. Of course, I had to share with them. Thoko had them close their eyes and say a prayer. At first they weren't sure what to do, but then one of them quickly said about three words, so I'm going to guess it was thank you for this food. And everyone said Amen! They were so adorable. Since I will never remember their real names, I've decided to call them Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego!

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One thought on “The Reason For 2011’s Building Project

  1. Absolutely precious, Chris! I will share the building progress with others. (I told my congregation about the project a couple of weeks ago when I spoke about the VIM trip.)

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