MEMBERS of a Sheffield church have headed to Africa as part of a training course.
A group of 21 members of Hope City Church have left for a 10-day mission to Ghana as part of their leadership training course.
A busy programme will see the party help develop a recently-established church in the capital Accra, visit schools and villages and attend a conference.
There will also be meetings with teenagers featuring classes to boost motivation and self-esteem, as well as work to help children sponsored by the congregation.
All those on the trip are based at the Megacentre, Bernard Road, near Hyde Park, and are on part-time courses lasting one or two years. Their training is combined with full-time jobs based across the city.
One of the members, massage therapist Deborah Wakeling, aged 30, said: “We will only be there for a short time, but we will be planting seeds which will grow later.
“We want to see those children most in need getting the health care and education they require but we hope to have fun with them too, with quizzes and games.”
One of the party will be staying in Ghana for the longer term, for the next two years, helping develop the church’s work in the West African country.
Fellow trainee Gillian Booth, a 35-year-old primary school teacher, said: “We’ve been planning the trip for months and there is a very long wish list for all the things we want to take out there - stuff they can’t get hold of such as face paints and balloons.
“We expect to come back different people. Half of our group are of African origin, from countries such as Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa.
Ronia Nyakunika, aged 26, originally from Zimbabwe, said the visit was especially important to her as she had not been back to the continent for a decade.
She said: “We also have people originally from Hungary, Australia and Northern Ireland, so we are very cosmopolitan.”
Those completing the course may stay and go on to lead a department in the church, while others continue their careers.
Gillian said: “We are all being challenged and it is all about how much we grow in what is something of a hothouse environment.
“We know this 10-day visit is not long, but we aim to help those who are already there, encourage them and help develop their programmes into the next phase.”