About Us

Our Story

In 1997, a local woman named Engela DeVillers began Pfunanane Ministries with a heart and passion to establish a place where underprivileged children would be provided with quality Christian education, and where the orphaned and vulnerable would find a loving home. Beginning with only five children, Engela established Pfunanane on her own property, using a portion of her farm as the starting place for a preschool and a potential site for Children’s Homes. 

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As the ministry took root, Pfunanane began to steadily grow, adding a new grade each year. During this time Engela accepted some children who were able to pay school fees, and simultaneously looked for children in need, who she found sponsors for. In 2007, with a school of 75 children through grade four, Engela tragically died, leaving the community mourning for the woman who impacted so many lives.  To complicate the matter, the property was sold, and the future of the ministry was thrown into uncertainty.  With the school staying on the farm only as renters, there was a constant worry that the new owner would sell the property out from under them and the ministry would be forced to close its doors.  But this period of difficulty also brought with it new hope.  Our first American missionary, Sarah Haver (now Terwey), joined Pfunanane with a vision to continue Engela’s work, and began the first Children’s Home.  Starting with only one child, Sarah began taking in children in desperate need — some orphaned, some ill, some needing a safer environment.  Her two-bedroom cottage on the farm began to fill with children in need of a home, and she was soon caring for twelve children full-time.

In 2010, the farm was once again put on the market and the Board of Directors, with no real funds and only the trust that the Lord would provide, sensed that He was telling them to move forward toward trying to purchase it.  That same week, Sarah received a random email from a supporter stating that God had placed on his heart a desire to help them buy a place to live — a supporter who had no idea about the earlier decision to buy the farm.  The email turned into a partnership that would be the start of an outpouring of support and donations towards buying the farm which followed over the next year. 

As the ministry took root, Pfunanane began to steadily grow, adding a new grade each year. During this time Engela accepted some children who were able to pay school fees, and simultaneously looked for children in need, who she found sponsors for. In 2007, with a school of 75 children through grade four, Engela tragically died, leaving the community mourning for the woman who impacted so many lives.  To complicate the matter, the property was sold, and the future of the ministry was thrown into uncertainty.  With the school staying on the farm only as renters, there was a constant worry that the new owner would sell the property out from under them and the ministry would be forced to close its doors.  But this period of difficulty also brought with it new hope.  Our first American missionary, Sarah Haver (now Terwey), joined Pfunanane with a vision to continue Engela’s work, and began the first Children’s Home.  Starting with only one child, Sarah began taking in children in desperate need — some orphaned, some ill, some needing a safer environment.  Her two-bedroom cottage on the farm began to fill with children in need of a home, and she was soon caring for twelve children full-time.

With the process of forming a trust to purchase the property underway, the Children’s Home was finally able to move into a much larger house on the property, leaving space for more missionaries to come.  Soon after this, another group of children was identified and Erin MacLean, another missionary living on the property, became our second house mother to three brothers in need.  

In 2012, after a lengthy sales process, the Pfunanane property was finally purchased — in full with no debt!  We are so thankful to God for moving the hearts of so many people to help with what seemed like an impossible task!  With the future of Pfunanane secured, and the ability to build on the property, own what we were building, and not have to pay rent, our small ministry has grown to what it is today. 

Currently, Pfunanane has over 350 students, half of them sponsored. It is also home to 20 children full time, as well as 15 more young adults who grew up with the Terweys and consider it their permanent home. Due to God’s faithfulness, we have become a known name in the community as a place where students thrive, economic barriers are torn down and children from all walks of life are shown the tremendous hope of the Gospel of Jesus.   

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Our Mission Field

Although South Africa is generally known as one of the more stable and affluent countries in Africa, huge social and economic divides still dominate the landscape.  Much of the turmoil which remains in South Africa is due in large part to apartheid (which means “apartness” in Afrikaans) — a system of strict segregation which existed here until the mid – 1990’s.  Black people during this period were forced into slum-like living conditions and were prohibited from living in designated white areas. 

Although laws were passed in 1993 to eliminate enforced racial segregation, the deeply entrenched social and economic effects are still felt today.  Many of the villages which our ministry reaches are historically segregated areas which still lack the basic amenities such as running water, electricity, roads, and decent schools. Compounding the effects of apartheid are epidemic levels of HIV/AIDS infections which have ravaged South Africa over the last two decades.

Currently South Africa has the largest number of people living with HIV of any country in the world. Although treatments are gradually improving, many thousands of people continue to die every year, and current estimates are that one in five people in South Africa is living with HIV or AIDS. This horrible disease has left devastating scars across entire communities, leaving millions of orphans and widows in need of help.

Mission & Vision

Mission Statement

Our mission is to serve our community through the Christian education and support of disadvantaged children and their families.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to provide for the emotional, physical, spiritual and educational welfare of the children that God has entrusted to our care. In order to accomplish this, we provide quality Christian education, loving homes for orphaned and vulnerable children, and the practical and emotional tools necessary for our children to become successful adults. These foundational provisions are made possible through: Pfunanane Academy, the Children’s Homes and the ministry programs which support the daily needs we encounter

Statement of Faith

We Believe

  • The Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative, inerrant Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21)
  • There is only one God, eternally existent in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1 Matthew 28:19; John 10:30)
  • In the deity of Christ (John 10:30)
    1. His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:35)
    2. His sinless life (Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 7:26)
    3. His miracles (John 2:11)
    4. His vicarious and anointing death (1 Corinthians 15:3; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 2:9)
    5. His resurrection (John 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15:4)
    6. His ascension to the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19)
    7. His personal return in power and glory (Acts 1:11; Revelation 19:11)
  • In the absolute necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit for salvation because of the exceeding sinfulness of human nature ; and  that men are justified on the single ground of faith in the shed blood of Christ and that only by God’s grace and through faith alone are we saved (John 3:16-19; John 5:24; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:8-9; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5)
  • In the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life, and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation(John 5:28-29)
  • In the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5: 8-9; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Galatians 3:26-28)
  • In the present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling in the Christian is enabled to live a godly life (Romans 8:13-14; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:9-16; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; Ephesians 4:30; Ephesians 5:18)