Opening Night

November 1, 2021

Beth and I have had an amazing month here in October. The peak of our experience has been the culmination of two years’ worth of work on our Sports 4 Christ program. Eight local churches have formed a league of soccer and netball teams. We are now looking at adding basketball and volleyball to our sports program. The entire village is buzzing with excitement. The topping on this cake was Musco Lighting adding LED sports lighting to our complex.

Hundreds of children, adults, and many leaders of the community were in attendance for the ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the Sports Complex. Beginning in the afternoon with food, cake, music, speeches, and African preaching where many people got saved. Three young people told their stories of how the Del Cramer Children’s after-school program impacted their life and what they are doing now as young adults.

The celebration turned into a tribute to me and to Blessman International. In all of my 76 years, I have never felt so honored and loved. There is a beautiful song by Mercy Me, I Can Only Imagine, and it perfectly describes how I felt during this entire evening. I was scheduled to speak a couple of times during the event, and I could barely speak at all. 

Exhibition soccer and netball games were also going on throughout the afternoon. Musco encouraged us to add a mini-pitch soccer court to our complex, and even the adults enjoyed playing on it. Mountain View Church had a friendly, yet intense, competition with Folang Medical Clinic. God answered our prayer that no one would be injured.

We waited until it was completely dark to turn on the sports lights for the first time. The large crowd counted down and was absolutely amazed when the LED lights came on! People danced with joy, and there was a cloud of dust as many of the children ran onto the soccer field. Sekgakgapeng village does not have streetlights and many of the homes do not have lights on after dark. Drone photos demonstrate nearly total darkness with the exception of the sports complex.

The sports games resumed under the lights. There was also a basketball exposition from a youth team from Mokopane. Many in the audience had never seen basketball and it was very exciting to watch.

As people experienced the excitement of the sports program, more wanted to be involved in other things that we are doing. The Celebrate Recovery program grew significantly in numbers. We met with a principal at a nearby high school this week, and he is excited that we will be adding Celebrate Recovery in his school in January. We have also made plans with a pastor in Polokwane to start a training program to get his church leading a Celebrate Recovery program in the provincial prison there.

I learned in medicine that when you measure something it brings a higher level of excellence. For example, when my diabetic patients measure their own blood sugars their control of the diabetes improves dramatically. This proved true again as children at the Del Cramer Campus learned that we are scanning their fingerprints to register their attendance and that the American donors will know if they come. The attendance increased as word reached children who had been registered in previous years suddenly and showed up wanting to be part of it again.

Prayer request for this month: please pray that even more food will be made available to us. We are currently feeding 60,000 children 3 to 5 days per week, yet many more are still going hungry.