Silver Valley Worship Center members Beth Bartlett, Yvonne Davis and Shirley Dockter look at pictures Mama Bernice Balmes brought to show them of the children living in the Jewels for Jesus orphanage in Bungoma, Kenya, Africa. These three women are planning a mission’s trip to work with children living in the orphanage, and also help the people who live in Bungoma. There will be a breakfast to raise funds for their trip on Saturday, April 26 at the Osburn VFW Hall from 7 – 11 a.m.
SMELTERVILLE—The faces and plights of the children in some parts of Africa are often shown on the television.
For some it is information. For other it draws compassion. Still others are drawn into action.
This is the case of three local women who are raising funds and planning a trip to Africa.
Yvonne Davis, Shirley Dockter and Beth Bartlett are all members of the Silver Valley Worship Center in Smelterville. All three have felt a special calling to go visit the people in Africa, and help in whatever way they can.
“I have always had a love for children,” said Davis. “I see the pictures on TV of the hungry children in Africa and it always touched my heart.”
This feeling became even stronger about four years ago when a former SVWC Pastor took a group of people from his church to Africa and they returned and shared about their experience. “
“I was really listening and in my heart. I wanted to go so bad,” said Davis. “It was at this time that I started saving my nickels and dimes.”
Beth Bartlett is 17 years old, and a student at Kootenai High School. For several years she has had a strong desire to go on a mission’s trip to Africa to help the people.
“I have always had a heart for Africa since I was in middle school, and my youth group leader at the time took us to California where we processed peaches, and the plan was to then follow the peaches and deliver them to Africa,” said Bartlett. “This plan never worked out, but I have always wanted to go since the trip to California.”
Pastor Corey Berti knew Bartlett wanted to go to Africa, and began to put it into action.
Pastor Corey Berti called Davis to see if she would like to go. “That was my confirmation,” said Davis
Shirley Dockter said her heart has always been drawn to the children of Africa.
“I feel a desire and a yearning to go,” said Dockter. “Last time Mama Bernice was here and talked about the kids in the orphanage, I just looked at the kids and knew there was a need.”
Recently, Bernice Balmes, or Mama Bernice, as she is more commonly known, came to the Silver Valley to help prepare these women for their trip, and give a presentation at SVWC. The women learned about the clothes to buy, the health products to have, and the opportunities available to them to minister to the African people.
Mama Bernice started her mission’s work in 1969, while living in British Columbia. She works with Bishop Frances Bushebi and his son Pastor Dalmus Bushebi of Gospel Believers Fellowship. Bishop Bushebi has been a visitor to the Silver Valley. They all help administer the “Jewels for Jesus” orphanage in Bungoma, Kenya, Africa. She told the women there are many opportunities to help while they are in Africa for their three week stay.
“There are opportunities to feed the street children, do an all day event with the children, or visit the women in their homes,” said Balmes. “Pray about what you want to do, and what it is God is calling you to do.”
Some of the ways financially the African people can be helped is by building a well for $3,000, buying sheep at $30 a piece, then raising and selling the sheep and earning enough money to buy a cow, or raising a larger amount of money to help build another orphanage building.
Mama Bernice was very adamant about using the church for sending money straight to help the African people. She said often the money given by the United States government isn’t used for the way it is intended.
“Our countries give money to these countries for development, but all that money goes into the politician’s pockets,” said Balmes. “If you give money through the church, 100 percent of the money goes to help the people.”
As the women plan for their upcoming January 2009 trip, they are giving community members the opportunity to help in this mission’s venture.
On Saturday, April 26, there will be a pancake and sausage breakfast at the Osburn VFW Hall from 7 – 11 a.m. to help raise funds for their trip. Tickets can be purchased at both Stein’s Family Foods grocery stores in Osburn and Kellogg, or at the door. The cost is $5 a person, with children four and under free.
People wanting to make donations to help the people in this African community can contact the Silver Valley Worship Center, P.O. Box 196, Smelterville, Idaho 83868.
“God has a plan and purpose for everyone’s life,” said Davis. “It is our desire to step out and allow God to use us in whatever manner He chooses, not only in Africa but in our own community.”