Well, it seems to be time that you all meet one of my favorite people…someone that Gavin and I look up to in just about every way. She is incredibly inspiring. The way that she lives her life is constantly challenging us to try to be more like Christ.
As many of you know, my Mema, Ruth Schnatmeier has influenced my relationship with Christ and influenced the way that I try to live in a huge way. She was my spiritual leader and my closest friend. She passed away in December and I felt like I was losing part of myself. I admire her more than I can put in to words. There aren’t many people in this world who have managed to live as selflessly, as full of grace or as in love with Jesus as my grandma. But over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to get to know Ria, and through our friendship, I have begun to see so many of the same qualities and gifts that I saw in Mema in Ria and I am so thankful for her.
A few years ago, Ria experienced a major tragedy in her life, in the circumstances, some people would turn away from God and others would cling to Him…not only did Ria cling to Him, she started sprinting full steam after His very heart. In response to the tragedy, Ria decided to live her life for a greater purpose. She saw the need for a refuge for children in the township in Jeffrey’s Bay and she decided to start praying and fighting to make it happen. In 2005 Ithemba was opened and since then, Ria’s entire life has become dedicated to loving the children of Tokyo Sexwale and fighting to help them have a better life, free from poverty. While holding a full time job at the church and “foster parenting” two 4 year old twins, Ria still manages and maintains Ithemba. Since its start, Ithemba has grown into a day center that serves 200 children each day. Ria’s life is truly a testimony. She is actively seeking justice in her very own community. So, today, I wanted to introduce you to her! Please be praying for her and her ministry here in J’Bay.