South Africa (IMB) — Located on the outskirts of the modern city of Johannesburg, Tshepisong is home to 50,000 residents.
It is a poor area made up of government-built housing and shacks. The township is filled with poverty and crime, and HIV/AIDS plagues much of the community.
There are not enough medical supplies within the community to meet patient needs. Parents often die of AIDS, forcing the oldest child to drop out of school to care for the younger children.
Boitshoko Community Home-based Care Centre workers make daily visits in Tshepisong to AIDS-affected patients who are bedridden, home-bound, or orphaned, to teach them to live healthier lives by providing medical care and health education. Boitshoko employs over 70 workers, locals who see a need in their community and are striving to make a difference. They’re supported through government funding and private organizations, including the International Mission Board’s “One Community” project, a project of IMB’s One Life initiative.
Through One Community, additional assistance for Boitshoko is brought in through a variety of means. From donations providing 30 extra food parcels a month to medical presentations equipping workers with proper sanitation knowledge, the center can better reach their community’s needs.
Since 2011, IMB missionaries Alan and Beth Locke have been assisting with Boitshoko, adding a Gospel-centered influence to the organization by leading Bible studies that are translated into Zulu, one of the nine languages spoken in Tshepisong.
The Lockes also help mobilize American volunteers to serve with the center through One Community. Volunteers distribute health care and food parcels, assist caregivers with cooking and cleaning, minister to the orphans through Bible studies and games, and help wherever aid is needed within the center and the community it reaches.
In all situations, One Community volunteers are encouraged to include Christ in their ministry by sharing the Gospel, discipling and training new believers, and helping plant a church.
Beth explains, “Our goal is to assist [the center] to do what they are already doing better, plus add the Gospel.”
Through the One Community project, the Lockes hope to see needs met and a light spread in a community filled with traditional African spiritual beliefs, poverty, and hopelessness.