GLOBAL TEEN CHALLENGE Strategic Outreach Report


name changed for the protection of the child

They called him the crocodile skinned boy on TV because his skin was covered with scales you can see from the Front Page. While the article reveals that social welfare has brought him here to Teen Challenge Lighthouse. The scales on his skin and personal hygiene were so frightening that the social welfare workers fear for the their safety and allowed him to sit for 2 days covered in grime without touching him. The lead story of the Swazi Observer (Nationally distributed paper in Swaziland) leads with a front page picture of Sipho and a 3 inch headline cries GRABBED . The boy has been abandoned by his family to live in a pit latrine" (outhouse) 3 Kilometers from his home.
I wish you could see have seen the children and staff of the Ark as they rallied around to shower him with love. As they donned rubber gloves, soap and love, they washed away the filth which the social welfare workers were too fearful to touch. Much of what was thought to be a horrible skin disease turned out to be just a build up of dirt and was lovingly scrubbed away by the staff and children here at Teen Challenge.

As he arrives at Teen Challenge I wish you could see the children and staff of the Ark "love on" him. As they donned rubber gloves, soap and love, they washed away the filth which the social welfare workers were to fearful to touch. With scrubbing, prayer and care the much of horrible skin disease was lovingly removed by the staff and children here at the Ark.
Unfortunately the work of reclaiming this tiny life will take so much more washing off the grime on the outside. It will be Teen Challenge's to he will be feed, clothe and pay for him to undergo a regimen of examination and medical treatment. At the same time, the love of Jesus will be poured into his heart by staff and the children at the Ark. The government claims credit for grabbing him in the headline, but the harsh reality is that social welfare will not give one dime. Kevin and the team at Teen Challenge will have to bear the full expense of his recovery grateful for the prayers of God's people and that Jesus paid the full price of his restoration at Calvary. While Jesus paid the price for his salvation, like the good Samaritan, Teen Challenge will have to bear additional costs of recovery and the full expense of his care. Unfortunately the work of reclaiming this tiny life will take so much more than AIDS tests, medical care, food and washing the grime off the outside.
You see, once we peel away the layers of grime, only Jesus can touch the wounds of a child who has lost his mother to AIDS and he wonders whether he carries the virus which could one day take his own life. Only Jesus can heal the wound of the rejection delivered by the father and family members that should be carrying him through this tragic time. Who will teach him that the real heavenly father does still love him and he was not created to hide in a pit latrine.
One of the tragedies of this environment of religious confusion, disease and tradition is the children that are left in its wake. Not just orphans without a family- but children orphaned in a family. Rejected by the emotional support system God created us to find refuge in. The effect of men with multiple wives (saving up cows for the next wife) is that when the mother dies of AIDS, the other mothers and children reject the offspring of that wife so that we are not just dealing with orphans. As AIDS claims the countless thousands of lives, the families left in its wake are an unrelenting reminder that for them death is just the beginning.
In 2003, 14 months later we returned to visit Sipho at The Ark in Mbabne. The good news is that he is, gaining weight, height, stature and confidence. The bad news is that we learned he is infected with the HIV virus. The best news is that he has begun a regimen of loving care and anti-retrovirals covered with prayer, so we are optimistic about his prognosis. Even though he has been diagnosed as HIV positive, he is excited about his future.

When asked would you like to go back home. He answered, "The mothers (lomake) was beating me up and I did not have anything to eat," he said. " I Like it here, They give me love and Jesus."

In November 2006 saw Sipho again at the hawane Farm. As he continues to struggle against HIV in faith, we prayed for him as he battled Pneumonia. Simple contagions and opportunistic virrus attack him body, but his heart is strong. He sings laughs and dances and loves to play soccer.