We could not have imagined we'd be a part of a network providing 4,000 to 5,000 meals per day for kids from our beloved township 4 months ago. But hey...even in the midst of COVID, God can do more than we can ask or imagine!
Case and Point:
This precious beauty just filled up her bowl and tummy at our brand new soup kitchen in Masiphumelele!!!
In South Africa, unemployment has hit a historic high. Foreigners (asylum seekers and refugees) don't qualify for government help. Hunger is the greater pandemic the poor now face...
In light of this, such generosity has flowed in from you - supporters and supporting churches! We've also been able to partner with incredible local people from Masiphumelele. (In particular, Mamma Edith, Okhulhle and Asiphe and the staff of Clever Kids. Bless you!) This dedicated crew are the hands and faces behind the meals, serving up God's love on a plate and empowering their own community. What began as delivering food parcels to needy families has grown into a fully functioning soup kitchen and greater network feeding the children of Masiphumelele. The work is 4 pronged:
1) Currently, our "Jesus House" soup kitchen provides hot lunches for 300 kids, 4 days per week. (Our team will continue as long as there is need.)
2) We supply Mamma Edith's soup kitchen. This incredible woman feeds another 150 kids, 3x per week, from her little living room. (Together that's 1650 meals per week!)
3) We continue to deliver food parcels which feed 30 families (especially foreigners) for a week.
4) We are networked with 32 other soup kitchens who coordinate through our "Jesus House" in Masiphumelele. Together we feed 4,000 to 5,000 children in Masi, per day!
(Many of these soup kitchens will run out of government funding in August. But, our prayer is to be able to continue ours because the need is still there.)
This partnership with you, us, and the incredible local heroes of Masiphumelele is creating a pocket of hope and goodness in the midst of a pandemic. It's truly fulfilling this scripture: "Feed the hungry. Help those in trouble. Then your light will shine & darkness will be as bright as noon." Isaiah 58:10.
Mamma Edith feeds 150 kids, 3x per week, from her little house in Masi. Recently, her stove broke and, thanks to your donations, we could get her a new one within a day! Below: While our kids help out, Asiphe (TL) and Okhuhle (BR) work day in and day out feeding their own community. They are also local heroes. Theirs are the faces, hearts, and brains behind the feeding program. Africans reach Africa best, and our job is to serve them as they become Kingdom leaders amongst their own people.
SOMETIMES THE GOSPEL MUST BE SERVED ON A PLATE:
Jesus preached the Good News. (The word Gospel is actually Greek for Good News.) Most of us find Good News in God’s forgiveness of sin. Or, in the promise of eternal life. But for the poor, Good News has to mean even more. Telling a single mother her afterlife is guaranteed when she doesn’t have enough food to feed her children today, really isn’t good news for her…at least not all of it. If l I tell you Jesus can take away your sins but not your hunger, again, that’s not Good News. When you're poor, what sets Jesus apart is that he cared about bodies. He healed bodies; he defied powers that would harm bodies; he multiplied loaves of bread and fed bodies. Nobel Peace Prize winner Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu said,"The gospel to a hungry person is a loaf of bread.” When we feed children in the name of Jesus during the COVID pandemic, we’re showing them God cares as much about them in THIS life as He does the NEXT. We’re showing their parents that God loves their children, body and soul. In South Africa, the Gospel that will save you SOMEDAY has been preached far and wide with very little Kingdom impact.. After 14 years here, we know a Gospel served on a plate is much more likely to be digested in the soul.
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Kevin and Tonya Stanfield
Serving in South Africa since 2007