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 area. Children and adults alike are left to the streets to beg for money while living in extreme poverty conditions. Begging can ultimately lead to trafficking, exploitation, 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 the school programs and in classrooms and also work in 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, beautiful 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?
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.
Daily life is a bit of a contrast between city life and also not having basic necessities. The township that Shiloh serves lacks proper bathrooms, running water, and electricity. Not a far walk from things we are used to in Western society, itís a striking boundary that is drawn between the two.
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.
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.
South Africa has been largely evangelized as a result of the European colonization and missionaries. According to a study from 2001, roughly 80% of the population of South Africa is Christian. There are additional indigenous religions that are followed. The African Zion Church has aspects of both Christianity and the indigenous faiths. Witchcraft is practiced by a small group of people. Traditional witch doctors or "Sangomas" are also popular in some areas. They use a combination of witchcraft and/or traditional medicines.
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. Experience Mission has devotionals/journals that are available for purchase or teams can supply their own. This is a valuable time and we strongly encourage everyone to spend it with God journaling their thoughts and experiences as the days unfold.
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.
Team Time (a time for your group alone)
Day 2 - Day 5
Ministry in partnership with Shiloh
Ministry in Brackenfell
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.
Destination Airport: Cape Town International. Team members are responsible to cover the cost of their round-trip airfare to Cape Town International Airport.
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.
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.
Experience Mission can provide a sample copy of a permission letter or you can create your own letter that must include the following:
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.
Upon arrival to South Africa all transportation IS INCLUDED, including transportation to and from the airport.
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.
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 will be available in each room as well as toilets.
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.
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.
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.
If you're interested in bringing your group on a mission trip, fill out this quick interest form! Our staff will be in touch with you shortly to help answer your questions. Also, many questions about trips to this community are answered under Mission Trip Details & Logistics above.
Experience Mission has specific policies regarding registration and withdrawal. Please refer to the document below for specifics.
All volunteers on a week-long EM mission trip 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 EMís IMMERSION program.
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You must have a group size of at least 7 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 7 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.