Published on: 03/09/2020

Smarts in Swaziland

Newsletter August 2020

Dear friends and family

We are thinking of you all in your different countries around the world and praying for you. Thank you for the support you've shown the past two months since our last update. We are still in lockdown as a family but the Bulembu High school is returning today and the Worship Academy will properly restart on Sunday the 6th of September! More about that later. Cases of Covid have stayed very low so we are very grateful for your prayers for that and we remain at ZERO cases in the village!

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During lockdown one of our young adults approached the church leaders to say that he had been praying and listening to God and knew that he needed to get baptised!

Pray that this will spread among all of our young people! This is the heart of Bulembu - for our young people to have received the gospel and grown their own independent relationship with Him so they can learn to listen and obey him for themselves. We are so happy for this young man!

Worship Academy Relaunch

We are busy preparing the video guitar and piano lessons for the worship academy reboot on the 6th of September, where our largest ever group will be allowed to have lessons in their chosen instruments including our new vocal video sessions which we are really grateful for. Our amazing friend Clair Gregory in the UK has been busy volunteering during her lockdown time putting these classes together and we are so blessed to have her- a professional vocal coach with a heart for worship ready to give feedback to our students.

Things will be different due to new Covid regulations (think masks, temperature scanning, distancing, cleaning, etc) but we are excited to have learned new skills such as creating the video resources which will be useful for the future. We are proud of church intern Mancoba Shongwe for taking more responsibility and continuing to grow as a drum teacher. We have some superb young adults!

Pray that we will be able to get our bass amp fixed so that we can start teaching our bass guitar track again.

IT Interns Moving on up!

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Young Mancoba and David

Many of you have prayed for Dan's former IT interns Mancoba and David. It's been a tough season for them this year with carefully made exciting plans having to be deferred or shelved so please continue praying for all our young adults in this situation. Mancoba was sad not to be going to study in Taiwan in February as expected due to problems with university administration, but we are all very glad he wasn't in Asia this year. He applied for and has been accepted on a cybersecurity course at the Advanced School of Technology here in Eswatini. He is quite the entrepreneur and has already started his own website and online business.

David and Mancoba are taking the CompTIA A+ test Dan prepared them for imminently, so pray they achieve this internationally recognised IT qualification. David also has plans to start his own tech and networking company one day!

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Mancoba and David now

PRAYER AND PRAISE

Health and Safety

Please pray for the increase in cases to slow and stop in Eswatini and for the government to manage the fine balances involved in easing lockdown and managing the virus' spread. We are thankful that the fatality rate has stayed very low and still no cases in Bulembu. Praise God!

Bulembu School re-opening

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The remaining year groups of our secondary school are going back this week. Please pray that they will be free of anxiety and adapt well, not forgetting the teachers! Pray for guidance for managers and school heads for the re opening of primary and pre-school when it is right and safe.

We would also like prayer for our car to be quickly repaired following damage while it was borrowed, it has been in the garage for a month so far awaiting the process with the insurance; we are still in lockdown so the timing is a blessing in some ways.

Please continue to pray against the increase of domestic abuse across the country, this is already a vastly extreme problem, and in lockdown it has become even more rife. Pray for those working against this, such as our ICBCs (Challenge Ministries mobile health care, those who visit homes etc) around the country to succeed in this fight.

Worship Academy: We'd be grateful if you would ask God to bless each of our students, around 20 this batch, and enable them to learn quickly and effectively and for us to be able to gather in person at the right time as we really miss our live bible studies and workshops, fellowship time etc. Pray for Rachel as she prepares the creative movement track, and works out the best way to incorporate it into the academy at the right time. Pray for Dan to do a good job of communicating over the medium of video.

Funding: Bulembu is sadly in a major financial crisis due to an extreme drop in support, a large fall donations from abroad due to job loss and other pandemic related economic problems. This is affecting every area of the village. The managers are having to make very tough decisions as to where to cut costs without impacting the children's quality of life and those of the staff. We thank our supporting churches and those who have stepped in to help Bulembu Ministries as well as our family, we are so grateful. Please get in touch for ways to get involved and help this or visit www.cmswazi.org.uk and have a look at some of the fun fundraisers happening now, as well as the child sponsorship and other initiatives.

Guidance: Please pray that we will know the right time to come out of lockdown and that the cases will drop significantly for this country to be able to resume life and build the economy back up while it's already so fragile.

Family: Finally please pray for our 3 children to be safe and feel stable while everything around is different and scary. They miss their friends and travelling, like you and yours do, and it's not nice for them to not know when we'll be able to see our wider family. Thank you, we are praying for you too.

Thank you for your continued support and we pray you'll keep safe and well,
Rachel, Dan and the girls

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