Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Youth Venture in South Africa

Youth from Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Cradock, Eastern Cape , South Africa, at the home of Pastor Lawrence and Juanita Coetzee of Grace Community Church, Monday, 11 June 2012
For the past ten days, we've been hosting North American church youth through Youth Venture, a short-term learning and service program of Mennonite Mission Network.

Our journey together started in the Northern Cape, where we met the group of six (four youth and two leaders) for a weekend with the branches of Grace Community Church, a member of Mennonite World Conference.  We were hosted in Colesburg by three different households from the church.  After church on Sunday, we traveled to Cradock where the youth from the USA enjoyed an evening session and meal with youth from several congregations in the area.

Upon arrival in Mthatha last week, we began orienting the group to the sights, people, and culture in preparation for the following week of home-stays and work assignments.  The orientation week included

  • a visit to the Nelson Mandela Museum near his boyhood home of Qunu
  • an introductory session on Xhosa language and culture taught by our teacher, Yoliswa Mxakaza
  • a visit to a rural homestead
  • a scavenger hunt through downtown Mthatha
  • a walk in a local game park
  • an evening with our Tuesday Evening Bible Study group
  • a beach day at Silaka Nature Reserve, Pt. St. John's
This week the youth are living with local families and working with Non-Profit organizations in the region.  These include,

  • Mzomtsha Youth Care Centre, Ngqeleni, a home for orphaned children between the ages of 6 and 18
  • Bethany Children's Home, for orphaned children from 0-6
  • Vision Care, which specializes in eye-care for under-served people
  • African Medical Mission (AMM), which until just recently ran Itipini Clinic which served a community which had stood for many years on a former garbage dump.  Within the last month, the community has been displaced and the task of the AMM workers now is to dissolve the organization while continuing to give care to some of those who have lost their homes.
Thanks for your prayers for the group, its leaders, and their South African friends as they experience God in new ways together.


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