There is so Much Joy in Helping Each Other 

June 27, 2024

Beth and I are enjoying a good summer back in Iowa, with lots of time with our church partners, friends, and family. I especially appreciate our central Iowa bike trails and have logged several miles since returning from Africa.  Beth has also been riding with me on most days.  I make it into our office 4 out of 5 days each week and appreciate our morning devotions.  David Russell is our Chaplain guiding our prayer and Bible study every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. These devotions are an excellent way to start our days and for the team to bond. Our staff is like family and is always supportive of each other. 


Recently, we have been especially praying for Wendi who is head of our development department.  She lives in Greenfield and has been severely affected by the huge tornado that went through her community and completely destroyed a third of the homes there.  Four people lost their lives in this storm and everyone’s lives are forever changed.  Several churches and relief agencies have stepped forward to assist.  This community will need our prayers and support for many months to come.  


We also have many churches and friends from Siouxland in Northwest Iowa currently suffering from massive flooding. It is heartwarming to see how neighbors and churches step forward to offer help during these trying times.  It is a good reminder to me of the tremendous power of God and the natural elements on our lives. 


Recently, our ministry has been able to provide food to victims of a large tornado in the rural Durban, South Africa area.  The poverty in this area is severe. The homes are poorly constructed shacks and many were destroyed.  Eleven people lost their lives.  Tornados are extremely rare in South Africa and caught this community by surprise.  Even if there had been a warning, there were no shelters.  This is the third disaster to strike this same area in the last few years.  First, there were riots that even burned a warehouse where we stored food for our feeding program.  A year later, they suffered flooding.  Thanks to help from our generous donors, Convoy of Hope, and a new relief agency for us “Just Help One,” we immediately responded to all three of these disasters with large amounts of food and water.  This was possible because we already had a warehouse with food from Convoy of Hope and Meals from the Heartland in Durban. We also have great partners in this area with Focus on the Family and a group of 40 Methodist churches that are part of our feeding hub.  These two groups were amazing in getting aid to the right people.  There have been so many large disasters connected to us that I was concerned about donor fatigue.  That has not been the case and so many people keep stepping forward to help. These tragedies are a good reminder of how we all need each other and there is so much joy helping each other.  In the Bible, Jesus commands us to love God with all our heart and to love our neighbor.  Later in the text he explains who our neighbors are. 


Brett, Wendi, and I have been kept busy traveling much of the US connecting with new and existing church partners. These churches have been amazing in their prayer and financial support of our mission in Africa.  It is lots of fun traveling around and telling the stories of what we see God doing in Africa.  The churches in Africa are thriving and growing.   


I am excited to share that we plan to break ground on a new church building to replace the school hall we have been using at Mountain View Hope Church.  Our congregation has outgrown this hall and has standing room only. Our plans are for a beautiful brick building seating 450 people.  I expect we will be full in just a couple of years, but I prefer not to overbuild with a grandiose larger-than-needed building. 


Prayer request: Please pray for Dustin as he travels back to America for a meeting with our partner Convoy of Hope.  Please also pray for his wife Alex who is recovering from back surgery and is not yet ready for overseas travel.