“Teacher held for raping pupil in class.”
That’s the headline plastered around the streets of Mbabane, Swaziland. But it’s more than just a headline, it’s an indicator of a much greater problem– a culture who sees women as subhuman.
So a group of women from the states traveled many miles to an orphanage on a lone mountain in Swaziland. To a place where a group of Aunties (nannies) are raising and influencing the next generation of Swazis.
What better place than to hold a Beauty For Ashes retreat that will teach the Aunties of their intrinsic value while empowering them to change their community around them?
Six aunties joined us, Julia, Thimbe, Fikele, Doris, Jabu, and Emiline as we romanced them with the Father’s love. We took them to a lodge that overlooks a beautiful lake in the Swazi countryside and lavished their bellies with delicious food of every kind and their nails with bright colors and glitter.
There we encouraged them to share their story, and share they did. Stories of pain, rejection, shame and disappointment. Many women shared of husbands who left them or cheated them, stories of struggling just to provide food and shelter for their families and stories of family members betraying them. But in sharing their stories of pain, we also began to see redemption.
Women went home and mended relationships that were long estranged, they began to learn their worth and their value and believe in the talents that God had given them.
During one of our sharing sessions, Auntie Julia shared “We often think life is going to be a paved tar road, and then we are walking along and we find a pot hole in the road. We weren’t called just to the smooth roads and green grass, sometimes we have to walk through pot holes. But God is with us.”
What wisdom these women have!
Auntie Fikele said “After today, I am bigger and I now know that I am not alone.”
Wow, I felt after she said that we could just go home. That is what this is all about.
We want these women to see that they are more than dust and clay, that they are spirit and truth and life. And that each one of them has the capability of changing the world around them.
We want them to be bigger, and we want to show them that they have never once been alone. So with Fikele’s words we were so greatly encouraged.
We are praying for a movement over here. A movement of empowered women who know their worth, who will stand up to injustice and know that they have been created on purpose and for a purpose.
Stay tuned for our next retreat happening this weekend and keep an eye out for the personal stories of the women.
Thank you for everything and continue to pray for us. We couldn’t do it without you!