Friday, December 9, 2022

Children's Ministry Around the World - South Africa, Africa

You may be wondering why it matters for us here in the USA (primarily) to take a "look" at what Children's Ministry looks like in other places around the world. Since we do not live in those places, doesn't it matter most what Children's Ministry looks like here where we live?

Yes, it matters what Children's Ministry looks like here where we live, but God put us in this world - not just in the place where we live. God told us to go into all the world - not just our own neighborhood - and share the Good News. It matters for us to know what Children's Ministry looks like around the world, so we are able to pray - and we, and the children in our ministries should be praying for children in these other places. So we are able to help - find a ministry (such as CM Connect) which is going and serving . . . maybe you will go with them to serve on a short-term trip, or maybe a child in your ministry will become a missionary because your and their eyes were open to children in these other places. So we are able to support those who serve in these other places - maybe you will involve the children in service projects to help those who live in and serve in these other places. It matters.

So, as we continue to look at Children's Ministry and the lives of children from around the world, today we "journey" to South Africa, Africa. 

South Africa is a “young” nation: one-third of the population is under 15 years old, and 70% is under 35 (Prayercast). South Africa is a country of 53.1 million people (World Population Review) with natural resources including a variety of metals and minerals such as natural gas, gold and diamonds.
South Africa has the highest incidence of AIDS in the world and it is the primary cause of death among the people.  According to the United Nations, nearly 6 million South Africans are infected with HIV–2.5% of whom are children less than 14 years old.  40% of all deaths among children under the age of five are AIDS-related; yet, only 5% of children suffering from AIDS receive antiretroviral treatmentsThere are more than a million children who have become orphans due to AIDS (humanium). The AIDS rate along with corruption, racial discrimination and high unemployment make life for children very difficult in South Africa.
In South Africa, the Bill of Rights guarantees everyone to a basic education with the country spending 7% of GDP on education; one of the highest rates of any country in the world. Under the South African Schools Act of 1996, education is compulsory for all South Africans from the age of seven (grade 1) to age 15, or the completion of grade 9  ( About 90% of the children go to school, but since school is not completely free, 10% of children do not attend school as their parents can not afford the costs associated with school (humanium). South Africa has the highest level of rape in the world. Girls are physically and sexually assaulted at school by teachers, classmates, or other outside individuals. Fearing sexual assault, they often choose their safety to the detriment of their education (humanium).
South Africa is actually becoming a, “post-Christian” country with 73% of the people identifying themselves as Christian, 15% Traditional Ethnic, 1.5% Muslim (PrayerCast). South African Muslims claim their faith is the fastest-growing religion of conversion in the country, with the number of black Muslims growing sixfold, from 12,000 in 1991 to 74,700 in 2004 (Religionnewsblog). Since three out of four people in South Africa identify themselves as Christians, there are a lot of churches throughout the county. Many of these provide opportunities to children which are very similar to what we offer children here in the USA. Children have Sunday School and mid-week ministry opportunities at many of these churches. In the rural areas child sponsorship programs provide food, clothing, clean water, health care, educational opportunities and learn of God’s love (WorldVision).
As you think about South Africa, with 10% of the people unreached, please pray for –.
  • God to draw believers to Him.
  • For children to have better access to the basics of life like clean water, healthcare, and education.
  • Laborers to go and serve children who are in need.
  • Children to see God is real, He loves them and they can know Him!
  • Wisdom to know where to plant churches.
  • Healing for those who are ill.
  • The church in South Africa to grow and be able to be a light to their communities!
South Africa is a beautiful country with children and families who need to know God loves them! While you may not be able to travel to South Africa to serve the church, you can pray and, “When a believing person prays, great things happen.” (James 5:16 NCV) Let’s pray and trust God for great things in South Africa

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