This morning we drove to a squatter’s camp, a transient community located next to a garbage dump in Manzini. It is a desolate, dirty and depressing place but in the midst of this desperate community is a woman named Gugu who comes everyday to offer hope to the children. Her Children’s Hope Chest friends call her Gugu Dynamite and after meeting with her we could all understand why. We met in her small office, next to the school room and she told us her story.
She began following Christ in the early nineties and started serving in the local church. In the late nineties God asked her to get involved in Children’s Ministry. At first she felt like God was “demoting” her – “she was busy doing more important things” but she obeyed and began running Bible Clubs for the children at the squatter’s camp. Little did she know at that time what an impact she would have on a very important and precious generation. One day she posed a rather direct question to the kids: “How many of you are virgins?” No one raised their hand. At first she thought the kids didn’t understand the question so she asked it another way. She was shocked when she realized that not a child in the room could say they were a virgin. In that moment all she could do was cry out to God for wisdom. After talking with the kids further she discovered that they were simply acting on what they had seen, their abusive experiences and extreme boredom, as they had no school She asked “Will you stop this behavior if I start a school?” They all cheered, “Yes! Yes!” and the school started the very next day.
I was very moved by her courage, perseverance and joy! I could hardly fight back the tears as she told us about the children, their struggles and the great strides they are making in her school. She took us to the classroom where a group of 9 and 10 year olds were studying. She introduced us to them and had them sing a song. They began singing in their beautiful African way … “hold on to Jesus”. Gugu and these students are doing just that in the midst of great poverty and despair. We were so moved by this song we’d like to teach it to our KidZone kids and she would like us to send some kids worship CDs so that she can teach them some of the songs we use in Canada.
As we left, I thanked her for the inspiration she is and for all she is doing for a part of Swaziland. She thanked us for coming and said “I meet together with other Children’s Workers here every Thursday to pray for Children’s Ministry Workers around the world.” Tears ran down my face as she said that and I thought about how I get so caught up in my own little ministry world; here she is serving in such dire circumstances …. and praying for me every week. We came on a mission to help and bless but today I think we were the ones who walked away more blessed.
Please pray for Gugu as she dreams of more resources and opportunities to rescue more kids.