Images by Phil... and June
Our South Africa Experience - 2007
March 28, 2007

We land in Johannesburg.  It’s great to see our friends, Stu and Marilyn Cook again.  We load into their little truck after changing our US dollars into Rand and head out on the 3-hour journey to their property--"Grace Place."  We stopped on the road for pizza outside of Nilestram (Nile Stream).  It rains a bit...  which is very welcome.

Finally, arriving at Grace Place, we go to the Cooks’ home, get our bearings, then head out for our little cottage.  We’re exhausted from the long trip, so we just collapsed in bed for the night.
April 3 – Tuesday: It's Soup Kitchen prep. day!Stu went to town for a new water tank and to get our share of the bread for sandwiches for the kids at Soup Kitchen tomorrow.While he was gone, I worked on putting together our *Vacation Bible School missions class materials. With Phil and Marilyn's input we completed a first draft.  I now have a list of the necessary photos we'll need.

Marilyn, Phil and I make 240 peanut butter and jam sandwiches for the kids at tomorrow’s Soup Kitchen day.

We're exhausted again!  This Jet-lag is a drag!  The 9 hour time difference really takes a toll...  it just takes time for our internal clock to adjust.

April 4 – Wednesday: Soup Kitchen day!One of the most important reasons we came is to witness, work and record this ministry.

About 8:00 am we load all of the sandwiches made yesterday, several gallons of water, and other supplies into the back of the truck.

We pick up Alise, Adam and their 3 kids (Helen, Madeleana, and Anna) on our way into Lesideng.We also pick up fresh, cold milk from a retired vet, who is now a dairy farmer.

We then picked up more sandwiches made by others (there’s90 loaves of bread to be made into sandwiches each week – enough for each child and attending adults (often 700 or more).

Update:   By mid 2009, the number of children attending has risen to over 900!

When we arrived at the Soup Kitchen tent, there was already a gang of kids waiting outside the fence.    Marilyn and eight other volunteers immediately begin shepherding the children and setting up.

There are three full sessions / one morning session at the tent with the pre-schoolers, another session at the extension (the community dump site), and a third afternoon session with the school age children, back in the tent.

The tent got very hot and the kids very loud... they were kids!  They spilled milk, dropped sandwiches in dust, but they picked them right up and ate without a pause.  The children are actually pretty well behaved and they really love to sing... loud!

See " The Prayer of The Children " Video  (just click on the photo to the right  -- >>>

Phil found a little shade beside a skinny little tree, so he set up his video camera there and I sat in the shade of a tin shack.

The children were curious, and because we couldn’t communicate is a common verbal language, I decided to see if they understood the language of peek-a-boo.  That was a really big hit!  They loved it, but I think I may have created a monster.... they "peek-a-boo'd" everything and everybody...  but their near uncontrollable laughter was music to our ears!

After lunch, we go back to the big tent for the 2:00 pm session (school kids). It’s pretty much a repeat of the morning but with the older children.

We actually fed and taught about 700 children that day. (that number has grown to over 900 since then).  By placing the glasses in rows of 10–they are able to know exactly how many children are fed during each session.