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Posts Tagged ‘Johannesburg’

By Ruth Bass, Kim Long, Mary Massie, and Gwen Smith. Photos by Ruth Bass, Kim Long and Mary Massie.

Callout-crayolasEditor’s Note: In August 2012, Ruth Bass from Edenton Baptist Church in Edenton, NC, and Kim Long, Mary Massie and Gwen Smith from Richmond’s First Baptist Church volunteered in Johannesburg and in Emmaus, a small town in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province of South Africa.

Working with them

Group arrives at Johannesburg airport.
(L-R) Ruth Bass, Kim Long, Mary Massie, airport employee, Gwen Smith

SAF-Crafts-kids“Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom shall I send as a messenger to my people? Who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Lord, I’ll go! Send me.’” (Isaiah 6:8, New Living Translation)

Reaching the village of Emmaus, South Africa, is an adventure. The road, either dusty or muddy, but always long, includes the Prayer Bridge – a prayer being needed to cross it safely.

SAFteaching-kidsThe adventure continues in Emmaus Church, one small room used for literally everything – worship, weekday preschool, Women’s Bible Study, and all other activities. Here, for ten days, our mission team taught Bible school, prayed, sang, danced to the Lord, studied scriptures, gave testimony, enjoyed fellowship, ate wonderful Zulu food, laughed, and felt God’s presence.

Mary Massie remembers: “The thing that touched my heart was the feeling I had upon seeing the children. My apprehension faded when I saw their sweet faces. For me, I was home.” The children were apprehensive too, and at first were frightened by the new white faces. But they soon responded, as all children do, to the universal language of smiles, love, good will, CrayolasTM, and soccer balls.

SAFEnjoying-Tootsie-PopsOur team’s focus was not on what we could do for the children and adult members of Emmaus Church, but on what we could do with them. We helped with Vacation Bible School, supplied resources to teachers, participated in Women’s Bible Study, visited in homes, and provided 10 fruit trees to be planted in the village. Gwen Smith found “spending time with the women in the church and building relationships with them was a gift.”

We were also gifted with coworkers Mark and Sara Williams, field personnel with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. (Sara is Gwen’s daughter.) Their assignment in South Africa includes working with community leaders in Emmaus to start kitchen gardens, build storage houses, and dig a well for safe drinking water.

SAFbabiesSara uses her social work training in the care of abandoned babies and children. This work touched Kim Long deeply: “My highlight was visiting the Door of Hope Baby Houses in Johannesburg where I was able to hold, feed and love the abandoned babies.” These babies also felt the love of hand-knitted hats and scarves from the SKEINS group of Richmond’s First Baptist Church [See related story, “SKEINS knits for South African children”], the Prayer Shawl Ministry of Edenton (North Carolina) United Methodist Church, and Rosemary Baptist Church (Roanoke Rapids, NC).

Loving children, becoming friends with other Christian women, sharing work to make a town better – these are the essentials of mission trips. These and the joy Ruth Bass describes – “joyful praise in song and dance and learning a praise song in Zulu!”

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By Gwen Smith. Photos by Mary Massie.

SKEINS-hatsThe winter of 2011 was colder than usual in South Africa. Sara and Mark Williams, who serve in South Africa with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, sent out a plea to friends in Virginia, Illinois and North Carolina for warm, knitted hats for children. At First Baptist, SKEINS (Sewers, Knitters & Embroiderers Involved in Needlework & Service) responded enthusiastically, as did some of FBC’s youths.

SAFkids-in-hatsSara’s parents (FBC members and former missionaries Gwen and Truman Smith) got calls to pick up bags of hats at the church library and at the Mulberry Avenue reception desk. They found more bags of hats hanging on their front door. There were beautiful hats of purple, white, green, yellow, blue, brown, and pink. They eventually sent more than 100 to the children that Mark and Sara work with at the preschool in Emmaus and the Door of Hope in Johannesburg [See related story, “Working with them”].

SAFChildren-TeachersSKEINS and other groups continue to knit hats for the children of Emmaus and The Door of Hope. Gwen and other members of the FBC South African mission team delivered another 100 hats in the summer of 2012.

“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40, NIV).

For information on SKEINS contact Linn Kreckman, 804-355-4551.

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