Mabanteneni Appeal

Mabanteneni Appeal January 11, 2012

For about a month out of every year, “peace on earth, good will to men” escapes our lips and our wallets with an almost unconscious ease. Christmas and New Year charity resolutions. It’s just what we do. The New Year’s resolution may lead us to open doors, to pay for the guy behind us at Starbucks, to hand a sandwich to the lady on the corner that we pass catatonically by every other day of the year. The truth of what we’re actually doing when we “help” is often overshadowed by the vague and superficial feeling of “helping.” It’s easy to forget that we’re changing life stories, that we’re ever doing something real.

I want to give you an opportunity to not only “help” someone this year, but to completely rewrite their story. I want to give you the chance to see this year’s giving for what it is – it is tangible love that turns real people’s worlds 180 degrees closer to knowing the love of God with us.


In the African nation of Swaziland, there is a community called Mabanteneni, a Children’s HopeChest CarePoint that I help sponsor. The need in Swaziland is almost paralyzing. It’s a nation if 150,000 orphans, 69,000 of those due to AIDS. As a child born in Swaziland, one can expect to die around the age of 46. Poverty, disease, despair…these things follow the children of Swaziland through their short lives, speaking all the wrong messages and giving no hope. Then HopeChest steps in, and takes authorship back from the enemy.  God rewrites the stories of children otherwise resigned to defeat. You can be a part of that!

It hasn’t been a smooth road for Mabanteneni. A few years ago the local chief generously offered the CarePoint space on his homestead. Then just a few months ago the chief asked the caregivers and children to leave. With an assigned plot of land and no facilities, they began cooking under a tree. We have been able to build a simple cooking structure, but the land needs to be developed. The CarePoint continues to function but the staff is struggling to continue under these conditions.

I want to tell you about two specific development projects we’re looking at for Mabanteneni in 2012. You have the chance to be a huge part of this new story – part of a Swaziland where hope is declared over the lives of children.

  1. WELL PUMP – Clean water is a lifesaving luxury in places like Mabanteneni. Few projects make a more direct and lasting impact than clean water. We are researching hand pumps ($8750), electric pumps ($10,625) and solar pumps ($15,000), to find the best system for the CarePoint.  We had already raised funds to drill a well, but did not have enough funding for a pump. The well has been capped off and ready for a pump for several months and the community is waiting for us to finish the project. We plan to begin installation as soon as we raise the funding.
  2. FENCE PROJECT: A fence for the CarePoint ($3125). This will provide needed security for the children. In Swazi culture, it is necessary to define one’s property with a fence. Since vacating the Chief’s land, the land we were given has no fence. Practically speaking, a fence will keep roaming cows and goats off the property, making the area safer for the children.  It also allows for future projects such as a garden.

In 2012, why not break some old habits? It’s easy to give without thinking, feeling, or really doing much at all, but this year you can change that. You can be deliberate. You can change a Swazi child’s story with something as simple as a cup of water or a fence to stand behind. When the Father needed parents for His son, Mary and Joseph were the ones He chose. Their hearts were pure, totally given over to His will, and willing to do what was incredibly uncomfortable. As that same loving Father reaches down for those who will continue His redemption story in the lives of those He loves, let us be found willing to be used. What greater blessing could there be this year than to personally participate in God’s storytelling? We can be the pen God’s hand reaches for.



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