Reach Africa began in 2003 when Tim, Leslie, James and William Black left their home in the New River Valley of Virginia, US and moved to South Africa, settling in Cape Town in 2005. They are currently working in a partnership between Blacksburg Christian Fellowship and Common Good Foundation, a non-profit initiative that grew out of Common Ground Church as a gospel-motivated response to poverty and injustice. Tim's main focus is in The Zanokhany0o Network, a project working with unemployed people and is a member of the local church strengthening team, among other things. Leslie volunteers with the Zanokhanyo Network, serves as numeracy team leader and Life Orientation teacher at Mokone Primary School, along with a host of other things. You can find out more at www.commongood.org.za and www.tzn.org.za. In addition, both are involved in their local church, Common Ground Church (www.commongroundchurch.co.za), helping to lead the Social Justice Ministry team in the Rondebosch PM congregation.
They have also been involved in assisting the Unakho Children's Home at Barcelona Baptist Church since 2009. This is a ministry run by Pastor Julius Bonani and his wife Irene. They currently care for 30 orphaned and/or abandoned children in a very poor informal settlement called 'Barcelona,' in Gugulethu township, Cape Town.
Tim is a graduate of Liberty Baptist College (now Liberty University), attended Law School at Wayne State University School of Law and was self-employed as a property developer prior to the family move to South Africa in 2003. He completed a BA Honours (Theology) degree in 2008, an MA (Theology) in 2010 from the University of Pretoria, and a Ph.D. (Science of Religion and Missiology) in 2017, also with the University of Pretoria.
Leslie is a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman's College and obtained Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master's degrees from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She was employed at Virginia Tech prior to moving to South Africa.
They were involved in Youth Ministry at Blacksburg Christian Fellowship for 5 years and at Pinelands Methodist Church in Cape Town for 7 years. They also served for a number of years as Team Leaders/Project Directors with Teen Mania Ministry/Global Expeditions, leading groups of young people on mission adventures in many parts of the world. James is a recent graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. William is currently working in Radford, VA and studying at New River Community College. Both boys consider South Africa their home.
Melissa Koser - U.S. Ministry Liaison
Samuel and Emily Copeland
Samuel and Emily both spent much of their childhood living in Blacksburg, VA and attending Blacksburg Christian Fellowship (BCF). It was through BCF that they initially got connected with Reach Africa. During high school and college they each served with Tim and Leslie in Cape Town, helping facilitate Holiday Clubs and building relationships with children at Mokone Primary School and Unakho Children's Home. That is where they initially caught a vision for how God is working throughout the world, bringing light and hope to the lost. In April 2016, Samuel and Emily got married in Dublin, VA with Tim officiating the wedding. In January 2018, they will be moving to Cape Town to work with the Common Good Foundation, a mission of Common Ground Church. Samuel will work as a project manager for Common Good and be pursuing pastoral ministry development at Common Ground Church. Emily will be working closely with Leslie at Mokone Primary School with numeracy and literacy initiatives. She will also be mobilizing and coordinating volunteers from Common Ground Church in these initiatives.
Samuel is a graduate of Liberty University, where he studied Business Administration with a concentration in Project Management. Since college, he has worked as an IT Project Manager at Virginia Tech. Emily is a graduate of William & Mary, where she studied History. During and after college, she worked at Williamsburg Community Chapel serving in admin roles and as a leader in the middle school ministry. In 2013, she moved to Cape Town, South Africa to work with the ministries of Reach Africa. In 2015, she moved back to Blacksburg, VA and began working as a school-based case manager in the New River Valley, serving children in under-resourced areas.
South Africa is an amazing country filled with incredible diversity, seen both in the beauty of its landscapes and the faces of its people. Our desire is to join with the local church to facilitate a movement of the gospel that engages poverty and inequality in a way that makes Jesus known and worshipped.