Building on our link with Christ Church Midrand, ten members of St John’s went on a short term mission to South Africa from 3-12 June.
Christ Church has set up a charitable trust, the Love Trust, which aims to raise Christian leaders and train teachers, and it has opened a school on two sites for pre-school and primary school pupils. This school take children aged 3-12 from poor families who live in the black township of Tembisa, which is home to over a million people. Here, as well as receiving a very good education, the children hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What did we do?
We went to South Africa to teach some lessons, to lead assemblies and to help serve the staff at the schools, and we also led three impromptu music lessons! We were able to share the gospel during our Bible lessons and assemblies, and through singing songs. The children in Tembisa ask the same kind of questions about God as our children do.
We also took 114 pairs of second-hand trainers and football boots with us, donated by the congregation at St John’s, all of which went to good homes.
The local church family looked after us well – inviting us into their homes and feeding us. We went to their Sunday services and we helped with some of their children’s and youth groups. We stayed on the pre-school site in a comfortable cottage. It was their winter, so it was cold at night but to us it seemed warm and sunny in the day –though the children were all in their winter clothes!
We visited the church in Tembisa, which also has a pre-school, and Scott preached there on the Sunday. There are 1000 churches in Tembisa, but only five of them are Bible believing and teaching churches. So Christ Church is trying to reach into the area by setting up Sunday schools, pre-schools and another church plant. It highlighted to us the need for the gospel to be shared far and wide and truthfully.
It wasn’t all work! We had a trip to a National Park where we saw a lot of wild animals!
What are some of the things God taught us during our time away?
Well it certainly made us realise what poor homes the children at the school come from, and the kind of environment they live in. We were challenged not to be so wasteful with everything we have – here we throw so much away, including food and water; in South Africa there were people who were glad to have our leftover food.
It was wonderful to meet with Christian brothers and sisters – we are one in Christ whatever our background, culture, and language. The unity we share was so striking. We could join in together worshipping the same God who has shown as all the same grace, and we saw in many ways how God looked after us.
In Tembisa, fewer regulations provide a freedom to undertake gospel work that we can only dream of in the UK, but we are thankful for the safety we enjoy at home.
As a team, we got to know each other better, though living together for nine days was a challenge at times! The trip gave us a new perspective and we pray that the changes that have been brought about in our thinking won’t be forgotten.
I would like to give the final word to Charlotte – “Money can do wonderful things but it cannot substitute for time... Spending time with those children, spending time with our brothers and sisters, spending time in prayer with the team… there is no substitute.”
Mission Team leader