news-category: Christian Life and Service

Gardner-Webb Team Partners with Kudvumisa Foundation in Eswatini/Swaziland

The group poses at the clinic

Members Connect with Families, Help Provide Medical Care and Education

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Kudvumisa means “to praise” in the language of the people in Eswatini/Swaziland. It’s also the name chosen by Kudvumisa Foundation, an organization that provides medical clinics to people in this African county where medical care is lacking and HIV/Aids is prevalent.

After spending a week helping in the medical clinics, meeting the people, and worshiping with them, a mission team coordinated by the Office of Christian Life and Service at Gardner-Webb University came to realize the name’s significance. One of the group’s leaders, Stacy Simmons, associate minister to the University for Pastoral Care, described the experience. “We sang worship songs in another language,” she shared. “I could see girls of all ages lift their hands praising God and a few of our team members in tears. It’s incredible to hear a song in another language and to know that the presence of God was there. It’s amazing when we encounter the same God they worship, thousands of miles away on a different continent.”

The Kudvumisa Foundation has been working in the country for 15 years. Through the help of generous donors and volunteers, the non-profit organization has built two clinics and maintains a mobile outreach van. The Foundation’s missionaries constantly strive to increase the number of families they serve.

Team member Grace Fort, a junior nursing student, describe the trip as a “God-given blessing.” She reflected, “It was an amazing and joyful experience. I learned so much from the nurses we had the opportunity to shadow at the Kudvumisa Clinic. They taught me how the nurse-and-patient relationship works, and I learned more about how assessing, diagnosing, and prescribing works in the medical field. I also learned a lot from hanging out with the people there. I thoroughly enjoyed going to the kids’ club and hanging out and playing games with the kids. They were so filled with joy and so much fun to hang out with. The people are some of the most welcoming I have ever met in my life. They reminded me how no matter what life brings, there is still joy in the Lord.”

The Gardner-Webb team spent their mornings in the clinic and did outreach projects in the afternoons. They helped with a children’s ministry, played soccer and other games with the kids, delivered food to homes, met with the teen club and a Days for Girls group. Days for Girls is a separate international non-profit ministry that provides education and hygiene products to teens and young women.

“The people we worked with embraced our team with open arms,” Simmons observed. “It was a wonderful experience for the ladies to go and serve in a different part of the world. It’s great when a team can come back changed from an experience like this — to see what it’s like in another country other than our own.”

The Foundation’s medical team also left a lasting impression on Gardner-Webb student Kyndal Jackson. “Medical treatment may look a little different depending on where you go, but the passion and servant heart that medical providers possess is universal,” she related. “The devotion and compassion of the providers were very evident in Eswatini, and I hope to be able to reciprocate this attitude as an aspiring Physician Assistant.”

Jackson learned how to give injections and enjoyed interacting with the Eswatini children and teaching the young women about healthy living. She was grateful for the friendships she developed with the other team members and excited for the opportunity to go on a safari. “Thank you to those who donated and prayed for us,” she stated. “They were felt and greatly appreciated.”

Team Members

  • Stacy Simmons, associate minister to the University for Pastoral Care.
  • Dr. Melissa McNeilly, assistant professor, Hunt School of Nursing.
  • Emma Wooten, of Matthews, N.C., nursing.
  • Grace Fort, of Monroe, Ga., nursing.
  • Madison Greene, of Sherrills Ford, N.C., nursing.
  • Sarah McLean, of Lenoir, N.C., nursing.
  • Kayla Wehunt, of Cherryville, N.C., psychology.
  • Montana Adams, of Robbinsville, N.C., exercise science.
  • Ali Parton, of Rutherfordton, N.C., biology.
  • Kyndal Jackson, of Gaffney, S.C., biology.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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