In 2007, Damascus Road Community Church began its partnership with the Tugela Ferry Mission of South Africa offering much needed prayer, friendship and resources under a spirit of servanthood and respect. The Mission includes the Rock of Life Church, the Khayelisha Care Centre, and the Lobethal Independent School. It’s a small mission in terms of staff members and resources, but its influence is wide spread throughout the region.
At the southern tip of Africa lies the beautiful country of South Africa, a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Along the Indian Ocean coastline is the home of the Zulu people in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. In the center of the province is the remote, mountainous rural area of Tugela Ferry, a desperately poor part of the country with an estimated 1 million people.
The deep poverty of the local population is blatantly apparent as one enters the valley. The traditional huts are made of mud with thatch roofs, with no visible basic infrastructure of clean water, sanitation or electricity.
In 2005, Tugela Ferry came to the world stage as doctors at the Church of Scotland Hospital, under the leadership of Dr. Tony Moll, started noticing something terribly wrong with the HIV-infected patients. This small, rural hospital of 355 beds serves around 250,000 patients. By 2006, an outbreak of a deadly and almost incurable form of tuberculosis was reported in Tugela Ferry. This epidemic of TB was the largest ever recorded in the world. The multi-drug resistant TB occurs largely among HIV-infected people, estimated at 40% of the population, in particular those with terminal AIDS. Patients who are co-infected with TB and HIV stand little chance of survival.
The population in Tugela Ferry is among the poorest, living in deplorable conditions that increase their vulnerability to diseases of poverty. The adults in the poor households are largely illiterate and do not speak English. Their subsistence livelihoods have become inadequate as a means to sustain their families, and there is virtually no formal employment. Herding animals is the primary economic activity and the area is mostly unsuitable for crop farming, except for some plots along the Tugela River.
In the midst of this desolated community is the Rock of Life Church, a local Christian mission, led by Mabasso Barnabas and a group of respected elders. Today, Rock of Life Church has over 3,000 members with 20 satellite churches throughout the region. Collectively, they are spreading the good news of the gospel and bringing Christian values to the traditional Zulu way of life.
Pastors and community leaders have been encouraged and trained through the Bible teachings of Pastor Richard and other DRCC church members during Africa Mission trips. Rock Of Life Church and its satellite churches have also been given support through construction, renovations and tiling skills taught to church members by Charles Kim and Bob McIntyre.
Help provide Bible instruction and related resources to pastors, elders and members of the church
Help build satellite churches and make needed improvements to the existing church (windows, benches, roofing, etcetera).
(Cost: $25,000/ church)
The Khayelisha Centre, headed by Elzeth Marlherbe, a truly modern-day Mother Theresa, provides holistic care for about 900 orphans and vulnerable children addressing their emotional, spiritual and social welfare. The Center has a holistic family support program – with food, shelter, education and health services – throughout the communities. It serves as a residence for orphaned and vulnerable girls and boys, provides placement for children in foster care homes, and has a feeding program to ensure that no street children go hungry.
Through the support of DRCC, the Center has begun to produce nutritional food supplements in a water conservative way.
Help assist community workers, who care for some 900 households of vulnerable children. Support includes improved housing, supplemental nutrition, and educational assistance.
Both local and overseas volunteers are much needed. We’re looking for U.S.-based volunteers for website development and maintenance. Volunteers willing to commit to 3-6 months on the ground in South Africa could provide a variety of assistance in areas such as social work, vegetable gardening and office administration. Housing included.
If interested, click HERE.
The Lobethal Independent School serves over 300 children under the leadership of its principal, Debbie Moll, and is considered to be one of the best schools in the region.
DRCC has supported the construction of school facilities and additional classrooms, as well as provided school supplies, teaching materials, professional training, tools and a feeding program for 20 children to receive daily food during school.
Help supply the school with clean water through the building of a rainwater capturing system.
Help expand school size with the building of additional classrooms and eventually, a new campus. Each new classroom houses about 60 students.
(Cost: $11,000/ classroom; or $367/ student)
Help twenty carefully selected children from very humble circumstances receive a meal a day in school allowing them to study without feeling hungry.
(Cost: $200/ child/ year)
The school is in particular need of instructional materials for teaching the children mathematics.
(Cost: $20/ 5 students)
This teacher development package includes travel costs, insurance and accommodations for a two-month session, in which teachers gain training in these areas:
Help provide laptops and computer software augmenting students’ ability to learn and do research.
(Cost: approximately $500)
We belong to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. And He invites us to belong to a community of faith. Whether a lifetime Christian, a new believer or just curious about the faith, you are welcome here at Damascus Road Community Church. Understand what we believe, who makes up our leadership team and the pathway to membership.
In a larger church it can be a challenge to feel personally connected. Allow us to help you. Whether searching for calendar information, a larger event in which to get a better taste of DRCC, a smaller group to be a part of, or personal care for the struggles and celebrations of life… this is a good place to start.
Grow in biblical knowledge and spiritual wisdom. Know what you believe and how to apply it to your everyday life. Sink deep roots into God’s Word through our ministries, classes or sermon library resources, and be better equipped to give an answer for your faith, discern truth and weather the storms of life.
As Christ gave his life for us, so also we give back to our local community of faith a portion of our time, talent and treasure. In so doing we release the grip of selfishness and idolatry in our lives. And our brothers and sisters receive the encouragement they need to carry on.
Beyond our home, school and workplace, Damascus Road Community Church offers opportunities to go near and far in sharing the Good News of Christ through tangible acts of service. Our missions’ teams partner with established churches and pastors to spread the Gospel, nurture long-term relationships and build sustainable solutions to address needs for today and into the future.