Bethesda Outreach Ministries was born out of a desire to show compassion to children in Africa who had been orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS. The desire resulted in a survey trip being made to Africa in May of 2000 by a group from Evangelical Baptist Missions (EBM). Their intent was to discover what options were available to assist the local church in carrying out a Biblical response to a devastating situation. A proposal was accepted by EBM to build a children's village. The village would be an environment where children orphaned by HIV/AIDS would be raised by national Christian houseparents, so that the children might become disciples of Christ.
South Africa was chosen as the first country in which to build a children's village, and property was purchased north of Pretoria in Hammanskraal. In October of 2000, Bethesda Outreach Ministries became a South African company, incorporated under Section 21. A South African couple moved onto the property in December of 2000 to start a baby ministry, and the first EBM missionaries arrived in May of 2001 to focus on developing the first village.
The property purchased was in need of rezoning, and the process was started to gain approval to build. In January and February of 2003, Bethesda obtained status as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. At the same time, Bethesda's first houseparent couple moved onto the property and began caring for children.
In the late months of 2002, it became apparent that the original property would not pass the rezoning regulations, and another piece of property was purchased in June of 2003 on which to build the children's village. In January of 2004 ground was broken to begin Phase One of the village construction, which was completed in August 2004.
Bethesda's Hands of Mercy ministry was begun in 2004, with the purpose of providing teaching, training resources, and educatory support to those in the surrounding churches and communities who wish to gain expertise in caring for orphans within their area.
In January 2005 Bethesda's Jabulane Christian Academy began operating on the property, beginning with Grades 1-6. In January 2006, Grade R was added. In January of 2007, Jabulane opened its doors to children in the surrounding community.
In June 2005, Phase Two of construction was completed and by December, Phase Three was also finished. Currently there are five Bethesda families caring for orphan children within the children's village. Bethesda Outreach Ministries received Child Care Registration from the province of Gauteng in October 2006.
In 2007 Bethesda received notification that the Application for Funding of a Children's Home was approved by Gauteng Social Development. By the end of the year, Bethesda Outreach Ministries had obtained government subsidy approval and was granted the title as an official Children's Home in Gauteng.
During 2008, approval was also granted for the beginning of the construction of a new childcare and guest housing unit.
During 2009, Bethesda was able to add two new house parents to Bethesda. Bethesda was also able to open their first satellite home as one of our families moved to Soshanguve leaving room for a new family to move onto the Bethesda property. In September 2009, construction began on the seventh childcare home and guest rooms.
In April 2010, construction was completed on the child care unit and guest rooms. The occupation of this building is dependent on the completion of the entrance roadwork, which is need for the proclamation of the village. In August, a couple arrived to be trained for a new orphan care ministry through Lusaka Baptist Church in Zambia. This ministry was first discussed in 2007 and is now becoming a reality.
In August of 2011 the mandated new entrance for Bethesda Outreach was completed and Bethesda Outreach Ministry International, Inc. became an official 510c3 company. Sadly, our parent organization, Evangelical Baptist Mission, announced plans to dissolve but this gave us many opportunities to see God's provision to Bethesda.
Confident that Bethesda Outreach Ministries is in God's sovereign and all-powerful hands, the work continues to move ahead as God provides the necessary financial and human resources. Village plans are steadily progressing toward the goal of having a village complete with child-care homes, educational facilities, recreational and multi-purpose facilities, and administrative facilities. To God be the glory...great things He has done.
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