When Jessie Dunn was asked to spend 10 days in Swaziland she just wanted more details about the trip. Who knew that one table over at her McDonald’s meeting with trip organizers was a stranger listening in who would confirm that this would be a good investment of her time.
Jessie, a youth leader at Community Church of Hendersonville, organized the meeting with Maury Buchanan of Mission Discovery just to learn more about the “hows?” of the trip. Allie Brown a senior in high school was there too, she also was interested. “How do we get the funds together, what travel documents do we need.” Jessie asked. Maury, President of the Gallatin based short term mission organization said, “Jessie, lets talk about the “why” of the trip first, because if you know the “why” the “how” comes together.”
Maury explained that Swaziland had the highest rate of AIDS in the world. It was the only country in the world with a negative population growth. The tiny country of just under a million is shrinking, while the orphan population grows and now exceeds 100,000. They would travel to the town of Bulembu, Swaziland where a deserted mining town is being converted to answer the need of caring for these children. Jessie and Allie would help with restoring the town and would connect with children there.
Maury quoted the website of the ministry partner in Bulembu:
“In 2001, the mining company that had built and operated Bulembu for more than 60 years, closed its doors and walked away. With no jobs the town was soon abandoned, even as Swaziland continues to be ravaged by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the resulting orphan crisis. Today, Bulembu has a clear vision to become a vibrant, self-sustaining community. This vision for sustainability includes fostering the development of a new generation of emerging leaders through orphan care, education, health services and commerce.”
As the story was unfolding at that table, a man rose from his table behind the Jessie and Allie and said, “I heard your story, and I want to invest.” He placed his palm on the table and moved it to reveal a $100 bill. Maury slid the $100 over to Jessie and Allie. “Ladies, God is always talking.” The two had tears in their eyes. The man would not reveal his name, and quickly left McDonalds.
The two dropped by Mission Discovery yesterday to place their deposit for the trip and wanted their picture in front of the Mission Discovery office sign. That’s Jessie on the left and Allie on the right.
They will be blogging their journey and expect to learn more lessons along the way, but they are both in agreement so far that knowing the “why” is the first step to any “how!”