Monthly Archives: October 2020

Small Beginnings

Tamryn, Elyse, Francis

The more I hear about ministries, the more I see that most big organizations started with people obeying God. That is how we started. When the COVID-19 Lockdown hit South Africa, people started to starve. My friends Tamryn Wells, Francis Dos Santos, and I knew we needed to do something. We knew people were starving, but we didn’t know who needed help. I don’t know if I have ever said this or ever will again but Thank God for Facebook! People started posting for help on our community group. We started with cooking and delivering meals every weekday. We also did some small food parcels for some and bigger food parcels for others who didn’t get cooked meals every day.

Cooked meals for the families.

 At any given time, we are helping about 30 people. There are a few regular families that we support with food and clothes as they try to rebuild from Lockdown. We also have people who pass through our help. Maybe they only need help for a month until they find a job.

Challenges emerged, and we were forced to be adaptable. In July, we had a COVID scare. All three of us were exposed to someone who had COVID-19. So we semi-quarantined. None of us got COVID-19 by the way. We lost our cook because she went back to work. So, we moved to more food parcels over cooked meals. Throughout Lockdown, people were extremely generous, giving what they could. Tamryn’s father was driving all over, even to the farms, and coming home with a truck load of food. Grocery stores were donating their just expired stuff with us (which they are still doing). Individuals were sharing what they could even if it was just one thing. As time went on, people were giving less and less until we had nothing coming in. Fran, Tamryn, and I took a week to ask the Lord if this was it. Was this only supposed to be for a season or should we continue? If we were to continue, how would we do it?

The answer came to us. We joined Tamryn’s dad’s ministry Reaching and Teaching. We had been partnering with him throughout Lockdown, mutually sharing what we received to help the communities of Kempton Park and Primrose (another suburb in Johannesburg). Our church has partnered with Reaching and Teaching for years, helping with school supplies for the school that was started in a township called Sebokeng. Every year the ladies knit and crochet hat, scarves, and mittens for the kids at the school.

To support the community of Kempton Park, we need about $2000 a month. This includes necessities for the families (food, clothing that we can’t get donated, over the counter meds) and gas money for the deliveries. Occasionally, we help with a GP doctor visit as many of the people we help have medical problems. We have helped with transport to and from government hospitals as well.

Last week’s deliveries

If you would like to partner with us, we need monthly donations, but we would happily accept one-time donations as you are able as well. You can donate by going to reachingandteachingsa.org and the go to the How Can I Help link. All donations go through Paypal. Unfortunately, to be tax-deductible, you cannot specify on the donation that it is for the Kempton Park outreach. Therefore, when you donate if you could send a message to me at elyse.j.seal@gmail.com or reach out to me via Facebook messenger and tell me:

  1. How much you are donating
  2. If it is a monthly gift or a one-time gift.
  3. When you gave

That will allow me to know how much we are receiving and organize it for our finance person at Reaching and Teaching.

In the weeks to come, I will be sharing the stories of our families as they allow. I will also be sharing updates and ways to pray for us and the families. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. We can even set up a call. You can visit our Facebook page too at https://www.facebook.com/reachingandteachingministries/

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The Long Awaited Update

I have sat down to write this update several times, but up until now, there was still nothing to tell you except that we are still waiting. When COVID-19 hit South Africa in March, everything was shut down. South Africa slowly reopened over the last six months. First, we could come out for a few hours a day to exercise. Then, right as winter hit, the clothing stores opened. Clothing flew off the shelves as soon as it got there as we experienced one of the coldest winters in five years. School opened, then closed, then opened, then closed, then took a little break, and finally opened with strict protocols. Once barbers could open their doors again, there was a three hour wait for their services especially since only one client could come in at a time. I danced a little when we were legally allowed to visit each other again. I could have danced down the aisles when our church reopened too. On September 16th, we finally went down to Lockdown level 1. Immigration and international travel opened again.

Last Monday we went to an immigration consultant, we were told that we have two options. We can return to the USA and apply for Ryan’s critical skill visa there however South Africa is still restricting travel to high risk countries and as always, the USA is number one. We would have to get permission to travel to and from the States from a high up government official. We would also have to each have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of travel. The other option is to get a waiver and apply for the visas in South Africa. To do this, Ryan must have a job offer or contract and getting the waiver takes six weeks. Then we can apply for visas and permanent residence.

We are opting for the second choice because if we leave South Africa, we may not be able to return. Our current visas are valid until next year December, so we have time.

We have been asked time and time again, why are you staying in South Africa? Wouldn’t it be easier to move back to the USA? Yes, it would but both of us have a strong feeling that God is not done with us here in South Africa. We miss you all dearly especially our family, but we need to be here. Our ministry here has changed but it is not done.

In our last letter, we told you that Elyse and some other women in our church were helping the needy in our community. What started as helping one or two other families has become a full-blown ministry over the last six months. We are helping ten families now. The number waxes and wanes as people get back on their feet or lose contact with us. We help with food parcels and cooked meals the most. We also help with clothing and transportation. We have taken people to the hospital for treatment and even paid for some doctor appointments. We raised money for rent for an elderly gentleman who was in a bad and dangerous position. We raised enough to pay rent for a year. We have helped a little with gas money for a lady who needed to get back and forth to court. We are trying to find housing for a homeless man right now. We are also helping a family protect a woman and kids from an abusive father. We connect with other Nonprofit Organizations and support each other. We have become a community with these families, some more than others. Some of the ladies have started cooking with us. Some are giving of what they have and collecting donations for others. The helped are becoming the helpers. We are joining with a friend’s NPO so we can be legitimate. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I am going to be fundraising again. Many of you have reached out to me in the last six months and given before I even asked. Thank you. Your donations and prayers kept us going. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing the stories of the people we are helping as they allow. Walking with these people has broken me. The people we are helping have broken and painful paths that have led them to us. But our God is one who heals and restores.

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