Setshabelo: ‘a place of refuge’

By June 27, 2016

South Africa (MNN) — “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27 (NASB)

Bethany Christian Services is trying to do exactly that by partnering with other organizations, such as the Reformed Church of America and Christ Memorial Church to fight for the orphans of South Africa.

Photo Courtesy Bethany Christian Services

Photo Courtesy Bethany Christian Services

“We [are] having issues of child neglect and abuse, poverty, [and] unemployment. So HIV and AIDS, those are kind of the contributing factors that lead to our children not necessarily being cared for in their homes.”

Neo Ravhuhali is part of the program, and she has seen firsthand that sometimes just because a child has been pulled out of a situation, it doesn’t mean they’ve been rescued just yet.

“If a child is being abused it is our responsibility to remove that child and place [them] somewhere where we think it’s safe…. The institution must only accommodate the child for as short a time as possible, because they belong in families…. So the various partners are saying, ‘How can we find a way of making sure kids grow up in loving and maturing families instead of necessarily growing up in institutions?’”


That’s why Bethany Christian Services is supporting Setshabelo, a child and youth care center pulling kids out of institutions, giving them a place to stay and working to find them a family who will take them in.

Setshabelo means ‘a place of refuge,’ and that’s basically who we try to be within our community,” says Ravhuhali.

Photo Courtesy Bethany Christian Services

Photo Courtesy Bethany Christian Services

Setshabelo is working alongside local churches to provide for the orphans and find families willing to take on an orphan.

“We go to the church and we recruit because we are saying we believe in God’s plan for the families. We are convinced that from the church environment we will [gain] families who, in our opinion, are safe.”

Paul Scholten agrees. He’s with Christ Memorial Church and has provided guidance for Bethany Global’s partnership with the Reformed Church in America.

Scholten says, “It takes the expertise of the church as well as organizations that specialize in child protection to work together in partnership to reach the goals God has for the children around the world, and specifically in Botshabello, South Africa. It’s important that this partnership come together to bring Christians awareness of what needs to be done, not only around the world, but also in their backyards.”

But once Christians are aware, what’s next?

Believers can pray for the children of South Africa — who face a very high rate of abuse — to find loving families. Pray for the staff there to overcome the obstacles of poverty, and for the families taking children into their homes. Pray for God to provide families who have that love and families who have the resources necessary to take care of these children.

You can find out more about how to support Bethany Christian Services ministry right here.

In the mean time, continue to remember the orphans, the potential families, and the missionaries going between them as you pray.

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