Theology in South Africa

The Perkins Global Theological Education Program prepares Christian leaders for complex cultural experiences through seminars and significant immersion experiences in other cultures. Students learn to build intercultural relationships, resolve cultural conflicts and guide intercultural ventures. In South Africa, participants are gaining insights into Christian hope in the region by exploring the political, economic, sexual, racial, and gender-complex experiences of the people of South Africa, and by participating in varieties of church and community-based ministries in Cape Town and Durban. This course is led by Dr. Evelyn L. Parker, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Practical Theology.

Perkins students also are blogging this summer from France at blog.smu.edu/studentadventures/category/theology-in-france/

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Helping Care for Children at Orphanage

JessicaAn update from Jessica, a Perkins School of Theology student studying in South Africa:

Today, Michelle and I went to an orphanage in Cape Town called Nazareth House, which takes care of orphaned children from birth until adulthood (unless otherwise adopted), as well as senior citizens in need.

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Nazareth House, at Table Mountain

Many of the children suffer from health challenges such as cerebral palsy, HIV/AIDS, burns, and other maladies. Today, I mainly worked with the 12 infant children, caring for their basic needs and trying to give them as much one-on-one attention as possible. A few of the children were incredibly tiny, as they were born prematurely. It was so sad to think that these children are without parents (many of them came to Nazareth on their first day).

Michelle primarily worked with toddlers, playing with them in the beautiful yard filled with palm trees. The women were short-staffed today, and so they were very grateful to have our help. Because of the children’s position, we were not allowed to take pictures of them; however, I did take some pictures of the orphanage so everyone could see how gorgeous it is sitting right at the bottom of Table Mountain.

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At Pine Town Methodist’s community garden

A few days ago, we also had the opportunity to use our green thumbs. We divided up into several groups and assisted some of the caretakers at Pine Town Methodist church by helping them work in their community gardens. The church has created many of these gardens all around the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal. They are a cheap way for the caretakers to provide nutritious fruits and vegetables to the many orphaned children who are now in their care. It was impressive to see how the Zulu people use everything they have for multiple purposes. They do not use any unnatural chemicals or pesticides and use all organic fertilizers. This helps ensure the safety and freshness of the food. They gave me some to sample and it was easy to notice the difference. The gardeners begin and end every work day in prayer and were so hospitable to me.

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    One Response to Helping Care for Children at Orphanage

    1. Arthur says:

      Hi Jessica,

      A nicely worded post!! Being a student of theology you’ve rightly lived up to your mission to spread the Divine Message that ‘service to man, is service to God’. I think you should posts write-up like these on some of the highly respected online journals so as to let a larger audience know about your community service.

      Yes, helping those unfortunate orphans would’ve certainly felt like Heaven on Earth. When the world is struggling with scarcity of food and that too of good, nutritious value, the community garden developed by the Methodist Church is really commendable. This will help to cut down on the effect of inflation that is playing upon the price of groceries and other household items.

      Here, I would suggest that the locals get their agricultural plots tested for salinity, microbial compost and other fertility related standards. This will increase the productivity of the lands, thus resulting in greater amount of harvest year after year. However, for more information I would suggest that readers of this article go through what the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has to say about sustainable diets and biodiversity.

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