Beacon of Hope was established as 501(c) 3 non-profit organization in April of 2007. This occurred as the result of Mission Trip taken by a seven person team in the summer of 2004. The mission trip was planned and sponsored by New Harvest Community Church of Irvine California. The team consisted of members from three separate churches, New Harvest CC of Irvine, Saddleback Church of Lake Forest and Emmanuel Reformed Church of Paramount. Our 2004 mission was to teach one hundred students in two high schools in the Mzingazi district of Richards Bay, South Africa. The program we taught was a product of at the time Campus Crusade for Christ, now CRU. The program named Better Choices covered all of the essential knowledge that people need to know about the HIV virus. After some revision the program was renamed Smart Choices. Beacon of Hope has continued to train and equip local teams and teach this program primarily to African students.
I didn't take us long to realize that if we continued to do ministry in Africa, we were going to be overwhelmed by requests to support AIDS orphans that often didn't have anyone to take care of them. In many cases kids were being cared for by grand-mothers and older siblings with no means to earn income to support the kids. We were considering starting an orphan care program but were introduced to an organization that was already doing it in South Africa. The Horizon International president came to visit us in Richards Bay to interview some potential childcare caregivers. The result was that Horizon allowed us to sign up two-hundred AIDS orphans in their program.
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