Laetitia Bull: “Petra is a movement that brings about hope and renewal. It’s an organisation that is touching lives across the world.”
If you’ve travelled the R538 Numbi road you may have seen the sign snuggled on the skirts of Legogote and wondered what the Petra Institute for Children’s Ministry was all about. A Christian school camp, perhaps? You’d be wrong, because from this beautifully situated base in White River the Institute sends their trainers to church groups and organisations across South Africa and many African countries, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Far East.
What do they do? Petra recognises that children, whether from poor or affluent societies, are often the most neglected population group in the world. At the same time, what children learn and experience in their early years influences their thinking and decision making for life.
Flying in the face of accepted ‘from the ground up’ wisdom, the Petra Institute provides facilitative and practical training in Christian communities from the ‘top down’. They equip church leaders to take ownership of children within their reach by using Biblical examples to reform the community’s perception of children. Petra builds lasting relationships, working in partnership so that the people they train themselves train others and so on. This ‘top down’ approach enables a small team of Petra trainers to reach, consult and advocate community leaders with a trickle down effect to extend the knowledge and skills of adult society. As the tutors and mentors educate their communities, the broadest sector of the pyramid, the children, are helped with a better quality of life as their relationships and place within the community is recognised and improved. They are helped to grow spiritually and a specialised course Walking with Wounded Children, teaches the community leaders to help traumatised children.
“We take our training to the people, learning is enhanced in the context of their own culture and environment,” Laetitia explains. The Petra trainers return to base infused with hope, despite the indescribable sights and stories they experience on their travels and their strongly upheld values of servant leadership, being relational on all levels, integrity, honesty, respect and assisting the Body of Christ to think and act differently about children gives them the stamina and vitality to keep going.
Winning hearts to change minds is an effective method of making sustainable change, and Laetitia has many stories from Ghana, the Central Africa Republic and even further afield of how before their eyes, they have seen change happen.
Founded in Ermelo in 1989 the Petra Institute of Children’s Ministry moved to White River in 1990. An NPO funded solely on donations, fundraising is a constant task especially in difficult economic times. Keep an eye on the We Are White River events calendar to find out when the next Petra fundraising event is being held and please do your best to support them. That’s what community relationship building is all about, right?
Phone: 013 751 1166 / 750 1575
Cell: 082 446 2274
Fax: 013 750 0906