A PEMBROKE DOCK carer is following in her friend’s footsteps and heading off to South Africa to play her part in an initiative, devoted to transforming the lives of families and children blighted by the scourge of HIV. Tara Baker, who heads off to Durban for ten weeks in early January, has been selected to serve with the Christian relief agency Tearfund in conjunction with ICS (International Christian Service). Tearfund/ICS offers volunteers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend ten weeks in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Rwanda or South Africa working alongside young in-country volunteers and contributing directly to genuine development projects “I heard about this programme from Sophie Merrix’s mother” Tara explained.
“Sophie was on the same programme last year and I have to admit it has grabbed my heart. I will be working in the Inchanga Primary school in Kwa Zulu Natal, but have been told ‘to expect the unexpected and to prepared to do anything’.” She added: “I am sure it is going to prove a very exciting ten weeks. I like the idea of getting out of my bubble and being able to exploring different cultures and countries, and best of all to feel I will be able to make a difference. “I am a Christian and I see this as part of my discipleship.
Christians are called to be a light to the world and to care for the poor. Sophie told me that it changed her life – it changes your outlook on everything” Tara’s interest has already had an impact on her current lifestyle, as she explained. “I am engaging in ‘Below the Line’ Challenge, which is seeking to arouse awareness of those who are living in poverty in the UK by trying to live on £1 a day.”
“This is not a fund raising exercise,” she added. “This is a solidarity challenge. I’d read about it before and wondered if I would be able to do it but the training I have received at Tearfund has opened my mind up to the way other people have to live. Now this has given the motivation to get stuck in and the training at Tearfund has really made me think a lot about poverty – I think its amazing what they do.” I hope to make a difference but I also hope it will open my mind to learn how other people live. I have given up my job but I am not too concerned about that I am trusting God 100% for the future “I am absolutely thrilled to see Tara wanting to serve God in this way,” said Pastor Rob James of Pembroke.
“Like her friend Sophie Merrix who is now working full time for Tearfund she is an inspiration to us all. I am convinced that the quickest way to finding a fulfilling life is to reach out to help those in need. “Selfishness is corrosive and destructive whereas caring for others is enriching and extremely rewarding. Tara will discover that as she steps out in faith and in her love for others