Pastor – Soweto, South Africa
In 2014, Midrand Chapel sent Sammy to pastor Moletsane Baptist Church in Soweto. Soweto is the largest township in Johannesburg, and some estimate that it contains 40% of the total population of the city. Like many of the township pastors, Sammy is a graduate of Christ Seminary in Polokwane.
Testimony of Salvation
I grew up in a religious family. My parents were members of the ZCC, a denomination where I grew up attending Sunday gatherings on a regular basis. In my mind, God existed and we all worship the same God, even though we approach him differently. Hell was for really bad people – for drunkards and smokers. In my early teenage years I started drinking, and I knew that I fell under those who are going to hell, and I stopped going to church. My parents tried to warn me but the pressure from my peers was stronger than the fear I had for my parents. I mixed with the wrong people through my cousin and we made the most of every moment for fun and pleasure. It was my life – why not do what I want!
My cousin was later arrested, and during that time the Lord used his friend to share the Gospel with him while he was in prison. Out of desperate need for a life change, he responded to God's invitation to believe and trust in Christ. I didn't know about his conversion, but to my surprise, when he visited me after his release, he asked if we could go to the born-again Christian church. We knew this is where you find real Christians, they have more rules than just don't drink and smoke, but I thought it would be cool.
I remember sitting, attentively listening to the preacher talking about Heaven and Hell. I was so terrified that I asked to be saved from that punishment of hell. It was not long before I started drinking again, and that fear which was temporarily instilled in me was gone. I was thinking about all the unsaved celebrities and saying, if they are all going to hell, then hell will not be that bad.
But even then, I wasn't out of God’s reach. From the way that seemed hopeless, God called me to the narrow road that leads to eternal life. Once again, I was invited to the church and after many teachings I finally understood that God requires me to repent from my own sin and believe in Jesus, and to trust that He fully forgives those who come to Him through repentance and faith (Isaiah 55:7).
I was 17 years old when I responded to God's invitation to have a new relationship with Him by believing in Christ. I rejoice in Christ my Savior who enables me to turn away from sin and put my hope in Him alone. Because of this I know for sure I’m going to heaven.
Since that time, I have often walked closely with Him, and at times, walked afar from God. But He has been so gracious with me! No matter how many times I stumbled, He always picked me up again and set my feet back on the right path.
Call to Ministry
My passion for the Gospel came while working for a family care center, providing home-based care and counseling to HIV/Aids patients. Seeing people dying in their sins was my deepest pain.
But even though I had a strong desire to reach the dying world with the Gospel, I felt like I was not thoroughly equipped to share the Gospel in a community rooted in ancestral worship and witchcraft. I wanted to be equipped, and in 2005 I enrolled with Christ Seminary. While at the seminary, I learned that God's vehicle for His Gospel is His church.
In 2006, Midrand Chapel asked the seminary to recommend to them a student for internship, and that’s how I ended up at Midrand Chapel. I was there from 2006 until January 2014, when they sent me to serve as pastor of Moletsane Baptist Church in Soweto.
2006 is also a memorable year because that's when I married my wife, Itumeleng. Together we are on a great life-long journey of learning to love like Christ does the church. God has blessed us with two girls and two boys.
I was raised in a religious home where mom was a committed member of a cult church. Both my parents were raised in that church, so it was our family church and it was highly regarded in the community. During my teenage years, I started questioning what our family believed. Prayer was a great challenge to me because we had to pray to a prophet and our ancestors, who were believed to be taking our prayers to God. I didn't like the church at all as I was distressed about not understanding the reasons behind their practice.
I started to rebel against my parents with regard to going to church and was disciplined many times. I loved my friends and that’s where I felt a sense of belonging. I wanted to fit in with my peers. All I wanted was my own sinful desires, to please myself, and at times my friends, and didn’t care about disobeying my parents. If they set a curfew to be home by, I would lie and say I was studying with friends. Ephesians 2:3 reminds me of my life before Christ and I’m grateful that He saved me! ‘Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.’
One evening my friends and I decided to go out, but first we planned to pass by the Crusade tent ‘just for fun.’ While we were sitting there, I heard the word of God preached from John 17, and through it I was convicted of my sins. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, I realized my need of God. I repented from my sins and turned to Him for the forgiveness of my sins. I was 16 years old. The Lord opened my eyes so that I could see the difference between a believer and an unbeliever.
He not only gave me the desire to live a godly life, He is also enabling me to live a life that honors Him. I am not living a perfect life, but I'm fighting sin daily and depending on Him for my sanctification and to become more Christlike. As Titus 2:11-13 says, ‘For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.’
At the age of 22, the Lord brought Sammy, a godly man, into my life. We married in 2006 and now have 4 children. We are grateful to be living this life together in Christ and to experience the blessings and joys that come with that. Even today, the Lord is still growing me and molding me into the likeness of His Son. I'm grateful for my salvation which is by grace through faith in Christ alone.