This blog is an account of our lives and ministry in South Africa. Please click on the tabs above to learn a little more about us and what we do.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Intersting Article about South Africa

South Africa is a very complex country. It has 11 official languages, and many more unique cultures represented within South Africa. The first unrestricted vote was as recent as 1994, and since then the country has been in a struggle to create an equitable society. This has created unintended results which creates a very interesting and complex society.

As Americans we can't fully understand all of the causes and effects within South African culture. After living there for 14 months we were just beginning to piece the story together, and even now we are still learning.

In February we came across an interesting article by Scott Johnson that helps shed some light on South African culture. If you want to read the whole article you can follow the link to Newsweek.com. Basically it talks about how skilled professionals are leaving South Africa for better opportunities elsewhere which is hindering South Africa's ability to improve it's society.

Here are a few excerpts from the article:

"The most dramatic figures can be found among South African whites, who are leaving at a pace consistent with the advent of "widespread disease, mass natural disasters or large-scale civil conflict," according to a report by the South African Institute on Race Relations. Some 800,000 out of a total white population of 4 million have left since 1995, by one count."

"Future Fact polling indicates that more than 95 percent of those eager to leave South Africa rate violent crime as the single most important factor affecting their thinking."

"Then there's the problem of affirmative action, which many whites feel limits their opportunities for advancement and which keeps many émigrés from returning. "You can attract people home, but there are still the same concerns when they get here," Chen says. "Crime and lack of job opportunities if you're not the right color."

"Still another factor driving out citizens of all races is the country's political crisis. National elections are due in April, and the likely next president, Jacob Zuma, faces a battery of serious corruption charges and accusations of autocratic behavior." (Since this article was written, Jacob Zuma has been elected president. I'll write about him in a later post.)

"The long-term effects of this exodus are already being felt in other critical ways. The vast majority of South Africa's emigrants are also the country's best and brightest. Compounding the problem is the fact that while South Africa has lenient policies toward admitting refugees from elsewhere in Africa, the import of skilled labor is still quite onerous—meaning that as more and more trained workers leave, there are fewer and fewer replacements."

"While unemployment for whites has increased more than 100 percent since the end of apartheid, it remains as low as an average European country, between 7 percent and 8 percent. Joblessness among blacks, on the other hand, is hovering at around 50 percent."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Summer Missions Trip Information

After years of ignoring the AIDS pandemic, South Africa has a crisis of over 2 million AIDS orphans. Many of these children live in tin shacks raising themselves and their siblings. In the middle of this devastating poverty is an oasis called the Lighthouse Children’s Shelter. The Lighthouse Shelter rescues children from life threatening conditions and gives them a safe place to heal, grow, and thrive.

In June of 2009, Red Rocks Church will be sending a team to work with the orphans of South Africa. This trip will have three main objectives.

First, we will work with the Lighthouse Shelter. We will serve the shelter in tangible ways by installing a sprinkler system for their vegetable garden, replacing or remodeling their playground equipment, and doing some cleaning and painting around the property. We’ll also have quite a bit of time to play with the kids and show them God’s love.

The second objective will be to work in Freedom Park, the shanty town where many of the children in the shelter came from. In Freedom Park we will take food and water to single mothers, most of whom are dying from AIDS.

Our third objective will be to work with a lady named Martha who saw that many of the children living in her neighborhood in Phokeng were orphans raising themselves and their younger siblings. Martha feeds the orphans everyday, helps them with school work, and provides valuable life lessons that these children miss out on without parents. It is possible our team will have the chance to improve Martha’s small house out of which she feeds the children by providing plumbing, electrical work, paint, doors, and windows. We may build some monkey proof gardens on the children’s properties and teach them some basic gardening skills. Our team will also spend time with these orphans helping them with school work, teaching them life skills, and doing abstinence training.

Our goal is to help break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness that has gripped the people of South Africa. We want to be open to love and serve the people of South Africa in any way the Lord leads us.

Please email us for more information at JennyLincoln@hotmail.com

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Summer Missions Trip to South Africa

Lincoln will be heading up another missions trip to South Africa from June 20th to July 4th (dates may change slightly). The group will be working with the children at the Lighthouse Children's Shelter, doing outreaches to poverty stricken AIDS patients in the Freedom Park squatter camp, feeding orphans in child-led households in Phokeng, and possibly doing some construction projects. If you would like more information please send us an email at JennyLincoln@hotmail.com or visit the Red Rocks Church missions information page.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Prayer Request

We are starting to get our house ready to put up for sale. We know that this is not the best market in which to sell a house, but we also know that God is in control! Please pray for God's perfect timing and favor.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Whole Story

Some of you may want to know the story about why we are returning to South Africa. Well, it really all started when we left South Africa the first time. We loved our time there and really fell in love with the shelter and the children of South Africa. We truly felt like God was leading us away from there at that time, but we knew that we would always be involved with South Africa in one way or another.

When we returned to the states I (Lincoln) felt like God wanted us to work stateside to help support the Lighthouse Children's Shelter and missions in general. We pursued several options that would allow us to work with missions stateside, but nothing was a good fit. So, I went back to work as an electrician, figuring that I could just make a decent living and we would support missions with our own money.

Over time we came to the realization that we needed to multiply our efforts. We knew that we could give a little bit of money to missions, or we could invest in a way that would allow others to get the vision and become personally involved in missions.

So, I presented an idea to our pastors at Red Rocks Church. I told them that we would pay for them to go to South Africa with me if they would be willing to bring back what they learned and present it to the church. At that first meeting I was honest with them that I had an ulterior motive of getting them to support the shelter, either financially, or with regular missions trips. Basically I wanted to foster a relationship between Red Rocks Church and the shelter.

So, in February 2009 we took that trip. They caught the vision more than I could have possibly hoped.

The first day I took the pastors to the squatter camp of Freedom Park where we took food to terminally ill AIDS patients and prayed with them. A few nights later we were all up at 2 in the morning, not able to sleep because of jet lag, talking about Freedom Park. They told me that all three of them felt that God was leading them to send our family back to Africa. Pastor Shawn said that as they were in Freedom Park he kept thinking that he will never be able to help those people, but they can send our family to help them. They said that it was clear that I was made to be there in South Africa. Which is cool, because that's exactly how I feel. I enjoy my job as an electrician, but I don't feel like it is my purpose.

So, for now Red Rocks Church is going to do their best to support our family, but we will still be raising support for additional expenses and a ministry budget. If you would like to support us, send us an email (JennyLincoln@hotmail.com) letting us know you are interested and we'll contact you with where to send support.