On Monday, we spent the day with Bishop Michel Hanrod of the Cape of Good Hope District of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and the Missions Chair, Ralph Afghan. They took us to seven different outreach ministries in their District:
- Two children’s homes, one built in an historic white suburb and one in the Cape Flats, historically black.
- A home for unwed mothers
- The David Flude Memorial Methodist church built in memory of a US missionary to South Africa
- A pre-school ministry in the Settlement of Khayelitsha
- An adult craft guild, and
- A job training program equipping adults for employment
I am grateful to God for the vision and passion of the people here who have created powerful ministries to meet critical needs. Just two examples that stood out:
We went to the Settlement Khayelitsha to see a Pre-School ministry where 75 children from the surrounding impoverished community gathered each day. Placed in the front yard of a volunteer’s home were two shipping containers that had been retrofitted to serve as the classrooms for children, infants through 6 years of age. A pastor from the district, Debbie van der Laar, working with some powerful volunteers from the settlement has launched this life-giving ministry providing quality care and a strong foundation for their later schooling. Rev. van der Laar and her team sought funding to build a permanent structure and a Methodist from a nearby church donated $200,000 to build a permanent home for, as they call it in South Africa, this “Creche Ministry.”
The second experience was seeing the Zanokhanye Economic Development in Epping. This ministry researched what employers needed when they went to hire people to work in their businesses. Based on what they learned, they formed a curriculum to resource adults seeking employment. Their training addresses the whole person, knowledge, character, the spiritual life. To date they have graduated 400 people who are now working for the first time. The beauty of this ministry is that it addresses one of the chronic issues in South Africa, unemployment. Because of the Bantu Education Act that so limited quality education for South African children, there is a great gap in having people ready to work where needed. This ministry pre-qualifies these adults and helps raise them and their families out of poverty.