Volunteers share Christ in South Africa and come home with a challenge
Earlier in March, twelve people left the comfort of their homes in Virginia to travel to a town outside of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Why? To share the love of Jesus! Missions Pastor, Ron Gibson, from Pioneer Baptist Church rallied six from Pioneer and six from other churches with one goal in mind: Evangelize. During this fourth trip for Ron to South Africa, the team focused on squatter camps outside Johannesburg. Dwellings in this community are the size of a typical office cubicle. There is no electricity or running water. Many of the residents are from surrounding nations that have moved to Johannesburg to find work. They are willing to live in this extreme poverty for the purpose of sending money home to their families.
As the team went out to minister, they were quickly amazed at the “spiritual hunger”. People were literally running to team members asking to hear about Jesus! “Tell me about Jesus.” “Hey, give me the Book!” When was the last time someone begged you to tell them about Jesus? Pastor Ron reflected, “The harvest is not just ripe, it’s rotting.” Many are dying of disease at a rapid pace as the life expectancy is only around 50 years old. They want to hear the Gospel, but the laborers are few!
The team also led a Pastor’s Conference two hours north of the squatter camps. “The Book of Acts came to life”, exclaimed Pastor Ron, “It was powerful”. During the conference, Ron and the other pastors stressed the unconditional love of God. Many of them struggle, because of ancestral belief and fear, and find it difficult to grasp how much God loves them.
As these 12 missionaries returned home, they were challenged in new ways to “think outside the box.” “We get so passionate during mission trips because we are listening and looking for God to guide our every step and direct each word. When we come home, we get distracted with our everyday life and if we aren’t careful we aren’t as focused on hearing God. We have been challenged after the trip to seek Him moment by moment!” We all need to see a greater awareness of God at home.472