We are right in the middle of my favorite season, autumn. It has been a blessing to enjoy it in Iowa this year. I have clocked over 6,500 miles since April. Central Iowa has some of the best bike trails in the world. Now with the fall colors in full display, it is even more enjoyable.
This season, we have also had the special blessing of Dustin coming back from Africa for a two week visit. God keeps his heart so full of joy and it is always a blessing to spend time with him. He continues to do a great job managing the day-to-day affairs of Blessman International in Africa. Dustin was able to travel back and forth from South Africa since he has permanent residency status. Beth and I are praying that we will be able to return to the land and people that we love early in January.
Fall is also a time for reflection as the year end approaches. Like many others, Blessman International have been affected by this pandemic, but we are coping well. We have not had to lay off any of our seven employees in Iowa or the 35 employees in Africa. Although the lockdown has made it difficult to keep everyone productive, the unemployment rate in South Africa is quite high and jobs are so valuable. We are just now getting our Del Cramer Feeding Center open again. Our Celebrate Recovery and Sports 4 Christ programs are gradually coming back to life. Through all of this, sanitation was ruled a necessary service by the government, so we were able to continue building toilets while many other things were closed.
One of the things that I’ve missed the most is hosting short-term missionaries. Our African Staff have been serving the children in their absence. However, over the years, we have built this organization by having 100+ short-term missionaries come and serve with us annually. Missionaries have always been a huge blessing to the children of Limpopo and Blessman International. I pray that we will soon be back to hosting ten to twelve teams each year. And, despite the challenges of 2020, our goal is to have over 150 people each year on mission trips to aid as we revamp schedules going forward.
In October, we were able to celebrate reaching our One Child at a Time sponsorship goal. One hundred and twenty people have committed to supporting individual children at Del Cramer Child Development Center. This will foster relationships between our donors and the children they directly support, and encourage more to join short-term mission teams to see and interact with the children they are sponsoring.
During the Thanksgiving season, we typically have a large appreciation party for our donors at Terrace Hill, the Iowa Governor’s Mansion. This year, it remains closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our wonderful staff has been busy thinking of new ways we can show appreciation to the great friends of our ministry.
Beth and I are busy completing our move from our acreage to a small house and yard in Beaverdale near our granddaughter. I am definitely not a city guy, but choose to be happy wherever I find myself. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I urge everyone to have wonderful time with family and prepare your hearts and minds for the annual year-end giving campaign coming in December. God continues to bless our ministry and we are doing well thanks to all of your generosity.
We love and appreciate you,
Doc and Beth