Rotary Club of West Polk County
                       Noon Monday Meetings
Dr. Jim Blessman was a guest presenter at the regular meeting of the West Polk County Rotary Club on December 14th at the invitation of Rotarian Hannah Inman (KDC Built Home Builders).
Dr. Blessman is no stranger to Rotary.  In fact, he himself is a Rotarian and he has partnered with Rotary International in order to assist some of poorer communities in South Africa gain access to clean drinking water for students and staff at their local schools.  
Pictured: Hannah Inman, Dr. Jim Blessman, Sara Aiken
Blessman Ministries was formed in August 2001 by Dr. Jim and Beth Blessman, Blessman Ministries is a non-profit organization that aims to spread the Good Word to the people of Africa through Christian mission trips.  In fact, another Rotary trip is scheduled to take place in January 2016 to the area they are currently working in and you can be a part of it.  If interested, contact the Lee Holmes of the Waukee Rotary Club.
Dr. Blessman share many stories that helped meeting attendees better understand the needs of the communities that he and his ministry are serving.  There is extreme poverty, so they focus on basic needs that can help a generation of children have a better education, better health, and hopefully a better future.  How do they accomplish this?  They are guided by the good Lord and helped by many people along the way.
Pictured  (L to R): Rotarian Hannah Inman, Dr. Jim Blessman, Sara Aiken.
The focus of the ministry has included several things to date, such as helping to get wells dug so that people can have access to clean, safe drinking water, as opposed to drinking from feces polluted ponds and streams.  They have provided shoes and clothing so that people can be cleaner and can build a community sense of pride.  They have helped to form community coalitions in order to get local buy in for how to solve identified problems.

Today, however, they are working to build toilets at area schools, which will create a safer, friendlier environment, and could even save lives.  How can a toilet save a life; in more ways than one.  Some schools have old pit style toilets that first of all have become very unsanitary, which can lead to the spread of sickness and disease.  Some more pointed examples included stories of young children falling through the dilapidated floors of old toilet facilities and drowning.  This is a terrible story that unfortunately is true, and really highlights the need for action.
As a result, Blessman Ministries is working with donors to raise funds that will be matched by the South African government , which will allow for new toilet facilities called Enviro Loo to be installed.  Enviro Loo toilet systems provide a safe, practical, necessary solution to a problem no child should have to face.  The initial goal is to get 645 toilets built and in service in the next year or two. 
With the continued work of Blessman Ministries and the support of generous and caring people, these problems can be solved.  God willing the conditions will improve with time and the future will continue to improve for these good people. 
Thank you to Dr. Blessman and Sara Aiken (also with Blessman Ministries) for sharing your story with members of the West Polk County Rotary.  To learn more about Blessman Ministries, please visit their website HERE.