Focus has been serving families in Africa since 1992. For thirty years, the Africa team has been providing care, advice, support and encouragement to families at every stage of life. Focus Africa brings the love of God and the vision for redeemed families to communities all around Africa.
One of Focus on the Family Africa’s supporters came to them entirely by coincidence.
She lives a few hours away but her son is at school in the same town as the Focus office. She was just feeling overwhelmed one day when she drove past. And she saw the Focus sign and she decided -spur of the moment- to turn in. She walked in and the receptionist offered her a cup of tea and cared for her. Focus responded with a personal touch. One of the counselors was able to see her, and then she could move the future sessions online, because she lives far away.
She was so grateful for all the care, all the support, and that Focus was there to meet her need.
She was thinking about how investors always look for a good return on investment, and how it should be the same for charitable giving, when she received an email from Focus regarding a match campaign. And she thought what better return than to sow into the ministry that was there for her, and then see a double return. For many years, Focus leadership always talked about how the organization should be known for a reputation of “help for families here.” This story is a poignant reminder that people are looking for answers, and Focus is uniquely positioned to help.
For young people who are growing up without parents in South Africa, they find they are facing almost insurmountable odds. They are too young to work, they have not even finished secondary school yet, and they go home to a house full of younger siblings depending on them for supper that night.
What would you feed them? How would you cope? What would be your motivation to carry on? This is the state of hopelessness South Africa’s child-headed homes face every day. Our goal is to change that outcome for them. Through Tales of Hope, Focus is offering hope for the hopeless. A trained facilitator meets with a group of children from child-headed homes, most of them the head of their home, and through peer support the kids realize right away they are not alone. They build a community amongst themselves and our curriculum shows them that they can have hope for a better life.
Focus also provide for whatever physical needs we can, and hope to offer a feeding scheme to the children to take the pressure off being the sole provider for their siblings so that they can focus on their studies and reach their full potential.
Focus on the Family never knows who needs to hear the messages we create. For a girl named Katie, a brand new Christian growing up in Pretoria, South Africa, the Daily Broadcast challenged her to grow in her faith, opened a new line of communication with mother, anchored her during her parents eventual divorce, and shaped her into a better friend, sister, and daughter.
And the Focus broadcasts came as a lifeline during a critical time in Katie’s life. As a teenager, her relationship with her father wounded her. She felt like no matter how often she reached out to him, he was never interested in a real relationship with her. It seemed like he always had time for her siblings, but never had a kind word for Katie. She longed for closeness, but never found a way to connect with him.
Her mother, Mpho, on the other hand, would sit with Katie each night and talk through what they had heard on these Focus on the Family programs that were created on the other side of the world. Mpho would listen in the mornings, and Katie would listen every night when she got home from school on Impact Christian Radio.
“All I did with my time was listen to Impact radio in the evenings at six o’clock. And I mean- now you must know- I was religious about it,” she laughs. “Like, I NEED TO GET HOME! Yes, this is my thing. But before we slept, we would kind of have this, you know 10-15 minute conversation about what stood out for you, you know, ‘oh that was really powerful when they did that.’ I remember it fondly because we wouldn’t have to force conversation. We were talking about a space where we were both happy to be and comfortable to be in.”
Katie says she learned something every time she tuned in. She learned how to be a good friend to a mom who is overwhelmed. She learned how to offer biblical advice when people around her were hurting. She learned how her own strong-willed personality affected her relationships with her parents and her siblings. And she learned how to forgive.
“Really what I remember hearing was just how we need to have grace with our parents. Because they’re trying the best that they can and sometimes the best that they’ve got is really bad, but that’s still the best that they’ve got,” Katie remembers, choking back emotion as she talks about the peace she found. “So, as a child, you know, I’m going through all of these things. But as a parent, they’re also going through something. Oh, it changed my life. It was a very it was a defining moment for me because by the time I got to meet God the Father, I was just able to kind of just be like ‘okay Lord show me who you are, show me who you want to be to me.’”
Katie and her mom continued to build their connection. Even through her parents’ divorce, Katie remained committed to the vision of a family that loves, forgives, and perseveres. She is on her own now, a licensed CPA who coordinates spelling bee events for elementary school children. She still makes it a point to listen to Focus on the Family, and now if she misses it on the radio she can find it on YouTube or download the podcast. Katie also goes the additional step to apply the advice in her everyday life. Whether that means inviting young girls from her community into her home and mentoring them, or encouraging her family to all put their phones away while they are together, Katie finds the material helpful and practical.
“My heart is really around the family, you know? And the fact that mine was so broken, is just, I don’t know it, it makes me want to work harder. Somebody else who says ‘Look, my family’s broken but is there a way back?’ then I’m like, ‘if you are asking that question, then let’s walk a journey, let’s go for it. Let’s see what God can do in your situation.’”
Serving All of Africa
The South Africa office connects with constituents in Nigeria, in Kenya, in Uganda, in Malawi, and all over Africa. The radio broadcast reaches a little more than 3 million people each week.
New App Available
There are about 20 million smartphone users in South Africa, and the app gives Focus a voice into the digital space. It offers Focus podcasts in English as well as Zulu, the country’s most widely spoken and understood indigenous language. The app also includes contact channels for users to reach out to Focus if they need help.
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