It has been a while since you heard from me - my apologies! I recently returned from South Africa which is why the delay in my blog post. I travelled there once again with Blessman Ministries. Each time I go I have a more rewarding experience and learn more about the impact the organization is having among the people. Of the variety of work Blessman Ministries is doing among the people of South Africa, I would have to say the thing that most makes their work effective is the fact that they have chosen to make the country their home. It is one thing to visit a place for a time, try to do some good while you are there, and then return home. It is another thing altogether to leave your home behind, and replace it with a new home. The reason this makes their work so effective is it tells the people "we care about you so much that we choose to make a new life for ourselves, here, among you."
I remember a story I heard long ago of a missionary who went to serve in a community of lepers. The missionary lived among the people for decades, giving his all for the people. The people appreciated his efforts but they never seemed to fully trust him as "one of them." Feeling almost a failure, one day he decided it was time to return to his native land. He was on his way to catch a flight for home when he glanced down at his arms, turned around, and ran back to the community of lepers. He was overjoyed for he himself had contracted leprosy! Now he knew they would trust him, because they would see he could fully understand them!
Establishing trust takes time and commitment. People want to feel they are understood, and the best way to demonstrate you understand someone is to walk in their shoes. This is what the Blessmans are doing in making their home among the people they are trying to help.
I look forward to future trips to continue to witness the positive impact they are having on so many lives.
Blessings to you, my friends,