Most people in America think of Africa as always being hot. As I write this blog, I am sitting in my heavy winter parka. It is mid-afternoon, and the temperature outside is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is in the low 50’s inside my office. When that goes on hour after hour it can be bone-chilling cold.

 

Beth and I have had a good experience here the last month and feel that we have accomplished a lot of good things. We came this time to mainly be an encouragement to Dustin and Alex, and it turned out they needed us more than expected as they were both down for a week with Covid for their second time. Praise the Lord that Dustin’s neck pain continues to improve. He is now 12 weeks post cervical fusion. Hopefully, he will soon be able to fly his plane again. Ordinarily, we would have all flown to Swaziland this trip to connect with our ministry partners there, but that will happen another time.

 

Upon arrival we attended a three-day Rotary District Conference in Bela Bela which is about two hours North of our ministry base. Rotary has been a great benefit in helping us serve the children here in Africa. They have assisted us in drilling wells, building many toilets, and feeding thousands of children. When I was practicing medicine in Iowa, I never felt that I had time for all of their meetings and volunteer work, but for the past 15 years my relationship with Rotary has been an amazing blessing helping us accomplish the work that God has called us to do here in Africa.

 

Last week we hosted Dr. Comfort Manyame who is a PhD soil scientist working with Corteva in Iowa. He is originally from Zimbabwe and in addition to being a skilled scientist, he is a highly skilled music composer and performer. He is part of the worship team at Des Moines Reach Church, a wonderful church that has supported our ministry for many years. Comfort led three praise and worship concerts. The first one was with our Celebrate Recovery group on Friday evening, then on Saturday he put on a concert in connection with a sporting event at our beautiful Sports 4 Christ sports complex. On Sunday morning he led our entire church service at Mountain View Hope Christian Church. All who attended were blessed by his music and preaching.  We would love for him to return every year.

 

This week we also helped our first medical student of the year from University of Iowa get started with his one-month clinical rotation in anesthesia at Mokopane Hospital. There is a shortage of medical providers here in rural South Africa, and our students assistance is much appreciated by the hospital staff. Even more important our Iowa students get an excellent experience working in a rural African hospital seeing diseases that they would likely never see in America.

 

I always enjoy celebrating American Independence Day when I am in Africa to share a bit with my African friends about my home country. We are also looking forward to returning back home to Iowa and our beautiful bike trails.

 

Please pray with us that Beth and I will remain faithful to the calling He has placed upon our hearts, and we trust that He will continue to supply all our needs to continue blessing the children here in Africa.

Finance Director Blessman International US

What is your church home?

Saint Thomas Catholic Church Indianola, IA

When did you first join Blessman International?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

What inspired you to work at Blessman International?

The mission statement was something that  I wanted to be a part of.

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

200 children as a part of One Child at a Time – Provide meals to 100,000 children 3-5 times a week.

What do you wish people knew about Blessman International?

What a blessing Blessman is to the children and families of South Africa.

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

I love to eat raw oysters.

Tell us anything else we should know about you that we haven’t already asked?

I’ve enjoyed the time I have worked for Blessman International – it has truly been a blessing to me spiritually.

Today’s Mission Moment comes to us from Dustin and Segran from Black Eagle Emergency Medical Services based in Durban, South Africa.

 

For the past month, we have been partnering with Convoy of Hope by sending 4 truckloads of food and fresh water to aid thousands of people affected by the recent flooding in Durban and surrounding areas.  The death toll is 459 and many of these were children.  In addition to Convoy of Hope, we partner with Focus on the Family in Durban, and a group of 40 smaller Methodist churches that are our main distribution partners in this area.

 

For the past 20 years, I have realized that you have to be hardy to survive on the African mission field.  It is not for the faint of heart.  We have faced many challenges over the years, and this past weekend, Dustin and Alexandra faced a big one.  They were en route to Durban with a vehicle full of personal hygiene kits provided by Convoy of Hope to deliver to victims of the flood. This was the first road trip that Dustin has taken since his neck surgery 6 weeks ago.  It is usually about a 5-hour journey with good interstate highways most of the way.  They were just about one hour outside of Durban on Saturday when traffic came to a complete standstill at approximately 6 pm.  They were boxed in, in the middle lane of the interstate, and unable to find any news on the radio or their WhatsApp. Eventually, they learned that a horrific traffic accident that had claimed 16 lives was ahead. It had happened around 2 am Saturday morning and the investigation and cleanup was still going on.  They had a little water and enough fuel to periodically turn on the vehicle to keep warm during the night as the temperature dropped to the mid 40’s Fahrenheit. They kept their doors locked and were awoken at 5:30 am to the sound of horns as traffic finally began to move. They arrived at their hotel by 7 am and got some much-needed rest, water, and food. We thank God they arrived safely, and we pray for the victims, rescue personnel, and witnesses of the terrible accident.

 

Dustin and Alexandra spent the next couple of days meeting with ministry partners and working with Alex’s bother-in-law who owns an emergency medical service company and helicopters that have been assisting with rescues and disaster relief.

 

Beth and I plan to travel to South Africa to join them in mid-June.  Please pray that our time there will be fruitful and that we will be able to get lots accomplished.