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Cape Town, South Africa
Mission Trips

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AGE GROUP:
Sr. High & Up
TRIP SEASON:
Year Round
COST:
$1395/person (12-Day Trip)

Community Overview   Video

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Looking for a 1-9 month trip? View all of EM's Mission Trips to Africa

Amidst loud music, open street shops, tin-roof shacks, and a maze of gravel roads lies an otherwise forgotten township outside of Brackenfell in the greater Cape Town, South Africa area. Children and adults alike are left to the streets to beg for money while living in extreme poverty conditions. Sadly, begging can ultimately lead to trafficking, an introduction to street life, alcohol, and drug abuse, and makes children vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Despite the diverse surroundings, this community is stuck in a spiral of homelessness, addiction, and lack of hope.

EM Africa directly partners with Shiloh Synergy, a collection of projects committed to the holistic uplifting of underprivileged communities in the Western Cape. These include providing meals, offering relief, and working in schools in the community. In the schools, teams will get the chance to serve meals, work with school programs, in classrooms and with after-school care. Every program and opportunity your team participates in helps affirm local people and ministries and bring hope to an area so desperate for a change.

While working in Cape Town, teams will get the unique opportunity to do ministry in one of South Africa’s most beautiful cities. Located on the West Coast, Cape Town is home to a vast array of beaches, fauna and flora, the famous Table Mountain, and many unique people. The beautiful landscape, various ministry opportunities, and unique culture all contribute to a meaningful experience immersing into South African culture and life. Will you come with open eyes and hearts to serve those in need?

Click to view EM's Covid Guidelines for Mission Trips

Details & Logistics

Community Profile

Shiloh works in the heart of Brackenfell, between the city and the informal settlement (township). The settlement is built in the middle of the area of Brackenfell and would be hard to spot if you didn't know it was there. The view of Cape Town is a stark contrast to the lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, and homelessness that strikes the area.

Lifestyle

Daily life is a bit of a contrast between the abundance of the city, while not having basic necessities in the township. This community lacks proper bathrooms, running water, and electricity. Not a far walk from things we are used to in Western society, it's a striking boundary that is drawn between the two.

Needs

Homelessness, drugs, and alcohol are issues that paralyze the people here and lead to things like unemployment. Unemployment is a huge issue that impacts the community. Overcrowding in conjunction with the unemployment issue results in elevated crime among the locals.

Language

There are 11 official languages spoken in South Africa. English is a common language that is understood in most locations among teachers and most of the adults you will encounter. Young children sometimes struggle to understand and communicate in English. Teachers will be in the classrooms to help translate when help is needed.

Christianity in South Africa

Christianity was first introduced to South Africa in the 1600s when large numbers of Christian missionaries began arriving from the Netherlands. South Africa's religious composition was (and continues to be) deeply shaped by these early interactions. Today, the majority of South Africans identify as Christian (84.2%). The 'African Independent Church' makes up the largest Christian group. This consists of several churches and subdivisions are denominationally, ritually and linguistically diverse. However, they are all united by the fact that they were established by African initiatives rather than foreign missionaries. African Independent Churches often openly incorporate aspects of ancestral and traditional African religions with Christian practices. The largest church of this kind is the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), which presents a syncretism between the worship practices of Christianity and traditional African religions that focus on physical and spiritual healing.

Christianity and the Apartheid

Christianity has had an influential role in South African society and politics, both during and after apartheid. For example, the Dutch Reformed Church became the official religion of the National Party during the apartheid era, accumulating more than three million followers by the 1990s. This church posed a barrier to political reform as many clergy members were highly committed to apartheid. However, many Christian churches also played an instrumental role in the abolishment and transition from apartheid. Former president Nelson Mandela often called upon churches and religious organizations to help in the process of building a “new” South Africa

Traditional African Religions

The earliest known religion in South Africa was the traditional beliefs and practices of the Khoisan people, who resided in the region for centuries. Bantu-speaking groups introduced further religious traditions to the region in 1000 CE. Today, South Africa is home to a diversity of traditional African practices, with roughly 5% of the population identifying with a traditional African religion. Some South Africans adhere solely to traditional and ancestral beliefs and practices. However, it is also common to find a mixture of such beliefs and practices with Christianity, reflecting how religious demarcations in South Africa are often blurred. A respect for past and present elders plays an important role in most traditional African religions.

Cultural Atlas, South Africa, Religion by Chara Scroope, 2019

Typical Schedule

Your time in South Africa will be coordinated in cooperation with a local team of leaders. During your trip, you will have the opportunity to help in classrooms, join the after-school program, feeding programs, and be a part of the daily Bible studies. Below is a basic schedule for the week, but we approach this with flexibility because our ultimate focus is on relationships.

Each morning, there is time set aside for devotions and quiet time. This is a valuable time and we strongly encourage all team members to spend it with God, journaling their thoughts and experiences as the days unfold. EM will provide a physical or printable devotional journal.

Our staff will lead a time of debriefing and a short devotional in the evening (what we call "Evening Gathering") and it is always a great addition to have musical worship. Our programming does not include musical worship as we can't guarantee that our staff will have this ability. Please let us know if you have anyone who sings or plays guitar on your trip so that we can help to coordinate the musical aspect of worship when able. If you aren't able to help in the area of music, it may not be a part of the trip.

TENTATIVE ITINERARY

Day 1
Groups Arrive
Leader's Meeting
Dinner
Orientation Meeting
Team Time (a time for your group alone)

Day 2 - Day 5
Ministry in partnership with Shiloh

Day 6
Ministry TBD

Day 7
Church

Day 8-11
Ministry in Brackenfell

Day 12
Depart for the U.S.

*Experience Mission works closely with local leaders to identify work projects and ministry opportunities that address authentic needs within the community. We ask that you come with a servant's heart and willingness to adapt to the unique qualities represented in each location. Opportunities can vary significantly from one week to the next. Your team may work at one location or serve at multiple locations each day.Due to the changing needs of our community partners, we cannot confirm your specific activities until your team arrives.

Lodging, Food & Transportation

Lodging

Teams will be staying at Logos Christian Church in retreat rooms that are set up similar to dorm rooms. There are common areas that will be open to the team for devotions and debriefs. There is also a nice outdoor area for sitting.

Sleeping

Beds will be available for your team. The beds will include the bedding. Sleeping arrangements will be dormitory style with male and female designated sections. Winter months are between the months of April to August. If your trip is during this time expect cold nights. Temperatures in the evening can vary between 30-50 degrees. Also, from May-August, rain should be expected.

Showers & Bathrooms

Showers will be available in each room as well as toilets.

Water

There is running water at Logos Christian Church and it is safe to drink. We will also have purified drinking water available at all times for team members.

Security

Your rooms will need to be locked at Logos Christian Church to ensure that possessions are safe throughout the day. The retreat is inside a secure complex with security guards on staff day and night. Though South Africa does experience higher crime than many parts of the U.S., that crime is mostly in cities and in squatter camps after dark. You will be staying in a safe, rural complex.

Local Area

Around the area of Logos Christian Church there are many shops with food and clothing should the team need anything. A hospital is also located nearby in case of an emergency.

Air Travel

Destination Airport: Cape Town International. Team members are responsible to cover the cost of their round-trip airfare to Cape Town International Airport.

Passports & Travel Documents

Each team member must carry a valid passport. If you do not have a valid passport, it is of the utmost importance that you apply as soon as possible. The processing time for a Passport can take several weeks once your application has been submitted. An expired Passport is not considered valid.

Notarized Letter of Parental Consent

All team members under the age of 18 must carry a written, notarized letter from their parents giving them parental permission to leave the country. They must carry the original notarized copy of this letter. It cannot be a photocopy of the letter.

  1. If the minor is traveling without parents, both parents must sign the letter.
  2. If they are traveling with one parent, the parent that is not traveling with them must sign this letter.
  3. If their parents are separated or divorced and both parents do not want to sign the same letter, they must have a notarized letter from each parent giving them permission to go.

Experience Mission can provide a sample copy of a permission letter or you can create your own letter that must include the following:

  1. The full name of both parents and their formal signatures
  2. The full name of the child
  3. The full name of the Adult Chaperone serving as the Team Leader
  4. The specific traveling dates for each country
  5. The destination country
  6. The reason for travel to the destination country (e.g. "youth group function")
  7. The Airline itinerary (if applicable)

If you have further questions regarding required travel documents we advise you to contact the US State Department: www.travel.state.gov

*Experience Mission works closely with local leaders to identify work projects and ministry opportunities that address authentic needs of the community. We ask that you come with a servant's heart and willingness to adapt to the unique qualities represented in each location. Opportunities can vary significantly from one week to the next. Your team may work at one location or serve at multiple locations each day. Due to the changing needs of our community partners, we cannot confirm your specific activities until your team arrives.

Ground Transportation

Upon arrival to South Africa all transportation IS INCLUDED, including transportation to and from the airport.

Health & Safety

EM's Health & Safety Plan:

Emergency Response Plan: Based on the severity of each emergency, EM has a plan for appropriate response.

If a team member becomes seriously ill, they will be taken to a local doctor to receive appropriate medical attention and medications. If they are a minor, their Team Leader along with our staff will accompany them to the clinic. If needed, their parents will be contacted. Their recovery will be carefully monitored by our staff.

If there is an accident that requires a doctor, but is not life-threatening and does not have the potential to cause permanent damage, Experience Mission staff will locate the Team Leader, contact parents or guardians (providing the injured is a minor) and provide safe but quick transportation to a local clinic.

In the event that an accident occurs which is life-threatening or has the potential for permanent damage, emergency medical care will be secured and arraignments will be made if necessary, to transport the injured person to the United States as quickly as possible providing they are serving in one of our International locations. In our domestic locations, local 911 services will be contacted immediately. The family will be contacted immediately to assist in guidance for an appropriate response.

All medical care is the sole responsibility of the team member. Experience Mission requires every team member to be covered by domestic medical insurance and recommends that team members traveling abroad carry additional international travel insurance to cover any medical needs their domestic medical insurance may not cover.

Immunizations: As with all mission trips, it is essential that volunteers are up to date on all childhood immunizations. Each volunteer must also have a tetanus shot.

For a more information about health concerns and recommended immunizations, you can visit the CDC travelers guide to South Africa. You should consult your local doctor prior to receiving any immunizations.

Curious about EM's Covid Guidelines? Check out EM's current guidelines for 2022 Trips

Registration & Payment

Experience Mission has specific policies regarding team registration and withdrawal. Please refer to the document below for specifics.

View EM’s Mission Trip Registration Policy

INDIVIDUALS

All volunteers on a week-long EM mission trip to South Africa must be part of a team of at least six (6) people, with at least one team member age 21 or older to serve as the Team Leader. Not part of a group? All young adults ages 18-30 are eligible to apply for EM's IMMERSION program.

Mission Trip FAQs

Mission Trips involve many details, and we know you probably have a few questions about EM mission trips.

View the Experience Mission FAQ page

Upcoming Trip Dates: Cape Town, South Africa

We’d love to connect with you!

Dont hit a snag in your mission trip planning! Fill out an interest form or call (888) 475-6414 (Tue-Thu, 9am-5pm ET) to ask questions and learn more about upcoming EM mission trips.

Fill Out An Interest Form Call (888) 475-6414

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EM Fundraising Guide

Don't let fundraising slow you down!

Download our free Fundraising Guide for all our best tips and ideas for making fundraising for your next trip fun and easy.

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