As the lazy, hazy days of summer come to a close and our grandchildren are heading back to school, I am preparing to head back to South Africa. When I am in the States, I usually enjoy spending lots of time in my office and meeting with donors, churches, and businesses that support our ministry work in South Africa. This time, I had some medical issues to deal with and needed to get myself back in physical condition. I usually enjoy walking two or three miles/day when I am in Africa, but for the last month I was there I did not have the stamina to exercise. Fortunately, I received excellent medical care here and have been able to get back out on our beautiful bike trails. I actually spent more time on my bike than I did in the office over the last month. This is exactly what I was needing and praise the Lord I am feeling back to normal again! Our ministry is blessed with excellent staff, both in Africa and in Iowa, so that when I take a bit of extra time off, all of the good work that we are doing continues.
We are getting an infrastructure in place in Africa so that we can continue to smoothly host medical and nursing students for high quality clinical experiences. We love working with college students and currently have working agreements with U of I, ISU, Grandview, Hawkeye College, and Central College. I am hoping that we can soon start a new prenatal care program in partnership with Mokopane Hospital and also continue with our hospice program.
We are working on a sister state visit between Iowa and Limpopo, focusing on agriculture education and trade. The first phase of this will be for the Limpopo department of agriculture to visit with our Iowa government agricultural leaders and colleges. We will let them spend a day on some of our larger farms and possibly visit the John Deere precision farming program and the Pioneer seed company.
When I get back to South Africa, I will be busy hosting teams from Rotary and in October a team from Lutheran Church of Hope. We are on schedule to have almost 120 short-term missionaries come to South Africa to serve with us in 2019—making it our strongest year ever for mission team participants.
This week we are busy in South Africa hosting our agricultural business and financial training for the 10 schools where we have planted school gardens.
We are nearly ready to submit our application for our next Rotary grant. This one will focus on empowering women by providing sewing jobs and menstrual health reusable kits for 10,000 impoverished young ladies. Over the past three years we have distributed over 12,000 of these kits that were sewn and donated by ladies working with Days for Girls. With this grant we will be sewing additional kits in Africa. In addition to Rotary, PEO is a significant partner with this new program empowering African women.
Please pray for both Beth and me as she is staying in Iowa through the middle of September to help care for our granddaughter. We definitely do our best work when we are together.