Nov17WedNovember 17, 2021 By the TWR Canada Team
Greg Clarke has been a missionary with TWR Canada for over 25 years, and Ingrid joined him when they were married more than 15 years ago. Through their faithful work across several different countries, they have done a phenomenal job helping TWR speak hope to the world. Currently they are in Eswatini where the political situation has made life challenging for them.
The country has seen several violent conflicts between demonstrators and security forces in the name of democracy, which has posed a challenge for the Clarkes to spread the gospel to Southern Africa. A lot of fighting in the streets has made maneuvering the small country difficult for them and their staff. When we spoke with Greg and Ingrid a few weeks ago, they shared:
“The big problem hasn’t been where we are, the problem comes with where our staff live. A lot of them live on the far side of town and because of that, trying to commute in has sometimes been disrupted.”
Greg and Ingrid also encountered similar troubles after they dropped their two kids, Rebekah and Caleb, off at a horse camp. There is only one access point to get across town, so when fighting broke out in the streets, it made it impossible for the Clarkes to get the children home that same day.
Eswatini is such a small country, and with very few routes around the country, both Greg and Ingrid were separated from their children for two full nights. Throughout the two nights, fighting went on, and Caleb and Rebekah had a hard time sleeping as they described the night being filled with what sounded like gunshots and helicopters. But when the third day rolled around, Greg and Ingrid were able to get everyone back home safe, although the stress of it all weighed heavily on the family.
It’s a tough position for a family to be in, but Greg and Ingrid are very proud of how Rebekah and Caleb have adjusted to current life in Eswatini:
“We’ve been able to keep our kids very isolated from what’s going on and so their lives are carrying on as normal. Other than the fact that they barely get to go to school due to COVID-19 and civil unrest, I don’t know what normal life really looks like for them. I think personally they’ve done really well and the whole COVID-19 experience has helped them to grow up so much.”
There has been a fuel shortage in the country, making lineups for gas up to 5 hours long. But like most things, the Clarkes saw God working throughout this whole process. Greg told us:
“We have this law about filling up containers with gas, and we have to get permission from the police before we can fill them up. I got a call from an officer, and he told me to come to the gas station and fill up our barrels. He was controlling the people in these long lines, so we sent a barrel in the back of a truck to fill up with the fuel and when we got there, they allowed us to fill up this big barrel. All the people started complaining saying ‘Hey, you can’t let this guy take fuel like this. We need fuel!’ And the police officer just said, “This guy is from Trans World Radio. If you want to be able to listen to Trans World Radio programs on your radio tonight, you’ll let him fill up.’ After that they were all ok with it and let us fuel up without any trouble.”
There’s no doubt that this year has been difficult on everyone and even more so in Eswatini. But Greg and Ingrid have really seen God making himself known through all the chaos going on around them. They shared with us:
“I think one of the things that has come with COVID-19 is that we saw so many people consuming media. That includes radio and the radio broadcast here, including the shortwave, which had new listeners and people just looking for any new information. They were looking for hope and I think that’s the thing we do best. We broadcast a message of hope.”
Continue to pray for Greg, Ingrid, Caleb and Rebekah as they face challenges in Eswatini. Pray for the people of Eswatini as they face the same struggles that the Clarkes do. Pray that God continues to give them strength as they share the message of Jesus with the people in Southern Africa and for their new radio antennae project which would help them reach unreached people groups in the Horn of Africa, which covers Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Sudan.