Full-time Missionary, Part-Time Student

“We strive to teach them that God’s love for them is greater than any momentary circumstance; that they can feel safe in the loving arms of Jesus no matter what they are going through.”

By Philip Nelson, Online Student in Swaziland

Swaziland has the unfortunate distinction of leading the world in HIV/AIDS infection, which means it is a country with many orphaned and neglected children. Over the course of two trips, my wife and I experienced this overwhelming need firsthand and knew we wanted to help feed the children of Swaziland spiritually, emotionally and physically. So we started Hearts on Mission and moved to Swaziland in 2016.

The heartbeat of our ministry is Pulse Bible Club. At the club the children learn about God and His word through Bible lessons, review games, memory verses, and songs. Many children in Swaziland don’t have parental figures in their lives to encourage them and remind them of how special they are in the eyes of God. We want them to know that God loves them and that He created them for a purpose. Every Pulse Bible Club meeting ends with a meal for the children, and on a case to case basis our ministry donates food or medical assistance through local church partnerships.

The primary goal of our ministry is to teach the children of Swaziland about the Bible and how God’s word applies to their daily lives. Children within the community we serve are highly vulnerable to the damaging effects of drugs, alcohol, poverty, prostitution, and other crimes. We strive to teach them that God’s love for them is greater than any momentary circumstance; that they can feel safe in the loving arms of Jesus no matter what they are going through.

Our goal is to ensure that our ministry goes deep before it goes wide. As relationships with the children develop, we work hard to earn their friendship and encourage them as we teach them about the word of God. Then, as the children come to know Christ, we walk with them and help them become strong disciples of the Lord. We believe it’s vital and biblical to seek deep and long-term relationships with the children rather than come in quickly and work to “get decisions” for Christ. The number of decisions isn’t as crucial as ensuring that the decisions are genuine and that the children will grow up to be well-equipped to live out the gospel and live lives which are “On Mission” for Christ and His glory!

Swaziland, as well as much of Africa, is plagued by the false teaching of the prosperity gospel as well as other cults which practice ancestor worship and witchcraft. There are many people who profess to know Christ and still participate in these dangerous activities! So there is a huge need in Swaziland for individuals with some solid theological training to help teach the people about the Bible and what it actually says. The education I’m receiving from Eternity Bible College is equipping me to combat dangerous and satanic beliefs with solid theology and sound doctrine. My understanding of scripture continues to grow deeper, which is enabling me to better explain biblical application to both children and adults within the culture God has been so gracious to call my wife and I to serve!

Serving as missionaries cross-culturally definitely leaves little free time for homework. I only take a few classes each year, so I can take my studies seriously without being overwhelmed by running a ministry and pursuing an education at the same time. Eternity is also affordable, which was a huge factor for me as a missionary.  We depend on the generosity of our supporters, so good stewardship is of utmost importance. I’m incredibly thankful that I’m able to pursue my education while sharing the love of Jesus across the ocean!