My name is Darrel Huff and I serve as chairman of the board for Bethesda Outreach Ministries International (BOMI), a not-for-profit company in the USA. BOMI was formed to support Bethesda Outreach Ministries South Africa (BOMSA), a not-for-profit South African Company, whose mission is:
to help local churches meet the needs of orphan children so that they might become disciples of Christ.
On behalf of our organizations, I want to thank our many supporters. Whether you’ve made the trek to our property in Hammanskraal to serve by participation in construction projects or sports camps, supported our missionary staff financially or in prayer, raised funds for our Christmas Offering projects, written prayer letters to increase awareness of our needs, or made clothes and blankets for our children – each of your efforts helps us achieve our mission. Witnessing churches in South Africa and the United States bring together their time, talent, and resources in order “to visit orphans in their affliction” (James 1:27) in Jesus’ name is a beautiful thing! God’s mandate to care for the orphan was given to Christ followers and is a strong testimony to the world when they see the unity of God’s people assisting the oppressed!
I cannot overstate the importance of partnering with churches in both the USA and RSA in order to accomplish our organizational task. Our governing boards illustrate this partnership and spirit of cooperation as our members come from many different churches across South Africa, Zambia and the United States. We are varied in our backgrounds and cultures as we have pastors, business leaders, an educator, a physician, and both men and women. Each one seeks to raise awareness of the needs of the orphan and vulnerable child (OVC) in their sphere of influence, helps raise funds to meet those needs and assists in searching for other individuals who can help us accomplish the tasks identified by the organization. I appreciate each board member and the unity we enjoy in Christ working side by side to care for the children God has given us. We want our children to come to know Christ as Father and enter His “forever family,” just as we have.
Churches working together for the good of the children creates positive ripples and waves. This God-ordained ripple effect may reach a far distant shore, and sometimes, only after much time has passed. Let me illustrate with a personal example. I will soon be 54 years old and when I was a teenager, my father served on a governing board for another OVC ministry our church supported. There, he met a foster parent in that organization who eventually helped start BOMSA. He invited my dad (a building contractor) to South Africa to help with construction projects on the property. My parents then organized a team of individuals from our church to help and this started a relationship between our church and BOMSA that resulted in several more teams with new and returning members making the journey to South Africa. My wife, children, and I took one of those trips that later led to my appointment to the board, as well as another trip where we provided an eye care clinic to the children at the Christian school on property. One of our younger members returned to serve as an intern for a summer and two older church members returned to serve as interim teachers at the school. Our church also hosted the annual board meeting for Bethesda in 2015 which helped to further solidify the relationship and our financial and prayer support for Bethesda is ongoing.
Currently, my daughter (who witnessed firsthand the needs of orphans and vulnerable children during our first trip to South Africa as a family) and her husband are in the process of becoming foster parents with the desire to adopt should this become an option. Many of her personal friends are also making similar commitments. My wife is in the early stages of pursuing her desire to provide an interim safe haven for babies that may be placed for adoption and is planning to stop working outside the home soon in order to help with our foster (and first!) grandchildren. We also have many friends who have now adopted internationally or are involved in foster care. So much of this has occurred as a ripple effect of individuals in a church initially answering the call to help meet the needs of orphans in accordance with God’s Word many years ago. The gospel of Jesus Christ is being advanced in the process as people witness these actions of the church.
The sheer volume of needs in OVC ministry can be overwhelming. It is through partnering with churches both in the USA and South Africa that we at Bethesda can increase awareness of these needs at home and abroad and help bring resources to bear and help meet them — one child at a time. May God bless each one of you in your ongoing efforts to help these children and thank you in advance for your continued prayers for God to be glorified through the ongoing work at Bethesda Outreach Ministries.
Psalm 90:17 “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us, yes,
establish the work of our hands!”