Preparation Time

Posted in Uncategorized on June 20, 2016 by mwalker99

Monday June 20, 2016

Yesterday was team packing day. The group got together to pack the team bags with supplies for the retreat, vitamins for the kids (50,000 of them in packs of 90) and wound care supplies for Nellie and her home health aides. The it was time to head to church for the trip to be prayed over. Now it is last minute preparations, final packing and remembering all that you need to do before you leave for 10 days. 2+ days until we leave and we are all getting excited.


Day 8- Tshukudu Animal Preserve

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2017 by mwalker99

Today we said our good byes to the Letaba River Lodge Staff and headed north about 2 hours. We stopped in Hoedspruit for a little shopping and some lunch. It turns out  some of us are very good negotiators!  Once we entered the Tshukudu  Preserve, which is about 15,000 acres- we were on the look out for wildlife.Tshkudu means rhinoceros. Between the drive back into bush camp and the safari jeep, we saw giraffes, hippos, crocodiles and cape buffalo. A storm was starting to brew and as the wind picked up, the animals became restless.  We watched a water buck warily come to the water’s edge for a sip of refreshing drink and saw the crocodile patiently waiting. We watched to see if the croc would attack, but he must not have been too hungry this time. A herd of giraffes ran by and then circled back. They were being chased by something. We were expecting it to be a lion but all that was chasing them was a zebra, who had apparently been separated from the herd. Spots and stripes together looked like a fashion faux pas!.

The sun was setting and it began to rain. Once back at the camp, a bush baby became Claude and Laura’s new best friend. These look like little squirrels with great big eyes that reflect orange in the night. They make a sound like a baby crying out in the bush and are frequently heard but not seen. This one, however, was quite used to people and hopped right onto Claude’s shoulder. Even this baby couldn’t resist Papa Claude. It made Laura’s day when the bush baby then snuggled on her shoulder and gave her a little kiss on her neck!

We drove up to the main lodge for a buffet dinner. Venison here is impala. It was delicious! After dinner, we enjoyed roasting marshmallows and a roaring campfire. Greg read us a chapter out of his new book about a local safari ranger and some of his experiences. Poachers are a huge problem in this area as the rhino horn is a sought after black market commodity. Here the rangers cut down the rhino horns every 2-3 years to deter the poachers- but the poachers have still nearly brought this animal to extinction.

Apparently, the girls had a good story tonight – something involving a frog!  So dramatic that they were still awake at 2am!  Can’t wait to tell you about the killer frog. Claude and Ron had a gecko in their sink that they rescued. So far, those are the most vicious creatures we have found in our rooms.

Looking forward to a walk with the cheetahs through the bush early in the morning.

The beauty and diversity in God’s creation is incredible! What a gift He has given us to look after.


Day 7- Exploration and More kids!!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2017 by mwalker99

Hello Greetings from South Africa! Todays report is by Ron Smith and Claude Laing.  We started our day off going to the headquarters of Horizon International in South Africa. There we were given a tour by Andreis & Nellie who founded the ministry. We were also able to buy crafts made by African’s.  Next we drove to the oldest  tree in the world, a Baobab tree. I was a little disappointed one of the limbs has broken off. But it still is very impressive. We still enjoyed taking pictures and touring the grounds as several on trip stayed there once. Then we drove to the Sekgopo drop in center. We had a wonderful lunch prepared by Nellie. Soon the children started showing up and we sang for them, and they did a presentation for us that was amazing-by the same choir and dance team that came to America and performed in Marshall. Then we drove back to the Letaba River Lodge for evening, debriefed the day and now we have to pack before we head out tomorrow for the Tshukudu Animal Preserve.

Day 5- last day of VBS

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22, 2017 by mwalker99

The first part of our days summery is from Greg Sanford. This is my third time to South Africa and it is amazing each time how God has used me and opened my eyes to something new. Today we split into two groups again in the morning. The group that went on home visits yesterday stayed at the new drop-in center in Madumalang and continue our grading projects around the building to help get rain water away from the building and directed properly off the property. They also spent time with Pastor Mike circling the property and tightening the tension on the wire fence.

The group that was doing the dirty work yesterday got to travel into different villages with Johnny the bus driver and Tambe a Horizon staff member to do home visits. Going on a home visit with Johnny is interesting experience because he gets right to the point. He asks what needs they have, if they know God, if they pray to God, and if they go to church to hear the word. The man is bold in his faith and it is inspiring. He then anoints them with an oil and we pray over them. Most of their needs are usually physically based. We hiked up the mountain to peoples homes, we prayed for people that we met on the road, and we just tried to give people a glimpse of God’s love as his hands and feet. Johnny also turned over the anointing oil to me and I led the discussion with one elder women, anointed her, and then led the prayer over her. Ron and Mark also took turns with this. It was a step out of my comfort zone to say the least.

After lunch we traveled to the location that will house the future drop-in center that has been gifted from the local tribe. It is a beautiful site surround by the mountains that is on approximately 25 acres. We found the corner marker of the property and prayed over the site, for the process, the funding, and the future of making a difference in these children’s lives.

In the afternoon we returned to the Mantipane drop-in center. This would be our third and final day with the children their and the VBS we were doing with them. The day started slower because the children were in school. So as they trickled in we played soccer, jump rope, and socialized until we started into the singing. The crafts today focused on the the sword or the word of God. The craft was a creative sword imprinted on a picture of a bible. The story and bible time area focused on review of the Armor of God. In games we had a lot of fun playing musical chairs. Then is was a lot of tears and hugs as we said our goodbyes.

The highlight of the week for me has been the time with one of my sponsored children, Brenda. Three years ago when we met she was terrified of me, a big white gumpy guy from America. The second time I met her she was a little less terrified. This year our schedule allowed me to see her four consecutive days. On Sunday she came to church hearing that Americans would be there even though it wasn’t her normal Sunday church. I saw her sitting across from me and we made eye contact and she smiled. She still is a shy girl but it was great to get to know her more, to show her love, and to share smiles and hugs. I also got to meet 8 year old twins we sponsor from another village yesterday. They had the same terrified look that Brenda had 3 years ago. I am looking forward to 3 years from now with Rudy and Charity.

Tonight we had the opportunity to eat dinner with Andres and Nellie, the couple that started and runs the Horizon operations in this area. We also got to hear their story. An amazing God directed journey that should be made into a book. They now have 120 paid staff members and nearly 1000 sponsored children. They are just truly amazing people. Another interesting part of the evening was happened after dinner. There was a group of farmers meeting tonight with police a the lodge discussing patrols and security. The white farmers have become targets and some have been killed in the country. Ron asked if we could pray for them and Ron lead with Kim and myself also praying. They were thankful.

These sponsorships we spend money on are really making a difference. Coming to see your sponsored child changes their life and yours. I cannot encourage you enough to be apart of child sponsorship and if God moves you to join us on a Go Teams Mission Trip to South Africa. This is truly God working through this opportunity.

Hello my name is Dylan Sanford I have always not loved digging but today with all my friends around me and my new friend Emanuel I had a lot of fun digging. The reason I like getting in the dirt today is because this is for an amazing cause. I had been skeptical about coming to Africa but I love it here I am glad that I came. From doing pull-ups to playing soccer these kids are crazy even the ones my age will not stop, EVER, just completely full of energy and life. A big highlight is taking a group selfie with those kids so I can take these pictures home to my family and friends and talk about how cool and awesome these kids are. So long from me.

Day 5- VBS

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2017 by mwalker99

Greetings from Africa! My name is Julianna Peters.

Today was day 2 on our Adventure Camp for the kids. It was amazing! I love pulling up to the drop in center and seeing all of those smiling faces!

However, our day, like yesterday, didn’t start right away with the kids. We started by heading to the new drop in center to continue the work projects that we had started yesterday. Today was also home visit day! After a few hours, about half the team left to begin their journey around Matipane to visit homes. My fellow team mate, Judi, will tell more about that later.

Today, our intensive labor consisted of clearing out more ground to continue the trench. The ground is rather hard to pick through because there is a lot of clay and brick.  Thankfully, in a few hours, we were able to break up the ground and almost finish the trench. I also found out something new about myself: I am physically able to swing an axe! My arms and shoulders are going to think me in the morning I’m sure. Also, we continued to level out the ground behind the center to help with water drainage.  Ron was finally able to get behind the wheel of the tractor! (Yay Ron!)

After we all got back together and ate lunch, we drove to Matipane to begin another fun-filled day with the kids! Thank goodness we didn’t loose power while trying to do our songs today! During one song, we jumped and sang and danced together. I don’t think i have ever jumped that much all at one time before, but I have also never had as much fun!

The highlight of my day was finally being able to meet my sponsor child! My family has been sponsoring Hope, our nickname for her, for 8 years! We had such an amazing time getting to know her!

This is Judi Mott. I was privileged to go with the home visit team. We went to Madumelang  with Tambe and Arlot. Tambe took us to visit with her grandfather who is 95. While Johnny, our driver, was anointing him with oil and we were praying, more family members arrived. It was as if someone sent out a smoke signal for everyone to come home.  Each time we prayed over someone there was someone else to pray for. We left that home and went around the “corner” to another home and met her grandmother and her sister. Of course, we prayed for them and just like the  first home more folks-family members came in. I was most touched by the little 4 year old with hydrocephalus. I wanted to snatch him up and take him home to get the medical care he needed.

The first family group we stopped at gifted us with a 50 pound bag of raw peanuts. This represented a big sacrifice for  them. We also learned from Tambe how to eat murilla. This is an extremely sweet fruit that is used for jam and when left to sit for a week makes a beer. As we were leaving, we me Mabeet who is living with his grandmother who has mental illness. His mother has died and his future is not certain. Horizon is going to verify his status and hopefully be able to include him in their ministry.

These folks need our prayer for health and provisions as well as God’s blessing and we assured them that we would let you know so you can pray too.

Day 4- First Day of VBS

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2017 by mwalker99

Hello from South Africa!

This morning started out with a great breakfast.  Then off to dig a SWELL SWALE trench (Doug’s word) at Madumaleng for the drop in center there to help with water runoff. We were using short handle square shovel, sod buster hoe & a  pic ax  to dig with.  Ron now has a new nickname…Bobcat. Had an awesome lunch prepared by Nellie & girls with fancy table clothes & real silverware.

Off to Matipane to meet & play with the kids for the first day of VBS. Teaching about the Armour of God.  Lori picked out a very stoic little girl to put on a costume of armour.  We got to meet and love on our sponsored kids. Played with bubbles, soccer balls, and sang & danced.

Glue sticks can also be used for chap stick, who would have known. The kids love to color and are very talented.

The kids love getting their pictures taken and ham it up. The time went by way too fast. Just not enough time to love the kids. But they had to eat their dinner of mixed beans and head for home before dark, some walking up to an hour.

Loaded on the buses for the drive back to Letaba for another great dinner and debriefing. Telling each other what was special today.

Until tomorrow have a great night, check back to see what wonderful things come from South Africa.

Goodnight Dasha and Kimme

Day 3 – Church

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19, 2017 by mwalker99

Sunday, March 19, 2017

This is Cory Quick reporting and today was quite fun. When some woke up this morning, they were out of power! We all had our breakfast of Bread, Eggs, and bacon. Others woke up with a flooded bathroom! In the end, we were all happy because I mean come on, we are in Africa!!! When breakfast ended, we all went to the vans and drove maybe 40 minutes to the village of Matipane. On our way, way, we passed about 15-20 cattle in the road. We eventually   found our destination and for all the people visiting here for the first time, we saw probably 5 kids out waiting for us and when they turned their heads, their faces lit up with excitement!! We got out and we greeted all the kids. The team then proceeded to the hall to the church and we all stood there and shook everyone’s hand. The people here have an awesome handshake. It starts like a normal handshake, but then you shift your hands and you flick your thumbs. All of the people there are very nice and are always happy and have a smile to great you with. Church lasted for about 2 1/2 hours and when they didn’t know what to do, they sang! After the service, we got to take pictures with all of the kids. After all of the fun little games and pictures, we had to leave and come back home.

Once we got home we had some food. Then we went into the animal cages, and we got a lot of pictures and got to hold baby lions, baby coati (if you don’t know what that is, it looks like an anteater.) Then came the baboons… Joan went in and both of the baboons loved her red hair. They were climbing all over her. Once they got off her, one decided to climb on my shirt, and rip my shirt tag off! It took it and ran all over chewing on it.  I loved the baboons because they were super friendly, and funny. Eventually it saw Laura next to the cage and thought, “I would love those!” It climbed on the cage and crawled over to Laura looking innocent, then it snatched her glasses through the cage and ran off with them!! It had them for a good minute until the ranger caught it.  We ended with the big lions, then we had free time.

Dylan, Laura, Cassandra, Juliana, and I went to the pool. Juliana, Cassandra, and Laura just dunked their feet, but Dylan on the other hand, just dove in…I see all of the leaves and poles in the water and decided to grab the cleaner pool thing that gets stuff off the top of the water.  After 5-10 minute, I made no changes to the water so I just went back the room and changed. I went around and took a bunch of pictures of the goats, there  are free ranging goats that wonder around the lodge, on the trails, on top of car hoods, in the hallways, and even in the dinning hall! After free time,  we had dinner; Chicken,and chocolate  pudding cake. we had a good debriefing, then we were talking and Juliana said that she didn’t know termites could eat more than just wood… LOL!! In church, the drummer’s cymbals were almost destroyed and Greg told her that termites ate the cymbals.

I can’t wait to see what adventures are on its way.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19, 2017 by mwalker99

This is day two of our trip. This is Cassandra.  To start this off I will give you a list of   what I saw on the ride to the Letaba River Lodge.
<li>the first thing I noticed was the license plates. Instead of being short and fat like ours, they are long and skinny.</li>
<li>They drive on the other side of the road.</li>
<li>There are lots of hills.. (my ears popped a bit)</li>
<li>There are beautiful palm and banana trees.</li>
<li>I saw a cactus, but not animals. Not until we arrived here.</li>
For entertainment highlights, I learned that Cory likes to take lots of pictures. We talk about our extended families, and what books we like to read. Once the trip was finally over, we were given some down time and some of us gathered by the pool to soak our feet. ( it felt amazing!!!)

Julianna and I found out that our adapters were the wrong size!! Not happy. Laura, Cory, Dylan and I looked around a bit and the scenery was breath taking!!

The team met back to unload our team luggage, unpack, and organize everything.

( Now for the best part of the night!!!!!!!!!!!!) Something that Laura and I wish we got on video.

We were meeting for one last time to talk about our day and what the plans are for tomorrow… when all of a sudden Cory made a terrifying face and pointed to a pole. He said that a gecko ate a moth. (didn’t see it myself) Some people couldn’t see the gecko because it was ssssooooo tiny, so Cory got up and pointed to it. I still didn’t look back, but in one second Cory was describing the small creature the next… he was SCREAMING at the top of his lungs, jumping five feet in the air and coming down doing some sort of African dance while running for his life back to his seat; all because the gecko suddenly moved. No One could keep from laughing out loud!!!!

While things were calming down slowly, we were able to hear the lions roar and hyenas laughing. It sounded music from a horror movie while also sounding very soothing and relaxing. One thing that annoyed me, making me wish that we could move the meeting inside was because the bugs would not leave me alone. ( what is it about me that attracts them to me!?!)

Now some are working on crafts, I am blogging and none of us seem tired. I am looking forward to church tomorrow and for  a hopefully resting afternoon. Thanks for reading and someone will write again soon.