NB Safari South Africa

Today’s Mission Moment comes to us from Tim, Tom, and Harry at NB Safaris with the Hunt Against Hunger program.

Lisa Berry-Dirks

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

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.

Dustin Blessman

Blessman International plans to increase the number of children we feed each week to 100,000 by the end of the year.

Drilling for Clean Water in 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.

John Miller

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?

Dustin Blessman, South Africa, creche

Today’s Mission Moment comes to us from Dustin Blessman at the Ledile Creche. This is one of five sites where Blessman International, together with Hy-Vee, and The ‘One Step Water Program’ have been drilling for water.

Happy New Year 2022

New Year Blog Post

New Year’s  2022

2021. It was the worst of times; it was the best of times. All around the world many of us suffered losses. So many people have dealt with severe illness and even the death of loved ones. The economic impact of covid and fear of covid has been devastating in the US and in Africa. In Africa, many more children were going to bed hungry. One of our pastors in Africa died from the virus, and two ladies on staff lost children. Christelle, my longest living hospice patient died from cancer leaving her husband and 3 beautiful children behind. Covid kicked our butts making it difficult for Americans to travel to Africa on mission teams. Thankfully we were able to have one strong team in June with Joshua Christian Academy and enjoyed a great time with their students and chaperones.

Periodically I like to stop and count my blessings and give God all the glory. As we close the books on 2021, it is a good time to do that:

  • Financially, this has been the best year our ministry has ever had. With the assistance of Convoy of Hope, Meals from the Heartland, and many generous donors, we have been able to quadruple the number of children that we are helping feed with our nutritional programs. This year we were able to feed 60,000 children a meal 3 to 5 days per week. We have a goal for next year of feeding 100,000 children throughout most of South Africa and Swaziland.
  • We were able to keep our Celebrate Recovery program running strong with 70 high school youth showing up every Friday evening to participate in this healing ministry. This year we have a goal of opening up an additional CR group in a nearby high school and also opening an adult group in the Limpopo provincial prison for men and women. Staff from Saddleback Church in California and Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines have been of tremendous assistance to us with this program.
  • The expansion of our Sports 4 Christ sports league and the completion of our new sports complex was the most exciting program of 2021. Musco Lighting blessed us by installing LED lights for our Warrior Stadium Sports Complex. The entire village and surrounding area have been buzzing with excitement over this sports program.
  • We had some amazing unexpected gifts come into our ministry this year. Several months ago, in a small rural church in Iowa, a widow put a check in the collection plate directing it all to go to missions. The church blessed us with half of those funds. Another gentleman, who we did not even know, left us a substantial amount of money in his will.
  • We also have had several new churches make a decision to partner with us for financial support and explore plans to send mission teams to Africa with us.
  • The biggest blessing to our family personally, and to our ministry, was the engagement of Alexandra and Dustin. Alex has been working with our ministry for the past year, and she and Dustin plan to be married soon.

Please thank God with us for these blessings that enable us to continue feeding children and operating the programs that draw them towards Christ. Please pray with me that our staff in America and Africa stay healthy and passionate doing the work that our Lord has called us to do.

Please also pray with me that more people will remember our ministry as they do their estate and legacy planning so that the work in South Africa will continue long into the future.