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Update from the West’s: Meet Some Ministry Helpers in South Africa

Note from GapFill.org’s Founder: I just received Kay and John West’s newsletter and thought you would enjoy meeting some of  their helpers in South Africa.  To God Be the Glory for all the work He is doing!  

JohnandKayWest

Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.  Proverbs 31:29-30

Most of you are parents, and know full well the joy when someone wants to hear about your children! So you will understand our delight that so many of you responded so positively to our last newsletter, which featured some of our interpreters. These darling young women have become like daughters to us, and most even call us “Mom” and “Dad.” We thank you for wanting to “meet” a few more of our helpers, not only because are they a vital part of the ministry here, but also because we have a very special place in our heart for each one!

The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to
much wine, teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women to love their husbands,
to love their children, to be discrete, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands,
that the Word of God may not be blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5

While we respond in ministry to wherever the Holy Spirit leads, the focus of the ministry to which God has called us is primarily to women. It is African women who nurture and shape the next generation, and our vision is that as we pour the love of Jesus and the Truth of His life-giving Word into their lives, their communities will be transformed from places of violence, death, and despair into neighborhoods reflecting God’s Kingdom culture of peace, life, and hope.

They say “there is no hurry in Africa,” and we have learned this to be overwhelmingly true! It is especially pertinent to discipleship; discipleship always takes time, commitment, and patience, and happens not only in overt ways like teaching the Bible, but also in simply “doing” life together. So while these young ladies serve alongside us, we are honored to disciple them as well, and we are so blessed with the beautiful fruits God is producing in their lives. Please forgive us if we sound like bragging parents! 1 Corinthians 1:17 tells us, Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. Yes, to Him be all the honor and glory!

The Lord announces the Word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng. Psalm 68:11Nomvula

Nomvula Mdunge is a 31-year-old single mother of two daughters, Onke, age seven years, and Kuhle, age three years. She works as the head teacher at “Under His Wings” preschool in the community of Emanzana, and also oversees the cooking and feeding of approximately 100 children every weekday. She is smart and sassy and exuberant in her love for Jesus. She was able to finish three years of college before she lost her husband and had to quit in order to support her young children. Someday she hopes to complete her degree in education, and have her own home, as currently she is living with her sister and her sister’s family.

NomsaNomsa Nhlabathi is the 33-year-old sister of Nomvula and has three children: Sizwe (boy), age sixteen, Mfanafuthi (boy), age fourteen, and Lindiwe (girl), age three. This quiet but brilliant young woman completed three years of college and now works for Emoyeni (“In the Spirit”) Ministries where she is in charge of the administration for five care points serving over a thousand children. Nomsa is also a single mother and prays for wisdom in parenting, especially to her teenaged boys. Her dream is to have her own bakery someday.

ZenzileZenzile “Constancia” Maluka is a 33-year-old single mother of two and has a strong drive to make a difference in her community and in her country. Constancia currently works as a facilitator at Kingdom Shines Ministries where she oversees a preschool and feeding program for approximately 150 children. Her dream is to someday go back to school and become a social worker. In the meantime, this feisty and spirited lady is making a huge impact for the Lord right where she is planted. She recently lost both of her parents, but is undaunted even in her grief. In her words, “God is good to me all the time. No one is sick in my family. He protects us every day and He guides us along the way.” Constancia also wants “more strength to serve the kids at the care point and to give them love and a smile every day.” Last but not least, she also wants to “encourage other young women. They must be strong in the Word of God and they should not rush into everything that is not good. They must wait on God’s right time.”SchoolKids

NomceboNomcebo Anne Shongwe is 32 years old and works as a facilitator in her home village of “Lonhlupeko” which means “suffering” in siSwati. While Lonhlupeko is an area of much struggle, the preschool and care point where Nomcebo works is an island of joy and light for the children. Nomcebo comes from a large family and is blessed that her mother and father and her father’s second wife (remember that polygamy is practiced here) are all still alive, as are her six brothers and two sisters. The father of her eight-year-old son, however, died of AIDS-related causes when her son was still a baby. She has recently remarried. Her income is R1,000 (roughly $75) a month. Part of her job is to visit all the care point kids in their homes regularly to check on their welfare (reporting abuse, teaching parenting skills to caregivers, ensuring medication compliance, monitoring that the children are getting enough to eat and their health, encouraging cleanliness of living environment, etc.) She says she is very emotional about women’s rights in Swaziland and sees far too many women being physically and sexually assaulted. She especially hates it when abuse happens, as it often does, in front of the kids. Nomcebo says Jesus has changed her life, and that, “He is my Everything, my Provider.” When she was a child, she dreamed of being an accountant but she is glad she is working with children now. Kay will never forget watching Nomcebo frantically chasing a two-year-old toddler who was in her care. The little girl was having a colossal temper tantrum and was running away from the safety of the care point at an astonishingly fast pace, with Nomcebo in rapid pursuit for at least a half mile. Nomcebo caught up to her just in time to prevent the still-screaming child from heading right into the dam where crocodiles lay in wait. Just an average day in the life of a preschool teacher in southern Africa!

NomsaDebraNomsa Debra Nkwanyana is twenty-eight years old and works alongside Nomcebo as a preschool teacher and care point facilitator. Nomsa’s father died of AIDS-related causes and her mother is HIV positive and getting sicker. The father of Nomsa’s only child, a nine-year-old daughter, was abusive to her and they are no longer in a relationship. Nomsa also recently adopted her young nephew when Nomsa’s brother died, leaving the young boy as on orphan. In spite of all the sorrow she has experienced in her few short years, her faith and joy in the Lord are unshakable. She wishes everyone would believe in Christ because He is “the only one to trust—He provides all I need. He is everything to me. He means a lot to me because He is the reason I am alive today.” When she was a child she dreamed of being a high school teacher and owning a car and a beautiful home and being married to a faithful husband. Now her dreams are to “serve God as much as I can, each day learning new ways of praising Him.” Nomsa is also a hero to us. When Kay was training women in the community in prayer via the ministry of Moms In Prayer International, she was helping Nomsa set up chairs for the women who were participating. The chairs were stacked in the corner of the small rural classroom. Suddenly, Nomsa grabbed Kay’s arm and roughly shoved her away from the corner, shouting, “cobra!” We thank God for her seasoned eye and quick reflexes which enabled Kay as well as herself to escape unscathed. It takes a lot to scare praying women, and the training continued once it was ascertained that it was safe and the snake was out of the way!

Actually, to us, all these ladies are heroes, exhibiting a faith in the Lord that blows us away. They walk miles to work whether in the hot African sun, or the torrential rainstorms, or the surprisingly cold winter winds as none can afford a car. They survive the untimely deaths of family members, illnesses with substandard medical care, and rioting and strife in their communities, and yet their confidence in Jesus is unwavering and strong.

There are no quick fixes to the many challenges facing our brothers and sisters here in southern Africa, but with the selfless service of women like these, God is moving towards His inexorable plan of salvation for those who hear and believe. And our lives are immensely richer for being allowed the privilege of serving alongside them.

For His Kingdom,

John and Kay West
We hope to see as many of you as possible when we travel back to the US for the holidays, though our time with family will be paramount. We will be sharing  more about the ministry at these venues:

Prayer Requests:

  • Safe travel to and from the US
  • For all the new groups of praying women!
  • Ability to effectively communicate the wonderful things God is doing here in Southern Africa
  • God’s wisdom as we face some challenging situations with family in the US
  • God’s covering for our home, dogs, and ministry here in SA while we are back in the US

John and Kay West are missionaries in South Africa.  Visit the “Items Needed” tab on the GapFill.org website to see how you can help the West Family.  To receive GapFill.org’s blog posts automatically via email, enter your email address in the “FOLLOW GAPFILL VIA EMAIL” box on the right-hand side of the blog and click “Follow”.


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Update from John and Kay West – Missionaries in South Aftrica

Note from GapFill.org’s Founder: I just received Kay and John West’s newsletter and thought I would share it. What a great post on reconciliation as we head into this season of Lent.  

 And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:20

ColorBlindKids

Color Blind Kids

I am writing this letter in the midst of seeming chaos. Empty and full and half-full boxes have invaded our entire house. Random piles greet me everywhere I look, and the house we’ve called home for three and a half years now is in seeming shambles as we labor to get ready to move to the country of South Africa in less than one week, while simultaneously continuing ministry here in Swaziland. In addition there are still many unanswered questions about work permits, how we’ll afford to live where the costs of living are higher, if we’ll have any problems crossing the border with our belongings, and if the leaks in the ceiling and plumbing in our new home will be fixed when we move in.

Yet we stand firm, knowing God is in charge, and we trust Him. He is a God of order, of peace, and of reconciliation. We know He has a plan!

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. Ephesians 2:14

Reconciliation to Himself through the cross was and is His master plan, and we are so thankful for this fact that we are committed to pouring out our lives to share this good news!

Lately, though, He has also been placing on our hearts another facet of reconciliation–between people, and specifically between the diverse races and classes that make up the “Rainbow Nation” of South Africa.

JesusLove

Sharing the Love of Jesus

We are and will be smack dab in the middle of “Mandela country.” Most of you probably heard that Nelson Mandela died at the end of 2013. It was worldwide news; here, it was a MAJOR event, and a MAJOR time of grief for Swaziland and for South Africa. Whatever you think of the man, his methods, and his motives, there is no denying what he did for his country during a pivotal, violent time. His message of forgiveness and reconciliation has radically impacted the lives and hearts of South Africans and of much of the world.

Sadly, there still exists a huge gap between rich (predominantly the white South Africans) and the poor (predominantly the black South Africans), and between the association of most whites and most blacks. The CIA website explains it in this way. “The first multiracial elections in 1994 brought an end to Apartheid….South Africa since then has struggled to address Apartheid-era imbalances in decent housing, education, and healthcare.” The site provides many statistics to back this up. Just a few include 31.3% of the population below the poverty line, and an unemployment rate of 25.1%. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sf.html

We have personally witnessed valiant attempts by both blacks and whites to get along after decades of segregation and mistrust, but we still see a huge amount of fear from both sectors, and definite discrepancies in standards of living. Our friends from SA, both blacks and whites, fear for our safety as we whites venture into “black” neighborhoods. (A caveat here—I have never felt it necessary to distinguish between races and it appalls me to do so now, but the fact is that in SA, racism going both ways is a major issue and pretending it doesn’t exist would be foolhardy.)

Kay and John

Kay and John

We have no idea how God might use us, but we do believe He will, in His plan to reconcile His people in South Africa. We know we find great joy in speaking siSwati to the black South Africans and seeing their astonishment that white people care enough to learn their language. 🙂 We are also committed to learning a decent amount of Afrikaans, another of the 11 official languages in our new country of service and the primary language of the majority of whites there. We know we have so much else to learn as well. But we are willing vessels—stay tuned!

In the meantime, we remain committed to being “ministers of reconciliation”  by sharing the Gospel and His love wherever He leads us. We are in awe and delighted that God uses us even in the midst of the mundane and frustrating business of moving to another country.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Cor. 5:17

Before sharing some of those mundane details, I want to share just one story of how God has been working recently in our lives. We had only a few days in Nelspruit, SA, our future home, to find a place to live. It was a discouraging time of many doors being figuratively and literally shut in our faces, and to be honest, we felt like giving up. But, as we shared with our gracious hosts and friends Mitch and Char, even if we couldn’t find the house we thought we needed, we knew that God had a Kingdom plan that might or might not suit our impatience and selfishly-perceived essential conditions.

We are so grateful that He doesn’t give up on us, and uses us in spite of our egocentric desires. On the last day, we met with a potential landlord named Bailey. He’s quite a character, and the house he became willing to rent to us after our interview is rather dilapidated, though roomy, and in a safe neighborhood. The interview itself progressed quickly from formal to informal, and in the course of all his coarse jokes we were told that he has cancer that progressed from his colon to his liver, and that he is afraid. We also discovered that this man has a praying wife. Bailey doesn’t quite yet seem to grasp that God’s grace and mercy are all he needs to cover a life of sin, but we believe he will. We were allowed the privilege of praying for Bailey, right there in the realtor’s office, while tears rolled down his cheeks. We know God is not finished with our intermingled stories—He has woven our lives together for His wondrous purposes. Yes, we signed the lease.

Timeline:

  • March 1–move from Swaziland to South Africa
  • April 1-4–retreat with other missionaries on our team with whom we will serve the townships, as well as with the local pastors from those areas. The purpose will be to get to know each other and everyone’s roles as we come together to share the Gospel and practical help for those in dire need.
  • May—will start “official” ministry with widows and orphans in the townships. But we all know that as we’re surrendered servants, God uses us each and every day!

Prayer Requests:

  • The work of reconciliation—to God and amongst people
  • Bailey to know the full goodness and peace of reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ.
  • Funding for a new (used) vehicle for us. Driving in rural Africa to far-flung villages is brutal on vehicles, as is transporting carloads of people, food boxes for care points, drinking water, firewood, building supplies, live chickens…
  • The fields are ripe for harvest in the South African townships—please pray for open hearts to receive God’s love as He directs us to show it.

John and Kay West are missionaries in South Afraica.  Visit the “Items Needed” tab on the GapFill.org website to see how you can help the West Family.  To receive GapFill.org’s blog posts automatically via email, enter your email address in the “FOLLOW GAPFILL VIA EMAIL” box on the right-hand side of the blog and click “Follow”.


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Update from the West Family

Note from GapFill.org’s Founder: I just received Kay and John West’s newsletter and thought I would share it.  If you are facing hardship or seemingly insurmountable obstacles in your own life, I hope you will do as the West’s are doing – pray, let go, and let God!  

JohnandKayWestFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways . . . Isaiah 55:9

Before leaving for the mission field, we got some wise advice about what not to put into newsletters, such as emotional pleas for financial help alongside photos of emaciated and starving children.  It has been our desire to glorify God in every message we send, and we generally prefer to send newsletters that are uplifting and encouraging. Our Lord has blessed us beyond measure, and has used these jars of clay in ways for His Kingdom far beyond anything we could have hoped for or imagined. Therefore sending missives full of joyous reports has been effortless and sincere.

Yet God has impressed on my heart this time to share some of the heartbreaks we’ve been dealing with. If there were no sorrow, there would be no need for God’s compassion; if there were no grief, there would be no need for God’s consolation. It is in the darkest times that He shines the brightest. We are learning to “let go and let God” and pray that as you read these heartrending situations you will also know and trust in His great love and the hope that is found in Him alone.

One of the biggest challenges we face here is seeing relentless poverty and disease, and simply not being able to “fix” it all. As white Americans, we are persistently sought for solutions. There is a prevalent belief among Swazis that all Americans have infinite resources and infinite wisdom. It is easy to fall prey to believing we must solve every problem and meet every need in our own strength, and it is distressing not to be able to do so when the suffering is so great. We must resist the trap of “playing God.”

As missionaries representing Jesus Christ, we want to do our best to show His mercy and provision. And often we do have the God-given resources and are able to help. Those times are wonderful, and we are careful to always reflect the glory and honor back to Him.a colile

Yet there are many other times when “all” we can do is share a few verses and pray with the one asking for miracles.  In our flesh, this is painful, but we know that it is in these times that we can share the powerful truth that ONLY the Lord is able, that ONLY Jesus is the way.  We must teach reliance on Him alone.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. 1 Corinthians 1:25

Situation #1
During our hospital ministry time a couple of weeks ago, our team encountered a young woman who is in one of the ladies’ Bible study groups Kay leads. Nelsiwe grew up on the streets as a child when her parents were killed in a car wreck and her father’s other wife (remember that polygamy is practiced here) kicked her siblings and her out of their home. She found refuge as a young adult with a kind woman of God in one of the mud hut communities here. However, once she acquired AIDS and tuberculosis, her benefactor was no longer able to care for her with her own meager resources. Nelsiwe begged her stepmother to take her in, to no avail. After sleeping in a neighbor’s outdoor toilet for several nights, she made her way to the hospital seeking medical help. She is very sick with TB and wound up spending the night in a nearby field while waiting for medical care. When we heard her story, we immediately prayed seeking God’s guidance, and then began contacting every resource we knew. No one was able to take her in. With hearts breaking, we bought her a decent hot meal and a warm blanket since it’s winter here, prayed with her and hugged her, and had to walk away, and let go and let God. We continue to check in on her and pray for her and dream of a better way.

…so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand…, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13

Situation # 2
A thumbs upA few months ago a three-year-old boy, Siyabonga, went missing. Both his mother and great-grandmother attend one of our women’s Bible study groups. Though a missing persons report has been filed with the police, no trace of the child has been found. It is believed that the boy was either sold into child slavery and taken to another country, or ritually murdered for “muti”—a potion concocted by witch doctors here and believed to produce power for recipients. We will never give up hope and continue to pray for answers, but we are also called to grieve with this family and to help them let go and let God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Situation #3
Recently we were teaching a message from God’s Word with some fellow missionaries in one of the villages. All went well until we began sharing communion with the believers there. Suddenly, a drunk man began shouting nonsense words and causing quite a disturbance. While we continued passing out the elements, determined not to let anything disrupt this holy time, another man happened by. Apparently this second man had just gotten off from working in the fields nearby, noticed the commotion, and decided to help us to pacify the first man. A shoving match rapidly ensued, ending quite abruptly when our “benefactor” picked up a large rock and hit the drunk man in the head with it, causing blood to spurt all over. This in turn caused everyone to scatter because of the fear of AIDS transmission. Apparently the drunk fellow was ok because he continued his ranting and raving. All this happened in a matter of minutes, and all we could do is let go and let God because it was all out of our control. We continued to minister to the stragglers, but left rather shaken up. This story is not over. In an amazing turn of events, we met the girlfriend of the inebriated gentleman a couple of days later when we were ministering at the hospital and led her to the Lord! Stay tuned!

…”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Situation #4
Ncamsile is Kay’s interpreter, ministry assistant, and close friend here. This single mother of six lives in a mud hut village amongst the poorest of the poor. Since she’s started serving the Lord full time, she has been abundantly blessed in many ways through God’s grace poured out through many of you, yet life is still brutally hard for her in Ncamsile with heavy load--still smilingmany ways. Ncamsile never complains and is always full of joy. We were horrified to find out recently that she and her young children had been without enough food to eat all week as she had recently had to pay school fees for her older children and had to make the brutal choice as to how best to use the little money she had. Thankfully we were able to intervene and she and her kids now have enough to eat again. However, we know we cannot magically transport her to a better life; we are unable to meet all her needs. No matter how much we love her, in fact because we love her so much, it is imperative that we let go and let God.

So shall My word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

Situations #5, 6, 7,…

  • Being far away from family members in crisis and unable to come alongside them—let go and let God.
  • Knowing there are children in desperate need but there is a power-hungry bureaucrat in the way, all we can do is wait for the permit for the children’s home and—let go and let God.
  • Feeling we can’t face one more day of the incessant need all around us—let go and let God.
  • Sitting in an African hospital for emergency surgery for my hubby—let go and let God.a kids
  • Facing the reality that we can’t heal every sickness, can’t feed every mouth, can’t force a man to stop beating his wife and can’t encourage her to leave because she has no place to go and no way to support herself or her children, can’t stop every death—let go and let God.
  • Attending the funeral of yet another child—let go and let God.

The story is told in Luke 5 of fishermen not catching any fish all night. Jesus told them to cast their nets and suddenly their nets were so full of fish the nets began to break and they
had to get help to collect all the fish. This teaches us that we can do nothing on our own strength. All we can do is what we are called to do to the best of our God-given abilities, and trust Him for the outcome. In that, we rejoice, and hope that you do as well.

Those who sow in tears shall reap with joy. Psalm 126:5

If this post has left you with an ache in your heart; or if you are facing hardship or seemingly insurmountable obstacles in your own life, we hope you will do as we do—pray, and let go and let God! He is faithful, loving, and good. He is wise, all-powerful, and merciful. He is our ever-present help in our time of need, and He will never leave us or forsake us. Amen! Leaning on His everlasting arms!

John and Kay West are missionaries in Swaziland (A country slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey, ruled by the world’s last absolute monarch. An African kingdom of approximately one million people…who are dying at an astonishing rate) .  Visit the “Items Needed” tab on the GapFill.org website to see how you can help the West Family.  To receive GapFill.org’s blog posts automatically via email, enter your email address in the “FOLLOW GAPFILL VIA EMAIL” box on the right-hand side of the blog and click “Follow”.


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“Nkhulunkhulu muhle, sonkhe sikhatisi!” God is good, all the time!

Note from GapFill.org’s Founder: Kay and John West had a “scare” in Swaziland the beginning of May, emergency surgery needed for John in a third world country.  GapFill has added a project to help with the medical bills and future surgeries needed.  They do have insurance but will still have “out of pocket” expenses.  Still working on getting the exact amount, but wanted to include Kay’s recap below in our blog.  As Kay mentions, “Nkhulunkhulu muhle, sonkhe sikhatisi!” “God is good, all the time!”

Briefly, John woke me up early Tues. morning saying he felt he needed to go to the hospital. The hospital is approx. 2 and 1/2 hours away and across the international border in South Africa. We quickly packed overnight bags just in case. John was in pain but miraculously was able to drive. This was truly a blessing as I’d never driven in SA and the 2-lane highways are tricky. We got to the ER around 10:30 am and ended up waiting 6 hours. During that time they did do some tests, including a CT scan once they saw the results of the primary tests. Once the doctor saw the CT scan, suddenly there was a lot of movement and they rushed John to the operating room (called the theater here). Thankfully our friends Char and Sandra showed up at that time to give lots of support. They waited with me until John was out of surgery. Crazy, but no one ever came to tell us he was out, or to let us know how it went, but these two pros (Char and Sandra–more on that in a minute) knew how to get the info. Though John seemed to be okay, it was about 8:30 pm when he was finally wheeled into his ward (ward with 3 other men, beds sectioned off by curtains), and I refused to leave so the sweet staff found me an empty hospital bed in another ward to “sleep” in.

Swazi Children

John West with Swazi children

Wed. and Thurs. were spent just letting them clean John’s wound and waiting for the infection to be gone. I stayed at the hospital all day, and slept at the home of our friends Mitch and Char. John was still on IV drip for pain and antibiotics all this time. Fri. we were on an emergency waiting list for John’s next surgery, for the wound to be stitched up. They finally took him back around 3:45 pm and returned him to his ward around 5:35. Sat. he was released around 12:30 pm and we quickly took care of necessary business and came back to Swaziland before the border closed at 6 pm! Yep, John drove again!

John will need to go back next Mon., May 20, to get the staples removed, and then in 6 weeks he’ll need another surgery for a hernia that suddenly showed up post op this time. At least this time we can plan better!

Blessings:

  • One car is still in the shop and the other is not in great working order. God got us there and back!
  • You prayed all last year for our fellow Swazi missionary friends Mitch and Char. Mitch is the one who had a botched emergency appendectomy here in Swaziland and multiple life-threatening complications for months after that. He endured over 5 months in the very same hospital (where he was transferred after the initial bad surgery) where John stayed this time. Because of his hard-earned experience, he and his precious wife Char had invaluable insight and wisdom and practical advice to help us through the week, and they know the hospital and staff backwards and forwards!
  • Mitch and Char as well as our mutual friend Sandra also “just happened” to move to Nelspruit (city where the hospital is located) just last month. As part of their ministry, they actually purchased and live in a beautiful retreat facility, and so were more than equipped to allow me to stay with them in their gorgeous place!
  • John takes VERY good care of me. But this week I was forced to learn lots of new skills, like driving in Nelspruit (pretty scary night one night getting lost), how to use a smart phone for emails and FB, and how to use our GPS, and how to purchase cell phone airtime.
  • Our “adopted” Swazi “son” “just happened” to be travelling through Nelspruit and was able to be there with me when they wheeled John away for the 2nd time.
  • A friend “just happened” to have it on her heart to give us a little extra money this month the same day John was admitted to the hospital–this will go a long ways in taking care of some of the costs incurred.
  • The morning we were to leave the hospital there was a pretty intense storm raging outside–this part of the world gets wild thunder, lightening, and rain storms with a lot of flooding, etc. Some of you got the message and prayed, and miraculously we had beautiful weather all the way home. Then the storm resumed!
  • Biggest blessings of all, of course, are that John is well on his way to recovery, and all of you and your faithful prayers and love and support!

“Nkhulunkhulu muhle, sonkhe sikhatisi!” “God is good, all the time!”

John and Kay West are missionaries in Swaziland (A country slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey, ruled by the world’s last absolute monarch. An African kingdom of approximately one million people…who are dying at an astonishing rate) .  Visit the “Items Needed” tab on the GapFill.org website to see how you can help with some of the medical bills the West Family will incur.  To receive GapFill.org’s blog posts automatically via email, enter your email address in the “FOLLOW GAPFILL VIA EMAIL” box on the right-hand side of the blog and click “Follow”.


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Meet the West Family – Missionaries in Swaziland

Note from GapFill.org’s Founder:  Inspired By Obedience.  When I think about being “inspired by obedience”, I think of Kay and John West. I first met Kay West at our college Moms In Touch (now called Moms in Prayer) prayer group. She was praying for her college son Zack and I was praying for my college daughter Ashley.  Kay, I and a group of fabulous moms met weekly for six years to pray for our college children.  During that time the Lord called Kay and her husband John to serve in Swaziland.  They had gone on several “short-term” mission trips but at some point God wanted more.  So for one year I watched Kay and her family prepare to leave.  They prayed, solicited prayer from their church and friends, and had numerous garage sales to sell their belongings, which included a beautiful home in Phoenix, Arizona.  They packed everything they had remaining into two crates that were then shipped to Swaziland, and their adventure began.  I remember one time when John and Kay were in our home and I asked John why he felt he needed to sell his home.  He said, “It was just stuff that was gong to rust anyway”, referring to the verse in Matthew, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6: 19-21)…I think that said it all!

Meet John and Kay West

Their Mission

James 1:27  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…

Swazi Children

John West with Swazi Children

First and foremost, as followers of Christ, we are compelled to respond to the desperate need of the orphans and widows. Our primary task will be that of overseeing the building and administration of a children’s home. Each household will be comprised of eight children and one woman with no living offspring of her own, who will raise the children as her own through adulthood. Over time, this children’s home will become self-sustaining through farming and livestock management. The children will be an integral part of this enterprise, learning valuable lessons while helping raise enough food for their own use, as well as to sell for income to meet the other needs of their household. A Christian education will be a paramount part of their upbringing.

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples…

While running the children’s home will be a huge responsibility, we believe that one-on-one discipleship is biblically mandated and the only long-term solution to Swaziland’s multiple problems. This will be a second facet of our ministry there. John will begin discipling men, sharing biblical truths about a man’s God-ordained responsibilities in society and in a family. Kay will reach out to women, incorporating her expertise in grief counseling and mentoring women in biblical womanhood. Jeremy, our son, will minister to the youth, sharing Gospel truth to the next generation in which there is real hope for change.

Swazi Women

Kay West with Swazi women

Their Vision

We have a big God and He has given us a big vision. Our dream for the future is to help build a church and a hospice on the property where the children’s home will be located. In addition, John’s background in marketing will be put to use helping widows to start small businesses.

Most of all, we are passionate about sharing Christ with a rapidly dying population. Many Swazis we’ve known have already died—it is personal to us. Our hearts break with anguish over those who don’t know the comfort of facing an eternity with Jesus.

John and Kay West are missionaries in Swaziland ( A country slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey, ruled
by the world’s last absolute monarch. An African kingdom of approximately one million people…who are dying at an
astonishing rate) .  
Visit the “Items Needed” tab on the GapFill.org website to see how you can help the West Family as they serve the Swazi people.  To receive GapFill.org’s blog posts automatically via email, enter your email address in the “FOLLOW GAPFILL VIA EMAIL” box on the right-hand side of the blog and click “Follow”.