It’s been 3 days since my arrival back to the States from beautiful and ghetto South Africa. I say “beautiful South Africa” because, well, the country was simply breathtaking from its’ majestic mountain ranges, giving me “flashbacks” to The Lion King movie, to its’ exotic animals out on the Savanna. I say “ghetto South Africa” because the country is such a dramatic dichotomy of old and new, 1st world and 3rd world, American vibes and Iraq vibes…You can literally be in an area littered with pure trash, with people living in tin shacks, and then a couple miles later viewing houses and businesses of luxury. Yes, I’m fresh back from beautiful and ghetto South Africa.
Overall, the South Africa Missions’ Trip was wonderful. I mean that. The team, comprised of people from Welkom Baptist, Prairie Flower, and Lakeside Fellowship, clicked and jived so well. The character, competency, and chemistry of the team was thick with excellence. Everyone got along so well. There was no drama, ego matches, or petty arguments. Everyone on the team had a role to play and each played it well. Indeed, the chemistry between each team member was great. I’ve been on highly competent teams before with absolutely no chemistry, where people are vying for power or influence, and the work suffers. I would rather be on a team of low competency with high chemistry instead of the other way around where people’s egos are so inflated that the balloon of Gospel mission is about to burst. Praise the Lord for a Missions’ Team of high character, competency, and chemistry!
Our Missions’ Trip was mainly focused on organizing and executing a Youth Camp in the North West Province of South Africa. Probably the best aspect of this camp was what God accomplished at this camp. A young lady professed faith in Christ. God did that. Several young people made serious decisions for Christ, turning from various sins and addictions. God did that. A young man answered the call to full-time pastoral ministry. Again, God did that. Sure, I preached some sermons while others led in music, games, and counseling. But ultimately, God did the best work of saving a soul, changing lives, and calling a young man into the ministry. As King Solomon phrased it in Psalm 127:1a, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” The Lord truly built a great house on this Missions’ Trip and our labor with the Lord was not in vain.
The trip from Atlanta, Georgia to Johannesburg, South Africa is 8,434 miles (the 9th longest flight in the world). This gargantuan trip across the Atlantic Ocean takes 15 1/2 hours. And, I must confess, I had some real hesitancy in going on this Missions’ Trip…Is leaving my pregnant wife a good idea? Would the Missions’ Team get along? Would we see any spiritual fruit? What if something really awful happens to me or my family while on this trip? But in the end, God was faithful and was better to me, my family, and the Missions’ Team than we deserve. On this trip, there was great food, fun, and fellowship (the all-important Baptist Triple F). But more than that, on this trip, the Gospel was declared and people responded. And that right there (the Gospel preached and responded to in faith) is what matters most and makes a trip like this not just profitable for this life, but also for the life to come…