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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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Squatter Camp Photo Studio

Yesterday the Red Rocks team spent the day in a squatter camp called Freedom Park doing a photo studio outreach.  We invited people from the community to come to the medical clinic for a free photo sitting.

Residents of Freedom Park waiting to get their pictures taken

In the morning I drove around the squatter camp with some of the caregivers from the medical clinic.  They invited the people to come to the medical clinic for a free photo.  Most of the people we invited seemed very excited; many of them couldn't believe that it was actually free.

Shacks in Freedom Park 

When the people arrived we took their picture and while they waited to have their picture printed out Pastor Khumalo, a local South African pastor, spoke to them about how they were created in the image of Christ.  He shared with them about God's love.  After receiving their pictures they were invited to spend some more time with Pastor Khumalo if they wanted additional prayer.

Pastor Khumalo speaking to the people of Freedom Park 

It's amazing how the simple act of giving someone a picture of themselves speaks to them of God's love.  Everyone was so excited to have a picture of themselves and their families.  Most of these people have never had a picture of themselves, and this outreach was designed to show them the dignity, respect, and love that they aren't used to having.

Receiving her picture
I think she likes it!
Some of the Red Rocks team working to print out the pictures and put them in plastic sleeves.  Pictured here from left to right are Kristie, Taylor, Kristie
and Jenny (standing)

 Earlier in the week Jenny M. (pictured) worked with some of the older boys in the OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) program and trained them how to use digital cameras and computer equipment.  These 3 boys took many of the pictures yesterday.

 Madison and Kristie printing out the pictures

Below are some of the portraits taken:

 Children waiting for their picture to be taken

The kids looking into the building where their pictures were being printed out

 Madison handing out candy to the kids waiting

Madison doing paper crafts with some of the children

More crafts

 A little boy near the medical clinic

 Kristie hanging out with some of the kids

Janelle with one of the caregivers from the medical clinic

A local school had donated some computers to the OVC program but no one had known how to set them up.  Dave volunteered to get them working.

 During the day some of the guys worked on building another shack.  They look like they are just standing around here, except for Chris, but they really have been working very hard.
Pictured from left to right are Jeremy, Sean, Chris and Charles.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Taylor's Blog

Taylor is here right now with the Red Rocks team.  She came here on a trip with Lincoln last year and fell in love with South Africa.  She is writing about her experiences on her blog.  You can also read about her previous trip here as well.

Red Rocks Team Update

Right now we have a visiting team from our home church, Red Rocks Church.  We've been working in the squatter camp of Freedom Park, just outside of Rustenburg, South Africa.

It's been a great trip, so far.  I always love seeing how this kind of a trip impacts those who come to South Africa to work with us.

We are building a new shack for a very destitute family.  It's unusual to find a complete family unit living together in Freedom Park.  Both the mom, dad, and 3 children have HIV.  They are living in a shack that is in extremely poor condition.  The shack belongs to someone else and they are just letting the family stay there.  The local caregivers have asked us to build a new shack for this family to give them cleaner living conditions.  (Freedom Park is technically an illegal squatter camp, so we can't actually build a proper house.)

We are also working on a new community garden on the property of the medical clinic that runs the HIV treatment program in Freedom Park.  They have a plot of land that they want help turning into a community garden.  The soil there is very thick, nasty clay.  Worse than anything I've ever seen.  It is VERY hard work turning the soil.

Our team really have been troopers, doing a great job.  Once we get the soil broken up we are going to bring in some truck loads of manure and topsoil to mix into the clay.  Hopefully making better soil for a garden.

In the afternoons the team is spending time with the kids in the OVC (Orphan and Vulnerable Children) program in Freedom Park run by the Catholic church.  They oversee the kids in the area who are vulnerable, making sure that they get meals, medical care, and they try to get them in school when possible.

In the after school program the kids get a hot meal, play games, have tutoring and Bible lessons.  We are spending time with those kids, doing arts and crafts and Bible lessons.

Yesterday my kids, Madison, Kyler, and Kendi, went with me to the after school program.  They were a little overwhelmed by the attention they got from all the little African kids.  The kids in Freedom Park aren't used to having white kids come play with them.  Madison did well, becoming a little "teacher's helper" for our team.  Kyler and Kendi were a bit overwhelmed by everyone wanting to hold their hands, and touch their hair.  

Overall it's been a great trip so far.  I love sharing our lives with visitors.  I know it will impact them for the rest of their lives.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Red Rocks Church Team

We haven't had an internet connection since Sunday, so we haven't been able to update our blog at all.

A missions team from our home church, Red Rocks Church, arrived safely on Monday.  Amazingly, all of their luggage arrived as well!

They have been busy in Freedom Park this week, working on a garden and working with children in the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) program.  Today, a few were able to tag along with Dr. Neil (a local doctors who donates his time caring for AIDS patients) as he made his rounds to the different AIDS hospices where he volunteers.

We will be updating and posting pictures as often as we can.


Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lion and Rhino Reserve

Today we took my mom to a Lion and Rhino reserve that we have heard good things about.  Here are some pictures from the day (click on the pictures to view them larger.)

WARNING - We were there at feeding time and some of the pictures at the end of this post are not for the squeamish.  They are the pictures just after the snake photos.

 We think this is a gemsbok.


Now, this is just good common sense!
This very official looking sign was above an open crocodile enclosure. 

Kendi, Kyler and Madison looking at a python.

The fangs of a live puff adder.