Imagine living in one of the many townships in South Africa. One day you are an average lost person, happy in your sin, no thought of God or judgement or eternity. The next day you are troubled by your sin. Your conscience condemns you and you feel dirty. Questions that you never asked before now plague you. Does God really exist? Will we really have to answer to Him? Is there eternal punishment for sin? How can we be right in His sight?
The next Sunday you go looking for answers to these questions. The first ‘church’ you visit is a massive structure covered in metal roofing sheets. Hundreds of people are gathered inside. The band music is turned up to a deafening level as people sing and shout and dance. The atmosphere does not feel holy, but closely resembles a nightclub. After an hour of loud music and dance, the preacher finally gets up in his flamboyant suit. He shouts so loud that it hurts your ears. He promises that if you give your money in faith to the ‘man of God,’ then God will prosper your finances and heal all your illnesses. All of his shouting seems to be about money and miracles. Most of the church members live in tiny shacks while he lives in a huge house and drives a Mercedes. You leave disappointed, with no answer for your sin and guilt.
The following Sunday you try a smaller metal structure with a church name painted on it that is a mile long. The name seems to include lots of Bible words and places. The meeting, though, is dark and disturbing. Ceremonies and rituals are being conducted that are no different than the rituals of the witchdoctors, but ‘Christian’ words are used. The emphasis is the same though. There is no teaching about the true God, only ceremonies to appease the ancestors and receive a blessing. Again you leave disappointed and confused. Is there no church that actually teaches about God? Is there nowhere to find relief from the sin and guilt that burdens you?
That week, on your way to the marketplace, you happen to notice a small tent. The sign beside it says that it is a Baptist church. In desperation, you visit the tent the next Sunday. The singing is clear and calm - no deafening band, no shouting or dancing. No so-called miracles or endless pressure to give money. The preaching is shockingly different - a clear explanation of a Bible passage. The preacher explains your guilt before a holy God, and the salvation that He accomplished through His Son, Jesus Christ. Finally, you have found the answers that you were looking for. For the first time, hope blossoms in your heart.
Now, here’s the hard truth. If you happen to live in a township like Daveyton, Oliven, or Soweto in Johannesburg, or the massive township of Khayelitsha in Cape Town, you might find that little Baptist church. But if you live in one of hundreds of other townships, you will never find a church that preaches the true Gospel.
With that in mind, you can see why every new pastor in South Africa that HeartCry partners with is a cause for great rejoicing. We want to introduce our three newest South African missionaries so you can rejoice with us and pray fervently for more biblical churches to be planted in that needy land.
After completing his studies at Christ Seminary in Polokwane, Karabo was called to pastor Central Baptist Church in Rustenburg. Karabo is under the oversight of HeartCry's 'hub' in South Africa, Brackenhurst Baptist Church. Rustenburg is a major mining town in northwestern South Africa, and is one of the country's fastest growing cities. To read more about Karabo – his conversion testimony, call to ministry, and his wife's testimony – click here.
Quinton started Reformed Faith Mission Community Church in 2010 in the neighborhood where he grew up. His brother, Mario, came to help him in 2013. Quinton is a graduate of the Bible Institute of South Africa. He recently left a very good job with the city manager's office to devote himself to the work of ministry full-time. To read more about Quinton – his conversion testimony, call to ministry, and his wife's testimony – click here.
Sizwe is a graduate of Bible Institute of South Africa in the Cape area, and is Xhosa by heritage. He and his wife, Sethu, are planting Makhaza Reformed Baptist Church in Khayelitsha, one of the largest townships in Cape Town. To read more about Sizwe – his conversion testimony, call to ministry, and his wife's testimony – click here.