STEAMing into missions
May 4 2001 by Tony Cartledge , BR Editor

STEAMing into missions | Friday, May 4, 2001

Friday, May 4, 2001

STEAMing into missions

By Tony Cartledge BR Editor ROODEPOORT, South Africa - Patrick Moore might not have thought much about Africa when he was growing up in Clayton, but now he wakes up every morning on a beautiful hillside in Roodepoort, South Africa, where he works as an International Service Corps (ISC) missionary through the International Mission Board. Moore directs the STEAM team, one branch of the Southern Africa Baptist Union's outreach to youth. Each year, 40-50 young people commit a full year to mission work in their homeland. Most team members are fresh out of high school, though some have college experience.

Moore first came to South Africa as a student in 1997 to be part of the first STEAM team. The acronym STEAM represents either "Sports Training, Evangelism And Missions," or "Sports Training, Education And Mobilization," depending on whether the team is working in a church or school setting.

STEAM team members work in concert with one of two arts-and-music oriented FUSION (Faithfully United, Serving In Our Nation) teams as they travel about the country.

After completing a degree in Sports Management at N. C. State University, Moore returned to the Baptist Center at Roodepoort in 2000 to coach the STEAM team for two years. He is considering an extension of the assignment.

Team members go through a four-month period of rigorous training that includes physical, spiritual and educational elements. They cross-train so that each member has some expertise in sports, the arts, and children's ministry. Janice Haywood of the Baptist State Convention staff, Gail Ledbetter of Southeast Baptist Church, Greensboro and Susan Strickland of Laurel Branch Baptist Church in Burnsville traveled to Roodepoort in February to assist with the children's ministry component. From May through November, teams consisting of both STEAM and FUSION members travel throughout southern Africa, working primarily in schools, churches and camps.

The teams serve by providing sports clinics, concerts, children's ministry and AIDS education in various venues. AIDS education is a matter of special concern, as the disease has become increasingly widespread in the country. Team members share their faith freely in virtually all settings.

Most team members are of European descent. Baptist Union leaders would like to involve more people of color, but volunteers must pay their own way, and the current annual cost of 5,000 Rand (about $625) is beyond the means of most black South Africans. Baptist Union officials are hoping that N.C. Baptists and others will consider providing scholarships for prospective team members who need financial assistance.

For more information, contact Kathi Kestler of N.C. Baptist Men at 919-467-5100 (local), 1-800-395-5102 (toll-free), or (e-mail).

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5/4/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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