A few weeks ago I shared that one of our board members was preparing to travel to South Africa with Blessman Ministries to witness the progress of their farming program there. Today I would like to share with you some of the exciting things that he discovered while he was there.
One of the exciting projects is that they are raising approximately 800 boiler chickens, and they also have two large green houses in which they are growing tomatoes. Both the broiler chickens and the tomatoes are being used in their feeding program in which they provide nourishing supplemental meals to folks in the village surrounding the Del Cramer Campus, where most of the ministry of Blessman Ministries takes place. What they don’t use in their feeding program is being marketing, both in the local area and as far away as Johannesburg. They are also having much success raising maize and green beans, which are also used to feed the locals.
You may be familiar with the Iowa-based organization “Meals from the Heartland.” Much of the food that is served out of the Del Cramer Campus comes from this organization. Blessman Ministries uses some of its produce and poultry to increase the nutrient base of that product. It’s exciting to see like-minded organizations working together for the same end goal.
Near Jim and Beth Blessman’s home outside of the city of Mokapane, they are also starting a fish farming project. They have a small natural pond in which Tilapia is being raised. There is a market for the fish in Mokapane. Raising the fish not only to consume, but also to sell, expands the impact of this project.
Another project that Blessman Ministries is working on is drilling wells. One of the first hands-on ministries that Blessman Ministries carried out was an eye glass ministry through which they would visit local areas, do simple eye exams, and give eye glasses to those who needed them. What they discovered as they carried out this work was that the villages they visited did not have adequate access to clean water and also lacked proper sanitation. And so they have taken on this new and important project.
Because Blessman Ministries is faith-based, they provide worship opportunities to the local people each week. Attendance at their Sunday morning worship service is approximately 500 people from the surrounding village, over half of those in attendance being youth.
Blessman Ministries is doing important work among the people of the Limpopo Province of South Africa, providing regular access to proper nutrition for at-risk and orphaned children. They stress education as one of the greatest paths out of poverty. But, above all of this noble work, what is having possibly the biggest impact is the fact that Blessman Ministries and its supporters walk alongside the people, helping to empower them, giving them hope. They are building many things, but the most important things they are building are relationships. It’s really only when people come to trust one another that true positive and lasting change can occur.
It is a privilege for us to be connected to an organization having such a powerful impact on the world. They are growing hope in a very profound way.