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Saturday, November 28, 2015

"Let's talk about sex": the debate topic with all 280+ Project Canaan employees last Friday.

This poster was translated in to siSwati and posted around the farm to promote the (mandatory) event.

For months we have been working on how to go to a deeper level of discipleship and education of all of the Swazi’s we work with at Project Canaan.  If you read my blog from November 7th you will get an understanding of that plan -

Yesterday our many meetings and planning sessions resulted in what we called “The Great Debate”, and yes, it was mostly about sex. 

There was a women’s team and a men’s team with a representative from all departments on each team.  The debate topics came from challenges and issues that Swazi’s face everyday and that need to be taken out of darkness and brought in to the light.  We also had a panel of Judges/Moderators who are well known in the country and very knowledgeable and vocal in the areas of discussion.

My wonderful "Project Canaan Social Safety Team".

Our biggest challenge was that we wanted to be able to have EVERYONE who works at Project Canaan involved or in attendance and that is not possible when you have 104 babies who need care.   Solution?  Do the debate when we have a group of 19 willing and able volunteers, combined with our long-term volunteers who live and serve with us daily.  And voila!  All of our caregivers were able to leave the Children’s Campus for 2 hours!!! 

Here were the questions that were debated over a two-hour period.

Question #1
In Swazi culture it seems that women are inferior to men?  Traditionally they stay at home with the children while the men go and work, or go and sit with friends when there is no work.  Women do not have the same rights as a man, and in fact, we have no domestic violence laws that stop men from beating their wives.  We read in the paper that rape of women is at an all       time high and incest is a common occurrence.  But it also appears that Swazi women are stronger than men in many ways. They appear to be the backbone of our society, caring for many children and Grandchildren after the men have died or run away.   The question is: are women inferior to men or are we stronger?  How do you think women should be treated in Swaziland?

All Project Canaan employees.
Question #2
In Swazi culture some people believe it is okay to have sex before marriage and others think that it goes against our culture.  Even those who believe it goes against our culture are having sex before marriage.  It seems that marriage is something from the past and now it is all about having sex.  Even those people who are married are often proposing love to others who are not their husband or wife.  The question is: is it okay to have sex before marriage, and is it okay to have sex with someone other than your husband or wife?  What do you think these decisions mean to the future of our culture?

The men.
Question #3
In Swazi culture it has become common for a man to propose love to a woman with hopes that she will have sex with him.  In our culture it is not okay for a woman to propose love, but sometimes they do it with their eyes, their bodies or how they dress making it impossible for men to not touch them or want to have sex with them.  The question is: what is lust and what is love?  Are they the same thing? 

The women.
There was lots of heated discussion, but most of it was done with grace, respect and a lot of laughter.  Some of the highlights included:
·      The reason men cheat on their wives is because their wives are always complaining that they don’t bring home enough money to put shoes and clothes on the children. So of course they are going to find someone who doesn’t complain.
·      If women didn’t wear short skirts and dress promiscuously they wouldn’t be raped or sexually assaulted. 
·      Men are weak – they can’t help themselves when women wear short skirts.
·      Lust and love are not the same thing. Lust is a sin and love is from God.
·      If you “show it”, you have to “share it” – it was a man’s way of asking women to dress more modestly.
·      Sex before marriage goes against culture and the bible, but …
·      It is wrong that young girls/children are being raped by men because they can’t control themselves.
·      If our behavior doesn’t change then Swaziland will die.
·      We are sinning against God and we must turn from our bad ways and follow him.
·      Of course you should have sex with a man before you get married, to see if he is any good in bed (sigh).

Let me end by saying that this year, more than ever, we need your help. If you have been reading this blog and believe in the work that the Lord has us doing here, I sincerely ask that you make a year end contribution TODAY. The responsibility we carry for more children and all of the workers and their families continues to grow and we simply can’t do it without His provision, through His people … and that is you.

Every dollar that you donate up to $100,000 will be matched again this year and it is fully tax deductible.  Will you consider making a gift today?

In closing, I would like to share a few photos from today’s Project Canaan Academy Christmas Pageant.  It was awesome, inspiring and magical.  
Traditional Swazi dancing.

Away in a manger.

Hope puts hangs the angel ornament with her name on it.

Live from Swaziland ... thank you Lord for all you are doing in each of our lives.


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