Lisa Berry-Dirks

Iowa Office Manager

 

What is your church home?  

Lutheran Church of the Cross in Altoona, Iowa 

 

When did you join Blessman International?   

September 2020 

 

What inspired you to work at Blessman International?   

I’ve been traveling with Jim and Beth since 2001 doing mission work. I was a missionary with them in South Africa from 2009 to 2013, before I returned home to marry my husband, Scott. I believe in the ministry and the work they do in South Africa. I’m a “long-termer” with Blessman International. 

 

What do you hope Blessman International accomplishes in the next 12 months?   

I’d love to see teams traveling to South Africa and working with children in the upcoming year. Our friends in South Africa have missed having teams from the United States interacting with the kids. And I know that our United States-based team members have missed going to South Africa to interact with the kids.

 

What do you wish people knew about Blessman International?  

We have a very dedicated team of people in the United States and South Africa who work to carry out our mission. This team works very well together, and we absolutely love planning for teams to visit South Africa. 

 

Tell us one fun fact most people don’t know about you.   

Before working at Blessman International, I was a psychiatric nurse, which I loved!

 

Is there anything else we should know about you? 

I am a grandma and how could you not ask me about my grandchildren?!

Fr. Ray McHenry from St. Francis of Assisi in West Des Moines, Iowa shares the Word with us from his mission trip to South Africa.

Today’s Mission Moment comes to us from Rutanang Day Care where Blessman International partnered with Hy-Vee to drill for fresh water. The workers are incredibly grateful, as they have been buying water each month to provide for the children. Now the children will have clean water to drink and wash their hands.

Sometimes God has other plans. As a pastor, I was exploring the potential for a ministry partnership in West Africa or maybe Eastern Europe when God directed us to… South Africa and Blessman International! I was drawn by Dr. Jim Blessman’s vision and passion for the people of South Africa. So, in May of 2021, three of us from my church visited the Blessman International work in South Africa to see if we might be able to partner with them. We worked at a children’s feeding center and were overwhelmed by the affection of the children. We sent a team to serve and teach young women at a local high school and participated in a well-attended Celebrate Recovery meeting. We helped a young believer build an addition to his overcrowded home. We made visits to a day-care center and to a young man who Blessman is helping in the establishment of a self-sustaining business. We prayed with families facing life-changing health issues. We worshiped in local churches alongside passionate fellow believers from South Africa.

Our time was well organized. Housing and transportation were excellent. Relationships with the Blessman staff and others we worked with were gratifying and inspiring. Our memories will certainly be long-lasting. But what we most came away with was a first-hand picture not just of what life looks like today in South Africa for many, but also a picture of what life could look like if churches and individuals would be willing to bow before Jesus and offer themselves in His service on behalf of others. The challenge of this vision is this: God’s plans are not always the same as ours.

So we all have to ask this question:

Am I willing to follow Jesus, no matter where He leads?

Sometimes God has other plans. As a Pastor, I was exploring the potential for a ministry partnership in West Africa or maybe Eastern Europe when God directed us to… South Africa and Blessman International! I was drawn by Dr. Jim Blessman’s vision and passion for the people of South Africa. So, in May of 2021, three of us from my church visited the Blessman International work in South Africa to see if we might be able to partner with them. We worked at a children’s feeding center and were overwhelmed by the affection of the children. We sent a team to serve and teach young women at a local high school and participated in a well-attended Celebrate Recovery meeting. We helped a young believer build an addition to his overcrowded home. We made visits to a day-care center and to a young man who Blessman is helping in the establishment of a self-sustaining business. We prayed with families facing life-changing health issues. We worshiped in local churches alongside passionate fellow believers from South Africa.

Our time was well organized. Housing and transportation were excellent. Relationships with the Blessman staff and others we worked with were gratifying and inspiring. Our memories will certainly be long-lasting. But what we most came away with was a first-hand picture not just of what life looks like today in South Africa for many, but also a picture of what life could look like if churches and individuals would be willing to bow before Jesus and offer themselves in His service on behalf of others. The challenge of this vision is this: God’s plans are not always the same as ours.

So we all have to ask this question:

Am I willing to follow Jesus, no matter where He leads?