Olievenhoutbosch is a township with a population of approximately 100,000 people, established in 1998 as a squatter’s camp with makeshift tin shacks. Today the area has neighborhoods with very small houses funded and built by the government. Various indigenous ministries and organizations exist in Olievenhoutbosch to serve and uplift the community.
Teams who visit Olievenhoutbosch will be working alongside the Olievenhoutbosch Christian School and the Trust Hope Faith after school program. Many of the children here do not receive the love and care they need in the afternoons and evenings when they arrive home. The Olievenhoutbosch Christian School and the Trust Hope Faith program strive not only to meet the educational needs of the children but also to offer a nurturing environment to help them develop other areas of their lives. They desire to see the children grow into well-rounded leaders for a brighter future.
Register your team today to serve alongside teachers and the aftercare mentors as they educate and instill Godly principals to the children of Olievenhoutbosch.
Sightseeing trips can be worked into the program at an additional cost. In the Centurion area, teams can visit a game park, interact with elephants and monkeys, visit museums, experience Johannesburg and Hartbeespoortdam, visit African markets, experience a cultural village, and much, much more.
If you're interested in trips similar to this, check out Mooiplaas, South Africa!
Olievenhoutbosch is home to both native South Africans and foreign Africans from various northern countries that have immigrated to South Africa for work opportunities and the hope of a brighter future. Due to the number of different people groups of Olievenhoutbosch there are many separate cultures that are present within the overall culture of the township. Numerous languages are spoken throughout the community.
Olievenhoutbosch is a very busy community. Crowds of people will walk the streets every day. Open markets set up in tin shacks will sell their goods alongside the roads. During the early morning hours there is a large number of people leaving the community in taxies to go to work in any of the nearby cities. Late afternoon there is a great influx of residents returning from work. Those that do not leave the community are either employed by small businesses within Olievenhoutbosch, or they will spend their day moseying the streets or sit and watch the hustle of the community. In South Africa sports are a large part of life. Soccer games may also take place throughout the day at the public parks.
Olievenhoutbosch faces many difficulties. Crime, domestic violence, unemployment, and over-crowding are serious issues that plague the community. HIV/AIDS is a continually growing concern for the township. Refuse removal for Olievenhoutbosch is lacking. Throughout the community on any given day mounds of trash will be scattered and at times set on fire.
There are 11 official languages of South Africa. English is well understood in Olievenhoutbosch. The most common languages of Olievenhoutbosch are Tswana, Sepedi, Zulu, Xhosa, and English. The majority of people will speak a minimum of three different languages.
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.
We partner with the Olievenhoutbosch Christian School. OCS started in 2004. Upon opening, the school had no classrooms. Education began in tents. Slowly the school developed into 5 Wendy houses. There are also 4 mortar and brick classrooms as well as a kitchen that service the children today.
Olievenhoutbosch Christian School offers a Bible based education to students grade R to grade 4. The classes here are taught in English, which will help students pursue a wider range of job opportunities in the future. The school focuses to help the children learn and grow both intellectually and spiritually.
Teams will have the opportunity to participate in classroom activities. These activities may include teaching, grading, making copies, and help with one on one tutoring. During the breaks the team will have the chance to play with the children, learn their names, and share experiences.
The Trust Hope Faith after school program gives additional care and support to the children. Through the after school program they receive love and care, a safe place to grow and interact, food, help with homework, and more. The mentors ages 18-30 that run the program invest in the children to give them a means of caring support and sense of love and community. Here the children play team-building games from which they are taught Biblical lessons. They have a time of worship and Bible lesson throughout the week as well.
The Olievenhoutbosch Christian School and the Trust Hope Faith after school program strive together to provide the children with a holistic support system.
EM mission trip teams also have the opportunity to join with the mentors of THF. Teams will be a part of their Bible studies in which scripture is share in open discussion. There is ample time to spend one on one with the mentors to hear their stories, share your story, and encourage each other. The mentors are always happy and willing to share their culture with all the visitors. This will broaden your team's understanding about the culture, struggles, and strengths of Olievenhoutbosch.
During the afternoon you will be involved in leading children's games, Bible lessons, worship and dance, and help with homework. There will be time to free play as well with the children you will have encountered in the classrooms during the school day.
For an additional cost, if teams would like to do sightseeing trips we can work that into the program. In the Centurion area the team can visit a Game park, interact with elephants and monkeys, visit Museums, experience Johannesburg and Hartebeespoort Dam, visit African markets, experience a cultural village and much more.
Teams will be given the opportunity to visit an African market. At the market you can expect to find genuine hand made African art and souvenirs. Transportation will be provided to and from the market. There are restaurants near the market. If your team would like to top off their shopping experience with a meal from a local restaurant that can be arranged at an additional cost.
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, 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 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 (a time for your group alone)
Day 2 - Day 5
Ministry in Olievenhoutbosch
Ministry in Olievenhoutbosch
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.Â Due to the changing needs of our community partners, we cannot confirm your specific activities until your team arrives.
Teams will be staying at the retreat called Heron Bridge. Heron Bridge is 20 minutes from Olievenhoutbosch. 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 Olievenhoutbosch Christian School as well as at Heron Bridge. The water at Heron Bridge is potable water.
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 cultural township food while serving in Olievenhoutbosch. The THF after school program volunteers 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
*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.
Upon arrival to Johannesburg, South Africa all transportation IS INCLUDED, including transportation to and from the OR Tambo Airport.
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 EM’s IMMERSION program.
EM's Health & Safety plan provides the following:
EM 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 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.
Mission Trips involve many details, and we know you probably have a few questions about EM mission trips.
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You must have a group size of at least 6 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 6 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.