We are just now gearing up for Jack Frost’s blast, but South Africa’s winter has already come and gone. For us, the coming chill will be warded off with a slight adjustment of a thermostat, and by slipping into a warm coat and a pair of gloves.
For our friends in South Africa, the cold is not so easily defeated. Many of us would be surprised to learn that Johannesburg lies at an elevation of 5,750 feet, on the same high plateau that spreads over much of South Africa. So although the winter days are mild, the average nighttime low temperature for the majority of South Africa’s people is somewhere in the 30’s.
As a result, many of the families our Champions serve suffer terribly. They live in tin shacks with no insulation and no way to safely heat their homes, Those fortunate enough to have the bare-bones boxes of government housing fare little better. Because many can’t afford electricity, pathetic paraffin stoves are the main meager source of heat. Devastating fires and CO2 asphyxiations are not uncommon.
Why tell you this rather depressing news? Because of a bright, warm spot in Mookgopong, created by Peter and Desiree Fisher at the Oasis Of Hope Community Center.
You see, June marks the beginning of the winter school holidays during which many children are left roaming the streets with no adult supervision, and nothing constructive to do.
Left to their own devices, some of them get into trouble. Even worse, they are vulnerable to abduction by gangs that perform crude, illegal circumcisions. These children are held captive in the bush, and parents have to pay a ransom to secure their release.
The children enjoyed organized games and free play time, ate nutritious, freshly made meals, all within the security of the fenced compound of Oasis of Hope. Members of the Fisher’s congregation and high schoolers from the community volunteered their time to assist Desiree and Peter with the activities and meal preparation.
The program began with a handful of children, but by the end of the first week over 40 kids were attending, and by the end of the second week over 65 children were attending. Altogether, more than 100 children participated by time school resumed!
And all of this was for free.
Except we know nothing is free, right? That’s where you come in. Your support enables the give the families of their community the chance to experience God’s love in real, honest, tangible ways.
Your donations go directly to Champions like Peter and Desiree. Your support profoundly impacts the lives of young children and their families.
As you adjust the thermostat tonight, please remember our brothers and sisters, and their daughters and sons in South Africa. Help us help them make more bright, warm spots.
SideBySide with you, Joel