The ABWE Project Office had no idea the lasting impact their ministry would have when they set out to help blossoming churches in South Africa construct their first church buildings starting in 2000.
“[Their] help through the planning and construction phases of our church was invaluable,” said Pastor Vic Willis of Fellowship Baptist Church in Durban, South Africa—the first church built through the ABWE initiative, the Blessing Durban Project.
Not only did Vic gain building skills he could then use later to help on other building projects, he also developed lasting friendships.
“The relationship I built with Bill Hanson (Director of the Project Office) and his wife Ginny over that year was incredible,” he said. “And the visiting teams were definitely a highlight of the projects.”
In South African culture, having a building signifies that your church is legitimate, Vic said. But many of the fledgling churches in the area lack the resources and the funds they need to construct their own buildings.
The Blessing Durban Project was created to serve not only as financial aid for these churches, but also to assist in planning and construction, providing advice and resources, and recruiting teams to help with the finishing work.
Once local contractors built each building to roof-height, the Project Office would recruit volunteers to help with the roofing, electricity, plumbing, painting, doors, etc.
With just $500,000, Blessing Durban has succeeded in fully constructing four church buildings in or near the Durban area.
Other projects have also stemmed from Blessing Durban and the Project Office’s work. Grace Baptist Church, one of the churches they built, now works in partnership with four missionary families to transform their community through the 7 Rivers Outreach project—a Zulu church plant and a 75-acre farm which provides micro-enterprise opportunities, training, and leadership development for Zulu pastors.