Who is Who: Vorsitzender Thabo Mathso

Grüße an alle Freunde und Spender von St. Peter Child Care! (Deutsche Zusammenfassung unten)

I am pleased to have this special moment to say a few words to all of you across your vast country – Germany, especially so soon after I had the opportunity to meet and interact with some of you who joined Moritz Gräper on the recent tour of South Africa earlier this year.

When I grew up as a teenager many years ago in Soweto, Johannesburg, my parents insisted that I attend confirmation classes at a local parish of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Africa. It was at this small parish that I first learned about religion in Germany, the role of theology in society, and in particular the birth of the Protestant Reformation. The world has changed tremendously since that time and this is borne out by the mission of the broad church to expand its role beyond just preaching the gospel. I was highly impressed to see that the entourage of vicars who came to visit us at St Peter’s Child Care did not insist on taking to the podium and preach about the Holy scriptures. Rather, they immersed themselves in deep discussion with us to understand the impact of the scourge of HIV-AIDS in society. This, for us, remains an important subject matter which informed the establishment of St Peter’s Care almost 20 years ago.

It’s been three years now since I was handpicked from our parish flock at St Peter’s by the Lake Lutheran Church to participate in the leadership of St Peter’s Child Care. At that time, I started off as an acting Treasurer. In that role I soon became acutely aware of the challenge to keep the organisation financially liquid at all times, lest our children are left hungry, sick, and homeless. I am currently the Chairperson of the organisation, no doubt a position that keeps me on my toes to ensure that the organisation stays on course to deliver on its mission; that of providing care, love and protection for vulnerable children, and above all to see to their education and career development.

I have to confess that over time, our task has been made lighter by the consistent financial support we receive from Freundeskreis. I also have to unequivocally mention that should this donor pipeline be broken for whatever reason, that will certainly lead to the demise of St Peter’s Child Care. Forgive me if I sound like a prophet of doomsday, but truth be told, we have learned to live by faith and to serve others in good spirit like you do.

May I take this opportunity to express profound gratitude to all the people and congregations out there in Germany for their love and support towards St Peters Child Care. I wish all of you well in your work. Once more, thank you for your friendship and generous donations.

Zusammenfassung auf Deutsch:

Thabo Mathso grüßt alle Freundinnen und Freunde, Spenderinnen und Spender in Deutschland herzlich. Kurz berichtet er von dem aus seiner Sicht ermutigendem Treffen mit Moritz Gräper und seinen VikarskollegInnen im Januar. Er erzählt von seiner biografisch verankerten Beziehung zur lutherischen Kirche seit seiner Kindheit in Soweto. Aufgrund dieser Verbindung kam er darauf vor einigen Jahren bei St. Peter’s by the Lake Gemeindemitglied zu werden. Vor drei Jahren holte ihn dann der damalige Pastor Edwin Dedekind als Schatzmeister ins Projektteam. Seit dieser Zeit hat er Einblick in die zum Teil kritische finanzielle Situation des Projekts. Heute ist er Vorsitzender von St. Peter’s Child Care, eine Aufgabe, die ihn erfüllt und herausfordert, denn er möchte den Projektzielen, Kinder Liebe, Erziehung und Bildung zuteil werden zu lassen gerecht werden. Ohne zu dramatisch klingen zu wollen, betont er, dass ohne die Spenden aus Deutschland das Projekt nicht überlebensfähig wäre. Abschließend drückt er seinen herzlichen Dank für alle Menschen, Gemeinden und Gruppen in Deutschland aus, die St. Peter’s Child Care unterstützen.

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