I spent a week in South Africa this summer on a church-related missions trip. This trip report will share about my time on the ground, which included visits to parts of the country outside Johannesburg and Cape Town.
My Missions Trip To South Africa
So often we see church “mission” work reduced to habitat-for-humanity style building projects or food drives or even children’s vacation Bible school programs. Those are all great things, but this was not one of those trips.
Here, the focus was on equipping pastors, teachers, elders, and deacons with sound doctrine, the sort of spiritual bread that is essential in properly approaching the Christan faith.
The prosperity gospel has crept into Africa, buoyed by the mixing of ancestral tradition with a view of God as a cosmic genie waiting to grant every wish of those who ask in faith.
I think we call can see, whether people of faith or not, that the world does NOT work in that way.
That’s not to say that this is a uniform problem. We visited many thriving churches and pastors who do so much with so little, a humbling reminder of how obscenely wealthy even “poor” people are in the United States.
The haunting quip of Desmond Tutu is an important admonition:
“When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said ‘Let us pray. ‘ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.”
But abrogating the Bible because the Bible was misused by some is not a logically coherent argument. The Bible is not null and void just because men are.
Still, this was not paternalistic American imperialists trying to impose their preferred doctrines on unwilling participants. At every church we visited, we were invited. There was dialogue. There was mutual learning. And I must say, it was one of my most rewarding trips ever.
This isn’t a theological blog and so I will not be sharing specifically about the meetings themselves, but I’m sure some of that will come out. We have plenty of flights, lounges, and hotels to review too, none of which I have even teased in earlier posts:
- United 777-200 Business Class Los Angeles – Newark
- United Polaris Lounge Newark
- United 787-9 Business Class Newark – Cape Town
- Hyatt Regency Cape Town
- Bidvest Premier Lounge Cape Town (CPT)
- FlySafair 737-800 Economy Class Cape Town – Durban
- An American-Style Diner In Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (Great Coffee Too)
- SouthernSun Hotel Pietermaritzburg
- An Austrian Lunch In The South African Countryside
- My First Time Driving A Chinese Car (Haval)
- Pietermaritzburg Aero Club (PZB)
- AirLink ERJ-145 Economy Class Pietermaritzburg to Johannebsurg
- Hyatt House Johannesburg Rosebank
- Great Coffee In Rosebank, Johannesburg
- The Apartheid Museum, South Africa
- Reflecting On The Life Of Desmond Tutu
- Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Johannesburg (JNB)
- Kenya Airways 737-800 Business Class Johannesburg – Nairobi
- A 5-Minute Connection In Nairobi…
- Kenya Airways 787-8 Business Class Nairobi – New York
- Great Coffee At New York JFK Airport
Spoiler: Kenya Airways was a delightful surprise.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below and I will do my best to answer them.