The Boulder Creek United Methodist Church currently is organizing a team for an August, 2011 United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) trip to Swaziland, Africa.
The Kingdom of Swaziland, located in Southern Africa, is a country which shares its borders with South Africa and Mozambique. It is approximately the size of the state of New Jersey, with a population of 1,300,00. This small country of vibrant people and culture is at great risk of extinction. In a letter, the US ambassador to Swaziland, Earl M. Irving, says, "HIV/AIDS is tearing at the social fabric of the Kingdom, and without a dramatic decrease in the rate of new HIV infections, it is not an exaggeration to say that the future of Swaziland is at risk."
UNICEF reports that already, because of the AIDS crisis, more than 30% of the population is orphaned and vulnerable children – many of whom live in households without food security, suffer anxiety and depression, are at risk of missing out on schooling, and are in greater danger of exposure to HIV.
The Boulder Creek UMC VIM team will work with United Methodist Individual Mission Volunteer Christine McLain, who has been serving in Swaziland since 2007, providing assistance to the local Methodist women's organization (Manyano) to address the needs of the poor, especially women and orphaned and vulnerable children in rural areas of Swaziland. The VIM team will focus its efforts on the children of the Lomngeletjane Methodist Primary School, which McLain built in a rural community near Manzini, Swaziland, and their families. Team members will organize a Vacation Bible School (based on John Wesley's Three Simple Rules) and assist with local projects. Visits to Bulembu, "the City of Hope," and fellowship with the Methodist women's group also are planned.
If you find your heart turned towards Africa, "Come and experience God's spirit, which refuses to allow this small, breathtakingly beautiful country to die!" invites team leader Becky Perry.
Perry is lay leader at Boulder Creek UMC, a 2008 Conference Lay Minister (CLayM) training graduate, and a trained UMVIM team leader and experienced traveler (she also led a Volunteers in Mission team of 12 to Swaziland in July, 2009).
Team meetings will begin in January, 2011 (Saturday, Jan. 29). Contact Becky Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 831.338.4998 for more information.
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