Volunteer shares life saving skill with Bulembu Children : Lisa Ryan, UK

Here at the blog we like to introduce you to some of our volunteers who have traveled to Bulembu to serve the community. This month we interviewed an inspirational lady from England, UK who has visited Africa 16 times in the 16 years that she has been a Christian. We are blessed to have had Lisa in Bulembu 7 times so far and are grateful for the love and care she brings. She also brings a special skill which is a tremendous blessing to the children, so more about that in a moment!

We asked Lisa to share how everything began. She said, ‘I came to visit Bulembu for the first time in November 2011 with Kingsgate Community Church. I’ve always known God wanted me to work with His children in Africa, and I had worked in Uganda but when doors closed there I started looking and church were doing a two week trip so I decided to join in and kept returning, this time I was able to stay for three!’

Something that really blesses us in Bulembu is when a volunteer comes with a special skill. We massively appreciate Lisa for bringing swimming lessons to our children. She explained what motivates her and what this does for the children.

‘What motivates me is doing the will of God in my life, as I gave my life to him then I am doing what he asked me. With regards to teaching the children, swimming is such a valuable and essential life skill that I would like all children to have a chance to learn. In Africa as a continent, drowning is a huge problem and if I can enable one child to save their own life then that’s brilliant because every life is valuable.’

‘I enjoy teaching the children because they love to learn. They are so enthusiastic and love me coming as much as I love what I do. I believe that my ability to teach swimming is a God-given talent and I want to use it doing God’s work. Swimming is also great for boosting children’s confidence. You see children who lack confidence blossom in the water, or children who are autistic suddenly communicate and lots of other things. An absolute delight to witness.’

Lisa shared some of her favourite experiences and memories from her trips so far. ‘What’s special is as soon as I cross the border I feel like I Am Home… I have friends I call family now and children who look forward to every visit. I love going to the lodge, the pizza, Bulembu honey! I love the waterfall, I love spending time in homes with friends. I love seeing children grow and being surrounded by God’s people. I actually enjoy the isolation and being in the mountain- that’s different from home where I live in a busy city. I love how genuinely friendly everyone is. I love watching the progress that children make from year to year.’

‘Some highlights? Meeting God up the mountain, rededicating my life to God under the waterfall. A student having a breakthrough swimming a perfect butterfly stroke! Seeing more of the surrounding areas with friends… oh so many!’

For those reading, that may be interested in visiting and volunteering yourself, and perhaps sharing a skill- or know someone who might wish too- has this excited you yet? We welcome applications for those of you who would like to enquire and are interested in serving, and the details are below, however for some of you, this may raise the question of how to finance your trip.

One of the amazing things about Lisa is the creativity she has had in doing this! She has shown incredible dedication and here are some of the amazing ways she has done this:

# Swum the equivalent length of the English Channel in one day in the river

# Swam the whole river over nine days

# Crocheted and sold 128 scarves (128!!!!)

# Took part in a muddy obstacle race!

What a great role model for our children in Bulembu to look up to!

Once again, we welcome volunteers here in Bulembu and we would like to hear from you if you have skills which you may be able to share in a volunteer capacity. If you do please visit our volunteer page https://www.bulembu.org/visit-and-serve/volunteers/ to enquire.

Thank you for reading!