28 Jan 2008
Waiting for a taxi, waiting for a job, waiting for the monthly pension check, waiting for a better life, waiting for the ancestors to answer, waiting to die of AIDS … For decades, they waited for the end of the oppressive separation of races. Apartheid came to an end in 1994. Now all are free to move about in the land but still … they wait … for a decent home … for a job … and for the sangomas to cure them of their sickness.
South Africa is the richest country in all of the Continent of Africa. It has vast natural resources … vibrant agriculture, developed infrastructure, agreeable climate, and well-developed economy. However, within the black African population, 58% live on less than $2 per day, 43% are unemployed, 36% are functionally illiterate, and 24% have HIV/AIDS. All of these factors contribute to a sense of hopelessness and widespread violent crime.
People have become frustrated and restless but, … as the wait continues, … their dependence on spiritual things grows stronger. They call upon their venerated oppressors of the past. They seek guidance from their ancestors. Many have a thin, distorted veneer of Christianity overlaying their deeply held traditional beliefs in a spirit world permeated with fear.
European settlers brought Christianity and converted many of the indigenous people to their belief. (Overlay: 80% Claim Christianity) Immigrants from India brought Hinduism with 330 million gods and built temples. The Mideast brought Islam (Overlay: Muslim) along with money to build mosques throughout the country and, from America, came cults such as Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Zionists, and Hare Krishna. (Overlay: Cults) Still there are a large number of people who cling to the African Traditional Beliefs involving ancestor worship and animistic practices. (Overlay: African Traditional Beliefs) Yet, many living here believe only in themselves. (Overlay: No Religion)
The cults, the world religions, the indigenous beliefs, and religious indifference are all present in Southern Africa. Often these can be found blending one into another; alternatively, some tenaciously hang on to the purity of their belief. Unfortunately, few know what awaits them for eternity. Some say, “only Allah knows”, other say “it depends on the ancestors”. Still, … for others, … their hope is in their next incarnation. It is estimated that only a small portion are born again Christians. (Overlay: 3.5 % Evangelical Christians)
The Southeastern Africa Cluster includes five South Africa provinces and two small nations; an area comprising about 40 million people … about 80% of all of Southern Africa. These people live in the mountains of Lesotho to the sandy beaches near Durban; … from the large cities with millions of people to the small family compounds, … from the high-rise apartments to the mud huts; … from the gated communities of luxury to the squatter camps made of whatever scraps can be found. In some schools, children use bottle caps or rocks for their math lessons while for others a hand-held calculator is on every desk. Also, in this area, there are glistening waterfalls inviting the tourist and … garbage piled where children live and play.
The Southeastern Africa Cluster is a place of beauty, … a place of riches, … a place of poverty and hopelessness and, … it is a place, … where the true Word of God is being heard and taught.
It is a place where God is working. But, reaching the 40 million people with the Good News of Jesus depends on much more than the few hundred Great Commission missionaries scattered throughout the land.
It depends on planting reproducing churches … not church buildings, but living organisms that reproduce themselves without outside help.
(On camera comments from three church pastors.)
(Overlay: Pastor Daniel) “Our vision is just to see the Church of Christ heading to the perfection of where Christ leads us to be.”
(Overlay: Pastor Joseph) “Our people do not know God. Our people are so rooted in ancestor worship … so our main aim is to reach them and to introduce the living and true God unto them.”
(Overlay: Pastor Franz) “This is where we are doing ministry in this area. We are training people in this building; we are training intercessors, counselors, worshippers, and outreach teams in order to reach this community.”
Satan has dominated this part of the world for thousands of years and does not give up easily.
Pray for spiritual and physical protection over believers as they share their faith.
Ask God to call out men and women with a vision of planting reproducing churches among the people in each of the provinces and countries in this Cluster.
Earnestly pray for people to respond to the Holy Spirit’s call to come to Southeastern Africa as short-term volunteers and as long-term missionaries.
Do not allow the people to wait any longer. They need Jesus.
CLOSING SONG: Where He Leads Me I Will Follow … Bethlehem Choir
Lesotho leh SOO too
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