In Your Own Words: Noah Schmitten
Why did you choose to come to Bulembu?
My mission organisation made me aware of the opportunity to work in Bulembu in carpentry. I had learned some skills and could use them here. There was also an opportunity to go to Brazil. For me, it was perfect to come here to have the most holistic experience in preparation for missions and also learning English better. I have wanted to be a missionary since I was a kid, and that desire was confirmed when I was prayed for by some Korean Christians.
How have you connected your skills and your missions heart while in Bulembu?
Working has been a great way to connect with the kids. You know, I think of the times that I have gone to Dvudvusi (children’s homes) and I am painting and the kids come and spend time with me. This is what I want to do. Then Sakhile Matsenjwa (Royal Rangers outpost leader) gave me the opportunity to work with the Royal Rangers and the church youth group. So I have been able to become closer to the Swazis and spend time with them than I had imagined.
What have you learned about Swazi culture?
The Swazi culture is really respectful, and are open to get to know you after building trust. I feel honoured when people see me in the street and greet me saying, “Sawubona (Hello)!” This is not common in Europe or even in America for people to greet you if they don’t know you. It’s really nice to see how open the people are.
How has your time here helped you learn more about yourself?
God has opened a lot of doors for me to teach me about being open to other cultures. It was not easy for me to say goodbye to my parents, friends, and family, but now I have peace in my heart. I am thankful for my family, but God has asked me, “What do you want to give to me? You cannot give me half.” God tells me that I have to be “hot!” I have learned the importance of saying “Yes” to God completely.
If you could come here for one year and do whatever you want to do, what would you do?
I would ask God, “What would you want to change in me?” Along with that, I would try to enhance the unity between the internationals and the Swazis. More unity. I want to find ways to bring more connection points between different cultures.
Just the other day, Sakhile and I were traveling in Eswatini using public transport. And at one stop the door opened, and an old lady was getting on the bus, so I reached my hand and helped her up. This is what I want to do! I have learned the importance of being open and respectful to different cultures. Every people is the same people in God, and it excites me to build bridges and see more unity.