Friday, July 22, 2011


Sometimes there are no words and I know that my feeble attempt at them right now will not do justice to a sweet, seven year old boy named Mamba who died in Swaziland yesterday.  But bear with me, because I think there is a message for us to hear in the midst of this.

If you don’t know, my husband Ben works for Children’s HopeChest, which is an incredible organization working to care for and protect vulnerable children around the world. While he works with multiple countries, his main country of focus due to HopeChest’s large presence there, is Swaziland. Swaziland is a beautiful, heartbreaking little country in the southern part of Africa. HIV/AIDS is so prevalent there that it’s estimated if something’s not done soon to curb the virus that the country itself will be extinct in a matter of decades. Can you imagine? Almost an entire generation has already been wiped out due to the virus as well as other factors.

That said...Swaziland’s terrain is stunning.

Its people are beautiful inside and out.

Hope is springing up.

But sometimes hope must be clawed at and fought for. That's what the Thulwane community in Swaziland is doing today - fighting not to lose sight of hope.  

This week a spunky little boy named Mamba died. He was a sponsored child through a HopeChest Care Point who came for meals, laughter and love. He was played with, held and adored…most recently by his sponsor who was just in Swaziland a few weeks ago visiting him and working at the Care Point.

A few days ago, his step-father was heard telling Mamba’s mother that he was going to kill her and her children. Yesterday, when Mamba was missing, Hope Chest staff searched for him.  They horrifically found him hung from a tree.  He was seven years old. 

The precious little guy you see at the top of this post was senselessly murdered.  As I was listening to Ben on the phone telling me all of this, I was undone. This act was horrific and evil at its core. He was an innocent child.

I cried for Mamba, who must have been so full of fear and confusion in his last moments of life.  But now I'm angry.  Not at God, but at the enemy who loves to keep us from remembering we are in an all out war on this earth.  It's a war between good and evil, hope and despair, justice and injustice and love and hate.  I immediately thought of 1 Peter 5:8, which says "Be self controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."  And it's true.  Jesus said it Himself - "the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy" and he will stop at nothing to do it. He will use disease, poverty, hunger, anger, war, relational brokenness...anything he can get his ugly hands on to bring devastation.  This doesn't mean we just give up and live in fear. He doesn't get the last word. Ann Voskamp says that "the enemy is a lion on a leash", and he is. There will be a day where none of this pain and senseless violence will exist.  Until then, God has given us hearts to beat as His, feet to run into the thick of battle, arms to throw around those who suffer, and voices that shout aloud for the mighty power and justice of God to come down.

My anger over what happened to Mamba must drive me to my knees.  When things like this happen it can make all that we labor and long for feel so futile.  But I think of Jesus' words in Matthew 16:19 that say "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Our prayers matter, which is why the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing.  We have a responsibility to do battle on our knees and with our lives for these children who are so vulnerable to the enemy. When we pray, territory the enemy thinks he owns is taken back.  When we pray, Light arrives on the scene.  When we pray, God answers and things change. 

HopeChest's staff and the community of Thulwane in Swaziland need our prayers as they grieve and process this loss.  I can't imagine the trauma and despair the staff must feel at what they witnessed yesterday.  As we pray for the children who are vulnerable in this community, let's also be sure to pray for those who are working on their behalf and serving them...that they would not grow discouraged and weary of doing good. 

God, may You stir anew in the hearts of your people a desire to pray and intercede on behalf of the vulnerable and oppressed in the world.  Help us to get outside of ourselves that we might be mindful of what our brothers and sisters face and be compelled to help change things, both through prayer and through action.  Give us eyes to see and hearts that respond.  Awaken us, O God! 


  1. Firstly, That is incredibly sad. I will definetly be praying for you and the HopeChest's staff. I really hope and pray that things start to look up for you and the staff.

    Secondly, the scenery there looks fantastic, and the children are soo beautiful

    Thirdly, I absolutly love your blog.

  2. I am so sad to read this. That sweet Mamba's story will hold a place in my heart always! Prayers are powerful and I will be praying for healing in all the hearts affected.