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KWAZULU NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA

During Easter of 2019, while celebrating with some great friends from Louisiana (that we'd served with in Tanzania), an avenue opened. We were chatting about what might be next for us and our friend mentioned a former colleague that was serving in South Africa. He said he thought it lined up perfectly with our Tribe's vision and mission, and that he'd connect us if we wanted.  After hearing about this we remembered when we were visiting and serving in South Africa on a vacation during our time in Tanzania 4 years prior, that God told us we'd live there someday. Maybe this was it? 

A couple of emails and FaceTime sessions later, it was as if there was a big, flashing arrow pointing us toward South Africa. This was it. Every single thing that Greg & Kristin do in South Africa line up with our vision and mission. We moved to KwaZulu Natal in August of 2021, exactly 6 years after our first trip to South Africa and when God told us we'd live here one day. We love what we get to do in this beautiful nation and are so thankful for this life!

Read below for a little glimpse into what we do with First Love International and the other organizations we serve here.

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More than
A Bible Story

We are writing a Bible Curriculum specifically geared toward children in rural areas - something that is near impossible to find on the market today!

We do this by outlining easy-to-follow Bible stories and pairing it with catchy, original songs, a memory verse,  and hands on activities with supplies that are readily accessible in some of these rural communities. The curriculum is accessible and relatable to these children as they see images of Biblical characters true to what they likely looked like-more like them.

As we teach each week we're training the teachers  and inviting the children to learn through play. We are teaching new concepts like how to use centers, encouraging creativity and conveying how important play is for these foundational years in education.

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More Than
a Friendship

Another partnership we're proud to be a part of is with our dear friends Pat + Leah and their organization, Juniper Table. We met the Conti's back in 2015 in Tanzania, and coincidentally (or not?) have followed each other around the globe for the past ten years. Shortly after we returned to the states from TZ for a time of furlough, they did as well. And soon after they decided to move to southern Africa, we did too! It's a funny story when we look back at it all, but we're so glad it's turned out this way. 
Juniper Table exists to serve people in ministry, to strengthen them so they can be effective and not grow weary in doing good. We're thrilled to be able to partner with them in this work because we know first-hand how important it is! Amanda has helped Leah host a women's retreat and will be doing some light long-distance admin work for them. We plan to help them host pastor retreats as a whole family every so often as well. Thankfully the trip to eSwatini from South Africa isn't too far - God knew! 

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More Than
an Education

Accessible, relatable Bible curriculum is amazing. The book studies we do on the side are loads of fun (and so beneficial!) We want to connect, encourage and resource these teachers as they teach and form the next generation of South Africa.

The main focus of our work centers around relationship. We're showing them what it's like to live in the hope of a life lived in relationship Jesus. We're showing them the love of our Father. We're showing these kids and teachers that they are seen, not forgotten and that they are important. We are building relationships with the teachers and the children, encouraging them to grow and thrive fully into who God made them to be.  

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More Than
a Church

Now that we've settled into life on the South Coast, we're thrilled to say we've stepped into serve at our local church as well.

Freedom Gate Church is in a unique position due to it's location on the south coast of KZN- it's right next door to Give a Child a Family - where children go if their home environment isn't safe. Due to this, the fact that we live in a popular  retirement spot and the neighborhood the church is in, we have a unique opportunity to serve a very diverse population - and lots of kids! 

Bill and Owen serve in kids ministry two or three times a month. Amanda is helping with kids min and church admin, doing some light photography, as well as running the church's app and speaking at a few workshops here and there about Kingdom Culture.
Freedom Gate church has welcomed us with open arms, and we are so thankful to have found a family in this community. It's an honor to serve alongside our good friends (and pastors) in these roles. 

Through every one of these programs, the deepest desire of our hearts is that the love of the Father would be seen, known and felt by each person touched by a project or program we partner with. From the children, to the staff, to those in ministry, the community, the parents, the neighbors - our goal is show them a Father who is always good and desires a relationship with them. We do this by living by example, building relationships, praying and giving him the glory for all he's done through us!

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