Transforming Lives at Sterkrivier High School through Faith and Community

July 1, 2024

It was a quiet Saturday evening in Sterkrivier, South Africa when Dr. Blessman got a startling call. It was the principal at Sterkriver High School, a nearby boarding school. A 16-year-old boy who was feeling depressed and hopeless had attempted suicide. Dr. Blessman and pastors from the American mission team visiting South Africa rushed to the school to counsel the boy and show him the love of Christ. This incident was a wake-up call for Dr. Blessman. He realized the children at this school needed more than just the basic necessities to help them survive; they needed spiritual guidance to help them thrive.

A church Blessman International had planted at a nearby elementary school for farm laborers and their families was moved to Sterkrivier High School and named Mountain View Christian Church. The pastor was Dr. Noko Manythela, who had a heart for helping children. He provided tremendous spiritual guidance and mentorship to the teens, and something incredible happened. In just three years, enrollment at the school tripled, and the graduation rate went from 35% to an astounding 95%! Pastor Noko’s spiritual impact continues to live on even after he passed away from COVID in 2020. Since then, we’ve grown our programs, have an amazing new pastor, and the children benefit so much that there is standing room only during the services.

We’ve outgrown the current building and plan to build a beautiful new church next to the school. We’ve also become one of the first churches in South Africa to join the new Global Methodist Church denomination.

This new church will be in honor of our neighbor and good friend Neil Barnard, who tragically passed away. Neil was a former student at Sterkrivier High School and is a huge part of the legacy of our Hunt Against Hunger program, which helps us feed thousands of children.

It will take $325,000 to build a church that will comfortably seat 450 people. These students desperately need the hope and love of Jesus. We ask that you prayerfully consider contributing to this incredible ministry. To learn more about this project, watch this video, or contact Brett Hendrickson at (515) 343-5920.