This year our Pretoria “March Madness” involved hosting a mission team from our very own Grace Church of Orange! GCO sent a team to serve alongside 1Hope last year and had returned for round two!
The age of the seventeen team members varied widely from little Hannah Bush, age 10 to our older and wiser Steve Manthorne of 69!
They spent ten days with us, and each day was packed full of adventure and ministry South African style! Here are some highlights:
Awana– The team arrived early on a Friday morning and jumped right in, pushing through the weariness that comes with being on an airplane for 24 hours and landing in a time zone that is ten hours ahead to participate in our Awana session. They enthusiastically served the students leading music, games, teaching time and small groups.
Townships – According to Wikipedia:
In South Africa, the term township usually refers to the (often underdeveloped) urban living areas that, from the late 19th century until the end of Apartheid, were reserved for non-whites (black Africans, Coloureds and Indians). Townships were usually built on the periphery of towns and cities….During the Apartheid Era black people were evicted from properties that were in areas designated as “white only” and forced to move into segregated townships. Separate townships were established for each of the three designated non-white race groups (black people, coloureds and Indians).
Although segregation and forced eviction ended in 1994 when Apartheid did, these township communities still exist. The government is working to improve the living conditions of townships, but the residents still face many difficulties.
During their time with us, the GCO team had the opportunity to minister in two different township areas, Katlehong and Modimolle, where they were able to listen to the stories of lives transformed by the power of Christ, play with the endless number children, and meet with families to model and lead family devotions.
Muphamuzi Baby Home– Of course, no team can come to serve with 1Hope without spending a few days working at the baby home. The men worked on various building projects while the women held babies and left their artistic mark by painting a mural on the wall.
Evangelism– The team came alongside Living Hope Church members for an afternoon of evangelism at a couple of local parks in innercity Pretoria and also in Salvakop.
Whew! The trip was full and fruitful and we pray that God has and will continue to accomplish His work in each life that was touched by it.
MBH Unpdate: We are experiencing a change of season (summer to fall) which has caused all sorts of viruses to be floating around. One of the tiny preemie babies (nicknamed “Small” by the caregivers) became so ill, he required hospitalization due to pneumonia. Unfortunately, the government hospitals in which the babies obtain critical care are very very understaffed. Small was admitted to the hospital for two days until a doctor was available to see him which was quite scary for our caregivers. Thankfully, Small is doing much better and is now back in the loving care of the Muphamuzi Baby Home. But this ordeal has given 1Hope the resolve to raise money for a MBH Hospital fund that will enable the babies to receive care at a private hospital when needed.
Our sweet Christmas baby went to her forever family this past month! We miss her and she will always have a special place in the heart of our family. But we are thrilled and thankful that God has provided for her and pray that she will be cherished and come to know the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Of course, to fill the space a new one has come:
Clark Family News:
Over the past year and a half since we first began this African adventure, we have watched God provide for our family in so many ways. We have experienced the joy of having our children serve those in need. We have been blessed by a fellowship of believers from different tongues and nations. We have experience deep community with like minded co-workers whose aim in life is to have the Glory of God known through the awe and wonder of the gospel; and we have witnessed the need for laborers in a harvest that is plentiful.
As our “one year” stay in South Africa has turned into two, we are now praying and pursuing the opportunity for a much longer term of service. We are trusting God to continue to lead and provide as we start taking steps in this direction. Please pray for us; that as we make our plans, it will be the Lord that will establish our steps. (Proverbs 16:9)