6 months ago we came to Africa not knowing what expect. Our "trip to Zimbabwe" turned into an outreach to South Africa, Lesotho & Mozambique where we worked with children & ministries that had no other Christian workers working with the children. We were denied visas to Zimbabwe & Namibia and felt very rejected and disappointed. But as we look back and see where God took us because we were rejected, we see His hand over our time here in Africa and His hand in the visa situation.
I've learned so much about cross-cultural ministry, about working with African children, and I've seen that what Africa needs is people to come and make disciples of Jesus. We are back in Johannesburg until our flight leaves for Costa Rica on Sunday.
Here in Joburg, a fellow missionary asked me what God has taught me over these past few months.
I think the major lesson that God has taught me, is that the great commission He gave to us when Jesus left the earth, is to go and make disciples by teaching them to obey all that he commanded. We make disciples by moving in to the slums, to the village, to the neighborhood and walking life with people. It is so much more than preaching on a Sunday, or doing a program for children. To make disciples, you must know what is going on in the lives of the people, know the struggles they face, and teach them how to obey Jesus' commandments on a daily basis. During the lecture phase of the Children at Risk School, one of our speakers said, "If we don't engage in communities and change them for Jesus, than its all just talk."
The same speaker also told us to "Study the Bible, and through that live our lives." If we go to preach God's Word, but don't know the Word well, what are we doing? Her challenges often came to my thoughts throughout these past 6 months. The more I read the Bible, the more I saw how God wanted us to work in the community, and ways to teach and be an example to the children.
The whole world has needs. Human trafficking, slavery, HIV/AIDS, orphans, war, abuse, etc. Each country and continent deals with issues that reveal that we live in a fallen world- that we made choices to do things our way instead of God's way. Africa not only has social needs that desperately need intervention, but they have enormous spiritual needs. Along one road in the Gaza province of Mozambique, there are 62 different villages that have no pastor, no missionary, and no knowledge of the Gospel. Most of us can drive only 10 minutes from where we live and find a few churches. But here are 62 villages, each with thousands of people... on one road... in once province ... in one country... that don't have access to hearing the Word of God.
Imagine the rest of the villages... on the other roads... of the other provinces... in the other countries here in Africa. Do they have access? Do they know that Jesus died on a cross so they would have forgiveness of sins and eternal life through Him?
Africa needs missionaries to come and to stay. Africa needs local pastors to rise up and make disciples in their own nations.
This continent, these nations, these people, these children deserve the opportunity to know Jesus Christ.
"The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields." Luke 10:2