South African missionaries visit College
The College’s Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency recently hosted Johan Engelbrecht, DMiss, and his wife, Karin, for an informal presentation on the work they are doing in Namaqualand, a region on the West Coast of South Africa. The presentation was held for faculty, staff, residents and medical students.
Engelbrecht’s organization, called Leaders for the Nations, is a global, non-profit organization focused on leadership development in rural communities throughout Africa. LFTN holds training conferences to educate and equip these key leaders to mobilize their communities in the areas of education, aids awareness, farming and everyday living.
The organization has focused its last 28 years on transforming the communities of the Khoi-Sun people, the original people of South Africa who were pushed to the West Coast after the Bantu farmers migrated south.
Seven hours from Cape Town, Namaqualand is a region of small towns and lacking in medical care with only one clinic in the town and a doctor who visits just once a month. For an emergency medical problem, a resident of the region has to travel the dirt roads to find a government-run hospital in the nearest big city.
By building a strategic network and being a support structure and an empowering force to the community, LFTN aims to bring knowledge and skills to assist leaders and increase their sphere of influence. With the local churches in unity, Engelbrecht says, “We can take this marginalized people to another level of freedom as we stand together.”
Leaders for the Nations takes a multi-faceted approach to address the issues of AIDS orphans, single-parent families and child-headed households in South Africa through leadership training, outreach and medical care.
The organization plans to expand its reach to Namibia and Botswana, neighboring countries of Namaqualand, in the coming years, and hopes to gain the support of the College through medical assistance and possibly even a visit to South Africa. “I hope that someday you will get to go somewhere where people don’t have opportunities and you are able to give back to them,” said Karin Engelbrecht.
Johan Engelbrecht, founder and president of Leaders for the Nation, attended Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., where he received his doctorate in missiology, and is also a writer and conference speaker and has appeared on international television and radio shows.