The uncertainties of life are real, and sometimes they feel like a stuffy warm hug that only the sun could emit and it feels as if someone still has their arms up waging a war against its setting. Rather than comforting, it can feel very unsettling. But, God made provision for it and encapsulated what our response should be in Proverbs 3:5-6,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Today, we get to witness the fruition of this truth in many of our young men and women who’ve grown up in our Children’s home in Bulembu Ministries Swaziland. One of the many men we celebrate is Phiwayinkhosi Nhlakanipho Dlamini. Many in his community and circles of influence know him simply as Phiwa.
In 2007, Phiwa’s mother fell very ill. She had been a sickly woman for as long as Phiwa could remember. But one day, she simply did not return from the hospital. Although he was too young to comprehend it fully, Phiwa understood that his mother would not be coming back. She had passed away. Unfortunately, he had also never heard anything of his father, nor of any other family members he might have had. Brought in by his deceased mother’s last known employer, Phiwa joined the Bulembu Children’s Home in 2009. Although this setting seemed different and perhaps unnatural, he found a new family, and a new place to call home.
In that same year that Phiwa joined our family, he began his primary education at Bulembu Primary School, and worked hard to complete his studies. Regardless of his past and the battle of reconciling with an unknown past and the uncertainties of his tomorrow, he pushed through and held on to the hope found in Jesus. In the following years, Phiwa fought to withstand the weight of uncertainty. He completed his high school education in November 2019 and soon joined the team at Potter’s Wheel Church, Emafini.
We rejoice with Phiwa when recounting the journey he’s taken, as we realize it’s far from ideal. We’ve truly seen the hand of God in his life. Over time, Phiwa grew a passion within himself for everything and anything to do with using his hands. Today, his determination is a force to be reckoned with. Since joining Potter’s Wheel Church, he has done multiple personal projects including fixing furniture, fixing shoes, sketching, painting, haircutting, and his favourite of all, carpentry. Over time, he has acquired the right tools needed to make use of his skill, and plans to upscale his knowledge and abilities to supply for future clients’ woodwork design and fixture needs.
Regardless of his past, Phiwa today, is a figure of hope and describes his disheartening past, not as something that defines him, but as a reminder of where God has taken him from.
“Yes, my situation has been tough. However, I thank God that I’m here (Potter’s Wheel Church) and I’m working. I have met a lot of people, and have friends whom I love and appreciate. I’m able to provide for my needs and have learned skills that I can use to live well, such as budgeting and planning for my future.
I’m passionate about doing things with my own hands and believe they can take me very far. With God’s help, I aspire to continue my education in carpentry and in business, and hope to be a business owner one day. Because I’ve had a hard life, I thoroughly look forward to a brighter future. I look forward to being a good husband and father, and to providing many of the things that I did not have when growing up for my children. I look forward to giving them a life quite different from my own.
I believe that it is not by my own strength that I’ve come this far, or by which I’ll accomplish all that I hope to. I believe that God is helping me.”
- Phiwayinkhosi Dlamini
When asked what advice he would have for everyone, Phiwa gave us a message that we think is relevant not only to everyone who may find themselves in a similar situation, but to everyone going through life and hoping to live it well - that is to trust God. Let us not look back on our past but on the present and future, and know that God will provide everything that we need. Regardless of our backgrounds or whatever situation we face, God is always there. Phiwa would also have us remember that everyone is special. We should not compare ourselves to others, but recognize that we live to learn and grow.
Today, Phiwa still does not know anything of his father, and remembers only glimpses of what his mother was like. He may not have a past that is desired, but the evidence of God’s hand is visible. And his attitude towards life is admirable. So we celebrate his journey, and challenge ourselves to give our journeys over to God too. Let us all trust in the Lord with all our hearts, and lean not on our understanding. Let us acknowledge Him in all our ways, and He will make straight, our paths.