Our June Blanshan is back from an arduous trip to Africa that broke two records and one bone. All told, she traveled for two months and led training for six events in several nations – difficult accomplishments that say much about June and God’s love for the people she served.
June’s original plan, which was challenging enough, was to lead a week-long training for ministry leaders in Uganda and complete an essential transition in a ministry she founded in 2010. What she did not expect was a call asking her to extend her trip, bringing the same training to another group of leaders in Botswana, or the loss of an important teammate to a positive Covid test.
The virus has, of course, created much trouble around the world. One indirect result has been a dramatic increase in pregnancies – some from violence and many more from people being confined to their homes. Because children are not highly valued, there has been a corresponding increase in abortions and “baby dumping,” in which children are left in the wild to die alone.
In Uganda, June and her teammates led two Journey of a Life-Giver (JOL) training events. In the larger event, 92 people, including 45 pastors, received practical training on human biology, prenatal development, and abortion procedures and saw that the gospel of Jesus’ sacrifice is inseparable from his love for every person, no matter the circumstances of their life. The JOL training equips participants to form life-giving services in their communities and – critically important – invites them to repent and receive God’s forgiveness for failures in their own lives.
In Botswana, June brought the same training to social workers and pastors. She also led an inspirational session on the topic of “Who are You Following?” in which 20 young people chose to enter a relationship with Jesus. In South Africa, she led one in-person training event and another via teleconference.
In QwaQwa, she completed the process of deputizing her successor, Amanda, as President of Ignite South Africa, and celebrated by helping her lug truckloads of materials to the organization’s new office.
Perhaps sensing this was not adventure enough, June also broke a bone. We are sorry to report that her injury had nothing to do with a charging rhinoceros – merely a misstep into a poorly illuminated hole. Nonetheless, in the middle of her trip, a bone was painfully broken, and – characteristically – June kept smiling and working, though with a bit of a limp.
We are immensely thankful for June’s dedication, for our beautiful ministry partners in Africa, and for the fact that, once more, God was pleased to work through fragile people to accomplish his eternally important work.