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The Need & The Plan

Bethany First Church of the Nazarene (BFC) took the Swazi National Board Plan that was given to Rev. David Busic and Dr. Loren Gresham on their first assessment visit, and used it as a guide map to build a program around their needs and requests.

The Swazi Plan included water for the country, continuing medical education for their healthcare professionals, and more equipment and supplies for their hospital and clinics. A 32-member BFC Swazi Leadership Council gives oversight and implementation to many of these plans.

Water

The Need: Half of the Swazi population does not have access to clean drinking water, with 60% of the boreholes (water wells) not in operation. The lack of water, and especially clean drinking water, is the source of immediate and long-term health issues with dehydration, water-borne diseases, and inadequate crop production.

The Plan: BFC sent its first Global Outreach (GO) Team to Swaziland in July 2008. The team accepted the assignment to provide new nurses’ housing in the community of Sitsatsawani. This site is also home to one of the 17 Nazarene rural clinics.

Sitsatsawani had been in a drought for seven years. Their main borehole, powered by an old wind mill, was not working. GO Team member Fred Evans got passionate about water for this community. He tried to fix this old derrick to no avail. Finally Fred and other friends from BFC helped to fund a new solar-powered water system.

 Water transformed this community. Today there are gardens, healthy looking children at their schools, and fresh water for the town’s population.

 Fred and Kathy Evans visited Swaziland in March 2009 to help provide an assessment report for water for the rest of the 16 Nazarene clinics scattered across the country. This report was included in a proposal to the Coca-Cola Foundation. The foundation awarded a three-year grant for almost one million dollars for new water wells. In the 53 solar-powered systems they have committed to fund, the first 16 will be placed at the remainder of the Nazarene clinics.

 What would have taken BFC a number of years to accomplish, the Coca-Cola Foundation was able to do in a matter of months providing water to every Nazarene clinic community.

Medicine

The Need: Swaziland has a good system of hospitals and clinics throughout the country to serve their people. However, they do not have a continuing medical education system for their doctors and nurses to provide information on new research and methods.

The Plan: Terry Hall, M.D. and Paul Rothwell, M.D., lead BFC’s medical efforts in Swaziland. Most GO Teams have an excellent medical team as a part of the delegation. They provide targeted training to the medical personnel at Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital (RFM) and the 17 rural clinics. They also work alongside Dr. Harry and Echo VanderWal of The Luke Commission to provide healthcare where there are no clinics.

 Dr. Hall gave leadership to the formation of a new pediatric Standard Treatment Book. Many health professionals at BFC and at RFM contributed to each chapter. The book’s contents address the most deadly diseases for children, such as diarrhea, malaria, pneumonia, and AIDS. The purpose of this book is to help standardize care for children in Swaziland.

 In March 2010, Dr. Hall and Dr. Raymond Bitchong, chief of staff at RFM, met with officials from the Swazi Ministry of Health, who requested 2,400 copies of the Standard Treatment Book so they could resource every government clinic and hospital in Swaziland.

Medical Equipment and Supplies

The Need: The Swazi National Board Plan states the need for new and updated medical equipment and supplies for RFM and their 17 rural clinics. The staff is highly trained, but they need the tools to get the job done.

The Plan: Fred and Kathy Evans organized BFC’s first 40’ container filled with medical supplies and equipment that arrived in Swaziland in October 2009. Dr. Paul Rothwell and Dr. Larry Kilabrew donated a new portable X-Ray machine that was a part of this shipment.

Construction

The Need: RFM was built in the 1920’s. Many of the 17 rural clinics were built in the 1930’s and 40’s. These original structures all need renovation. Many of these clinic communities do not have adequate housing for the nurses and their families. Some of the nurses are living in their clinic or in a storage facility nearby. For some, their families live in another city due to lack of housing. It is difficult to keep nurses in these rural communities when there is such inadequate housing.

The Church of the Nazarene continues to plant churches and needs new church facilities. Most congregations will have enough funds to lay a foundation or build the walls, but are not able to finish construction.

The Plan: BFC has worked on new nurses’ housing in Sitsatsawani and Shewula. We have completely renovated the Nazarene clinic in Bhalakane. Lenexa Central Church of the Nazarene in Kansas City is providing a new nurse’s home in Endzingeni.

In March 2010, the BFC GO Team worked in partnership with the congregation in Ndubazi to help them finish their sanctuary with a roof and plastering of their walls. These projects created a great camaraderie between the local community and the GO Teams.

BFC’s Centennial Jubilee offering will provide a new church building for the Siteki English Church, a new congregation in the east of Swaziland.

There will always be churches, schools, and clinics that need a new building or renovation. The Nazarene Church is also seeing explosive growth, so more church buildings will be needed in the future.

Compassion

The Need: There are not enough hospitals or hospices to contain the number of people with AIDS. Many of these people are dying in their own homes.

The Plan: Mary Magagula and Evelyn Shongwe have started the HIV/AIDS Task Force in Swaziland. They have over 200 care givers who volunteer their time to provide home-based care to those dying of AIDS, and other opportunistic infections, such as TB, pneumonia and malaria.

BFC has come alongside this incredible group of ladies by providing supplies of food, personal hygiene products, and medicines for those that they serve. More needs to be done to provide the supplies and transport so that the HIV/AIDS Task Force can accomplish their loving ministry.

Education

The Need: Swaziland has three colleges of higher education with trained and talented staff. What they are requesting is continuing education for medical professionals, pastors, and those on the frontlines of AIDS care.

The Plan: BFC has offered continuing education to physicians and nurses, pastors, and those working in the HIV/AIDS Task Force. Qualified physicians, teachers, pastors and counselors on our GO Teams provide workshops on requested topics. Our Swazi leaders are talented and educated but they have asked for continuing education and discussions with other professionals to keep their skills and expertise growing.

Community Vegetable Gardens

The Need: The United Nations ranks Swaziland #4 in the world for food security issues–which means that starvation may soon outpace AIDS as the #1 killer in Swaziland.

 There is great social stigma to the admission of AIDS. Many communities will ostracize the person and their family if they are found to be HIV positive.

The Plan: The HIV/AIDS Task Force is encouraging men, women and children to form a community co-op to combat their stigma by sharing honestly about their AIDS status, and to work on a community garden. The land is normally granted free by the community chief to the co-op. This garden not only provides much needed food to the families of the community but also extra produce can be sold so a family can send their children to school. Admitting your AIDS status combats stigma and allows people the freedom to receive treatment and support from their family and community.

 BFC sponsored our first Community Vegetable Garden in August 2009 in the community of Nkiliji. These funds supplied the fencing, rental of a tractor to till the soil, and the first seed.

 SNU sent their first student interns through Morningstar Institute to evaluate these gardens for their social and economic impact. Dr. Tom Herskowitz, founder and director of Morningstar, has forged a partnership with the University of Swaziland to exam the impact of these gardens and how we can make them even better for the communities they serve. Nathan and Sarah Lockhart, the first Morningstar interns, arrived in Swaziland in January 2011 with plans to stay through August.

 Dr. Helen Epstein, molecular biologist, moved to Uganda in 1993 to work on a test vaccine for HIV. What she found was a village-based solution of social interaction that was more powerful than any vaccine could be for AIDS. Community gardens and their co-ops create that type of interaction. BFC joins with the HIV/AIDS Task Force and the community of Nkiliji to combat the stigma of AIDS, provide food for families, and strengthen the economy for the future.

Re-evaluation of BFC's part of the Swaziland Partnership

Many positive things are happening in every area of our work. More than 150 people have joined a GO Team to serve in Swaziland from BFC, SNU, Lenexa Central Church of the Nazarene, and the Canadian Central District of Canada. But when it is all said and done, what is BFC doing to affect the two most critical issues facing Swaziland today?

What can BFC do to help lower the HIV infection rate in Swaziland?
What part can BFC play in helping thousands of AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in Swaziland?

Proposed AIDS Plan

The Need
: We were appalled that over 289,000 were killed in the Indian Ocean tsunami in late 2004, in a matter of minutes by monstrous waves. Yet, there is an AIDS tsunami every month as over 289,000 die in Sub-Saharan Africa from AIDS.

The Plan: We all face a common enemy in AIDS. BFC felt we should start with a partnership with the Nazarene Church in Swaziland to fight this disease and its many cultural misconceptions. Every district superintendent in Swaziland stated that all their pastors and spouses need to be trained on how to speak to their congregation about AIDS. Our focus needs to be abstinence, faithfulness in marriage, and heart holiness.

Many pastoral couples also need a safe place to find out their own HIV status. It is difficult to encourage others to do something that you yourself have not done.

There are several areas that are currently being worked on in this proposed plan:
A Swaziland National Pastoral Couples Conference is proposed for 2011. This conference will include combined sessions as well as separate workshops for men and women. Lastly, time will be allotted so that every district can formulate their plan.
Curriculum is being researched that can be used 2 months prior to the conference for the preparation of all pastoral couples.
An AIDS awareness concert is being proposed for every Nazarene Swaziland district in the summer of 2011 to promote the messages of abstinence and faithfulness.

These are the first proposed steps in equipping our pastoral leaders to speak out against this common enemy of AIDS.

AIDS Orphans and Vulnerable Children

The Need: “Over 12 million children in Africa are orphaned due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. 134 million children do not have access to education. 91 million children are living daily with debilitating hunger and an estimated one million children enter the commercial sex trade every year in order to survive.” From Nazarene Compassionate Ministries

Experts say that Swaziland will have 200,000 AIDS orphans by 2012 which is 20% of their current population. There are many other vulnerable children in Swaziland. These children may have only one parent or may be living with a grandmother or aunt. They may even be cared for by an older sibling as there are 15,000 households led by children.

Swazi children must pay for their primary and high school education. College education is paid for by the government. To attend school, families must purchase the school uniform, black school shoes, textbooks, and school supplies. Thousands of children do not get the opportunity to go to school. Many families sacrifice all that they have by working jobs in other cities or countries to pay for their children’s education. The Swazi government just offered free education for grades 1 and 2 this year. While this is an excellent start, they do not have enough teachers or schools to accept everyone who came on registration day. Many were turned away.

There are Gogos (grandmothers) who have lost their children to AIDS and are caring for multiple grandchildren. There are pastors’ families caring for additional vulnerable children from their community in their homes. Many of these pastors cannot afford to send their own children to school. Some pastors have to choose which of their children they can send to school since they cannot afford to send them all. It is a terrible decision to have to make.

The Plan: Currently, we are working on three plans to help children in Swaziland:

BFC Kids are working on other ways to help with funds for needed food and shoes.

Vacation Bible School (VBS) and Chapels —The last three GO Teams organized a Vacation Bible School for 600 to 800 children per team. The VBS is held in partnership with a local school, church, and community and provides times of singing, scripture memorization, a Bible story, crafts, and sports. The united message through it all is about Jesus and his desire for a personal relationship with each child.

The March 2010 team was given the opportunity to speak at a chapel for the entire student body
of 700 to 1,000 children. Time was given for singing, testimonies and a short sermon encouraging children to follow after Christ.

Child Development Centres (CDC)—Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) has currently established Child Development Centres in 12 African countries. This new ministry concept was shared with church leaders in Swaziland at an April 2010 conference led by NCM for Swazi consideration.

CDC’s are located in Nazarene churches. These churches identify 50 of the neediest children in their community. They open their building every afternoon so the children can be tutored and encouraged in five holistic areas; spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional and physical.

BFC stands ready and willing to enter a child sponsorship program through these new NCM Child Development Centres. Be watching for more details for the launch of this new ministry.