Atlanta First UMC supports the mission work of Elliott and Katherine Stotler and their son Cason as they serve with the Mission Society in South Africa. The Stotlers have been actively involved in the life of our church for a number of years and Elloitt led mission trips to Honduras.
Elliott and Katherine are engaged in educational, economic and spiritual empowerment in one of the more impoverished areas of the country as well as building relationships with the Xhosa people in the rural Eastern Cape of South Africa.
The 10 month curriculum offered is based on the Creation Story and includes elements of bible study, science, stories, song and crafts. Each school is visited once a week with the objective of promoting respect for all of Creation, love of learning and desire to honor God as well as seeing God as sole provider instead of seeking the favor of ancestral spirits. Schools included in the program have few resources and in some cases even lack sufficient classrooms instead using benches outdoors and a broken piece of chalk board.
English is introduced as the language of instruction in Grade 3 so it is valuable for learners to hear the voice of native English speakers. Each school is visited weekly with the reading of stories and promotion of literacy.
Small Business Development
The Stotler’s will work with groups of learners in the last year of vocational secondary school that have learned a trade but do not have the knowledge or discipline to start their own business in the community. Small business skills, concepts in savings discipline and life skills from a biblical perspective will be presented. Assistance in creating business plans and on-going mentoring over the course of the year and beyond is included.
Savings and Credit Associations
Facilitating Savings and Credit Associations addresses the need for small scale credit and teaching sound biblical principles of personal and business finance in economically challenged communities. Teachings would also include concepts of reconciliation to address areas of broken relationships that can be a root cause of material poverty and encouraging a vital and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
In each of the four computer courses taught, the objective is providing basic skills for those who would use the computer in work or school as well as instilling a confidence in life-long learning for those beyond formal education and most importantly, sharing the Gospel. Each class concludes with the study of God’s Word relating it as a guide to daily living.
New Church Development
The Stotlers are partnering with a young pastor to start a new church in Sigidi; a difficult to reach rural community with no churches for at least 5km. Their role will include Pastor mentoring and lay leader development as well as creation of community empowerment ministries such as a Pre School and small business skills development.