Some of you might not know that for the last eight months I have been working with a non-profit missions organization called Kerus Global Education (www.kerusglobal.org). Kerus provides curriculum and training to help combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic that is ravaging entire communities throughout Africa. Over the years, Kerus has partnered with many organizations such as the former TWR (Trans World Radio), Willow Creek Community Church, and Samaritan’s Purse to bring God’s words of hope and change to a very needy population. Within the past few years, Kerus has also helped establish a series of orphan care centers that give daily support to nearly 300 orphans in some of the poorest townships of South Africa.
I initially learned about Kerus through my beautiful sister, Shannon Oldenburgh. In July 2015, Shannon saw a Facebook post written by her friend, Kimberly Hobbs. Kimberly was asking if anyone would be interested in putting together small gift bags that she and her husband would deliver to the orphaned children on an upcoming trip to South Africa in August. The moment that Shannon saw the post, she knew immediately that she was all in! Shannon made sweet bags with a birthday card, christmas card, a photo of themselves along with fun treats for the orphans. Shannon dreamt of going to Africa and being apart of this organization and meeting these children in person. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. In November, our family was shocked by the devastating news that Shannon had been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. On October 3, 2017 she passed away and was never able to fulfill her wish to visit the children in South Africa.
Losing my sister has been one of the most heartbreaking experiences I have ever been through. But even during this dark period, God has been reaching out and blessing me as He consoles me through my grief. He let me know that Shannon’s vision to participate in helping the orphan care center can continue through me! And He was right (as He always is). As I’ve continued to learn more about Kerus and the work they do with orphans, I have found light, joy, and a new-found passion to become more involved. To date, my main contribution to Kerus has been to donate pieces of my art to raise funds for their orphan care center in Soshanguve, a township located outside of Johannesburg.
But now God has called me to do even more. I am thrilled to announce that my amazing and supportive husband Frank and I are planning to visit and volunteer at the Kerus Go Amogela (means welcome) Orphan Care Center this coming September 17-30th! Mr. Fixit (Frank) has done remodeling and handyman work for most of our married life, so he brings a lot of useful skills to the table. He will not only be doing repairs, but he will also be teaching the children how to make repairs too. I will be doing what I do best--teaching art and loving on the kiddies! We are both so excited to meet them, while at the same time honoring one of the things on Shannon’s bucket list.
Never having done this type of travel, I am vitally aware of the importance of strong prayer covering us for a trip like this. I am asking you, my dear friends, family members, business associates, and clients that regardless of your particular faith background, that you stand with Frank and me in prayer as we make this trip.
I am also hoping that some of you will find it in your hearts (and pockets) to make a financial contribution. The total amount we are trying to raise is $3,500 which will cover a portion of the expenses we will incur as we help the organization. Since Kerus is a non-profit organization, all contributions are tax deductible. Please see below to learn how to make a donation.
I am excited about this opportunity and can’t wait to share amazing stories when I return!’’
Thanks so much for your support!
Shirley (and Frank) Slemc
P.S. This beautiful little girl is holding a picture of my sister Shannon that Kimberly brought with her to South Africa last August.
To Make a Contribution:
Kerus is a ministry of the International Foundation, which is not set up to receive credit card gifts, thus there is no opportunity to make online donations. To give a donation to Kerus, please follow the instructions below. Your receipt will come from the International Foundation, and 100% of your gift will go directly into the Kerus account.
Make check out to: International Foundation/Kerus
Designate check: South Africa Project
Mark Envelope with “Slemc” on the front.
Mail to: Kerus, 245 Newman Ave Suite B Harrisonburg, VA 22801