By Kate Borders
My recent trip to South Africa was wonderful. It's always encouraging to spend time with our church partners and see how God is using them to care for their communities but this is my big take away. I watched the western church we were with ask wonderful questions and think about the longevity of their relationship with our partner in South Africa.
I watched them think through how they could serve the church in South Africa, and how they could learn from the church in South Africa.
At one point someone said it would be great if the western church trained the South African church using their strengths, and the South African church trained the western church in their strengths.
I love it! That's exactly why we work to create partnerships.
As I processed our trip and thought through how I would explain our time there, I realized a lot of our time was spent seeing the life of the church and it's members and what their ministries entail.
Then I asked myself this question: If this church from South Africa came to visit my church in New Jersey, how would we spend our time? What would I show them to say, "This is who we are - this is what we are about"?
So that is my question for myself and for you - if a believer from another part of the world came to visit you - how would you spend your time? What would you show them to say, "This is me. This is my church. This is my ministry - this is the ministry of my church"?
This is what I saw in South Africa ...
Families in the church doing foster care
Orphans being cared for in a family-style home on church property.
Land purchased by the church to build another church and a school to serve an unreached community.
A church-run school.
Small business and micro-enterprise encouraged and helped along by the church.
A woman who makes jewelry to help support her family - she patiently showed me how she makes the jewelry.
A woman the church works with who cares for orphans and the elderly and runs an affordable day-care for struggling families working to feed their children.
Land given to the church by a member of the community who is hopeful the church will bring not only the Gospel, but also jobs and education to her struggling, rural community.
A bakery on church property - selling affordable bread to the community and giving bread to those in surrounding communities as a way to meet a physical need and share the love of Christ.
Wagon of Mercy distributing the bread.