This is part of a series of 7 Answers About My South Africa Advocacy Trip. So far I have answered Why Did I Decide to Go On the Trip, What is an Advocacy Trip, What Impacted Me the Most and Which Child Impacted Me the Most?
5. How do they do church differently?
I think the mainstream churches are very much the same as American churches, but the churches in the poor regions that we visited were less about a “service” and more about showing the people Jesus by loving them, worshipping with them and feeding them.
When we visited a children’s church that over 400 kids walk to every week, we hugged them, marched around waving our arms, singing and making a train doing chants.
Then they divided into smaller groups by age. While we handed out porridge, clementines and juice boxes, the kids were told a short story.
At first I was surprised there wasn’t more Bible teaching and story time.
But as I reflected on it more and more, and thought about what church really looks like, I realized they are showing people Jesus. They are showing people Jesus by loving them, singing with them and feeding them.
6. What did you learn about prayer?
Elizabeth runs the community center at Reagoboka. Tears filled her eyes as she shared about how she used to sit and pray every day for a bigger building to help the children in her community. And now God is answering that prayer as the second building is being built!
The places in South Africa where we saw God moving the most was where there was prayer.
You see, Elizabeth, is the daughter of “Gogo”, an elderly Grandma who has prayed for years. When we arrived at the Reagoboka community she came up behind our group clapping and singing praises to God.
I fully believe it is because of Gogo’s prayers that God is blessing the Reagoboka community—not only with the buildings it needs, but also equipping the team there with men and women who have gifts in leadership and financial management and passions to serve these children and make a difference in their lives.
When you compared this community to the other communities we visited, it was obvious that it was thriving abundantly and was backed in some powerful prayer.
7. What was the hardest thing for you to understand?
I think the most shocking thing for me was that Pretoria, the city we stayed in, had so much affluence and wealth. (I would have compared it to King of Prussia area.) And then just 15-20 minutes outside of town, a short drive out the highway, families were living in tin huts.
As we would meet people in the city of Pretoria (we went to a Bethel worship concert one night—more coming about that experience coming soon) everyone was so friendly and asked why we were there. Yet when we told them what we were doing they seemed to have no clue that the conditions we were describing were so close to them. It was very difficult for me to comprehend how this could be true.
It made me think about where we live—to be thankful for how blessed we are that there is not such a drastic contrast between living conditions, but it also urged me to consider the needs right here in Pennsylvania that we might be overlooking and not even realizing exist in our own towns.
We were very blessed to have Kyle Shultz, a professional photographer, as part of our South Africa Advocacy Team. A special thanks to him for many of these photos! Please visit his online photo school where he teaches parents to take photos that leave a legacy.
Tomorrow I’ll start sharing excerpts from the emails I sent to my Newsletter Email List, while I was in South Africa!
Are you signed up for my South Africa Advocacy Trip Newsletter?
I have returned home from my trip, but I will still be sending updates about being an advocate and about the work God is doing in South Africa. I also plan to share some unique stories and photos with this email list, that will not be shared on the blog. Please sign up and follow along!
Other articles about South Africa:
My South African Chakalaka Recipe
The Day I Met Crystal Paine
I am Going to South Africa!!
How Going to South Africa Impacted Me (on Money Saving Mom)
7 Answers About My South Africa Advocacy Trip (Part 1)
Where South Africa Left an Impact on My Heart (Part 2)
South Africa Church, Prayer and The Hardest Thing For Me To Understand (Part 3)