Service award for KZN mission leader

2007-12-10 00:00

World Vision Africa vice president Wilfred Mlay said the award is in recognition of Stegen’s outstanding work over the past 55 years.

“We are thrilled that this amazing man, who has dedicated his life to the people of Kranskop and its surrounds, is receiving the recognition he deserves for 55 years of untiring work in the community. Beloved among the people, he is highly respected and accepted as one of their own. As the director of the KwaSizabantu Mission, with a team of 150 full-time missionaries, he has not only been a source of spiritual help, but also worked towards the development and advancement of the people of the area with educational programmes and skills development,” said Mlay.

He said that there are four educational institutions at the mission: The Domino Servite School (Grade R to Grade 12), a teacher training college (Bachelor of Education is offered in conjunction with North West University), Tabitha Adult School and the Thembalethu Creche.

“Apart from feeding schemes, Reverend Stegen is also known to combine the preaching of the gospel with practical advice on agriculture, such as giving lessons in church on how to cultivate avocado trees and vegetables.”

At least 1 200 people are at the mission at any one time, including co-workers, the sick, schoolchildren and visitors. However, the impact of Stegen and his mission is far-reaching. Twice a year, about 4 500 children attend a youth conference at the mission for a week and a community radio station, initiated by Stegen, has an official listenership of 250 000.

National director of World Vision SA, Lehlohonolo Chabeli, said it is fitting that the award was given to Stegen a week after World Aids Day. “For the past 20 years, Reverend Stegen has been deeply involved in actively addressing HIV/Aids. Not only does he teach abstinence, but he and his team care for the dying and for orphans … The Mission also runs the Emseni Care Centre, specifically aimed at women with Aids.”

Stegen shares the prize money of $10 000 (R70 000) with Dr Samuel Kamaleson, who co-founded and continues to lead the Bethel Agricultural Fellowship and the Friends Missionary Prayer Band in southern India.

The award is named after the founder of World Vision, Bob Pierce, and has been made annually since 1980 to someone, not employed by the organisation, who has dedicated a significant portion of his or her life in a particular ministry in a single geographical area.

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