I can count on one hand the number of people who have had an impact on me and my world like that of Bob Vermeer.  He was a great mentor, a great leader, an encourager, and an overall wonderful friend.  I loved him like my own father.

 

His and his beautiful wife Lois’s fingerprints are all over our ministry campus in South Africa.  Back in 2007 or 2008, he encouraged me to try out a block-making machine that his company had been working with for underprivileged areas around the world.  Our ministry was pretty small then, and I remember it being a bit of a stretch for us to purchase the machine and the trailer to move it about.  The concept of using African soil to make our own bricks resonated with me and our board.  At the end of the day, we no longer use the block machine but purchasing it was one of the best decisions of my life because it cemented my relationship with Bob.

 

Vermeer sent two staff from Pella to come and work with us for nearly 2 months as we learned to work with the block machine.  Over the next several months we made tens of thousands of bricks and constructed our entire Del Cramer Children’s Campus.  We worked closely with engineers from Vermeer throughout the construction project and discovered some minor machining errors in the machine that could be improved upon.  These same engineers went to work and manufactured an entirely new machine for us and shipped it to us in Africa at no cost to us.  The really amazing thing about this is that I am pretty sure that the company never planned on this machine being a money maker for them.  They were simply doing what they could to help third-world countries find a better way to manufacture bricks.

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to sending us a completely new machine for our next project, Bob sent his nephew Adam DeJong to oversee the construction of our beautiful Lodge of Dreams.  Adam stayed with us for several months, and he along with Maxwell Chongoni, managed the entire construction project.  The Lodge of Dreams is where many American volunteers stay when they come to South Africa to serve with our ministry.

 

Bob loved coming to South Africa to serve the children that we work with here.  He especially loved seeing the spiritual growth in the team members who would come to volunteer with us.  He had a strong desire to help as many people as possible and experience doing mission work with us in South Africa.  He partnered with Vermeer’s head Chaplin, Kevin Glesener, who has led several teams of Vermeer employees and friends of Bob and Lois, paying all expenses including airfare and trip tuition so that each of them would experience the spiritual growth that he had seen in others.

 

Bob and Lois also invested significantly in assisting us with our Sports 4 Christ program and sports complex.  They both had a dream to bring all of their grandchildren to South Africa with them one day.  I pray that we will one day be able to host these same grandchildren that he and Lois have been praying for.  I look forward to spending eternity in Heaven with this great man.

Today’s Mission Moment comes to us from Alma. Alma finished a 5-week internship with Blessman International.

Today’s Mission Moment comes to us from Rose and Joseph.
Rose shares what she has learned during the week’s training with our Teach a Child to Fish program.

Today’s Mission Moment comes to us from Amber at Lighthouse Christian Church.

Today’s Mission Moment comes to us from Johanney.
He just finished a week’s agricultural training on our Mountain View Training and Research Farm.

We are enjoying hosting our son Dustin and his wife here in America for a few weeks this summer.  This is the first time that Dustin has spent more than a week or so in America for a few years now.  Right now, they are enjoying a vacation visiting the Grand Canyon and the Western United States.  I have enjoyed seeing them, especially Alexandra, observe the contrast between living in Africa and America.  We all love our lives in Africa but living in Africa can be frustrating at times.

 

In Africa we always have to be on alert for safety and security and the electricity, and even water, may be shut off for hours at a time.  Usually when the electricity is off our phones and internet also stop working.  For safety, we limit our travel after dark. When you live in Africa you just accept it and get on with life as best you can.  Here in America, we have all grown accustom to these services being available and working well all of the time.  I typically spend a couple hours a day on Zoom calls with our staff, volunteers, and Rotary friends in Africa.  It seems that someone in Africa is always apologizing for network difficulty.

 

Beth and I are heading back to Africa the end of August and will be there most of the next 3 months, coming back to Iowa for the November and December holidays.  I have been able to connect with a few new churches and visited several Rotary clubs while we’ve been in Iowa.  I am finding that many people are ready to travel again and are making plans to come to South Africa to serve with us on mission trips.  One of my favorite things to do is to help some of my American friends experience the joy of being a blessing to our African children.

 

Please be in prayer with us as we work to expand the number of children that we are able to help feed and as we strive to collect high quality data and information about the children we are serving.  In a future blog, I will explain in detail how our feeding program and data collection system works enabling us to help feed thousands of children each week.

Sewing Center Manager

What is your church home?

Assemblies of God

When did you first join Blessman International?

June 30, 2012

What inspired you to work at Blessman International?

What inspired me is the way they uplift people’s lives, as well as giving hope to the hopeless and the love they have for children.

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

I hope that all the plans they have this year will be accomplished, expanding the projects in different places.

What do you wish people knew about Blessman International?

I wish that people knew how Blessman International is changing lives of many people.

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

I love baking as well as learning new things.

 

Today’s Mission Moment comes to us from our Mandela Day celebrations at Del Cramer Children’s Campus!