Stephen Jones, one of our members, part of the Pastoral Care team and a teacher, is to visit Mtubatuba, South Africa, this summer. Here, he explains why.
During a vision day at church in 2017, Alan Bell and Ian Portwine, having recently returned from South Africa, shared their experience. This included a recount of meeting two 17-year-olds in a township who, having had no education, thought the world was flat.
As a Christian and a teacher I found their experiences very challenging and began to explore the possibility of travelling to South Africa to support the church in anyway that God would reveal but especially to use my skills as a teacher.
After discussions with several of our church leaders in South Africa I was invited to travel to Mtubatuba and work alongside the staff at Mtuba Christian Academy and Destiny House (a children’s home). The school and children’s home have been established by Grace Community Church (part of our Regions Beyond Church family) in the district of Kwazulu-Natal. This is a region with one of the highest rates of HIV infections, orphans and poverty in South Africa.
God has faithfully provided funding for the trip (courtesy of a HMRC rebate and additional responsibilities from leading two schools), as well as providing appropriate timing for the visit (Schools in the UK break up for our summer holiday when schools in South Africa have just begun their spring term!)
I will leave the UK on Monday 24th July to travel to Mtubatuba where I will work in the school and children’s home until Sunday 13th August. I will be supporting staff in both areas and especially in the school helping with curriculum development as well as working alongside individual staff. This is an exciting opportunity to serve God and the church and I have been blown away by his provision and preparation for the trip. Over and over again he has shown me that he gives more than we can even see or imagine is possible. He truly is a ‘Good, Good Father!’
Please would you pray for safe travel; good health during the visit; developing long-term relationships with staff and pupils; that time will be used wisely throughout the visit; for opportunities to share my own faith in God; as well as planning for future opportunities for myself and other members of Emmanuel to support the school, children’s home and church.