Rachel Jenae

South Africa-Part 1

Welcome to South Africa.

If words could even begin to describe our glimpse of South Africa here would be a few: rainbow nation, watchmen, scouting the land, beauty, simplicity, diversity, 11 national languages, sneak peak, gaps, influence, rebuilding, possibilities, growth, challenge, history, and overcoming.

In 10 short days we saw only a small glimpse of the diversity of this country. We stayed mainly in and around Johannesburg and that in and of itself was a lot to take in. We met incredibly beautiful people everywhere we went. Their hospitality, their smiles, their constant willingness to teach us and engage with these foreigners, blessed us immensely.

We were sent as watchmen, scouts into the land to hear God’s heartbeat for connecting more to this country-as a church body, but also as individuals. What was God doing, what was He trying to show us? Our daily times together as a team grew deeper as we gained a small understanding of the culture around us. One side of the road could be lined with nice homes and the other lined with shack homes for miles. The history ever present with every person we met. Drivers speaking their tribal language, be that zooloo, sutoo, afrikans or one of the other eight national languages. Their family tribe, their language and where they come from is a huge part of their identity and inheritance.

We connected with a handful of ministries and organizations and each one showed us a different perspective and glimpse of what was happening in this country. The last 17 years have been full of growth and change for South Africa and the church has been set up perfectly to play it’s God-given role, not just on a Sunday, but weaved into the fabric of every day life. Helping to feed, educate, train, find jobs, raise orphans,,, give hope, and the cool part is, the government sees the need to partner with the local church to bring about this positive change.

Our final devotional time as a team revealed layer upon layer of what God was doing in our team. Connecting dots of words spoken to individual hearts long ago and God’s hand bringing unknown things to the surface. Lots of stirring. Stirring to integrate new things God is doing and stirring to heal areas that have been forgotten. Here we were, the first congregational team to go from our church to this country and more than anything we saw our need to connect and partner. To give and receive. We weren’t called to fill our time busily doing, doing, doing, but to be ever mindful of who we are called to be-as we spend time with our bus driver, our waiter, new friends, “ministry” or walking the streets. We are called to be like┬áJesus, one ear turned to toward Heaven to hear what God is saying in every moment. This is what leads us to do anything. This came up again and again-a sweet reminder for our every day lives no matter where we find ourselves. That amidst our busyness if we miss the God moments and forget to listen to what God is wanting to say and do through us, we have missed it all.

We started the trip with two days at a safari about an hour or so outside of Johannesburg. 4,000 acres of bush country and African wild life to go right along with it.

We then made our way into downtown Johannesburg. Here is where we really began to see the diversity of the country. One side of the highway lined with shack homes for miles and the other side with regular nice homes and businesses.

We visited the church Regina Mundi, where youth ran in seeking shelter during the 1976 apartheid riot outbreak. Incredible history in this city that took place only in the last 40-60 years, signifying just how many things are still in the processes of changing.

At the home of Nelson Mendela.

A monument honoring all the youth that died during the apartheid, specifically a young 13 year old boy named Hector Pieterson who got caught in the crossfire. The picture in the monument went around the world as an older boy carried Hector’s body away from the riot along with his older sister. Below we met Hector’s sister.

We visited the POPUP Center run by Doxa Deo Ministries next. Such an incredible organization and position so perfectly in this city, right near a shack town. For a very low cost, they educate and train people and then also help find them jobs…but before any of that they start with a week of orientation where they introduce them to Jesus and His good news.

We then ministered at a Messianic Jewish service on friday night for their shabbat service. to be continued…