The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all our lives. Through the global crisis, the Lord has opened unexpected ministry opportunities for OC workers in South Africa.
By the Lord’s provision, the South Africa government declared OC Africa an essential service. This became critical because it meant that even during lockdown, OC Africa workers could travel in order to deliver food to those in great need.
Helping in Finetown
Karl and Jenny, OC mission workers, deliver food to Mama Florina and the orphan children who live with her. Mama Florina is also able to feed many of the community children with the food she receives. Jenny and Mama Florina work together in the township of Finetown to provide encouragement to women who are caregivers to those in the community with HIV/AIDs.
OC Africa was also able to help the home-based caregivers with food vouchers. “I’ve been very impressed with the caregiver’s perseverance,” Jenny says. The caregivers were able to start a sustainable garden in 2019 and that’s been a critical resource.
“After harvesting thousands of tomatoes and selling them in the community, they have now planted winter vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, carrots, and peas,” Jenny says. “This will at least help to sustain their own families.” God’s provision of the garden pre-pandemic is truly a blessing to those families.
Jenny has also developed a virtual discipleship group with the HIV/AIDS caregivers to continue to encourage them and help them grow.
Karl and Jenny also asked Pastor Wessie, a pastor who oversees the Finetown community work, what families in the area could benefit from food parcels. “He identified 20 foreign families from Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique, and we were able to deliver food parcels to them,” Jenny says. “Our hope is to build relationships with these families and bring hope to them.”
The Local Ecumenical Action Network
In partnership with their church, Karl and Jenny have joined the Local Ecumenical Action Network (LEAN) in their part of Johannesburg. LEAN is a locally initiated, community-level, organized group of interdenominational church leaders who respond to the particular issues facing their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As most South Africans have lost their jobs during the nine-week national lockdown period, food provision is the greatest need,” Karl says. “Through the nearly 20 churches/NGO’s in our area, over 750,000 meals have been distributed through food vouchers or parcels. These are distributed through local Christian leaders/pastors in about 21 poor communities.”
In addition to food distribution, Karl has been invited to coordinate the Church Planting Pillar of the LEAN. “This working group assists in providing gospel material with each food parcel and enlisting the contact details of every family. The goal is that each community leader/pastor can follow up with each family and form small disciple-making groups,” Karl says. “Each leader/pastor is being intentionally trained and mentored with the vision to plant at least 30 new churches in the next 12 months in our area.”
In the midst of the global pandemic, God is still building his church. Karl and Jenny are grateful for the unexpected ministry opportunities to bring hope to the communities where they live and work.
Pray with One Challenge
- Pray for finances to continue to help feed those in need in Finetown, South Africa.
- Pray for the HIV/AIDs caregivers as they continue to travel home to home to provide care. Pray the garden would help sustain their families. And pray for their deepening relationship with the Lord through the Bible study.
- Pray for Karl as he works with other church leaders to plant churches and find opportunities of discovery Bible groups, which are the beginning foundation for disciple making movements.
- Pray the Lord would bring the people of South Africa into his loving embrace.