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Second-mile offering for Key of Hope

by Dan Smither, Key of Hope executive director

Like many things here, the South African health system is a complicated, multi-layered maze of outdated paperwork, interminable waiting, and government bureaucracy. It’s not uncommon to spend more than 24 hours in a waiting room before being admitted to the hospital; some die in the waiting room without ever seeing a doctor. For a child in poverty - especially an orphan, one whose parent is sick with AIDS, and even more so one in a child-headed household - navigating the endless maze of dingy hallways and glass-guarded “service” counters is a bridge too far, and the battle against disease is often given up without much of a fight. As many children as we’ve tragically lost to treatable maladies in this morass of state run health care, many more owe their very lives to the access and advocacy your financial support has enabled us to provide over the years.

Phindile1 (pin-DEE-lay) has battled HIV since well before I first met her when she was 3 (pictured). The combination of AIDS related TB and asthma has seen her rushed to the hospital dozens of times - an impossible feat without assistance Key of Hope has provided. I’ve served as the “ambulance” myself on several occasions. Now 11 years old, Phindile is a part of our junior choir, and I hope one day she’ll tour in the United States with our tour choir - a miraculous and undeniable testimony of the power of God to impact the world through His people.

But it doesn’t have to be life saving care to be life changing. This month, Xolani and Anele needed glasses - both students we’ve helped get into university, but who realized immediately in the much larger classrooms that they were shortsighted and unable to keep up.

When I asked 14 year old Ilonga what she wanted for a birthday present last week, she said, “I would love to have some aspirin.” Tooth pain has kept her awake all night for several weeks now; we’ve made arrangements to get her to a dentist as soon as possible.

Lelethu, part of our senior choir, tugged on my arm before one of our weekend programs. She couldn’t hold back tears as she told me about her visit to the local clinic for ongoing severe back pain. The nurse suspected something more serious and referred her to the main government hospital downtown, but with no one to accompany her she feared the worst. One of our staff will be escorting her this week - will you pray for a good report?

These are just a few examples out of the hundreds we address each year. Can you imagine trying to keep over 2000 children healthy in the midst of poverty, AIDS, and a failing health system? It’s not easy. And it gets expensive - fast.

Thrive Church: you hold the key to unlock hope for these children. The dreaded summer giving slump has hit us harder this year than any other summer in our 15 year history. It’s mind boggling how quickly you can fall behind with over 2,000 children, 45 full time staff, 11 vehicles, and 8 acres to keep running on all cylinders. I hope you’re ready to play a little catch up with me when you get this letter. Will you take a moment to consider what you can give, and send the most generous gift you can this month to provide some ballast and help us steady the ship? We’re doing everything we can at the moment to absorb the shortfall and insulate our kids from feeling the pinch, but something’s got to give.

In all honesty, my staff and I are working like crazy, trusting God for another miracle of provision so we can keep pressing forward. My prayer is that you will be a part of it during your special offering on Sunday, December 31! Give in person or give online.


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