We are Dan and Rachel Smart, based in Swansea, and have 3 daughters at Bulembu Primary School, Swaziland. Dan is a web developer originally from Buckinghamshire. While studying in Birmingham he began going on short term missions during summer breaks. Both born again Christians, we met at Rachel’s home church in Birmingham and married in 2002 after she finished her course in the USA studying performing arts and theology, specialising in mime ministry. Rachel went on to use her mime in schools and churches and to teach missions teams in Operation Mobilisation and World Horizons.
We then moved to Swansea for Dan to complete his 2-year theology diploma at the Bible College of Wales. During our 10 years in Wales we had our 3 lovely girls and are now responding to God’s call to missionary work in Swaziland following Rachel’s first visit in 2014.
Rachel’s brother-in-law Matthew had been travelling to Southern Africa for some years and had invited Rachel to join him and her sister and nephew on a trip. Rachel had always wanted to go and God confirmed in 2014 that she should go and Dan remained home with the girls. While in Swaziland, Rachel, a children’s worker, heard God speak to her clearly about a future in Swaziland and about the children there. She was deeply moved by what she learned from the Challenge Ministries (CMS) team about the AIDS epidemic and resulting orphan crisis. With some trepidation she shared with Dan what God had said about a future in Swaziland and, of course, God had also moved Dan to consider this and after a lot of prayer and confirmation it was clear that we should apply to become Elim Missionaries.
After being accepted we were very blessed to visit as a whole family, and Dan and the children also fell in love instantly with Swaziland and the Swazi people! We were able to visit many of the projects and meet the dedicated Challenge Ministries team and Dan described it as like coming home.
Challenge Ministries works with all ages with the most needy and vulnerable people in many areas of Swaziland. There are 250,000 orphaned and vulnerable children and the country has the highest AIDS rate in the world and has recently suffered 2 years of drought.
Challenge Ministries serves in a number of ways and one is through their In Community By Community projects (ICBCs) around the country. They work with local Swazi pastors to serve orphans, elderly and entire communities many of whom are in extreme poverty. The aim is to join with indigenous pastors who share the vision to provide orphan and community care through pre school education, children’s homes, health care and more. The ICBCs are increasing, there were 6 in 2014 and there are more being planted as we write. We are be serving at the ICBCs and at the many other projects around the country.