Steve and Anne Haag epitomize the concept of using your passions to help others through life skills training. Could God use a pole climber (fiber optics) and a greenhouse worker with prior addiction issues? That’s a resounding “yes”. Today they are ER staff running vibrant ministries with longtime partner Living Hope in South Africa.
The Haag’s shared this in their latest newsletter*:
“Recently, John Thomas, Executive Director of Living Hope, shared some inspiring verses from the Gospel of Matthew about caring for the poor. This reminded us what a privilege it is to be here working with Living Hope and Extreme Response, to feed hungry people, give them “cool drinks” (what sodas and juice drinks are called here), and provide for other needs, such as clothing and healing from addiction.
“Farm life (Anne’s work) is always fun and busy in summer in South Africa. Plants love the long days and bright sun and we’ve been harvesting bumper crops of tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, other leafy greens, beets, pumpkins and green onions, to name a few. We just graduated five farming students and are welcoming 11 new ones.
“Thank you donors who have blessed the farm with funding to build a new growing area so we can expand our crops. Pray over this project and for the markets in which to sell the increased harvests. Anne is helping obtain quotes for the project. It has been really encouraging to see local companies discounting their services in order to make a difference. Who knew I’d (Anne) be a fundraiser of sorts?”
Addiction Recovery Miracles Through Life Skills Training
“The recovery center (Steve’s work) continues to be a place of miracles. He says he has the best job in the world because he sees clients come in the door beaten down by life and addiction, then sees them exchange their burdens for life in Christ and hope for their futures.
“On Wednesdays, Anne joins Steve and we lead the clients in a body weight exercise. We then follow up with teaching Biblical values. Every recovery graduate receives their own Bible.”
Scroll below to learn more about Steve and Anne’s ministry in South Africa.
*Edited for space
Life Skills Training Helps Feed Thousands
Stephen and Anne Haag are not your typical missionaries. They got into short-term missions with ER later in life and found that the experiences spoke to their hearts in a profound manner. They realized they had a passion to serve others, but where and how?
During a trip to South Africa they found their niche.They connected with long-time partner Living Hope and learned of a need for missionaries to assist with substance recovery and farm training.
The Haags both had experience in recovery programs and Anne with working for a nursery. It was an ideal match. After some challenges with their visas, they landed in Cape Town and began serving as ER staff serving with Living Hope. Below, Anne provides an update on their ministry and also how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their roles.
“We have been under lockdown since March 26 and cannot leave our house except for going to work, grocery shopping and to address medical needs. Recently, we’ve been allowed to exercise, get takeout food and buy needed items like hardware and clothing.
“Steve typically works at Living Hope’s Recovery Centre (drugs and alcohol day rehab), but that was closed for a while during the pandemic. The program is starting to reopen. In the meantime, Steve has been spending his days working with Anne on the farm which was closed for 5 weeks because of the pandemic. It just reopened and Steve is happy to be back. Clients are coming in and the program is running well. Prior to the reopening, Steve had been spending his days working with Anne on the farm.
“The farm operates as a place for agricultural students to do practical training as part of their college education. All but one student chose to stay on campus (they live 10-18 hours away). Living Hope has obtained “essential status” for many of their programs, including the farm.
“We would go to the farm each day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Steve helped with maintenance projects, including the installation of a new pump in the aquaponics tunnel and organizing all the tools. We did a lot of weeding, harvesting and cleaning. Anne is now focusing on assisting the farm manager with planning and developing processes and protocols for more efficient farming.
“We grow tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers in our covered high tunnel greenhouses. We also have an aquaponics tunnel where we grow lettuce. This year, Living Hope planted more than its usual variety of field crops. We planted spring onions, green peppers, Swiss chard, cauliflower, onions and peas.
“We also are growing seedlings that we will plant out when they are big enough: carrots, broccoli, cabbage, broccoli, celery, beets. We’re even experimenting with strawberries and potatoes. Some of these will be sold to local markets and some will be given away to those in need in nearby townships.
“Anne has also been teaching a Bible study developed by a South African organization called Real Deal. There are testimonies and teachings that are geared toward the Xhosa culture. This has been a great way for her to learn about Xhosa culture and tradition. Anne may be learning more than the students who all happen to be Xhosa (Nelson Mandela was Xhosa).
“We have had opportunities to help Ron, Amy, Nick. Samantha and Brice with the food parcels they are distributing to Dream Center children and their families. We have enjoyed seeing ER staff each week. We’ve been missing the company of our fellow ER teammates.
“Living Hope is doing some amazing COVID-19 response work by screening people in the nearby settlement of Masiphumelele. We also are giving out thousands of food parcels similar to what ER is doing.”
Living Hope Thrives in South Africa
By John Thomas, Executive Director, Living Hope Trust
(April 16, 2019)
The Harvest Training Initiative program offered by Living Hope trains students in agriculture, business and missions. It is the combination of these three subjects which enables students to be trained as farmers in a holistic way.
At the moment we have 20 students enrolled in four different phases. The day is divided between classroom time and practical work on the farm. The aim of the course is to teach students the “from farm to fork” methodology. Every vegetable we grow is used in some way. Our first-grade veggies are delivered to the markets and hospitals for their salads for patients.
The business side of of the course is divided in three different subjects, business, project planning and finance. At the end of phase three students pitch their business plans to a panel of judges and they compete to win the right to farm in their own hydroponic greenhouse. The winner gets the opportunity to run this greenhouse for the last six months of their course applying everything they’ve learned during their first year of the course.
The Mission’s class uses ‘The Live School’ curriculum from World Mission Centre and covers the most obvious subjects in order to get trained for missions. In order to qualify for the certificate, students go on a mission trip. Last month students went to serve people in the Koringberg district. Students hosted a holiday club, showed a film, and did street outreach to the elderly – 331 people were touched through this outreach.
Through the training, it is envisioned that farmers return to their home town to develop sustainable agri-businesses. As a result of their improved work ethic, community development, business and agricultural skills, they are able to be a great help to their communities. They are able to speak with authority and credibility into their neighbors’ farming activities and lives.
Our graduates are able to share their knowledge with neighboring farmers. In this way, there is an increase in employment, economic development and farming produce.
Learn more about Living Hope.
Iris and 100 Years of Jungle Oats
(Nov. 16, 2018)
We love sharing stories that demonstrate the best of people and organizations. ER partner Living Hope recently posted the story of Iris Winstanley, a 100-year-old of Fish Hoek, South Africa. Read on and be encouraged.
By John Thomas, Executive Director, Living Hope Trust
This year President Nelson Mandela would have turned a 100 years old if he was still alive. President Mandela is fondly remembered by South Africans as a president who wanted to bring change and blessing to a struggling South Africa. Here in our own Fish Hoek Valley we have a lady, Iris Winstanley who turned 100 about two months ago, everyone wanted to know: “what is your secret Iris?” Her answer was that she eats a bowl of Jungle Oats porridge for breakfast every morning of her life! At the age of 100 years old, Iris is the example of health, vitality and even goes for walks frequently.
Iris’s daughter decided to contact Jungle Oats, a porridge Company to tell them about her mother’s morning breakfast ritual of the past 100 years and how wonderfully healthy she is. Her story touched the company’s heart and they responded to her story and decided that they would donate a hundred boxes of Jungle Oats porridge to a charity of her choice.
Like her contemporary Nelson Mandela, Iris decided that she wanted to bless people and children in Ocean View in particular. Her daughter contacted Living Hope and the handover was arranged to happen at our Kids Club. It was pure joy to see the little ones faces when they received their boxes of Oats porridge to take home. What a blessing it is to have partners like Iris, thank you for your act of kindness and being a blessing to our community!
Learn more about Living Hope.