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.