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SOUTH AFRICA:
REACHING OUT

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.




UPDATE: NEW ORLEANS



Since SI entered the Katrina Disaster zone in August 2005, over 5000 volunteers from 42 states have worked 883 sites and projects across Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. Volunteer teams from 77 different organizations have removed debris, cleared out mud and muck, cleaned, and restored these sites, each team picking up where previous teams had left off in the rebuilding process.



In 2007 alone, 2039 SI volunteers continued this remarkable work. In April and in October, SI was privileged to manage one-day service events at New Orleans' historic City Park. RIMS, an insurance organization, and Circuit City took time out of their busy conference schedules to help the people of New Orleans. Over 1280 volunteers cut back two years of overgrowth, painted fences, mulched, and provided landscape clean-up at the park. Each group completed an incredible amount of work in just one eight-hour day!



In December, SI teams finished distributing furniture that had been donated by a St. Louis hotel. The teams also made preparations to move out of SI's New Orleans base of operations (known as Faith Church) in Chalmette, Louisiana. Service International will continue to work on a limited basis from another location in the New Orleans area until April 1, 2008.



Our heartfelt thanks go to Pastor Michael Green of Faith Church in New Orleans and Pastor Jay West of Gulf Coast Worship Center in Long Beach, Mississippi, who allowed SI to use their buildings and grounds. Because these pastors and their congregations were willing to give—even when they were in need—thousands of volunteers were able to bring hope and real help to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.



Today along the Gulf Coast—thanks to thousands of dedicated Service International volunteers and partnersóthere are hundreds of grateful families who once again have homes and hope for the future.




          



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