The Gospel and the Cape
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor,
He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
Jesus used these words of Isaiah to refer to Himself. As His servants we have seen a bit of this as well while in Cape Town!
Our team—Jon Bell, Marlana Branning, Emily Eaton, Blake Everett, Gia Gandolfo, Jonathan and Tessa Going, Jesse Gordon, Ashleigh Grant, Jeremy and Pam Hyatt, Shelly Jeffcoat, Hannah and me (Doc Reid), and Travis Smith—spent much of the last two days sharing Christ in communities around Cape Town. Over the last two days we have seen 27 people place their faith in Christ, from a young mother to an elderly grandmother. We have had many more gospel conversations with others. I wanted to make a few observations from our time in the community.
First, I am personally grateful to God for the power of the gospel and answered prayer. Three years ago I went with a team from SEBTS and SWBTS to Thailand. The area is hard ground for the gospel, and as far as I know we had one convert that trip, a precious young lady named Alisa (if you have been around me long you have heard me speak of her). But it was a successful trip regardless of the lack of immediate fruit. Last year I went with a team from our church to Greece. We helped friends develop a greater platform, and I have not doubt that this was also a very successful trip. But we saw no actual conversions that I can recall. Sometimes one group plants, another waters, and God gives increase to yet another. I totally understand that. But I still prayed, from then until now, from the time last year we settled on heading to Cape Town, for God to move. I have begged God for fruit, for salvation.
God has been so gracious to our team thus far. But yesterday was the most fruitful day of personal evangelism in all my life. Marlana and I, along with the local pastor in our community and his daughter, along with a couple of students from Cape Town Baptist Theological Seminary, saw eleven people come to Christ in a matter of about three hours. Once we led six young men to Christ. Whenever I go out to share Christ I pray for Lydias, for those like Lydia in Acts 16 who, when she heard the gospel, immediately responded. God has given many Lydias to our team this week.
Second, I love the gospel. In particular I love The Story. I have written about it a lot lately. We have been sharing it this week. It has so clearly shown these dear people a greater vision for who God is. Many around here have some familiarity with the Bible and some Christian teaching. But they have not understood how the beautiful creation, and sorrows like drug abuse and crime relate to the gospel story closely. I am so grateful for this approach to sharing Christ.
Third, the team. This is an amazing team. These precious people have bonded so closely. We have enjoyed one another and had plenty of times of light heartedness. If you see one of them, say TINA and see how they respond. Or simply asked them if I took dominion over anything during the trip. But we have also been very focused. What a marvelous job each has done, from taking their turn cooking breakfast (or cleaning after), sharing Christ, leading a devotion, or singing in a worship service. Every one has had such a servant’s heart. And, as I told them today, people can tell three things about you in one conversation: if you care about them, if you believe what you say, and if the hand of God is on your life. Whether in local churches or at the seminary, or in the streets sharing Christ, these three things have been clear to all who have been a part of TEAM CAPE TOWN. I amhonored to be a part of this trip with them. They have represented the Lord Jesus Christ, Southeastern, and their home churches (most of whom come from Richland Creek Community Church), and themselves well.
Finally, the believers in South Africa. Many of the issues they face are the same as ours. Many of their desires are like ours as well. These are beautiful, varied, wonderful brothers and sisters. It has been an honor to get to know them. And especially Dr. Ronnie and Gail Davis, who have helped us to plan this trip, have become dear to us. We will never forget this week
This post was written by Alvin Ried