God provided a practical answer to people’s incredible hunger for the Word.
Eswatini, known as Swaziland until its king changed the name last year, is a country in southern Africa about the size of New Jersey and where many of its people live in poverty and fear of HIV.
One rugged corner of Eswatini is known as Ngwempisi, after the river that carves through its hills. For many tourists to the region, the river is a kayaking attraction.
However, for locals, it presents an often deadly obstacle.
World Challenge’s partner in the Ngwempisi region wanted to create a revival of hope for the beleaguered local people. They announced a Sunday meeting and set up a tent beside the river, hoping to bless the area.
People on the other side of the river were so eager to attend that they put their clothes in plastic bags and swam across to the meeting.
If the rapid current were not dangerous enough, Eswatini rivers are also home to hippos, one of Africa’s top five deadliest animals. These one and half ton beasts are responsible for more fatalities than any other large African animal, killing nearly 3,000 people every year.
Alarmed by the danger people were putting themselves into so they could go to church, the leaders decided to move their tent to the other side of the river.
However, this wasn’t a long-term solution.
A more permanent church was being built to replace the tent back on the far side of the river, and children were joining their feeding program who would have to brave the water to reach a warm meal.
The leaders gathered and began praying.
Blessed by the Bridge
Time was ticking toward the permanent church’s completion. Then just enough funds came in for the church to build a bridge. Church members threw themselves into construction so they could have the bridge ready and save people from the dangerous river-crossing.
The entire area resounded with gratitude for the new passageway over rough water.
Pastor Sipho Mdluli said, “The bridge is so helpful to the church people, as well as to the entire community.”
Thanks to how the bridge has eased passage to villages across the river, the church’s leaders have a growing vision to continue planting new churches as God directs and leads.
Continuing the Work
To continue planting churches and spreading God’s message of healing, the church leaders need new leaders to rise up.
Please pray for men of God to come forward and help establish a secure foundation of biblical truth in each community.
Pray for these men to be gifted with unusual faith, humility and courage. The church needs them to lead with love and to build up communities of believers so that God’s holy transformation can revive their nation.