Hope at the Table

 About Us

Scroll down to learn more about our family, to read the purpose of our website, to learn more about the country of South Africa and hear about our ministry!
Our Family

Doug - Ellen - Nathaniel - Josiah - Luke

Doug hadn’t had any inclination towards missions until he went on a hike with a friend who was home from Africa. It was then that his heart began to awaken. It was during that next year that Doug decided to go to the ends of the earth. During his six months in various countries in Africa, many people and moments “ruined the ordinary” for him. His eyes were opened to our extraordinary God and Doug found that he was drawn to the greatness of God. One particular moment that opened his eyes to God’s extraordinary happened on the docks of East London, South Africa. It was there, while kicking a soccer ball with a friend and surrounded by a pile of scrap metal that the questions, “Why are we here? Why here?” were asked.

The answer came down to calling. First, it was that still small voice that started speaking on that hike many years ago. That voice became so loud that Doug’s soul was stirred deeply to get on a plane and go to Africa, far away from his own comfort zone. He would never have gone there on his own. God drew him beyond himself to a place that made a huge impact on his life. Doug continues to feel the call of God drawing him to the place God wants him. He knows that God has great things in store as we minister in Cape Town, South Africa.


A dream of standing on the bridge above Victoria Falls in Zambia started everything, but a smoke-filled hut set in rural Zimbabwe changed everything. It was here, singing hymns with a woman dying of AIDS, that Ellen encountered the heart of God. She wrote this of that experience:

We walked up a grassy hill to our destination: a mud hut with a thatched roof. We entered the smoke filled hut to find an emaciated woman leaning up against a mud bench warming herself by the fire. The fire was only producing smoke and it was so thick that it made me want to choke. Her name was Sifiso and she was dying. HIV/AIDS was ravaging her body and even though she was just 26 years old, she looked 40. I was with a nurse from the US who was serving these wonderful people in the way that Christ called us. As we entered the hut, we exchanged hello’s and Sifiso smiled back at us. We massaged her swollen feet and sang hymns. We sang Amazing Grace because that is what Sifiso wanted. We didn’t do much that visit (well, in my eyes we didn’t), but I am forever changed. I learned the deep compassion of unconditional love that day. This is what God means when He says to love our neighbors even if they are halfway across the world.

It was after Zimbabwe that Ellen went to nursing school with the intent to go back to Africa. Her last semester in nursing school took her to Durban, South Africa to work in a small mission hospital. Those eight weeks further solidified God’s call on her life. Now, several years later she is excited to be in South Africa following God’s lead.

Nathaniel was born 10 February 2011. He attends a local school and loves spending time outdoors and making friends. One of his favorite activities is to participate in our community's free parkrun every week - it's a great way to meet people in our town!

Josiah was born 13 November 2013. He is full of life and also loves being outdoors, especially if it involves a jungle gym! He loves the beach and will happily play in the sand for hours. He is great at meeting new people and making friends.

Luke was born 24 June 2017 in South Africa. He loves to smile and especially loves to watch his big brothers!

The Purpose of our Website

Why do we call our website "Hope at the Table"?

HOPE: We are part of a local ministry called Living Hope. We thought it was appropriate to include the word “hope” in the name of our website, but we wanted to acknowledge the deeper meaning. Jesus spent much of his life on earth in the presence of the “least of these” – the poor, the destitute, widows, orphans, prostitutes, outcasts, etc… He was hope to the hopeless.

TABLE: Fish Hoek is just south of a national landmark in South Africa, Table Mountain. Because of it’s significance in the country, we wanted to include a reference to it by using the word “table”. More importantly, though, we wanted to highlight relationships.

When people gather together it is most often around a table. Whether we share a meal together, talk over coffee, play games, study the Bible, or take part in conversation relationship happens. It is in these relationships that God becomes present. Jesus has invited us to recline at His table. People will come from the East, the West, the North and the South (all over the world!) to join Him at His table (Luke 13:29). He wants relationship with us! He has overcome death in order to do this.While Jesus was on earth, He shared His table with His closest friends (his disciples) and “the least of these”. Our desire in SouthAfrica is to show people Christ’s love by following Jesus’ example of relationships.

When people recline at the table of the Lord, there is hope. Jesus offers a relationship that no one can match. No matter your status in life, you are welcome at the table of the Lord. Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28,30 ESV) Our prayer is that God will stir the hearts of many people and that they will come recline at His table and find hope.

*Our primary reason to create this website is for YOU! We value your relationship with us and our desire is to keep you informed as we travel this road on which God has placed us. Jesus says, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20 ESV). We hope that this space provides a place for us to connect in Jesus’ name and to experience Him together.

South Africa

A little bit of information about the country

What we are doing

As workers with SIM we will be partnering with  Living Hope, a local organization in Cape Town, South Africa. Living Hope works with the HIV/AIDS community “bringing hope and breaking despair”. It has long been our vision to join a team working amongst these people!

What does Living Hope do?

Living Hope has several ministry areas:

HEALTH CARE: The healthcare ministry medically serves people with chronic diseases including HIV/AIDS in both their 22 bed medical facility and home-based care in the community.

THE RECOVERY PROGRAMME: A ministry to the homeless community and people struggling with addiction that seeks to transform lives by providing various rehabilitation programs.

LIFE SKILLS: This ministry seeks to prevent the spread of chronic diseases including HIV/AIDS by reaching out to pregnant moms, parents, school children, teens and adults.

HARVEST TRAINING INITIATIVE: A ministry to the under-resourced communities that provides various programs to empower people with both economic and job skills. These students learn how to run a successful business while growing various vegetables and livestock.

What are our roles?

Doug is filling a much needed role within Living Hope’s chaplaincy department as he ministers to workers and clients amongst the home-based care workers and the Recovery Programme. He is excited to grow relationships with the people he serves through discipleship and mentoring. He leads weekly devotions to the workers and clients, as well as teaching them how to study the Bible (many of whom have never done this). He also has the opportunity to teach health topics to the Recovery Programme clients as well as lead them in strategy oriented activities (often in the form of fun games).

Ellen splits her time between caring for Nathaniel, Josiah and Luke with working in the Health Care Centre. Once a week, she conducts patient chart audits and compiles monthly reports. Based on these results, she is able to highlight areas that need improvement. She also co-leads weekly inservice training with the care staff. 
Country Profile:

Population of South Africa: ~49,000,000 people
Median Age: 25 years
Life Expectancy: just under 50 years old
The country is twice the size of Texas
Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa
Cape Town’s population: ~3,500,000 people
There are 11 official languages in Cape Town, however English is widely spoken
62% of the population is urban
The unemployment rate is 48.2% (3rd highest in the world

HIV Country profile:

Prevelance: 17.8% of the population has HIV/AIDS (4th highest in the world)
South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV in the world (5,600,000) AND the most deaths from HIV/AIDS per year in the entire world (310,000)

*All figures are from the CIA World Fact book.