On Assignment in Soweto South Africa
by Evelyn McKinnon
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ON ASSIGNMENT IN SOWETO SOUTH AFRICA
Soweto, South Africa, is an acronym for southwestern Townships, a cluster sprawling across Johannesburg’s back yard. It has been referred to as Johannesburg’s Twin City and a place of contrast and distinction. A riveting history overflowing with facts that will enthrall the philanthropic. It is a place that is rich with extraordinary natural resources, among a few are gold, platinum, diamonds and copper. Soweto is a melting pot of South African cultures and has developed its own sub-culture. A flourishing spirit is a relative part of South Africa’s largest, richest and most political township.
Soweto as a whole could be called multiracial, in the sense that its residents are from all the tribes in South Africa. Any of its eleven languages could be heard on the busy streets and marketplaces such as Zulu, Xhosa, and Sotho. If you listen while browsing through its active thoroughfare, you will be able to pick up French, Portuguese and Swahili.
Two Nobel Prize winners, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have called Soweto home.
Soweto is no stranger to political upheaval. It was in Soweto that much of the struggle against apartheid was fought.
One could wonder what the lure is of this city, erupt by political strife and dense poverty? Why would eight soldiers for Christ, leave the relative ease and effortlessness of an existence brimming with all the comforts of a life where one’s needs are readily available at one’s fingertips, at least by the average South African’s standard. Why leave North America; the land, which flows with the proverbial milk and honey to brave the soil of a place, marked by turmoil, hardship and poverty.
The mandate was issued over 2000 years ago by our Commander-in-Chief, Jesus Christ. His words remain inexorably the backbone and structure of Christians in this 21st century. Words that spawn a vigilance in our spirits, moving us onward and forward to achieve the greatest objective to which He has called us.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. (Matthew 28: 19 & 20) NIV
Jesus himself often left the stuffy halls of the synagogues to minister in the Town Square, on the street corners. Today, He can easily be found in the soup kitchens, on homeless hill and in cancer wards of the local hospital or on the school grounds looking over the young. Jesus broke the mold in His methods, disregarding all protocol of that day. His focus, to reconcile a world back to God.
Men and women of God we are on assignment. In essence we have received our marching papers and the time has come to go. We have been chosen, and painstakingly trained and equipped with attention to every conceivable detail. We have been given full disclosure about our enemy and we have been made aware of his ways and tactics and we are well ready and able to defeat him. We are about to enter the battle zone.
On September 12, 2008, a group of eight Warriors for Christ set out on a journey to Soweto, South Africa. Among the team was the esteemed, Bishop L. Foday Farrar, who oversees Global Affairs for the Full Gospel Baptist church Fellowship and also the Senior Pastor of Solid Rock Ministry International in North Carolina. Bishop Farrar, is an ardent visionary with an unquenchable yearning to reach the unreached. It has been said of the Bishop that, “He walks so close with God, it is a wonder he still walks among us”.
In this mission seven other warriors who are equally steadfast and unwavering in their quest to reach the unsaved accompanied the Bishop. They are none other than First Ladies, Portia Reese, Arlinda Lyons, Windy Ellis, Carol Choice and Robin Miller. Joining them were Iron men, Arthur Miller and George Jeffrey.
Here are Bishop Farrar’s own words about this mission.
Q What impressed you most about this trip?
Bishop “This was our first stay in a guest house in South Africa. We normally stay in hotels. We were with Jeremiah Ntapoane and his lovely wife. This was also our first stay in a guesthouse in South Africa. We normally stay in hotels. It brought the team a closeness that spilled over into our ministering as a team. We conducted a type of revival for a leading church there and the membership was receptive and appreciative. I conducted a pastor’s seminar with the sons of the ministry and a few outside pastors. George Jeffreys conducted a business development workshop with a heavy emphasis on the use of computers. The class was the highlight of the trip and the young people were ecstatic at the presentation. We are to follow up on the workshop and have as a project to get computers and assistance to their use to the province.
Q How was it different from all the other trips you have made to Africa?
Bishop We had a rather open schedule that ended up affording us the opportunity to fellowship and Minster to diverse groups. We toured the slums, a hospital, and every mall in the town.
A group of us were invited to share 15 minutes via a radio station that ended up being several hours. We were there at the station live until it went off the air. Our main objective was to encourage the young students to Johannesburg and Soweto who were preparing for exams.
Q You recently shared back home in one of your sermons about being asked to come to South Africa’s Parliament to pray over the leaders, can you give an overview of that experience?
Bishop I preached for Reverend K.R.J. Meshoe who is running for the office of President very strong. He and his wife who serves in Parliament asked us to come that next Tuesday to pray over Parliament and we did. We were greeted by top leadership and were served lunch on the grounds and addressed by top officials there. We prayed with leadership and over the whole place.
Bishop Farrar and his team are retracing the steps that Jesus took in His quest to fulfill His mission and so likewise must we. God is searching for a few good men and women, with whom He can save, teach and send. Man, woman of God no matter where your assignment, perhaps in the slums of India, the barrios of Colombia, or even the leaders of South Africa’s Parliament and especially on the street where you live, are your hearts burdened? Are you willing? Are you ready?
© 2009 Evelyn A. McKinnon
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