We started the year with the renewal conference held at the eMseni Methodist conference center near to Johannesburg, South Africa. It was a great opportunity for all our teams across Africa to come together and meet each other.
From our perspective we were extremely pleased with the way everything turned out, except that our Uganda team were unable to get travel visas to travel to South Africa. The feedback from the teams who attended was also very positive and appreciative.
Comments by Renewal Conference attendees:
- We are so grateful. May the Lord Bless you and Keep you and make his face to shine upon you and give you peace. All of you. Trudy Rusike (Johannesburg, South Africa)
- What a wonderful & blessed time we spent with you. We have seen Jesus in you, your love & care is so amazing! May the good Lord keep you & use you more & give you more years to come to S.A. - Zodwa (Soshanguve, South Africa)
- This was great. We indeed got empowered & got refreshed. Thank you . God Bless you always. - Welcome Ndlovu (Johannesburg, South Africa)
- Thank you BOHI team for organizing such a wonderful Renewal Conference. I was so much rewarded and empowered by all the activities. Thank you. - Seabird (Johannesburg, South Africa)
- What a refreshing week and empowering event. When the Louis Giglio video was played it provoked something in me. There would never be a week like this and there will never be. Thanks to everyone who contributed. Great start to 2017 - Tumelo (Soshanguve, South Africa)
- Thank you for availing yourself for Africa and its people. It's called a dark continent but with people like you, we see hope which is a symbol of light in Africa. - Sam Makhura (Soshanguve, South Africa)
- We thank the Lord for everything you are doing for S. African children & for all of us. You never know what impact you have to us. May the good Lord bless you. We enjoyed the conference so much. I am empowered and equipped for the job before me. - Zodwa (Soshanguve, South Africa)
- What a wonderful time, guys. I will never forget in my life. Can we do this every year? Maybe change venues or countries. I would love to go to Uganda or Zambia. Love and Joy is making me DREAM. Acts 2:44-47 Love you and I am praying for you. - Derrick Manqele ( Richards Bay South Africa)
- I just want to express my gratitude for the Renewal Conference, it was very beneficiary for me and my wife just to take some time out, just to forget about the family chores and other businesses here at home. Really enjoyed it. We had a time just to refresh, and we are beginning this year in a refreshed mood. Some of us, especially me in particular I do a lot of work, pastoring, Smart Choices, Orphan care work, these ministries keep me busy throughout the year. So to get such a time like that it's quite refreshing. May God bless you Vu and Marvelous Lusinga (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
Back to the Job at hand, Smart Choices
Following the renewal conference the teams all returned home and got to the job at hand, continuing on with their Smart Choices programs, discipleship programs and their other ministry activities.
As of December 18, 2017 we still have fourteen Smart Choices teams operating in four countries and the total students reached since 2004 has exceeded 157,625. The teams have averaged 24,430 students a year for the last five years and the results so far for 2017 are as follows:
Sustainability for Smart Choices teams
As of October 2016, the four teams from Richards Bay, South Africa have been receiving their finances for the Smart Choices program through a Grant from President Bush's PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) fund.
This year the teams from Kitwe, Zambia have also had their grant application approved through PEPFAR.
The teams in Johannesburg, South Africa also applied to PEPFAR but unfortunately were not successful. The Johannesburg program is our second largest program.
The teams in Uganda have also applied and their application is still under evaluation. We are praying fervently that they will be successful because theirs is the program that reaches the most students.