I think each of us on this trip were searching for something. Whether it was a question related to our faith, our world, or possibly about ourselves. By the end of our 10-day journey, I was able to say with certainty, I found what I was looking for.
The first church service we attended on Sunday morning will leave His presence forever imprinted into my soul. The song, joy, and worship were so inspiring and heartfelt that no one there could have missed His presence that day. I continued to feel His hand on us throughout our vision ministries and school visits.
I hunted on Tuesday 2/22 solo with my guide Harry. Just being in a world I would never have imagined experiencing was overwhelming. As the day progressed and I was successful in taking a Zebra, Blesbuck, and a Sable. I learned more and more about what great things the Hunt Against Hunger does. I originally was hunting for trophies like a warthog, black back jackal, and smaller game. When I found out that none of the meat for these would be usable by the school, I changed my game plan. Any animal He blessed me with needed to be used to bless the schools and children.
On the second day of hunting, I was blessed again by the company of both Carma and Chelsea. They too were determined to harvest only animals that would be beneficial in the Hunt Against Hunger. By the end of the second day of hunting, Chelsea had a beautiful Blue Wildebeest, Carma had a big Zebra and I too had taken a Blue Wildebeest.
The Blessman team is, without doubt, guided by Him. Their graciousness and hospitality while living every day glorifying Him made this trip even more memorable.
When did you first join Blessman International?
I’ve been with Blessman since June of 2013.
What inspired you to work at Blessman International?
I have a passion and commitment to serve people, especially children and the poor. Blessman International’s emphasis on sharing the gospel made it a great fit for me.
What do you hope Blessman International accomplishes in the next 12 months?
I hope we touch more children with the love of God by feeding, teaching, and expanding our gospel outreach.
What do you wish people knew about Blessman International?
We do so much more than feed children. We are literally bringing the light of the gospel to very dark places.
Tell us one fun fact most people don’t know about you.
I love history!
Tell us anything else we should know about you.
I am married and have a daughter.
February started off with a big surprise birthday celebration for me at Del Cramer Children’s Campus. The day started off with Beth and Dustin asking me how I would like to spend my birthday. I told them my first choice would be a nice long bike ride. Beth went with me and we enjoyed a leisurely ride. When we got home everyone was encouraging me to get cleaned up to do a filming of a new mission moment at our children’s campus. I am always up for that so did not suspect anything unusual. When we arrived at Del Cramer, I was surprised to see so many children there and a big tent on the lawn. Then I noticed a long red carpet that I was instructed to walk on leading to a large chair with lots of balloons attached. For the next 3 hours I was lavishly entertained and blessed with many gifts, music, speeches, and dancing. Many of our feeding hubs had pitched in together to organize the party, and I have never felt so honored. We had lots of food and cake for everyone. I enjoyed and appreciated the celebration so much.
The very next day we had four new arrivals: Bonni and Ken Newton and Paula Blessman who come every year and will stay for a while to help us out and Melissa Dale, a state and regional director for Celebrate Recovery.
It was a joy to host the 13 member Vermeer team who were mostly from Pella, Iowa. We were able to get back to normal pre-Covid outreaches. The team enjoyed helping us to launch new Celebrate Recovery groups at two large high schools in our village. They also were able to assist us with optical outreaches and distributing eyeglasses in a church and a high school. They had a great time interacting with our children at Del Cramer and most all of them have chosen to sponsor a child in our child sponsorship program. On Saturday evening they were able to experience our Sports 4 Christ program where we had several soccer and netball games going on. It was nice to see so many of the community members also enjoying a wholesome day and evening of sports. Everyone continues to be amazed at the beautiful lights that Musco Lighting has provided for this great project.
This month we have also been hosting two senior medical students, Korbi and Jared, from the University of Iowa. This was Korbi’s second clinical rotation with us here in Africa. After graduating in May he hopes to begin his OB/GYN residency. He assisted with lots of surgeries and obstetric deliveries while he was here. Jared is hoping to begin a residency in internal medicine and was able to see and help treat many different diseases and clinical situations that he would rarely see in America.
This month we were notified by Convoy of Hope, the ministry that transports all of our food containers from Meals From the Heartland, that due to supply chain issues our shipment of food containers will be delayed at least three months. We are currently helping feed over 60,000 children, so this is an urgent issue of how to procure sufficient resources to continue feeding the children as we wait for these shipping containers. We get some help with food products from our farm and game meat from Hunt Against Hunger, but we are needing much more. I have been doing lots of research with local farmers and friends that led me to a food processing plant in our capitol city of Polokwane. This plant processes agricultural corn and beans to produce food for human consumption. It turns out that we can purchase food in bulk supplies for about the same price that Meals from the Heartland pays for the rice and soy products in West Des Moines. We put out an urgent request for funds to permit us to purchase some of this food, and God has faithfully provided the needed funds to get us through at least the next month or possibly two. Please pray with us that additional funding will come in soon and that our containers will soon also start moving across the ocean.
Please also be in prayer with us for our family wedding coming up on March 16th when Alexandra and Dustin will be getting married in Pretoria.