In the last ten years, the plague of HIV/AIDS has reached epidemic proportions in Africa, and South Africa has one of the highest infection rates in the world. At the end of 2005, 5.5 million South Africans were living with HIV, including 240,000 children under the age of 15.
The Genesis Project is a wellness center and hospice for HIV-AIDS patients in and around Port Shepstone, a South African coastal town 75 miles south of Durban. Because of the excellent physical and spiritual care that's being provided at the hospice, nearly half the people who go there to die actually become well enough to return home!
Service International is now helping to build a chapel next door to the wellness center, providing financial support and sending a volunteer construction team.
Work on the chapel began last November, when longtime SI volunteer Doug Hufton, a St. Louis, Missouri, contractor and a native of South Africa, asked SI to partner
with him to build a place of prayer and worship for adults and children who come to the clinic suffering from HIV/AIDS.
In January 2008, an SI team of 17 volunteers from OK, IL, and MO traveled to Port Shepstone to build the roof on top of the octagon-shaped structure and to give personal encouragement and hope to the people. Now, local workers are finishing up the chapel, plastering inside and out, and installing electrical wiring and windows.
For the long-term, SI is working to establish a base of operations in South Africa (much like we did in Kosovo in 1999). Currently, advance teams are preparing for additional projects to South Africa that will strengthen the local church and help families in desperate situations.
If you'd like to be part of laying the groundwork for this important mission, call Service International today (636.532.9008). Together we can take hope and help to these families who need it so much.