“I long to see you..., that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you...” (Romans 1:11-13).
We recently had the pleasure of hosting ten South African youths as a church, from December 25 to 30, 2010. They told us that their visit was delayed because of transport problems from South Africa. The bus they were booked to get on had a problem that needed to be fixed and so they waited on it for 13 hours before they finally gave up around 22.00 hours and returned home for the night. The next day they found an alternative bus, and that was how they came. The journey ended up taking three days! They testified that it was their desire to come that kept them going. We too were very glad that they came. It was a time of being “mutually encouraged by each other’s faith”. Below are their full-to-overflowing testimonies (which I have edited for brevity). Pleasant reading!
Keolebogile Grace Moaisi
I am 23 years old and I am from Johannesburg, South Africa. I have been a journalist for 2 years now. I studied Journalism and Philosophy at the University of Johannesburg. I became a Christian at a young age and have spent more than 15 years now learning about an amazing Saviour who will not let me go regardless of my failings. And one glorious day, God-willing, I will see His face.
My time in Zambia is one I will probably never forget. I have been exposed to extremely new and exciting things. New things were the architecture and transport system and language idiosyncrasies. Exciting things were meeting the body of believers in a new country and feeling completely at home because of the God that we have. He is the same everywhere. My favourite part was visiting Old McDonald’s farm because lately I have had a similar vision, and seeing someone living it out was like a shout, not a whisper, from God. Please pray that I would surrender my life completely to Christ’s pleasure and not only as much as I am comfortable with (Romans 12:1-2), because where else can I go? He has the words of life!
I am a student studying at the Vaal University of Technology. I am currently doing my B-Tech in Chemical Engineering. I really love sports and being active. Of course, like most men, I also love food. I think I have a great sense of humour but am a bit reserved. I am an optimist and think good things can come from bad experiences. I believe it is okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. I guess I’m a young Christian wanting to be more like Christ and finding my calling.
Coming to Zambia has been such an amazing experience, from not being sure if the trip would happen because the bus we were supposed to use broke down. When we eventually got another bus to Lusaka the journey was so long. Thankfully, the fellowship we had was good and our spirits never dampened. We were well received and hosted by the Singogos and the Sibales. More importantly about the trip is just the encouragement I have had to see how important and central Christ is in the home of the Singogos and the Sibales. Scripture is really studied and fellowship is truly preserved in their homes.
I am 20 years of age and currently studying at the University of Johannesburg. I am in my last year of a BA sports development degree. I go to a church called Sophiatown Community Church and I am involved in the children’s ministry. I love children and I love learning and experiencing new cultures and trying out different foods.
And what a trip this was! Finally, upon getting off at Lusaka’s bus station, all I could say was, “Thank you, Lord!” On Sunday, we went to Bonaventure Baptist Church. It was great because the preaching of the word was really good. I was also encouraged by the love the people had for Christ. After the church service, we got together with the members of Bonaventure Baptist for lunch. We had time to share God’s word again. That is what I loved the most. No matter what we did, at the end we would always praise God and give him all the glory! If I have to be given a chance to come to Zambia, I would jump into the first bus. I am thankful to God for bringing me here and teaching me all that I have learned.
Precious Xolile Makhubu
As I reflect on the experience of Zambia, I cannot help but be humbled by the manner in which we have been received. It gives me great joy and encouragement to witness what God is doing in the lives of the believers here, especially the way in which they are willing to sacrifice their resources in serving and loving us. I have been encouraged and challenged by your lives and I praise the Lord for the opportunity He has granted me to be part of it and learn what it means to live a Christ-exalting and Bible-embracing/saturated life. Oh, how I long to not only tell of this Christ I have come to believe in but also to live Him out, so that many may come to know Him just as I have been privileged to witness here.
As I return to South Africa, I continue praying that the Lord will enable me to not only be a hearer of the Word but a doer also, and that I would grow in my love for His Word. I want to appreciate and hold on to the Word—and not my emotions—as the supreme authority in my life.
Refiloe Photoane aka “Fifi”
I’m 25 and work full time as an evangelist and a discipleship leader of young Christian women on the campus of one of Johannesburg’s leading universities. I work with a group called Campus Outreach. I only became a Christian in 12th Grade, after I’d been exposed to the gospel by God-fearing parents my whole life. God rescued me from a hypocritical double-life that many youths in my church and area lived out, and also through showing me what an authentic Christian life centered on His glory looked like through the lives of some young missionary ladies from the USA.
Being with Zambian Christians, and this Baptist community in particular, has encouraged me to be fired up for the things they are fired up for, i.e. God’s name and renown, a life ordered by the Holy Scriptures, leading and growing in Christ-centered family units, communal ‘Acts 2:42’-like living, a benevolent hospitality, resources shared with joy, and a church that dreams and acts towards a gospel-transformed Zambia. These and many more lessons will hopefully shape the kind of minister I seek to be, the hospitable wife I long to be, and the Christ-consumed 'eating up Scripture' believer I’ll fight to be.
I am 24 years old and a journalist from Johannesburg. I attend Sophiatown Community Church. I enjoy writing, reading, meeting new people, and learning about other cultures. Hence, when we arrived in Zambia, I was tired but excited to see what Zambia had in store for me. I really wanted to see how God would show himself to me through my fellow travellers and through the Zambian people.
As it turned out, God showed himself to me every single day. This was primarily through His people who opened their homes to us and shared everything they had with us. He was in the little things and so he ensured I never had a moment to forget who he is. I was changed by this trip. I was reminded how God loves his children and how he works through us for his glory. I am challenged to love him more and make him known.
I hope to return to Zambia one day. A big “thank you” to Chipita and Chanda Sibale and the whole Singogo family who hosted us during our trip and freely showed us God’s love through their hospitality. They ensured we were never in need of anything.
I am 21 years old, from Swaziland, and doing my 3rd year B.Com Economics and Econometrics at the University of Johannesburg. I enjoy reading, watching movies, and playing soccer. I became a Christian in 2007 and go to Church at Sophiatown Community Church in Johannesburg.
This was my first trip to Zambia. When we arrived in Lusaka in the evening we were driven to Makeni where we were introduced to our hosts, the Singogo family, and other friends who looked after us the whole time we were in Zambia. I found it amazing seeing a community of Christians who are so rooted in God’s word and committed to serving the Lord. As a young man, I was challenged and encourage as I saw how men in this Christian community commit themselves and their families to work for God above all things.
Our visit to the McDonalds farm was an eye opener. I realised how much God had blessed me by giving me a family and providing for me in every way. Yet I take it for granted. The McDonalds’ compassion towards homeless children despite all the challenges and uncertainties they faced moved me. Christians are called to be a true reflection of Christ’s love.
I’m 23 years old and recently completed my B.Com accounting degree at the university of Johannesburg. I am the last born in a family of four kids and grew up in a township on the east side of Johannesburg.
We left South Africa a day later than planned and spent 3 days on the road. Although the trip was long, God showed himself sovereign through his providence. We got to know each other and learned to work as a team throughout the journey. We arrived in Zambia on Christmas night. We spent most of our time with the youths of Kabwata Baptist Church and shared our faith with people around the area.
What impacted me the most was listening to Mr McDonald’s story and how God had used his family to show love and compassion to the homeless boys who lived on the streets near Manda Hill. The McDonalds' home was to me a representation of how we were also once homeless, lost, and condemned, but God saw it fit to offer Jesus Christ as an atonement for our sin, and by his blood we are adopted into the kingdom of God and are co-heirs with Christ.
Xolisile Sibanyoni Sophy
Everything started on the 22 December when the team was ready to leave for Zambia. We were very excited as we got on the bus ready to go and share our lives with our fellow brothers and sisters there. Unfortunately, it did not work out like that. The bus couldn’t move because there was a part that needed to be fixed. So, with all that, we trusted God and he gave us peace in the midst of this major discouragement. The trip was delayed, but God was still in control.
By God’s grace we arrived in Lusaka on the 25th December. We were welcomed with so much love. We were dropped off at the Singogos where we ate supper and breakfast the next day. Being a Sunday, we went straight to church. Bonaventure and Kabwata Baptist churches received us with so much love.
The Sitalis and the McDonalds were the families we visited. We saw Christ through their conduct and love. Meeting Pastor Mbewe was amazing and was a real eye-opener. All the sermons we heard were challenging. So, as I go home, I’m so fired up to love like Jesus. I’m holding on and pressing on towards the prize!