Reach Africa was launched in 2003 when Tim, Leslie, James and William Black moved from Blacksburg, Virginia, in the US to live in South Africa, settling in Cape Town in 2005. South Africa has become home. The natural splendor of the South African landscape is only surpassed by the incredible beauty and diversity of her people. Their work has one main focus: To assist struggling communities by working to provide holistic development opportunities as an outworking of the gospel. This has been done through a partnership between Blacksburg Christian Fellowship in Blacksburg, VA and The Common Good Foundation, a mission of Common Ground Church located in Cape Town, South Africa and Reach Africa. Tim works as General Director of Scripture Union South Africa.
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 35 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 their home church, Blacksburg Christian Fellowship and 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 married to MacKenzie and works as a veterinary assistant in Norfolk, VA. They are active members of Trinity Presbyterian in Norfolk. William is currently working at a printing company in Cape Town.
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.