Who We Are
We are a community of believers following Christ’s mandate to empower youth.
The mission of Hope of Africa is to improve the lives of vulnerable African youth through education, leadership and community development.
The vision of Hope of Africa is to raise a large network of emerging African leaders who know their intrinsic value and use their God-given talents to serve and inspire their communities.
Hope of Africa accomplishes this by discipling youth, equipping them with: training, practical skills, leadership opportunities, coaching, counseling and special projects.
Meet the Executive Director: Heather Lytle
Heather May Lytle is the executive director and one of the co-founders of the Hope of Africa. Since 2003, she has worked throughout Africa with several organizations. From 2006- 2009, she lived in South Africa establishing a boarding school for orphaned and vulnerable children. She currently travels to Africa several times a year to teach, conduct camps, and lead teams. She has led fourteen trips to various parts of Africa and has a passion for holistically mentoring young people to achieve their God-given dreams and talents.
Heather has worked for 15 years in various healthcare settings. She currently works as an RN at Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota in an Intensive Care Unit and is currently finishing her master’s degree to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.
For Heather’s full story about how God worked in her life to bring her to this point, click here.
She invites you to join our international family in becoming a part of the amazing work happening through young people in Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, and South Africa.
Meet the Board of Directors
Chairman: Andrew Lytle
Andrew was born on a dairy farm and later raised on a beef ranch in central Montana where he learned much about agriculture and gained a long lasting love of the outdoors. He worked as a wrangler for a guest ranch and for the family construction business the summers of his junior and senior years of high school. He continued in construction, working for many different construction companies until he started Dreams to Reality Construction in 2009. He graduated with honors from a two year program at Montana Wilderness school of the Bible and has also been chipping away at pre-veterinary studies at Montana State University. He also has a strong love of overseas travel where he discovered a huge burden for the difficult conditions of the people in the developing countries of the world. This was strongly re-affirmed when he recently accompanied a medical mission group to Haiti in 2010. He has closely followed the events that have unfolded for the kids since Heather first began in Africa and is incredibly honored for the Lord granting him the opportunity to help serve the brave people working so hard for the vulnerable people in Africa’s poorest areas. Andrew has been the Board Chairman since December 2012.
Vice-Chairman: Tamsin Scurfield
Having completed an undergraduate degree and unclear as to what next, over the next 3 years Tamsin found herself travelling, working and volunteering in parts of Africa, Asia and Australia. A brief stint in London was followed by a year in rural South Africa which formed the basis of her desire to work in development in small, grassroots community programs. After completing her Masters degree, she returned to Africa where since 2006 she has worked in South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Southern Sudan and Somalia where she currently resides.
Good development cannot take place until the people for whom that ‘development’ is supposed to make a difference, are heard. Tamsin is keenly aware that the voices reflected by people within their communities are often not heard until after the NGO’s have gone, that’s when the talking really begins. Working with and through grassroots programs run by people from the communities themselves is one way around this problem. To date Tamsin personally knows all the people and programs Hope For Africa is partnering with and is grateful for this opportunity to walk alongside them as they work tirelessly to serve their own communities. Tamsin has been serving as Vice-Chairman of the Board since December 2012.
Secretary/Treasurer: Amy Dayton
Amy spent 20 years in the Air Force as a Communications Officer and then after retiring began a second career as a high school math teacher. She currently teaches math at Colorado Springs Christian High School. Amy has travelled to Africa three times to work with orphaned and vulnerable youth. In her words, “God dug a hole and buried my heart there and I will never be the same.” While there, she has helped run a week-long youth leadership retreat, led a math workshop with rural math teachers and conducted numerous math tutoring sessions with African high school students. Realizing that it took so little effort and money to make huge impacts in the lives of young Africans, Amy knew this was where God wanted her investing her time and effort. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors, Amy is also one of the co-founders, and volunteers for the organization taking care of all the finances and administration.
Board Members: Maurie & Joy Bahnsen
Maurie and Joy have been involved with The Hope of Africa since January 2013, but have been following the stories of the African children that Heather has been working with for years. They are members of Life Covenant Church in Helena, Montana. Maurie is a retired highway designer and Joy is a retired healthcare purchasing agent. They both have the gift of hospitality and have a deep love for discipling young people to achieve their God-given dreams and goals. They introduced Heather to the work of the African Children’s Choir in 1999 and have assisted Heather through various projects since that time.
Board Members: Todd & Angela Johnson
Todd and Angela have been involved with The Hope of Africa since January 2013. They are currently serving as missionaries to Thailand with an organization that assists in providing sustainable opportunities for those formerly caught in the sex slave trade. Todd has his doctorate in Business Administration and is a business professor in Minnesota and Angela is a stay-at-home mom. They both have a desire to see discipleship throughout America and the nations and love witnessing Christians grow in their faith by serving those in underprivileged communities. They are the parents of 4 beautiful young children and are members of Christ Community Church in Rochester, Minnesota.
Meet Our Partners in the Field
Johan Masuku has been working with orphaned and vulnerable youth since 2007 and has been involved in several leadership camps with The Hope of Africa. Johan has been an “uncle” to many of the secondary students in our South Africa program and has a real heart for mentoring students. He serves as a pastor within his community church and has led various service projects from building homes to planting gardens.
Calsile “Agreeneth” Mncina
Agreeneth Mncina has been working with orphaned and vulnerable youth since 2007 and has been involved in several leadership camps with The Hope of Africa. Agreeneth has been an “auntie” to many of the secondary students in our South Africa program and continues to help mentor the youth in our program. She currently resides in Pretoria, South Africa assisting our university students and working as a train conductor. She loves serving in the local youth group and teaching the Word of God.
Selby Khoza has been working with orphaned and vulnerable youth since 2007 and has been involved in several leadership camps with The Hope of Africa. He has been an “uncle” to many of the secondary students in our South Africa program and continues to help mentor the youth in our program. Selby currently works as a welder at a local sugar mill in South Africa and volunteers much of his time serving as a driver and counselor to many of our youth. He also is the youth pastor in his local church.
Pastor Jan and Sue Van Waveren
Jan is the pastor of Onderberg Church in Malelane, South Africa and his wife Sue leads the worship team. They are long-time friends of The Hope of Africa and are considered one of our supporting churches. They have served as spiritual advisors to our staff and have provided both spiritual and financial support to the students in our program.
Pastor and Mrs. Lubisi
Mr. Lubisi is a primary school principal and the pastor of a Living Waters Ministries in Schoemansdal, South Africa. Mrs. Lubisi is a social worker and mentor to hundreds of youth in her village. They have a passion for serving the youth in their community and are developing a youth center to provide mentorship to kids in their community who would otherwise be hanging out on the street. Our students have served alongside the Lubisis with community service projects. The Lubisis have been amazing mentors to the staff of The Hope of Africa.
Esme and her family run an adventure camp program in the bush of Mbayane Mountain (Upon The Rock Adventures). She and her family love the Lord and love to mentor, challenge, and encourage youth. They provide the opportunity to learn survival, team-building and leadership skills mixed with the adventure and fun. Esme and her family are more than just the owners of a camp we take our students to…they are part of our family!
H.O.P.E. Amplified was started by Tony Were, a long-time friend of Heather’s. He left a promising journalism career to move back into Kibera (the slums of Nairobi) to mentor and care for street boys. Since November 2012, he has been successful getting eight young street boys into school. He has a love for mentoring orphans and vulnerable children. His gift of discipleship is contagious and he has dedicating his life to make this his full-time job. Tony is an integral part of our program in Kenya and a wonderful part of our team.
Timothy & Priscilla
Timothy and Priscilla left their jobs and their home in Uganda to move to Siyaya, a very rural area in Kenya. There they established a small primary school and just recently obtained funding to add a kitchen to the school. We are partnering with Timothy and Priscilla to assist with the work they are doing in their community. Timothy and Priscilla have a wonderful gift of hospitality and their love for the Lord is evident in all that they do. They are the proud parents of two small children.
Tumaini Clinic is a mother-baby clinic that cares for many teenage mothers in the Korogocho area of Nairobi. They have a great vision to improve the prenatal care, healthy delivery, and post-natal care of mothers and babies. We have volunteered at Tumaini Clinic in the past and would like to continue to provide them any assistance and resources needed for their amazing work.
Siyabonga House in Uganda (Siyabonga literally means “thank you”) was started by a group of young Africans in their 20’s who pooled their resources to rent property and take in 18 orphans who had no hope of a future. Heather has worked alongside several of them since 2002 and was an “auntie” to them in their teenage years. Siyabonga House hired teachers and have been raising and home-schooling these young orphans. They are now in the process of raising support to transfer the oldest 8 to traditional boarding school where they can be prepared for secondary school and eventually university.
Shula and her family are originally from Zambia and are missionaries to Mozambique. There they have established a school for local orphans, as well as a program to teach skills such as gardening, sewing, baking and work-working to youth and young adults. She has a love for teaching the Word of God and a real gift for mentoring young girls. Shula and Heather have been serving alongside each other since 2006.
Where We Serve:
Currently The Hope of Africa is working to improve the future of African youth in South Africa, Mozambique, Uganda and Kenya.
South Africa is a nation with modern technologies, yet just 30 minutes down the road are rural villages with people living with no electricity or running water. South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world (5.7 million) and the 4th highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world (18.1%–percent of the population living with HIV/AIDS). The Nkomazi region on the eastern side of South Africa has been crippled by the flood of refugees from neighboring Mozambique and Swaziland (highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the world). In Nkomazi, we have been working with a group of secondary students who have shown the desire to work hard and the potential to get to university or trade school and pull their families out of poverty. We also partner with local principals who are working to improve the futures of African youth, and home-based care organizations who are providing medical care to those who are too sick to seek care at a clinic.
Mozambique received independence from Portugal in 1975 and then was engaged in a civil war from 1977 – 1992. Since then the economy has grown, but with much government corruption, very little economic development funding has reached the poorest communities. In Mozambique, many young kids do not get to go to school because they simply cannot afford it. Orphanages are full of babies and children orphaned by the war or by the loss of parents due to AIDS, TB or other diseases. We have worked in hospitals and clinics where the number one item they needed were surgical gloves. In Mozambique, we are working with young Africans in their 20’s who are running orphanages, schools and skills training (such as wood-working, gardening, sewing and baking). These young Africans recognize that education and job training is their hope for a better future. Our mission is to partner with these organizations and help fund the resources to improve their communities.
Uganda’s history includes an 8-year reign by dictator Idi Amin in the 1970s which included economic decline and massive human rights violations. It is estimated that as many as 300,000 Ugandans were murdered during his reign of terror. Since his ousting in 1979, Uganda continued to have political unrest and human rights violations until 1986 when the current president took office. Uganda is an incredibly beautiful country full of people living in desperate poverty. Orphanages and slums are overflowing with children orphaned by the war. Despite the abject poverty, the people of Uganda are incredibly friendly and are quick to give you the shirt off their back. Our work in Uganda is to partner with young Africans (in their 20s and 30s) who are working to build mother-baby wellness clinics and youth centers to improve the lives of young people in their communities.
Kenya saw spectacular economic growth between 2002 and 2007, yet at the same time social inequalities also increased, with much of the economic benefits going to the already well-off. Social conditions deteriorated for ordinary Kenyans, who started facing a growing wave of crime in urban areas. Nairobi, a major international development city, is also home to the second largest slums in all of Africa (Kibera). In Nairobi, we are partnering with young Africans in their 20’s who were once impoverished orphans themselves and are now working to create hope and a future for the youth in their communities.
Statement of Faith:
We believe in one God who is the sovereign Creator of all (Genesis 1:1) and that He is eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit (John 14:15-21).
We believe our in Lord, Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, His virgin birth, His sinless human life, His divine miracles, his atoning death, His bodily resurrection, His ascension, His mediatorial work, and His Personal return in power an glory.
We believe that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).
We believe that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the entire world and freely offers salvation to all who call on and put faith in Him (John 3:16). He is the only way to heaven and the only name that can be called upon to gain eternal life (Acts 4:12).
We believe that Jesus came for the lost, and that salvation is a gift, not by works, but by regeneration given by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:8-9).
We believe that Jesus Christ wants to be the Lord of our lives, not just the Savior (Romans 10:9). As a result, we need to die to ourselves, forsake all, take up our crosses, and follow Him (Luke 14:27). We should be who He wants us to be, do what He wants us to do, and go where He wants us to go (Isaiah 6:8).
We believe that Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to do the things that He did (Acts 1:8). Just as the Father sent His Son into the world, now He sends us to be His ambassadors to a lost and hurting world (John 20:21). The Holy Spirit indwells every believer and gives us gifts to help us carry out God’s will (1 Corinthians 12:11,12).
We believe in the Holy Scriptures as originally given by God, divinely inspired, infallible, entirely trustworthy, and the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
We believe that love sums up the law. We need to love God with all that we are and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37‐39). By our love will they know that we are His disciples (John 13:35).
We believe that every believer in the world makes up a part of the body of Christ and that God’s will for His church is that we be unified so that the world might know the Truth (John 17:23).
We believe that it is the responsibility of the Church to take the Gospel into the entire world as a testimony to all nations (Matthew 24:14). Every member in the body of Christ must play a role in building the kingdom and taking the Good News to all creation, making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus taught (Matthew 28:18‐20).