A Centennial Celebration in Swaziland
by Amy Alexander Curry
100 years ago a young man by the name of Harmon Schmelzenbach landed in Africa to spread the good news of our Lord and Savior. He was the first Nazarene missionary in Africa, a trailblazer for Nazarene missions. After four years Schmelzenbach led someone to the Lord. Over time the number of Christians grew and a church was built for Schmelzenbach to pastor. The church was torched twice, burning to the ground. But Schmelzenbach remained dedicated to our God and the country of Swaziland.
Now 100 years later Swaziland is celebrating God’s faithfulness to the country of Swaziland and the Nazarene church with much gratitude towards Harmon Schmelzenbach for answering the call on his life to come to Africa. Many things have taken place in Swaziland due to fellow Nazarene’s responding to a call. One third of Swaziland’s populations claim the Nazarene Church as their church home.
The month of August was a time to celebrate all the work that has taken place over the past 100 years. Dinners, all night prayer services, parades, and much more happened throughout Swaziland. Leaders of Swaziland are very supportive of the work of the Nazarene church and spent their time celebrating with the church in August.
On Saturday August 14, 2010, a daylong celebration at the Manzini stadium took place for all who wanted to attend. The day was full of energy, entertainment of all sorts and especially full of praise. There were choirs from all districts, from many schools, a women’s choir (including a princess) and men’s choir (including the prime minister). Dramas and poems were performed. Some of the speakers included members of the royal family, the prime minister, Schmelzenbach family members, director of the Africa region Dr. Filimao Chambo, and General Superintendent Dr. David Graves.
The Prime Minister, Dr. Sibusiso Barnabus Dlamini, is a member of the Nazarene church. He was born in the Nazarene clinic located in Endzingeni. He was raised attending Nazarene schools and still attends the Nazarene church today. During a dinner for many of the leaders and the Saturday celebration the prime minister spoke of the role the Nazarene church has had in his life. He also spoke a great deal of the Swaziland Partnership. He feels proud and honored that the Nazarene church in America has dedicated their time and resources towards the people of Swaziland.
The moments spent in celebration were full of vast emotions. Feeling humbled as the Swaziland Partnership has been honored to be a part of this celebration yet challenged as the future church takes shape. May God continue to go before and prepare each person and project the Swaziland Partnership touches.
Posted on Wed, September 8, 2010
by Amy Curry