Our hope is to plant churches amongst the poor, orphans, widows, drunkards, drug addicts, and forgotten people of the townships of South Africa. Our goal is to make disciples that will go and make more disciples so that church would multiply itself.
Chris is the pastor of our first church plant in the Nekkies township in Knysna, South Africa. This is a very strategic location for a number of reasons, but most notably due to being on the main road. This location has allowed us to be centrally located to the Bongani, Khayalethu, Doms-a-bos and Hlalani townships. Chris spends his days learning the Xhosa language, discipling a core group of 4 men, leading bible studies, leading disciple training, sharing the gospel from house to house, and also networking to try and find jobs for those in the church that are without work. There is also a tremendous amount of benevolence work that must be done due to the 60% unemployment rate, massive number of abused, neglected and orphaned children, as well as those who simply can’t find work. These benevolence outreaches can look very different from day to day, but often include feeding large numbers of people, visiting hospitals and clinics, buying clothes, blankets, and shoes, and paying school fees for children who cannot afford. In short, our goal is to aid the physical, social and most of all the spiritual needs of all we come in contact with.
This is the most difficult issue that we face on a daily basis. South Africa abolished Apartheid (literally means separation of the races) in 1994. Most of the people we work with would be the equivalent of a first-generation freed slave. There are still deep racial divides here simply due to the color of one’s skin. As a white person, ministering in a 100% black area, there are obviously obstacles to ministry that need to be broken down before I am able to minister. Learning the xhosa language has broken down many of these walls along with spending all of my time in these communities building relationships. It takes time, patience, endurance, tenacity, and thick skin and cannot be rushed. I have been chased away on multiple occasions but showing the love of Christ in those situations has been crucial. The Xhosa people are also a very proud people that are very connected to their culture of animism and ancestral worship. Most of them have heard of Jesus Christ, but only rely on him after the animals have been slaughtered and the dead ancestors have been approached through rituals and ceremonies. This makes ministry exceptionally challenging because I am often viewed as the white man, bringing his white religion, only to change the black man’s culture. Again, loving consistently and following up with compassion is the difference maker.