I think the only thing that I love more than being a missionary is being a missionary who gets to lead a mission trip. It was such a privilege and a dream come true for me to be able to take a group of my youth on a mission trip to Johannesburg, South Africa this past July.
Going on mission trips have changed my life. They gave me exposure, giving me an awareness of needs around the world, which in turn birthed and fueled in me a desire to give of myself to others. On top of that, mission trips were ultimately what inspired me to become a full-time missionary. My prayer for my youth as we embarked on this trip was that they would have a similar, if not greater, experience like I had.
Here are some highlights of what we got up to while we were in Joburg:
Bus Ride: Our team of eight gearing up for our 11-hour bus ride from Francistown to Joburg! It was a LONG trip, but these guys were absolute troopers!
Northcliff Hill: We visited Northcliff Hill which afforded us an amazing view of the city of Joburg. While there, we spent some time in worship and in prayer for the city. Joburg is the largest city in South Africa and the second largest city in Africa. Roughly 5000 people move to Joburg every week and it is home to an extremely ethnically diverse population. You can literally meet people from all over the world in Joburg, so I think it was really cool that we got to play a small part (one week) in sharing God’s love to the world, in one city.
Alhambra Theatre: We spent Nelson Mandela Day (July 18) helping to clean up and restore an old theater in the inner city. The Alhambra Theatre is now being used as a youth community center for the arts. Nelson Mandela Day is a day in which everyone is encouraged to give 67 minutes of their time to voluntary service to honor the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela in doing good for others.
Inside Alhambra Theatre
Front of Alhambra Theatre
School Ministry: One of my youth, Nyax, sharing his testimony at a local high school. Nyax is usually shy about public speaking, so I was very proud of him! Mission trips push us out of our comfort zone!
Tembisa Hospital: We visited the children’s burn unit of a hospital in the township of Tembisa. It is always heartbreaking to see a child sick or injured, but we were grateful to the hospital staff for allowing us to visit and pray for the children and even their parents.
Tembisa Hospital: We brought markers and coloring books so we could color with the kids. We also sang to them and just did our best to bring some joy into their day. It was wonderful to get a smile or a laugh out of them. We cherished our time with these precious kids!
Homeless Outreach: We partnered with a local ministry in doing an outreach to the homeless in the nearby city of Pretoria. We were able to bless many with blankets, toiletries and food.
Homeless Outreach: We also prayed with people and just took time to listen to their stories and chat with them.
Exploring Joburg: We also took some time to explore such a cool city! We enjoyed taking the red bus tour through the main points of the city.
Exploring Joburg: Checking out the views from the top of the Carlton Centre, the tallest building in Africa.
Our visit to the township of Soweto
My favorite pic I took with my youth girls when we visited Soweto Towers
I am a firm believer that everyone should go on a mission trip at least once in their life. There is something so positively transformative that occurs when you make a conscious choice to spend yourself on others for a concentrated period of time. I find that you are often humbly surprised at how much you are changed for the better when you purpose to be a part of something that isn’t about you at all. I am grateful to God for this opportunity in which I hopefully was able to pass on a legacy of love and passion for missions and giving to my youth.