After completing his studies at Christ Seminary in Polokwane, Karabo was called to pastor Central Baptist Church in Rustenburg. Rustenburg is a major mining town in northwestern South Africa, and is one of the country’s fastest growing cities.
Testimony of Salvation
I grew up in a Christian home, although that must be explained. My mother is the one who is a Christian, not my dad – but we were raised on Christian principles. As a family we were never exposed to African Traditional practices. My dad, although not a Christian, encouraged us to go to church and would occasionally go with us. Most of my life was spent in church activities: Sunday school, camps, youth, and going to evangelistic crusades – so I believed I was a Christian. I lived a moral life, respected my parents and neighbors, did my chores and came home before dark – and, based on these things, I truly believed that I was a Christian. But as my teenage years drew near I began to see things differently. I developed a sense of dissatisfaction and gradually drifted away from the things of God.
No Taste for Heaven’s Joys
I started to convince myself that God did not exist (Romans 1:18-23) and that Christians were only stupid to believe what they believed. I used every chance I could get to mock the Christian faith. I hated everything that had to do with Christianity: the noisy people preaching in trains, buses, street corners, and gospel music. When I finished my high school, I enrolled for an Information Technology course at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). One of my goals in University was to further disassociate myself from anything Christian – I wanted to engage in drinking, sex, and partying, but in God’s providence none of that happened.
After Darkness, Light!
Though I wanted nothing do with God – He however was pursuing me with His relentless grace. Looking back, I see three factors that God used to condition me to the gospel:
- Sunday school lessons from childhood.
- My mother’s prayers.
- My Roman Catholic friend.
The Sunday school at church was solid, lessons were biblical and we memorized a lot of Scripture. My mother is the praying Hannah, since childhood I’ve known her as a woman of prayer. She prayed for us day and night. When I was in University she would call and tell me she was praying for me. In University I met a young lady who became a close friend of mine, she was a Roman Catholic. She had an NIV Bible that she kept in her room, though she hardly read it (it functioned more as a lucky charm than the Word of God), so when we were together I would read through some of it – though not because I wanted to hear from God. Looking back I don’t think I know the reason why I was drawn to it except that God sovereignly orchestrated it to be so.
With these three factors in mind, one day I found myself waking up with a strong sense of conviction upon my life – that I was a sinner (Gen. 6:5, Ps. 51:3-5, Ecc. 7:29, Rom.3:23) and that I deserve only the wrath of God (Rom.6:23). The conviction was so intense that I was convinced that if I got out of bed, I would plunge right into hell. At that moment I remembered two Bible passages, John 1:29 (My first memory verse) and John 3:16 – based on these two verses I called out to God. From that day on my heart was filled with a peace I couldn’t understand. Although for the first few days I couldn’t describe what had happened to me, I had a joy I could not understand, I loved the things I didn’t love before, and I was repulsed at sin.
Call to Ministry
My vision restored, I began to see what I did not see before. A world lost, daily plunging into hell. Day after day I would shed tears seeing how people lived without a sense of needing God. All I wanted to do was sound the alarm, tell them of the impending danger if they did not turn from their gospel-hating lives. Although I was filled with unspeakable joy at the thought of how Christ considered a helpless sinner like me, on the other hand I was deeply saddened that many were not hearing this truth.
I began studying the Bible, and within a few months I had read from Genesis through Revelation and going back to the beginning. During this time I was given opportunities at the SCM (Student Christian Movement) to preach – one opportunity leading to the other. This served to fan into flame a desire to preach the gospel to the lost, and it was during this time that my local church discerned God’s call upon my life. In 2010, I left University and enrolled to study with a Bible college, Emmaus College (EC). During this time, I was involved in prison and clinic outreach, open-air evangelism, and reaching out to the youth involved in gangsterism in the Soshanguve township. Now I was the noisy person preaching at every street corner!
Even though I was studying with EC, I grew discontent in their lessons and was sensing my need to be equipped more if I was to serve diligently and faithfully. It was the following year that I heard about Christ Seminary in Polokwane and enrolled with them. Here a world of sound theology and expository preaching was opened to me, it was like discovering Narnia. In my 3rdyear, as a student, I was called as an associate pastor for preaching and teaching in Modimolle (Modimolle Christian Church), which is 150 km from Polokwane. I served there for 4 years then accepted a call to Central Baptist Church Rustenburg in July 2017, which is where I am currently serving as the senior pastor.