Property purchase isn't done in a title office, or with a lawyer or notary.
In the cluster of 3 villages that occupy the hilly terrain outside Durban, South Africa where ITMI’s Kelly and Cherise Smith minister, they have a unique procedure for the transfer of property.
It is not done in a title office, or with a lawyer or notary.
I love the process of property purchase in the African village!
Essentially you have a big barbecue and invite everyone in the surrounding area then you all go out and agree upon the boundaries and place pegs in the ground.
Everyone is there to agree or disagree until the job is done, once finalized the deal is sealed with cooked meat and cold drinks to celebrate.
Earlier this year, the Smiths and their ministry team - called the 7 Rivers Outreach - recently purchased roughly 2.5 acres of land across from the school in the community.
The property will house the Thola Center. Thola means “discovery” in Zulu. The center will house outreach programs designed to help villagers discover the One true God and His Word.
All the men directing Kelly as he walks through the field with a hammer and pegs to put in the ground staking off the property.
A community member looks on as a marker is placed.
After 17 years of working in these three to four Zulu villages, Kelly believes the time is right to move the outreaches they’ve established to one venue in the center of the community.
The 7 Rivers team’s driving goal is to reach everyone in the area that they possibly can with the Gospel of Christ.
To do that, the Thola center will house four main types of outreach:
After School Programs -
The Center will house after-school Bible clubs and character clubs to care for and counsel children.
7 Rivers already reaches the children of the community with children's programs, but the Thola Center will provide a consistent meeting place sheltered from the weather.
The Thola Center is a vital part of ministry in this area because of the number of vulnerable children in the community.
A Christian Preschool -
Reach families and young children by preparing them for the primary school learning environment while teaching them about Jesus.
A Medical Clinic -
One building in the center will be a place where people from the village can receive medical care.
A Women’s Job Skills Development Center -
Women from the community can come to learn skills such as knitting, jewelry-making, or baking, so they can experience the dignity of earning an income and be impacted by God's Word.
ITMI's Cherise Smith has led a weekly outreach for the women of the community to learn job skills for years. She has experienced the effectiveness as women from the outreach pursue additional Biblical input from her.
This assistance will be offered by people who know how to have a godly influence on the lives of those who come to the center, including Kelly and Cherise, as well as ITMI's Fifi Smith, along with other members of the 7 Rivers team.
“It’s going to be Christ-based,” Kelly comments about the assistance that will be offered at the Thola center, “We’ll have people offering it with the love of Jesus Christ. That’s what will set us apart.”
This is a model we’ve seen work beautifully in Stone Hill, South Africa. Stone Hill’s community center - which ITMI supporters helped fund - has allowed many believers to reach the people of the informal community of Stone Hill.
Stone Hill was once known for violence and lawlessness, so after years of faithful outreach, ITMI's Charl van Wyk, one of the leaders of the outreach, rejoiced when he heard an outsider refer to Stone Hill as a “Christian Township.”
The Thola Center could be to KwaZulu Natal what the Stone Hill Community Center is to Stone Hill: a catalyst to the spread of the Gospel.
The Stone Hill Community Center has catalyzed the spiritual growth of many young men from the settlement by providing a place to hold Bible studies and outreaches.
The site of the future Thola Center with envisioned structures drawn in.
With the land purchased, the first two priorities for developing this land will be to terrace and level the land and fence the property.
They’ll also be applying for electricity and to drill a well, to which the community will have access.
Would pray with us for the Lord’s provision for this project, and that many will be reached for Christ through it?