Texas bandsmen join with DTI Corps to support S. African children’s home

By: Philip Burn

A visit to The Salvation Army’s Ethembeni Children’s Home in Johannesburg, South Africa, made a significant impact on members of the Texas Divisional Band in the summer of 2017. So much so that the Dallas Temple Irving Corps recently hosted a lunch and auction to raise funds to support the amazing work taking place at Ethembeni.

Up to 60 children, from birth to 3, call Ethembeni home. These children have suffered emotional, physical or medical abuse or have been abandoned. Many are HIV positive. This special place provides mental and emotional stimulation, love and care for the children and works toward their adoption or fostering into a loving family environment.

During the band’s visit, they met with Captain Bongi Zulu, the administrator at Ethembeni. She shared that their greatest need was not food or supplies, but workers to care for the children and the funds to pay them. “To pay one caregiver for an entire year costs around $3,000 USD, and Ethembeni needs multiple caregivers for each age group to serve around the clock, “said Matthew Broome, Texas divisional music director. “This seemed like something we could help with.”

About a third of the Texas Divisional Band members attend the Dallas Temple Irving Corps, and they collectively decided they wanted to make a difference and support Ethembeni. With an initial goal of raising $4,000, plans were made to hold a luncheon that included a lemon auction (regifting unwanted Christmas gifts) and a silent auction to raise funds for Ethembeni. The entire corps family enthusiastically supported the project, which culminated in a fun event on Sunday, Jan. 21, that raised $8,000. Major Paul McFarland, Dallas ARC administrator, served as the event auctioneer and delivered a performance reminiscent of Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum in the movie, “The Greatest Showman.”

“The Dallas Temple Irving Corps congregation are a generous and faithful group of people,” said Major Stan Carr, DTI corps officer. “They have responded on a number of occasions to challenges put before them to benefit others. The most recent example of this spirit-driven generosity was the response to their visit to the Ethembeni Children’s Home.”

Combined with other matching funds, $16,000 is going to support the vital, life-changing ministry of the Ethembeni Children’s Home.

“During the trip to South Africa, Lt. Colonel Kelly Igleheart challenged the band members, asking ‘what will this trip cost you?’ – referring not only to the dollar cost and time involved in the trip to South Africa but also the cost and sacrifice of each band member upon his or her return home,” said Broome. “We pray that God blesses our efforts and the small contribution we have made to help those who have blessed us beyond measure.”