Red tape hampers goodwill mission
THINGS didn't quite go to plan when six parishioners from the Springfield Christian Family Church travelled to South Africa to spread some goodwill.
The group had intended to travel to Mozambique to continue working on and completing a much-needed medical clinic on the Love International land at Natikiri.
This was a project which began last year and was funded with the generosity of residents through the Ipswich Cares Foundation.
But a simple paperwork error meant the group had to change its plans
.Ipswich resident Bruce Knight, one of the missionaries on the trip, said the country had made some changes to their letters of invitation, which prevented them from continuing on with the project in Natikiri.
"The ruling is now that the letter of invitation must now be stamped by the justice minister in the province which you are visiting prior to going," Mr Knight said.
"We were not aware of that. Neither was the director of the project over there who wrote the letter.
"It was a shame, because we were going to continue the work on the medical centre which we started last year.
"The building has been made, but it just needs to be constructed. So we were going to lift up the big concrete walls, put the roof trusses on and the roof."
When they arrived in South Africa, the group made numerous attempts to try and reach the justice minister, but he was nowhere to be found.
"We were sent back to Johannesburg by the Mozambique immigration department," Mr Knight said.
"While we were there, we made contact with a friend of ours and she arranged for us to go and assist an organisation called J-Life.
"They are a leadership training organisation in a town about an hour's drive south from Johannesburg.
"There we helped with the completion of a four-bedroom house, which would be used as a retreat for pastors and leaders.
"We did things like painting, plumbing, putting up doors and general maintenance."
But Mr Knight said he still had plans to travel back to Natikiri to complete the medical centre.
"Quite a lot of people in Springfield put a lot of money into the project when we fundraised, and we want them to know that we will complete it."