Emily shared this past Sunday...
At the beginning of the summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Swaziland, a tiny country located inside of South Africa, as a member of a team from Gordon College. We spent a month serving in the village of Bulembu.
Bulembu was a mining town that produced asbestos until health concerns lessened the demand and the town was abandoned. About ten years ago, a christian organization purchased the land with the intent of developing it into a self-sustaining community by the year 2020. They plan to do this through the production of various commodities like bottled water, milk, honey, and lumber, and the education and training of a new generation of Swazi leaders.
Our team was able to participate in this vision by assisting with a number of work projects, including painting curbs and walls around the town, renovating a baby home, and readying old houses for repairs. We also spent time with the kids at school, helping out with after-school clubs and sports, and visited their families homes in the evenings.
What most surprised me most.
The joy and richness we found in the simplicity of the Swazi lifestyle. With no access to TV or internet, we engaged fully in our surroundings and quickly formed friendships with in the community and amongst the team. The lack of distractions let us see things we would normally otherwise miss.
We saw was God’s grace everywhere.
As a team, we experienced an uncommon closeness and spent the entire month together with little to no conflict whatsoever. It was grace that gave us strength to look past each other’s faults, give more of ourselves than we would have thought possible, and persevere even when we faced mental and physical challenges. Several times during evening debriefs, a teammate commented that it was another teammate’s cheerfulness that kept him from complaining during the long hours of work – often to that teammate’s surprise.
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27 ESV)
We don’t have to be talented or strong or brilliant to be used by God. We just have to be willing.