Before we arrived, each team member imagined what it would be like to actually be in Swaziland; to be here spending time with the kids. For me having visited Swaziland once already, I felt as if I had mentally and emotionally “prepared” myself for every experience. Let’s just say…I was wrong. In the past five days, I have been wrecked. I have seen complete joy and seen absolute grief. During one home visit, I met the family of my special friend. After being greeted by her siblings, we immediately learned that her mother could not come out of the house to meet us because she was sick with HIV. In that moment, my heart dropped. Everything I had ever thought about meeting my special friend came to a screeching halt. After praying over her family, I walk away emotionally drained. I had seen what she faces daily. I could not shake the image of what her life looks like. Since that moment on Tuesday, I have been aching to change everything for her; take her away from everything she faces….until today.
While busily painting faces in the shade of Ntabas Care Point, a child approached me and asked me to paint a beautiful yellow sun on his forehead. This boy had the saddest brown eyes I have ever seen. Seeing these eyes took me back to my home visit and the pain I had seen. As I began to paint, I noticed a scar on the center of his forehead and decided to paint over it. After finishing, I let him look at himself in my camera and the once sad brown eyes now had a look of absolute joy! I have never seen anyone so happy over something so small. In that moment, I realized that we can’t change the circumstances of these children, but we can bring hope and joy for the short amount of time that we are here. And that is all that God asks.
These children may have scars in their lives whether it be from HIV, poverty, rape, death, hunger, loneliness, or lack of love; but for this moment in time, we are here to show them that there is more in Christ. We are here for a brief moment to take them away from their pain and show the hope and freedom they can have in Christ. I have learned that our trip is in vain if we do not amplify and share the hope that we have in Christ….even if that means simply painting a beautiful yellow sun over a scar.