Country Club Christian Church visit to South Africa
In March, a group from Country Club Christian Church, Kansas City, Missouri, visited our missionary partners, Jon and Dawn Barnes, in South Africa. During their 2-week trip, they were able to visit various projects. The trip began with a work project in New London, at the Samaritan Center, a hospice care facility for persons with HIV/AIDS.
The group then traveled to the town of Tsomo in Transkei. This visit included a home-stay and visits to the “chicken project.” Jon and Dawn Barnes, Global Ministries, and the Country Club Christian Church have worked together to partner with this community on economic development. Here community members run their own business – a chicken project.
Next was a visit to the Intliziyo Project in Queenstown, where some of the group members had visited in 2005. At that time the project was in its infancy. It has grown with each year and has evolved so that they may better meet the needs of those persons who turn to them for help.
The group also spent half a day with the almost 650 students of the Netwon Phillipton Primary School in Fort Beaufort. They had brought bookmarks from children in Kansas City, and worked with the South African children to make bookmarks to take back to the Kansas City children.
Finally, the group made a visit to the Cape of Good Hope and a trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners had been held from 1960 – 1991.
For additional information on the group’s adventure, read their blog at:
Country Club Christian Church: Love Pays Attention
Dawn and Jon Barnes
Country Club Christian Church (CCCC) in Kansas City, Missouri pays attention to the Kei Region of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA)! Why? Because “Love pays attention!” This was the theme of CCCC’s latest visit to South Africa.
Philippians 1: 9-11 (from The Message) reads as follows, “So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You will need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.”
Country Club Christian Church began a partnership with the Kei Region of the UCCSA and with Global Ministries’ missionaries, Jon and Dawn Barnes, who serve the Kei Region, in 2004. The church was seeking a long term relationship so that their church could be in true partnership with a church across the globe. Country Club is a large congregation and they were looking at ways to involve their whole membership in mission.
Country Club sent a mission team of twelve members in 2005 to the Eastern Cape of South Africa. While here, the team learned that doing a work project has its place, but that real mission began when they started building relationships with our South African brothers and sisters. This is what Global Ministries refers to as “ministry of critical presence.” For Global Ministries, partnerships should not be about what “we” can do for others, but should focus on relationships and dialogue, knowing that while we have much to contribute, we also have much to learn from our brothers and sisters in other cultures and contexts.
In light of this emphasis on relationships, last year Country Club Christian invited three South Africans to come to the United States to have a cross-cultural exchange. The three were involved in church services, visited HIV/AIDS projects in Kansas City, and even experienced a Major League baseball game! The South Africans were hosted in the homes of congregants. Many times were set aside for meals and fellowship, which helped the larger congregation feel even more connected to their South Africa partners. This is what partnerships are all about – both sides giving and exchanging.
This past March, another group from Country Club Christian visited South Africa and the Kei Region again. They were a group of thirteen, with about half of the participants coming to South Africa for the first time, and half having come on the previous trip. Although some of the experiences were new, the group also revisited locations and people they met in 2005. It was wonderful to see the hugs and embraces as relationships were renewed and partnerships deepened.
Country Club Christian and the Kei Region of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa have formed a great partnership, one that is focused on relationships, mutual sharing and learning, and growing together as sisters and brothers in Christ.