What comes to mind when you think of South Africa? Gold and diamonds? Nelson Mandela and apartheid? Or maybe it’s rugby, soccer, and surfing, or safaris and animals? Whatever it might be, from the grasslands to the mountains to the coastlines, South Africa is full of incredible beauty with a people that have a rich culture.
South Africa has had its struggles, though. In the middle of the 17th century Dutch settlers formed a colony at the Cape of Good Hope. With them came their worldview and lifestyle, and many had slaves. This was the beginning of a lot of racial tensions in the country. Fast-forward to the later half of the 20th century, and you find those tensions played out in apartheid, which was basically legalized segregation and racism.
Two and a half years ago, YWAM Louisville became acquainted with South Africa – more than just knowing it was a country at the bottom of the continent. In January 2012 we sent a DTS to Cape Town after hearing the call of God to go. Since then we have gone back twice more to share the love of Christ. We have fallen in love with the people, the crystal clear ocean and mountains, and how God is moving in the communities we have been able to minister in.
“A church was started. Then a Bible study. Then a women’s ministry.”
During our time there, we’ve stepped right into the middle of the racial tension. Most of our ministry has been to a township called Overcome, on the outskirts of Cape Town. Although people were hesitant at first to our presence there, once they got the impression we were there to love them they opened up. They were incredibly warm and welcoming, dropping whatever they were doing to be relational. And God did incredible things. A church was started. Then a Bible study. Then a women’s ministry. People were coming to know Jesus and asking to be baptized. One woman, Shannon, went from not knowing who Jesus was to accepting Him into her life, being baptized, and feeling convicted to share what God had been teaching her with others – all in the course of six weeks. What incredible transformation!
We have no plans of quitting, either: we’re sending another DTS team there in January. Join us in praying that God works through them to bring further transformation to South Africa!