We are officially home! The trip was phenomenal, but quite lengthy. Last week I wrote a blog about our week in Dubai and now we have completed another full week in South Africa! We came to South Africa for the same reasons we went to Dubai; preach and minister in local churches, minister at a conference about global church planting, and build relationships with men and women from around the world. Amazingly, Jesus made all of those things happen and our team is heading home incredibly blessed, filled, and tired.
We landed in Durban last Saturday night and drove out to to Mooi River, where we stayed one night out in “the bush.” Around 1 a.m., we were warmly greeted by a bat that flew over our heads the rest of the night! In the morning, we joined Themba Church for their Sunday gathering. Andy did an excellent job preaching to their community of about 200 people with the help of an interpreter. Themba church is primarily made up of people who only speak Zulu. It was quite a different worship gathering than what we were used to, but it was beautiful seeing people respond to the love of Jesus!
After we left Mooi River we went back down to Durban to spend more time with the men and women of Red Point Church in Durban and Pinetown. They are such a wonderful group of people reflecting the good news of the Gospel. We were served, loved, and cared for so well by their leaders. We spent the majority of our time with Grant and Michelle Clark who lead Red Point Durban and Jesse who is on staff with the Red Point campus in Pinetown. They took us around Durban on Tuesday and Wednesday and showed us their favorite places in the city. Andy spent all day Tuesday at a meeting with leaders from the Genesis Collective as they mapped out the Global Project conference that was on Wednesday through Friday later that week. Brad spent Wednesday connecting with a few pastors from South Africa and discussed how to most effectively plant multiple church communities since we are getting ready to plant Restored South Bay!
On Wednesday night, we were all able to minister in life groups and hang out with the people of Red Point Durban. James, Royce, Scott, Andy, Tom, and Brad led discussion with the life groups around topics of their interest and it was a fruitful evening! The next morning we drove a few hours north up to Drakensburg where The Global Project conference led by Chris Wienand was held with about 200 pastors and leaders in attendance. Andy preached at the conference on how it is possible for our motivation even in church planting to be skewed and how we need to be motivated by the grace of Jesus rather than fear, guilt or the approval of others.
We left Drakensburg Friday morning and drove to a game park that night and enjoyed a sunset safari and then a sunrise adventure the next morning. We saw elephants, giraffes, rhinos, gazelles, buffalos, and tons of other animals. It was super relaxing after such a busy couple of weeks in and out of homes, churches, and cities.
From the game park, Brad headed up to preach at Urban Life Church in Johannesburg while Andy preached at Red Point Durban. Tom and James led musical worship at Durban, while Royce and Scott jumped in for prayer ministry at the end of the gathering.
Jesus did some incredible things on this trip and we will always remember just how beautiful He is and how wonderful the sight of men and women from many nations coming together despite different skin colors, nationalities, financial status, church size, giftings, or anything else. We came together in unity under Jesus’s name and are forever changed by the experience in Dubai and South Africa. Thank you for all of you prayers, support and love for us and our families while we were gone. We are so grateful for all of you and can’t wait to see you soon!