For quite some time, our posts from South Africa have focused either on the pioneering church-planters in the townships, or the two Maneville brothers working among the gangs of Belleville South. But these are not the only types of work that HeartCry partners with in South Africa. Karabo Msiza is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Rustenburg – a major mining town and one of the nation’s fastest growing cities in northwestern South Africa. Karabo tells us about the attraction of the true gospel in the lives of two men:
Teacher Willing to Travel for Truth
“Rustenburg is a town with a population of about 500,000 people. Lately Central Baptist Church has been receiving quite a few young people from nearby townships and villages. We keep hearing from these young people that they can find no Bible-preaching churches where they are.
Lorato began visiting our church after he visited our website (www.cbcr.co.za). Lorato is a Math and Science teacher in Northam, a small mining town about 80 Kilometres (50 miles) away from Rustenburg. Soon he was attending our church regularly, traveling from Northam to Rustenburg every Sunday without fail. The amazing thing is that he didn’t have a car of his own and to take a mini-bus taxi on Sunday morning would mean waiting several hours before it left Northam coming to Rustenburg. So every Sunday he stood on the highway and asked for lifts from strangers coming to Rustenburg. After a car dropped him in town, he walked another 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to the church.
After a couple of months of regularly attending our church (right – Sunday worship), I sat down with him and advised him to find a teaching job in Rustenburg so that he can be closer to the church. He started the process of looking for a local teaching position and by the grace of the Lord he found one.
Recently, Lorato has been reaching out to the homeless every Sunday morning by conducting Bible studies. He is passionate about spreading the gospel and this has been a great encouragement to the church as we hear the reports during corporate prayer on Sundays. Our prayer is that this will result in souls being drawn to God for his glory.”
Eyes Finally Opened to False Teaching
“I am grieved that Rustenburg has no other Bible-preaching churches that we know of. There are an endless number of African Traditional Religion, word-of-faith, and charismatic churches being planted everywhere. To make matters worse, we have found it very hard to reach out to colleges and schools near us. I suspect that they have been disappointed by the trickery of these so-called ‘churches’ and that they see every pastor as a trickster.
Many people are drawn to these ‘churches’ desperate for miracles and ‘breakthroughs’ in different areas of their lives. The struggling economy of Rustenburg provides a context in which these rogue churches thrive by preying on the desperate masses. But it is in this seemingly dark place that the light of the gospel shines triumphantly. God still draws those who belong to Him.
One of these people is Tony (shared with his permission). In early 2018, I met Tony as he was visiting a member of our church who was sharing the gospel with him. We just exchanged greetings and I encouraged him to visit our church. On the previous Sunday, before we met him, Tony had visited one of the pseudo-churches led by a prominent false prophet hailing from Malawi. He decided to “give us a try” and visited Central Baptist.
After Tony’s first visit, he decided to keep visiting. On one occasion my wife and I got to sit down with him and his wife, wanting to know why he kept coming back Sunday after Sunday, He spoke of the fact that at least in our church he heard ‘something,’ unlike in the other ‘church.’ Although that is encouraging for a pastor to hear, it was clear that he was not saved. We continued to encourage and share the gospel with him, as did other members of the church.
After about three months of visiting, Tony’s whole language had changed. He spoke of himself with phrases like ‘my previous life, ‘I now see how lost I was,’ and ‘I feel like someone has switched the lights on.’ My wife and I were both excited yet cautious. We prayed with joy and continued to encourage them.
Tony continues to grow in leaps and bounds. To this day, we see a man who is hungry for truth, passionate about making truth known to his family and friends, and whose heart breaks for those of his family who continue following false teachers.
We recently had a baptism service where we were baptized two people. One of those was Tony. One thing that always stands out about baptism services is how the power of the gospel is reaffirmed when we hear testimonies of God’s saving grace. Please continue to keep Tony in prayer that he will shine the light of the gospel as brightly as he can.”
S.R. previously served as Africa Coordinator in 2008. He and his brother, and their families served for almost three years as missionaries to the Lozi people of Western Zambia. Upon returning to the States, S.R. joined a church-planting work in West Virginia. S.R. and his family now live in Christiansburg, VA.More By S.R.