Swaziland is a small African country with a population of a little over 1 million people. Approximately 80 percent of the Swazi people claim to be Christian but true allegiance is more to Swazi traditional religion. Many of the Christian churches and especially the “indigenous churches” have introduced syncretism or the mixing of Christianity with African traditional religion (includes pagan beliefs). The Swazis are open to the gospel as long as the approach is culturally sensitive. Approximately 80 percent of the Swazi nation still consult traditional healers that are regarded as physicians, prophets, priests, herbalists and diviners (witchdoctors fall in this category).
English Methodists were the first missionaries to arrive in Swaziland. This group was followed by the Nazarenes, Alliance, Evangelical, Assemblies of God and Roman Catholic. The first Southern Baptist missionaries arrived in 1983.
The greatest need besides reaching the lost, is the training of committed Swazis to fill the leadership roles of all current and future work in Swaziland.
- PRAYER REQUESTS:
**Please pray that pastors will be provided for several of the churches who have been without leaders for several years. Pray too, for lay leaders who work faithfully to keep these churches going.
The missionary stood by the bed of an emaciated man she had known for years. He had been a leader in one of the Swazi Baptist churches. His wife had died several months prior to this visit after being sick for a long time. The missionary looked into his face that was devoid of expression. Someone asked him how he was. Softly he answered, “I am dying.” It was just a matter of time when his suffering was over. Many people in Swaziland are suffering from AIDS. The battle rages as Swazis continue to live lives that spread the disease. Our society is in trouble and we find ourselves being carried away into a vortex of suffering, shame, guilt and and death. Pray the Swazi people will understand their lifestyles are causing premature deaths and by living as our Savior shows us, we don’t have to die.
**May 9th, the Swazi Team met for a time of fellowship and discussion of business matters. One of the main items of discussion was the second Swazi Bible School that was scheduled to begin this year (2014). Two postponements for the beginning of the school (March and July) have been made due to the vast amount of planning that is needed. Pray the Swazi Bible School will begin in October 2014. Pray all the logistical planning as well as curriculum planning will soon be completed so the school in October can take place.