The older I get, the faster time seems to fly by.  It seems like only yesterday that I was sitting at my computer writing last month’s blog.

We have all been praying that this pandemic would soon be coming under control; I frequently check the dashboard for COVID-19 in Iowa and South Africa.  I am beginning to get a sense that our prayers are finally being answered.  South Africa is still a bit behind us, but there is a definite downward trend.

This past month has been a difficult one for Blessman International in South Africa.  Three healthy, young pastors that we work with have passed away.  It hit us particularly hard to learn that Pastor Manyathela suddenly died from COVID-19.  We had been praying for him, and I had just texted him to let him know we were praying for him.  He texted me back thanking me and passed away due to respiratory failure just 5 hours later.  He left behind a beautiful wife, two young children, a vibrant dental practice, a church with a boarding school, and many friends who loved him.  He was an absolute servant of God and gave and gave and gave to so many people in South Africa.  Beth and I are staying in close communication with his wife, Tlou.  She reports that she will be moving with the children back to their home village a few miles from Polokwane and the children will be attending school in Polokwane.

Many of our friends, especially people who have traveled to Africa with us, have contributed to a scholarship fund to help the children continue their education.   I am sending out a big thank you to all who have so generously responded to our request to help them.  If any of you would still like to be involved with this, you can go to our website: www.blessmaninternational.org and follow the donation tab. My vision is to not only help them with this year’s tuition, but to be a blessing to them on an ongoing basis.  He did so much to help our ministry and blessed all of the people that we work together to serve.

As COVID-19 seems to be winding down, I am praying about when I should get back to Africa to help Dustin and the rest of our staff there.   I am hoping to get my second vaccine next week, and if possible, would like to spend most of March in South Africa and return for our gala in April.  We have two strong teams coming to Africa in May, and Beth and I both plan to be there to host them.

Stay well my friends and thank you for all of your prayers and support for the work that God has called us to in Africa.

Doc