Serving in South Africa: 3 students join international mission field
|A few of the children who participated in the children’s camp ministry during the time Sarah Carr served Docks Mission Church in El Dorado Park, South Africa. (Photo by Sarah Carr)
By Kelley M. Arnold
Interim Director of Marketing
MOUNT VERNON—Brewton-Parker College Senior Sarah Carr, a human services major, stepped through an “open door” this summer to serve God in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“I had always wanted to go to Africa and God opened up a door for me to go and serve Him,” she says.
|Sarah Carr, fourth from left back row, joins children and staff members of Docks Mission Church during a children’s camp ministry in July. Carr was one of three BPC students who served with Operation Mobilization Global Challenge in South Africa. (Photo by Sarah Carr)
Carr was one of three Brewton-Parker College students who joined 240 missionaries from 22 different countries participating in Operation Mobilization Global Challenge from June 29 through July 11. Operation Mobilization, a non-denominational ministry, serves in various ways through churches and ministries in the Johannesburg and Pretoria areas.
Carr, Courtney Parker and Brian Winter left Georgia with the prayers and expectations of an adventure, but what these three BPC students discovered in Africa transcended more than experiencing a new culture and lifestyle; they experienced an awakening and renewal of God’s perfect will in their lives.
“I learned so much – not only about myself – but about others… and God revealed himself even more to me. I thought I had trusted God for everything but I was split away from the only two people I knew on the trip. He pulled me out of my comfort zone,” says Carr.
She, along with 10 other people from South Africa, Germany, Holland, Nigeria and Scotland, worked with Docks Mission Church in El Dorado Park, “doing door-to-door ministry, a kid’s club, youth services and anything else the church needed,” said Carr.
|Brian Winter smiles amongst his young charges in Alexandra, South Africa. (Photo submitted by Brian Winter)
Brian Winter of Richmond Hill, Ga., found himself serving in the post-Apartheid township of Alexandra, “Alex for short”. It is a township surrounded by one of the wealthiest and most affluent areas of South Africa, Winter explains.
“This was a place deeply rooted in oppression, and although Apartheid is over, brokenness still reigns in Alex,” says Winter. “In the room the size of a typical American living room piled 100-plus South African children. I prayed that the Lord would give me His eyes to see them just as He does. As I opened my eyes from praying and as they continued to pour in, I instantly fell in love with every single one of them. As they began to sing praises to God, I could see their eyes light up… and I began to worship with them.”
“This is just one of the amazing things that happened in Africa. We brought the light of Jesus to a dark and broken corner of Johannesburg,” says the senior Christian studies major, adding that God moved in him as well.
“He again broke me and put me in a place of humbleness and complete trust in Him. God opened my eyes to the nations and gave me a burden to seek the nations. I was changed, molded and pruned in a way that I never expected – in a way that was needed and perfect in God’s will,” says Winter.
Senior Courtney Parker remembers her time in South Africa with “bittersweet feelings that so often accompany the end of one adventure and the beginning of another.”
“I saw things in Africa that I will never forget; faces of broken people who will forever stain my memory, and consequently, help direct my life,” she says. “These eyes observed a lot of heartache, but immense joy as well. I witnessed a brazen people who boldly held onto hope in the face of extreme pain and sorrow. For them, Jesus isn’t just a hobby they tack onto the free space in their lives – He’s their everything. They have courage that comes from a greater hope than anything in this world. It showed me how small my faith truly is.”
Parker’s team served a hospital and clinic ministry in Pretoria that provides hot meals and clothing to the HIV and AIDS patients in the area. Mothers and small children are the majority of its patients.
“As I was cleaning bathrooms one afternoon, I realized that missions is simply a life surrendered to obedience to God. Following Jesus involves everyday, mundane affairs – menial tasks such as cleaning toilets or chopping carrots for dinner, as well as rocking an HIV-positive baby to sleep, singing for an entire hospital ward or dancing to the tune of “Jubilani”(“Rejoice!”) with a tired grandmother who is raising her two grandchildren,” says Parker.
“Pray for Africa,” urges Parker. “God is not done working on this amazing continent, among this spiritually hungry group of people. AIDS is affecting the children more than it is anyone else. Nearly an entire generation of parents has been killed off by this disease. All of this can be prevented. Their blood has become a traitor, but their God has not.”
To learn more about student missions at Brewton-Parker College, contact Rev. Glenn Wallace, campus minister, at 912-583-3211. These students are active members of the college’s Baptist Collegiate Ministries. BPC’s BCM was recently honored with an award from the North American Mission Board for its domestic and international mission service.
Brewton-Parker College is the only accredited four-year Christian college in south Georgia. With its main campus located in Mount Vernon, the college also offers bachelor’s and associate’s degrees at its three external sites in Newnan, Norman Park and Liberty County.