JULY 2020 – SUMMER WITHOUT SOUTH AFRICA
Blog July 1, 2020
This is the first summer Beth and I have been able to spend in Iowa for the past several years and we are enjoying our time with lots of lawn work and long bicycle rides on our beautiful bike trails.
Our world is changing at warp speed these days and it makes most of us a bit uncomfortable. I have usually been able to keep a positive attitude around change and look for new good opportunities when things are changing.
One change Blessman International is causing Beth and I to have heavy hearts. Sarah Green just let us know she is taking a new job with Lutheran Services in Iowa. This new job is a big advancement to her in her career path and we wish her well, but it is painful to see her leave us. She has been to SA with us 8 times and led our development staff with excellence for the past 3 years.
Report from South Africa: The number of cases of COVID-19 is growing each week. Fortunately, in our province of Limpopo there are still just a few cases. We meet by zoom each week with the staff at Mokopane Hospital offering them whatever assistance we can in helping them to prepare for how the virus may affect their hospital. The major effects that we have noticed is not so much the number of illnesses but the devastating effect of the lockdown. People are literally starving because they are having difficulty accessing food. Our feeding centers are still all closed because of the lockdown and also the schools are mostly closed. Before the lockdown children were able to receive a nice meal at school and also at one of our many feeding centers. We partnered with Rotary and Mokopane Hospital in our area of SA to identify some of the most needy families and deliver food packets to about 75 families. Our packets contained enough food to feed a family of 6 for 1 month.
Even during the lockdown, we have been able to continue constructing new EnviroLoo toilets. So far this year we have completed 10 toilet stalls and have funding and plans to build an additional 20 over the next 6 months. We have also just put in a new funding request with HyVee to drill an additional 6 wells in the next several months.
Our Sports 4 Christ program is still on hold waiting for the schools to open back up. We are gradually getting our Celebrate Recovery program up and running again by sending out videos and material to a few small group leaders who are starting to have small group meetings as we wait for school to open back up. Our bakery and agricultural programs have stayed productive and are helping us through our church to meet the needs of some of the most needy families in our area.
Once the travel ban is lifted, I am planning on getting back to SA to assist where I can. Dustin is also anxious to come back to Iowa for a short visit once international travel is permitted.
We are busy now rolling out a new child sponsor program where friends of our ministry can financially sponsor one of our children at our Del Cramer Children’s Campus. In partnership with Hunt Against Hunger we are planning a virtual hunt for people who love Africa and also love hunting. You will learn more about both of these programs soon.