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On a recent trip to South Africa, 21 missionaries, some on their first mission, boarded Delta Airlines Flight 200 with the hope of changing lives. And they did just that.

The “gogo” community in Eloff, South Africa, which consists of grandmothers and elders, faces the challenge of meeting basic needs while also adhering to traditional customs. The Eco Village at Eloff, which services 22 “gogos,” has benefited greatly from outreach commitments and initiatives set in place by Dr. Patricia Bailey and her international humanitarian ministry, Master’s Touch Ministry.

Working in partnership with Tabernacle of Praise Church International, pastored by Timothy J. and Shunnae McBride, and whose missions team is headed by Pastor Chris Scott, Master’s Touch provided relief for the most vulnerable in Eco Village, including the “gogos.”

The group's efforts included the construction of prefabricated homes arranged for communal living, which will provide sustainable and safe housing for the aging gogo community. A community and recreation center was also built in the middle of the homes, providing a place for fellowship and meaningful social interactions, as well as regular health screenings.

In addition, TOPCI has broken ground on a multipurpose community center in the city of Soweto, home of renowned South African leaders Nelson Mandela and Steven Biko. The center will service the local squatter community, facilitating much needed educational services, distribution of food, goods, and supplies and provide a site for medical humanitarian relief. There also are plans for the establishment

of a library.

The missionaries provided reading glasses to the gogos, many of whom have not received medical services in some time. This small but significant gesture opened the eyes of the Eco Village residents to the love that was emanating across the waters for them. They celebrated the attention and honor lavished on them by the new missionaries, leaving the missionaries with a deep commitment to continue reaching beyond the walls of the church to touch the lives of those in need.

A stone's throw from Soweto is an area the missionaries visited called Kliptown. It is the oldest residential district of Soweto. With an unemployment rate above 70 percent, Kliptown is overwhelmingly impoverished. The missionaries distributed clothing, hygiene products, shoes and more to its residents. But, the hope springing forth in Kliptown are its children who sing, play and recite prose as any other children do. Except, most children don't live without electricity, water, or working sewer systems. Most children do not live in a city honored for the ANC Leader Charlotte Maxeke, and yet have become the forgotten ones.

"The work is necessary and it will continue," said Pastor Chris Scott, TOPCI's Missions Team Director. "We are the hands and feet of Jesus."

The partnership between Master’s Touch Ministry and Tabernacle of Praise Church International has demonstrated the power of working together to make a lasting impact on vulnerable communities.

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