Oakdale (IL) Mission Team Working in South Africa

Post a Comment » Written on July 3rd, 2008     
Filed under: News
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (July 3, 2008) – A 27-member delegation from Oakdale Covenant Church in Chicago is working this week with a YMCA camping program near Cape Town, part of a mission trip designed to respond to a need for specialized services among not only camp participants, but township residents as well.

The group left Chicago last Friday and is scheduled to return on Sunday. Participants include educators, medical professionals, ministers and youth from the church. Leading the team is Dr. Ernestine Riggs, associate professor of education at Loyola University in Chicago.

Oakdale has been sending youth on mission trips to South Africa since 2004. “After several visits, the youth ministry group began to recognize that many of the children they were serving were in need of specialized services,” states an update provided to Covenant News Service. Working with the South Africa’s Cape Town YMCA, senior pastor D. Darrell Griffin appointed a committee of professionals who brought together a team of experts to evaluate and responds to the needs.

At Griffin’s request, Riggs assembled educators from among Oakdale’s congregation, including teachers and school principals, as well as health specialists and individuals to focus on the needs of campers.

Health professionals are doing health screening and providing training for children and parents afflicted with HIV-Aids. Oakdale’s youth minister, Bryndan Loritts, is working with seminary students from North Park University and Moody Bible Institute as well as church youth leaders.

Ministry staff are leading various camp activities with a focus on sharing Christ with camp participants. “Many of the youth who have gone to South Africa in past years are committing themselves to mission,” a spokesperson notes. “One of the unique elements of this program is that each member must participate in a six-week mission class that teaches the purpose of mission and how to serve on the mission field.” That class is taught by pastor Melvin Dillard, who has served as an Evangelical Covenant Church missionary in several locations, including Congo.

Following its arrival last Saturday, the group joined His People Kuilsriver Church for Sunday morning worship. Monday’s activities for the educational participants included Eikendal Primary School, focusing in areas of literacy and mathematics; Themba Care, working with nurses to help HIV-Aids patients with home care; and township visits to Langa and Guguletu.

Tuesday included a presentation to parents and educators at the Cape Town YMCA, as well as a visit to the Doetwater refugee camp. Wednesday, the group shared with educators, visited a prison’s educational facilities and interacted with staff, and met with the township mayor and members of the town council.

Today, the group is scheduled to interact with adult learning classes at Polsmoor Prison and visit the University of Cape Town. Friday’s agenda includes a tour of Cape Town and surrounding areas, with Saturday calling for a visit to Robin Island and the prison where Nelson Mandela was held captive.

Mission team participants include: Educators: Angela Price-Freeman, Cenietta Mullins, Danyale Woods, Eliza Williams, Elizabeth Ferrell, Eloise  Kelly, Ernestine Riggs, Evelyn Wheeler, Janell Hutcherson, Jean Shea, Joy Dillard, Margaret West, Maureen West, Megan Shea, Reginald Burrows, Sharon White, Terrance Smith, Vanessa Wilson; Nurses: Virginia Julion, Felecia Wilson; Bible Camp staff: pastor Bryndan Loritts, Lucretia Loritts, Ashley Smith, Terrance Smith, Jeremiah Hines, pastor Leslie Sanders, Dawn Brame.

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