Monday, November 10
Spotlight on Mission
During this past summer of 2014, two members of our congregation joined a delegation of women from New England to build bridges with friends and partners in South Africa. Today(the 10th) and tomorrow (the 11th), we hear from Janet Fuhrmeister and Roxanne Casadonte about their experiences in South Africa. Let’s listen for how their experiences of building bridges have become mission, ministry and service!
Janet Fuhrmeister shared, “With the support of the church, members were able to meet many of the needs in the community – rapidly! A house was lost on Christmas Eve and while at the hospital, the owner met a Presbyterian woman. The house was replaced by Christmas Day. The church has helped mothers find imprisoned sons. A sponsor at one is making it possible for a very bright child to receive a better education than he would have in his home village.
I was a part of many different types of church services. One was similar to what you would find here in the states. Most had fascinating music with amazing voices and an almost tribal beat – drums, metal cups beaten with sticks, foot stomps and the occasional whistle. And an absolute feeling of total devotion to God.
Things for which I was not prepared were the walls around all houses and buildings topped with razor wire or electric fence. I hadn’t realized that there was a 60% unemployment rate. One church in a fairly nice neighborhood is broken into monthly. My second host family had one of their two cars stolen the morning before we got there and did not let us know until the last day so that we would not feel insecure. It all appears to be taken as daily life. That’s the way it is.
One heart breaking experience was a visit to the North Ducat School, ages Kindergarten through about 8th grade. There are 400 students and 6 teachers. The youngest kids have metal shipping containers for classrooms, but then most of the homes in the community are metal shipping containers. Despite this, the kids had the most angelic smiles on their faces.”
I would have liked to have done more hands-on work while I was there. We were hustled from project to project with little time to help at any of them, other than soup kitchens. ~ Janet Fuhrmeister