Our very gifted Khulula Children’s Choir had the privilege of travelling to Northern Ireland to perform for Churches, Schools and Nursing Homes around the country. In partnering with H2O (Hope to Others) they were able to highlight the plight of people in Swaziland caused by the ongoing HIV pandemic and the effects of the devastating drought. Along with that they also carried a strong message of HOPE as they celebrated what God has done for them through the joy of music and dance.
This was such a wonderful adventure for them, there was huge excitement in the preparation and in the build up to their trip. They used their time to the full by taking every opportunity to perform and to share their stories.
In all, our choir of 16, which included Pr Timothy & Chazile, and the choir master, performed at 14 School Assemblies, 3 Nursing homes, 5 churches and took part in 12 concerts. To relax they were treated to 11 different fun activities.
A very packed schedule!
But of course this choir and these children are about so much more than just numbers and can never be reduced to such. Each one of them has a unique testimony and a bright future ahead of them. We are so proud of each one of them for who they are and how they have overcome the challenges they have faced. It took great courage for them to share their testimonies in front of large audiences but they did exceptionally well with this and were able to share from their hearts about what God has done for them.
Here are just a few snippets of what our children had to say about their time in Northern Ireland:
“I love singing as it is another way of worshipping God. The people of Northern Ireland are kind to us so it was easy to sing in front of so many people. I loved this trip because it was the best trip ever.” – Phiwa; 10 years old
“It was exciting going to the shooting range and go-karting. I really enjoyed sharing my testimony in some schools and performing for Green Pastures Church. It was fun as the people were participating. I enjoyed celebrating my 15th birthday over there. The trip was amazing because we got to spread the Gospel of the Lord through singing.” – Bavumile; 15 years old
“The exciting moments that happened in Northern Ireland are so many but I will mention a few. The love of the hosts and the way they welcomed us and the sacrifices they made. I enjoyed singing and ministering to the Northern Irish people in song and in scripture as well as in wors of testimony. I enjoyed testifying in front of lives that came each time, even though I wasn’t used to speaking in front of so many people. I enjoyed visiting the schools and getting time to interact with the children and teaching them about our culture. All in all, I really enjoyed the whole trip and ministering to the lost souls and taking them from their wilderness and bringing them to God.”– Bongi; 19 years old
“My highlight in Northern Ireland was going to the Old People Homes. I was very grateful for singing for them because in Swaziland we don’t have many old people and we also don’t have Old People Homes.” – Setsabile; 19 years old
“I enjoyed going to the shooting range the most because I won the trophy. I also enjoyed going to different churches because people were so friendly and they loved us as well. I enjoyed staying with the Cotter family as they were so loving and always showed us smiles even if they were tired and that really blessed me a lot. I enjoyed the whole trip, it was so exciting.” – Nothando; 16 years old
“What an amazing trip! The excitement was unexplainable. I was blown away by what God had in store for us this year. The choir was just amazing, the smiles and energy was awesome. Everyone was enjoying themselves. My hosts were welcoming and made me feel at home with all the love they gave us throughout the trip. The 2017 trip has taught me to always be united and working together as a team made the ministry work flow. All this was through God’s presence in our lives.” – Beatrice Lala; 22 years old
“What I enjoyed the most in Northern Ireland was going for shooting, swimming, trampolining, and I also enjoyed going to churches because the people were so friendly and kind. They also showed love to us. I enjoyed going to different schools singing with the children, it was so fun and they were very friendly. The teachers were also very loving towards us. I enjoyed it when it was my birthday and they gave me lots of presents and a birthday cake. The whole trip was fun and exciting.” – Gcinile; 12 years old
“I had a splendid time in Northern Ireland. The schools this year were warm, welcoming and we were expected. It feels nice to be expected. I had fun getting to know some of the pupils who shared some of the issues they face as young people. Some were amazed that we face the same challenges as them. I was overwhelmed by a girl of about 10 years old who left a note to say that her mother did not want her to offer money because they are too poor but she hoped that what she offered would help, and she gave GBP4. I was really touched and learned something from this; that with the little I have I can make a change in someone’s life. I learnt that I do not need to be rich to help or to bring a change to someone’s life. “ –Kwanele; 23 years old
“My highlight was the opportunity to share Christ in every place we visited. I was blessed to see our children ministering tirelessly in each performance. I also enjoyed the love the people gave to us and the times we were spoilt with relaxation activities. Bowling and trampolining were my favourites places, as well as Tully Glass, a glamorous hotel we were taken to for tea. l enjoyed every moment of this trip and l pray that the seeds planted will grow in the lives of people we ministered to, especially as our theme for this trip was Hope to Others.” – Chazile Makhanya, Head of Hawane Children’s Homes
We were delighted by the Northern Irish school children who performed with our choir at some of the schools. They had taken the time to learn our SiSwati songs and even some of the dance moves. It was so moving to hear them sing together. This is what Kwanele had to say about singing with the children:
” Having the Northern Ireland children join us on stage was the best. It amazed us how they learnt to sing our SiSwati songs. We asked them after a performance that how long it took them to learn our song, I was surprised when they said days or a week. I asked them to tell me their secret. They said they wrote the SiSwati word in a way that is easy for them to read. But one thing that made them fall in love with those songs was that they were looking forward to being on stage with our Khulula choir, which is why they worked so hard. Honestly it was a blessing to be with them on stage, I really loved their soprano. I never sang with angels before but those kids they gave us a taste of how it feels like to sing with angels. There was just heavenly music during those performances.”
These comments on our Khulula Choir’s visit from some of the host venues, speak volumes of what an impact the children had wherever they performed:
“The visit from the Khulula choir had been an eagerly anticipated event. However it was not until we were able to meet the choir in person that we really felt the impact. To actually meet the people we were helping was truly special. Straightaway an instant connection was made between the choir and both our children and staff. The choir mixed in and around the pupils, chatting, laughing and getting their pictures taken with them. The warmth felt among all was amazing. As for the singing the choir were outstanding. The ability displayed was inspirational and the enthusiasm poured out was so contagious and heart-warming that you couldn’t help but smile and want to join in. It was evident during the performance that our children were mesmerised by their talent and warmth. We were so touched by the testimonies from some of the young people and the fact that they were not ashamed to speak and sing about God was very powerful. To see the all the water bottles from the H2O challenge sitting at the front while the choir were on the stage was quite emotional. For the children to see and be a part of this act of giving and receiving was so important and so worthwhile. The positive and emotional impact of this day will never be forgotten.” – Sarah; Millington Primary School
“We want to thank-you for coming to visit our school. We loved every minute of it! The children watched in awe as the choir performed and the boys and girls in Victoria thoroughly enjoyed singing along with the choir and learning a little bit of the Swazi language. It was a pleasure to spend time with you all and we were so thankful that we were able to support such a great cause.” – MRS DEMPSTER; VICTORIA PRIMARY NEWTOWNARDS
“The pupils of Glasswater PS and Killyleagh IPS benefited greatly from the whole experience and will certainly remember the concert for the rest of their lives. I have also received a huge amount of positive feedback from the parents who also were tremendously impressed and delighted that their children had the opportunity to participate in this unique event.” – MR MILLIGAN ;GLASSWATER AND KILLYLEAGH PRIMARY SCHOOL .
“Thank you so much for affording us the opportunity to sing alongside the Khulula choir; an experience which I know the boys, girls and staff will never forget.We were blessed by your visit to school and the choir are a shining example to our children of what hope looks like … an overflow of joy and love.We look forward to next year, when we will become involved in H2O and further develop our links and appreciation of the work of Challenge Ministries.” – MRS SMALL ;BALLYMAGEE PRIMARY, BANGOR.
“On behalf of the faithful and tireless workers (you know who you are), who spent months preparing for the incredibly successful KHULULA H2O tour of Northern Ireland. I want to thank every church, school and venue for their part in making this happen. Also every venue who hosted them for meals, recreation and rest. Especially for the schools who worked with us in raising a tremendous amount on the bottle challenge. I am so blessed to be part of this Divinely inspired work of bringing hope to others and to be in partnership with those who just can’t help but be involved by giving and doing. A big thank you to the donors who have given to the container ministry, it is making such a difference to the work of caring for those most in need. Thank you Swaziland, Pastor Kevin and our beloved children & young people for allowing us to enter into your lives and make so many eternal memories. Thank you Lord for leading us and providing for our every need, far beyond our expectations and thoughts.” – Gary Armstrong, founder of H2O & organiser of Khulula H2O tour
We at Challenge Ministries Swaziland are so grateful to H2O who helped to arrange the Choir’s trip to Northern Ireland and to every sponsor, to every host family, to every host venue and to every person who gave of their love and support, we are so thankful for you! Our children have benefited so much during their time in Northern Ireland and will remember this incredible opportunity for many years to come. They were amazed and delighted at the hospitality and welcome they were given in Northern Ireland. Knowing that their performances were raising awareness for their beautiful Swaziland and bringing Hope 2 Others inspired them to give of their best at every performance and was such a blessing to them. SIYABONGA!