Editor's note: Josiah Mosley, a student at Southern Nazarene University, writes about his experiences on a mission trip sponsored by the university to Swaziland, earlier this summer.
I don’t know where to begin as I write this article. There were many things I was able to learn and experience on my mission trip to Swaziland in Africa. I saw God’s hand at work in many ways in the beautiful country of Swaziland.
One of those ways was at Southern Africa Nazarene University’s (SANU) theology branch in Siteki, Swaziland. My team and I were given the chance to serve alongside Manna Farms, which is a part of SANU. What is taking place at Manna Farms is truly the work of God.
Manna Farms acts as a business, where it grows crops, such as butternut squash and maize, produces honey through honeybee farms, provides water throughout the farm through an irrigation system, and raises livestock. Through each of these different methods of farming, they give and sell to the community around them. The proceeds from the farm will provide scholarships to theology students, and teach vocational skills to pastors who will need to work another job while they lead a local church.
One of the biggest ways I was able to learn, grow, and experience was by spending time with the Swazis. What a beautiful group of people they are! I was able to build many relationships with the Swazis.
For instance, one man I met was named Themba. It was such a joy to be able to get to know him, because like many Swazis, he was very humble, kind-hearted, and sincere. He is studying theology and ministry just like I am at Southern Nazarene University. I could see Christ in him by the way he lived his life each day I saw him.
I was also able to meet a beautiful young boy named Selby. When I look and think about Selby, I see a boy with much potential to be a godly man someday. He wants to do so much with his life, and to me it is not fair that countless boys in the U.S. and other wealthier countries get the chances to pursue their dreams a lot easier than places like Swaziland.
Another instance of being humbled by the Swazis was when we went to give gifts to someone who was a HIV/AIDS victim. They were very grateful, and they gave us gifts with the very little that they had. This reminds me of the poor widow in the Bible who gave all she had, giving more than all the others. I was so humbled and touched by these people; it is something I will never forget.
Through these experiences and more, I have been able to learn much from the Swazis.
Out of all the things I have learned, the most notable one to me is to embrace the people and the culture, whether it is in my local context or in a global context. At first, I was hesitant about whether or not I wanted to do this, but I quickly fell in love with the people so it was not hard to embrace them.
Many times throughout my life, I have run away from embracing deep relationships with people; I am not sure why that is, but it was a goal of mine going to Swaziland to change this. It is biblical to embrace the people and culture because God calls His people to live in community with each other. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we need each other. If everybody lived life individually, life would be incredibly hard. I am thankful for the Swazis, and ultimately God, for helping me learn this valuable truth that I will carry with me the rest of my life.
Before going to Swaziland, I did not have any real expectations. I came with an open heart and mind. I was completely open to however God wanted to work in my life and my team. Though I physically came to serve, I found myself being served more than I served. That, again, shows how humble and sincere the Swazis are. My encouragement to those who answer the call to go on mission trips is to go completely open, without expectations. You never know how God will work, so it is better to let go of all control, power and rights, not just on mission trips, but all the time. It is hard to do that, but it is the call of God to do so. It is so rewarding seeing how God works as a result of doing that.