Bring your team on a South Africa mission trip and serve multiple communities in the greater Pretoria region, ranging from squatter camps and formal townships to serving in the inner city. In each community, we focus on sharing the love of Christ by recognizing the personal dignity of others through relationship building and acts of compassion and service. We support the work of several schools, youth, and homeless programs in the locations where we serve.
Your Africa mission trip team will participate in activities surrounding the needs represented within these different communities. Activities could include serving in a classroom setting, leading a children's ministry program, preparing lesson materials for a preschool, connecting with youth in an inner-city youth program, helping sort clothing and food items in a local inner-city homeless program, or directly serving alongside homeless men and women in Pretoria. On your trip, you will serve in one or more of these different communities, based on the availability of each opportunity during your selected dates. (Read "Details & Logistics" below to learn more about each unique community.) Will your team be a part of uncovering joy in these little-known South African communities?
Don't see dates that work for you? We're flexible! Call 888-475-6414 for custom dates.
As you step into the informal settlement of Mooiplaas, you’ll see poverty first-hand as many people are living without running water, electricity or access to job opportunities. Currently, 16,000 people call this community home. Even though it is located just 30 minutes outside of South Africa’s glittering capital of Pretoria, you can’t find Mooiplaas on a map. Because it is considered a “squatter camp” there are no formal schools, clinics or hospitals and families face many challenges day-to-day.
Teams serving in Mooiplaas serve alongside Ditshego, a Christian primary school, to meet real needs in the community. The school provides meals, education and legal documentation to children who need it—almost 300 a day. Your team will have the opportunity to serve alongside the staff through after-school programs, homework help, work projects, and assisting at a mobile clinic. As your team walks the dusty streets, you’ll be greeted with smiles and kind hellos, giving you the chance to look past the poor living conditions and connect with the real people who call Mooiplaas home.
In the greater Pretoria area there exists a ministry that dreams of igniting change, healing communities, and nurturing togetherness among people in the inner-city. This ministry, PEN, is working to help build loving supportive relationships with children, youth, parents, the elderly, and people dealing with homelessness, prostitution, and drug addiction.
While serving with PEN, teams will get the opportunity to partner alongside local staff who are working in the community. Their ministry is divided up into multiple programs: Christian Community and Discipleship, Health and Emotional Well-Being, Community Support & Citizens Rights, Enterprise Coaching & Skills Development, Mission Support, Education and Access to Technology, Supportive Housing, and Creative Arts, Music, and Recreation.
Just outside of Pretoria lies a whole community of people, called Vastfontein, who are focused on community transformation, discipleship, and giving education to children who may not otherwise receive it. Surrounded by multiple townships and squatter camps, Vastfontein offers a safe place to be and hear the word of God through their every action in the classrooms, through feeding programs, and each of their employees.
Vastfontein is a people-first environment that focuses on uplifting students all the way into adulthood. Many children and adults who interact with Vastfontein through employment or school, avoid the fate of ending up as a statistic to homelessness, drugs, or alcohol. Instead, they are able to overcome their circumstances because of the teachers and people committed to walking alongside them in transformation.
There are 11 official languages for South Africa. English is a common language that is understood in most locations. However, in this area, the main languages that are spoken are Sepedi, Tswana, Sotho, and Xhosa. English is understood by the teachers and most adults teams encounter. The young children struggle to understand and communicate 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 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 may have the opportunity to help in classrooms, join the after-school program, be a part of the daily Bible studies, and much more. 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 teams aren't able to help in the area of music, it may not be a part of the trip.
Team Time (time for your group alone)
Day 2 - Day 5
Ministry in Pretoria-area communities
Ministry in Pretoria-area communities
Depart for the U.S.
* Experience Mission works closely with local leaders to identify work projects and ministry opportunities that address the 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.
Teams will be staying at a retreat called Heron Bridge. The retreat rooms are set up similar to dorm rooms. There are common areas that will be open to the team for devotions and debriefs. The retreat is a part of a Christian campus that also holds a Christian school. A pool, volleyball court, soccer field, and rock-climbing wall will be available to teams providing their own adult supervision as long as there are no conflicting events scheduled.
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.
There will be hot water showers and male and female bathrooms available at Heron Bridge.
There is running water at the Place of Safety as well as at Heron Bridge. The water at Heron Bridge is consumable.
There is electricity at Heron Bridge. The electrical service is not as dependable as the United States, and outages are fairly common during the winter season.
Your rooms must be locked at Heron Bridge ensure that your possessions are safe throughout the day. The retreat is inside a secure complex with security guards on staff day and night. Though South Africa has experienced higher crime, that crime is mostly in the cities and in the squatter camps after dark. You will stay in a safe, rural complex.
Breakfast and dinner will be provided at Heron Bridge. Teams will experience local, cultural food while serving in various Pretoria-area communities during the day. The local staff members will prepare those meals. We will have purified drinking water available at all times for your team members.
Destination Airport: OR Tambo International Airport. Team members are responsible to cover the cost of their round trip airfare to the OR Tambo 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 photo copy 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 (example- "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
Upon arrival to Johannesburg, South Africa all transportation IS INCLUDED, including transportation to and from the OR Tambo Airport.
Mission Trips involve many details, and we know you probably have a few questions about EM mission trips.
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 EM’s IMMERSION program.
If you still have questions about this community after reviewing Details & Logistics or you want to take the first step toward bringing your team on an EM mission trip, Fill out a Mission Trip Interest Form and someone from our staff will be in touch with you shortly!
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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.