Friday, February 24, 2012

Jodi's Work at Ithemba Community Center.....


Homework Time

As Marius continues to train the mission participants with Global Challenge, I continue my work with the orphans and vulnerable children at Ithemba Community Center.  Ithemba means “Place of Hope”, and I believe that it really is that for many of these kids.  I thought you might like it if I could paint a better picture of this place and about the specific kids I work with each week. This way you can know who you are personally affecting every week as you help us be here on the mission field! And if you know them by name and see their beautiful faces - you might pray for them even more than you already do!

Dancing with "Stomp" on Sesame Street
Mary, Sihle,Jodi & Tadiwa

Ithemba consists of a pre-school with 60 kids ages 3-5, a kindergarten class of 20 kids, and an after school program (which is where I’m involved) with about 50 children.  Each child receives a nutritious meal, medical care, Biblical teaching, education, and most importantly love! Auntie Ria, who is associated with DeoDoxa Church, is the co-coordinator and she is the one who really started Ithemba.

Auntie Ria’s link to Ithemba:

Interestingly, it is a couple from good ole Atlanta, Georgia who are helping to fund Ithemba though. They have a very unique way of doing this. Gavin (who used to play for the Atlanta Falcons!) and Lindsay come over to Ithemba every year and have all of the kids paint on canvases. They take the canvases back to Georgia and sell each painting for $250 at different places all over the country, which is the money it takes to provide the care for one child for a year. With every painting sold, the buyer also receives a picture of the child who painted it and their name. Below are two links that tell a little more about the paintings – one of these segments aired on CNN!

Gavin and Lindsay’s organization – Luo:

The segment that featured on CNN:

Mary, Tadiwa, Sihlesonke, Liyema, and Linam are my girls. They are all English speaking (meaning English is either their 2nd or 3rd language), and their ages range from 6-8. We meet each week, and I help them with their homework. I always bring along a nice snack for them at the end – a big bowl of popcorn, all kinds of fruit, and we even had an ice-cream party!  We have lots of fun while doing their homework and then we spend some time either learning a Bible lesson, a song, or even watching Sesame Street. Last year we worked on the fruits of the Spirit, and we studied a different fruit of the Spirit each week, as well as weekly tasting a new fruit that they had never eaten before.

This year I started out the year with a little different approach. I really want to know them better so I can relate a little more. I brought lots of different magazines and let them pick the pages that really “speak” to them and then they had to tell me why. Boy did that help me learn a lot about these girls and where they’re coming from.  The comments from these 6 and 7 year olds really widen my perspective, as well as my compassion level for them!

The next week I asked them to draw me a picture of their very favorite thing in the whole wide world. Three of the five girls drew huge bags full of money and had hearts all around it. They are from very poor backgrounds, and broken families. I think that in their minds they truly believe if they had big bags of money ALL of their problems would be solved. It is really quite a challenging road discipling these little hearts, and I’m so privileged to be the one with the opportunity to do it! I really know that we are making a difference in their lives.



Thank you so much for being a part of this with me!
Lots and lots of love from Jeffreys Bay, South Africa,

1 comment:

  1. I use to volunteer at Ithemba almost 5 years ago. I stumbled across your blog via a friend Isabel. I am so glad that Ithemba still has a program and is helping kids. Makes my heart smile. I have so many memories there. I actually helped build the playground that is there. Well I hope it still is. Thank you for loving and working there. One day I hope to come back and visit.