When Crazy Dreams Become Reality
Growing up in the southern African nation of eSwatini, Sibonginkhosi (Sibo) had two kinds of dreams.
She had goals and aspirations for what she would do and become as she prepared to launch into her future.
But the dreams she experienced during sleep were quite different. Sometimes she saw herself teaching God’s Word, or singing in a church, or praying for the sick. In other dreams, a spiritual mentor urged her, “Choose the calling!”
And during her waking hours, Sibo kept hearing the same message from trusted friends and leaders.
A Childhood of Scarcity
The middle child of seven children, Sibo describes her upbringing as “very humble.” Finances were always tight and sometimes didn’t provide for all her family’s needs. “I grew up lacking,” she says.
And then, when she was only 10 years old, her mother died. It was a deep loss, a trauma no child is ever equipped to face.
Sibo was raised in a Christian home, but it wasn’t until her early high school years that she chose to follow Jesus. When she did, she discovered that while her hardships didn’t go away, the difference in her life was dramatic.
“I felt a great change,” she recalls, “a joy that is indescribable … joy in tears, joy in pain, joy in sorrows.”
Seeking God First
After living in scarcity, it was natural that Sibo would dream of a career that could erase her worries for daily needs.
But Sibo couldn’t forget how Jesus transformed even her most difficult situations. She was ready to follow His leading and trust that He would take care of her other dreams too.
“I may want to achieve bigger goals in my life, but let me do things wisely and put first things first,” she says, remembering that decision.
Leaders in Sibo’s church recommended Swaziland Evangelical Bible College (SEBC), where TEAM missionaries are part of the multicultural teaching staff.
You Made Bible College Possible
Now that Sibo had made her choice, she still faced some obstacles.
Bible college is too expensive for many Swazis. And Sibo’s father had no extra funds for such a venture. In fact, when she first approached him with her dream to study at SEBC, he thought she was out of her mind.
But generous gifts from friends like you made it possible for Sibo to attend.
She discovered that SEBC was a place where she could receive both biblical and practical training. For the next three years, she attended classes ranging from theology, Bible study methods and ethics to counseling, communication skills, and marriage and family guidance.
Sibo discovered the value of learning alongside classmates with different temperaments and perspectives. She grew in her love for God’s Word. And she gained life skills like planning and implementing a schedule.
In addition to teaching classes, the staff expressed God’s love in tangible ways outside the classroom, offering mentoring, comfort and counsel to their students. As a result, SEBC became like a second home for Sibo.
“They preach with their lives,” she says of the professors.
Giving Other Kids a Good Foundation
Through her time at Bible college, Sibo also gained a clearer idea of where God was leading her next: to minister as a school teacher.
Children growing up in eSwatini face numerous challenges. Some come to school on empty stomachs, and others live in single-parent homes where they are deprived of emotional nurturing. In a country where about one-third of the adult population is HIV-positive, children are also exposed to promiscuity, poor health conditions and low moral standards.
Sibo thinks of her own difficult childhood, and of how things changed when she came to know Jesus.
“I’ve seen how important it is to grow up with a good foundation. … More than anything, they need Jesus,” Sibo says. “Having Jesus is having all.”
She also remembers how her Bible college teachers showed her God’s love and care. “They are my role models,” she says. Now she wants to extend that same love and care to schoolchildren.
Sharing the Treasures of the Gospel
Sibo graduated from SEBC earlier this year and is now pursuing her professional teacher training.
Wayne, a TEAM missionary and one of Sibo’s professors, is thrilled Sibo chose this career path.
“She will stand strongly on what she believes,” Wayne says. “I feel sure that Sibo will not only teach well and care for her students but will be able to appropriately share with them the treasures of the Gospel.”
TEAM friends like you have helped Sibo deepen her understanding of God’s Word and prepared her in practical and relational ways that will enrich each child she teaches.
Sibo is so grateful: “I just want to say thank you so much and a big ‘God bless you!’”
And those dreams of ministry Sibo once dreamt? They are now becoming reality.
You can help more young people like Sibo embrace the call to ministry. Your gift to TEAM will help train future church leaders, recruit more TEAM missionaries, share the Gospel and more! Please give today to share in what God is doing through all kinds of ministries around the world!
3 CommentsLeave a comment
Just posted Sibo’s story to Facebook for those who have no idea at this
point who TEAM is, and some that do. Thanks for sharing it with me.
I also grew up in lacking, my father is late and my is very old. Like Sibo i had the same faith and called of God upon my life. Today, i am a Master Decree In missiology holder. Thank God. The story of Sibo has touched my life. God is the sustainer, provider, He is faithful to those who have faith in Him, I will ever live to trust God throughout my life. Thank God for the life of Sibo.
That’s awesome, Dankas! Congratulations on your master’s, and thank you for your desire to serve God!