Today was our final full day of ministry in the Shiselweni region! After an actual sit down breakfast with coffee (a true gift this week), we headed to Zikhoteni to visit 4 homesteads of the sick and elderly and needy in the community. During the middle of this experience, Sabela from EuropCar (a true gift of a human) met us in the middle of a dirt road with a new van! Praise God! Truly the Lord provides.
After a quick takeaway lunch in Hluti, we moved to Mgamudze for an afternoon of ministry with Pastor Chris, with Elinor leading bible study and Maggie leading children’s church, and Xolani leading a prayer service. In the meantime, Jimmy and Olivia visited three more homesteads and were able to see an older gentleman accept Christ! The angels rejoice, we rejoice, praise God for this new believer in Christ with us!
Some road work is being done right around the church at Mgamudze, and today the church was able to capitalize on a grading machine helping them out with a small dirt moving project – WHILE church and kids ministry was taking place. If you’ve never heard a grading machine, they’re VERY loud, exceptionally loud. Remember this – we’ll come back to this part of the story.
Today is also June 29 in Eswatini, a solemn day in this country’s heart. Two years ago on this day, the country erupted into chaos after rioting broke out with the Swazis protesting for a democratic government. Blood was shed, the country was locked down, and our Swazi friends were trapped. This country is still recovering, two years later, from that period of time.
In the context of this day of memory, we’re listening to this road grader turn over new earth, push rock and stone to reveal, fresh, soft, brown, clean dirt. And Jesus speaks in that clean dirt. I learned the phrase clean dirt during the COVID lockdown, and it changed my life.
Dirt – inherently messy. Dirt – it get us messy. Dirt – it has to be broken. Dirt – has to be BROKEN to be made NEW. As we stand at the feet of the cross, we are made new by the brokenness, the dirtiness and the messiness of the cross of Christ. Without the blood of Jesus, we can’t be made clean.
“…And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, ESV)
Stains make us spotless. Brokenness make us new. Blood makes us clean. Our salvation is found in blood – a Jesus who who despised and rejected, was beaten and bruised and left to die with a crown of thorns upon his head. This messiness, these stains makes us white as snow.
As we watched this grader plow and smooth with precision, soft fresh dirt appears in the yard, filling up the space with its newness. It’s clean. It’s fresh, weighty with the promises of Jesus. It turns out there’s clean dirt in Eswatini too.