Seamstress at Lethabo Sewing and Training Center

What is your church home?

IPHC (International Pentecostal Holy Church)

When did you first join Blessman International?

30 September 2013

What inspired you to work for Blessman International?

I enjoy sewing as a  seamstress and this allowed me the opportunity to do what I love.

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

I hope that the sewing center will grow bigger and that we can have more customers from schools for the sewing center.

What do you wish people knew about Blessman International?

That we feed many, many children.

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

I love to read books, especially novels.

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

I love sewing pants.

Director of Development

What is your church home?

Lutheran Church of Hope

When did you first join Blessman International?

2020-10-12

What inspired you to work at Blessman International?

I am passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others.  It is a blessing to be a part of a ministry where team members, donors, and volunteers share the gospel with the youth we serve and provide life-changing ministries and outreaches. 

What do you hope Blessman International will accomplish in the next 6 months?

I hope we are able to continue to expand our feeding program as the need is growing.  I also hope more individuals will serve on a mission trip with us.  We all have so many gifts to share with others.  Our programs are making a difference for the children we serve!

What do you wish people knew about Blessman International?

We have a small team that is dedicated to advancing our mission.  We are very appreciative of all the prayers and support of our donors, volunteers, and partners!

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

I have run 5 marathons, including the Boston Marathon.

 

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.

 

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.

Sheila

 

What is your church home?

Methodist Church of South Africa

When did you first join Blessman International?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What inspired you to work at Blessman International?

Working with kids and feeding them. Nothing feels better than knowing I have made a change in someone’s life. Someone did not go to bed hungry.

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

With all they are doing for the community I wish they could extend that to other provinces, I know with our feeding program we are already in 5 provinces. Making sanitation available to other provinces will stop one child at a time from drowning.

What do you wish people knew about Blessman International?

That they go out of their way to get help and assist the needy.

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

I am one with nature

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

I love documentaries

 

Employee Spotlight Bethany

Employee Spotlight Bethany

 

When did you first join Blessman International? 

I’ve been with Blessman since January 2021 

 

What is your church home? 

First Family Church in Ankeny, Iowa 

 

What inspired you to work at Blessman International? 

Growing up I had always felt God calling me to work with a faith-based nonprofit organization that did ministry and service work internationally. During college I was looking for an internship and God placed Blessman International right in front of me. I quickly fell in love with the mission and work we are doing to better the lives, both physically and spiritually, of the children and families in Southern Africa! 

 

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

I hope that we are able to expand the feeding program to reach more children throughout Southern Africa food that is majority sustainably sourced from South Africa. I hope to see each of our programs grow and be fruitful in showing Christ’s love and compassion in order to bring more people to know Christ and join God’s Kingdom. I also want to see all of our children sponsored by someone across the world and have each one building a strong relationship with their sponsor. 

 

What do you wish people knew about Blessman International? 

We are a small crew of extremely passionate people whose desire is to give people tangible ways to join us as we carry out God’s plan to spread the Gospel throughout Southern Africa! 

 

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

I lost my phone on my first safari in South Africa and after about an hour, we were able to find it just before dark. It is not unusual for me to lose my phone, so of course this would happen to me. 

Employee Spotlight

 

Employee Spotlight

 

When did you first join Blessman International? 

I’ve been with Blessman since June of 2013. 

 

What inspired you to work at Blessman International? 

I have a passion and commitment to serve people, especially children and the poor. Blessman International’s emphasis on sharing the gospel made it a great fit for me. 

 

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

I hope we touch more children with the love of God by feeding, teaching, and expanding our gospel outreach. 

 

What do you wish people knew about Blessman International? 

We do so much more than feed children. We are literally bringing the light of the gospel to very dark places. 

 

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

I love history! 

 

Tell us anything else we should know about you. 

I am married and have a daughter. 

March Blog

March Blog Post

 

 

February started off with a big surprise birthday celebration for me at Del Cramer Children’s Campus.  The day started off with Beth and Dustin asking me how I would like to spend my birthday.  I told them my first choice would be a nice long bike ride.  Beth went with me and we enjoyed a leisurely ride.  When we got home everyone was encouraging me to get cleaned up to do a filming of a new mission moment at our children’s campus.  I am always up for that so did not suspect anything unusual.  When we arrived at Del Cramer, I was surprised to see so many children there and a big tent on the lawn.  Then I noticed a long red carpet that I was instructed to walk on leading to a large chair with lots of balloons attached.  For the next 3 hours I was lavishly entertained and blessed with many gifts, music, speeches, and dancing.  Many of our feeding hubs had pitched in together to organize the party, and I have never felt so honored.  We had lots of food and cake for everyone.  I enjoyed and appreciated the celebration so much.

 

The very next day we had four new arrivals: Bonni and Ken Newton and Paula Blessman who come every year and will stay for a while to help us out and Melissa Dale, a state and regional director for Celebrate Recovery.

 

It was a joy to host the 13 member Vermeer team who were mostly from Pella, Iowa.  We were able to get back to normal pre-Covid outreaches.  The team enjoyed helping us to launch new Celebrate Recovery groups at two large high schools in our village.  They also were able to assist us with optical outreaches and distributing eyeglasses in a church and a high school.  They had a great time interacting with our children at Del Cramer and most all of them have chosen to sponsor a child in our child sponsorship program.  On Saturday evening they were able to experience our Sports 4 Christ program where we had several soccer and netball games going on.  It was nice to see so many of the community members also enjoying a wholesome day and evening of sports.  Everyone continues to be amazed at the beautiful lights that Musco Lighting has provided for this great project.

 

This month we have also been hosting two senior medical students, Korbi and Jared, from the University of Iowa.  This was Korbi’s second clinical rotation with us here in Africa.  After graduating in May he hopes to begin his OB/GYN residency.  He assisted with lots of surgeries and obstetric deliveries while he was here.  Jared is hoping to begin a residency in internal medicine and was able to see and help treat many different diseases and clinical situations that he would rarely see in America.

 

This month we were notified by Convoy of Hope, the ministry that transports all of our food containers from Meals From the Heartland, that due to supply chain issues our shipment of food containers will be delayed at least three months.  We are currently helping feed over 60,000 children, so this is an urgent issue of how to procure sufficient resources to continue feeding the children as we wait for these shipping containers.  We get some help with food products from our farm and game meat from Hunt Against Hunger, but we are needing much more.  I have been doing lots of research with local farmers and friends that led me to a food processing plant in our capitol city of Polokwane.  This plant processes agricultural corn and beans to produce food for human consumption.  It turns out that we can purchase food in bulk supplies for about the same price that Meals from the Heartland pays for the rice and soy products in West Des Moines.  We put out an urgent request for funds to permit us to purchase some of this food, and God has faithfully provided the needed funds to get us through at least the next month or possibly two.  Please pray with us that additional funding will come in soon and that our containers will soon also start moving across the ocean.

 

Please also be in prayer with us for our family wedding coming up on March 16th when Alexandra and Dustin will be getting married in Pretoria.

Lisa Berry-Dirks

Lisa Berry-Dirks
Iowa Office Manager

What is your church home? 
Lutheran Church of the Cross in Altoona, Iowa 

When did you join Blessman International?  
September 2020

What inspired you to work at Blessman International?
I’ve been traveling with Jim and Beth since 2001 doing mission work. I was a missionary with them in South Africa from 2009 to 2013, before I returned home to marry my husband, Scott. I believe in the ministry and the work they do in South Africa. I’m a “long-termer” with Blessman International.

What do you hope Blessman International accomplishes in the next 12 months?  
I’d love to see teams traveling to South Africa and working with children in the upcoming year. Our friends in South Africa have missed having teams from the United States interacting with the kids. And I know that our United States-based team members have missed going to South Africa to interact with the kids.

What do you wish people knew about Blessman International?
We have a very dedicated team of people in the United States and South Africa who work to carry out our mission. This team works very well together, and we absolutely love planning for teams to visit South Africa.

Tell us one fun fact most people don’t know about you.  
Before working at Blessman International, I was a psychiatric nurse, which I loved!

Is there anything else we should know about you?
I am a grandma and how could you not ask me about my grandchildren?!