Read Matt 28:19
Now more than ever, Amor serves on a Global scale. We need you in Mexico, but we also need you in San Carlos and South Africa. We challenge you to disrupt your year by exploring an additional mission location this year. Below is the compelling story of one of the pastors we partner with in South Africa, Pastor Gabriel. Consider coming to serve alongside Pastor Gabriel this summer in South Africa and expand your mission trip experience.
Pastor Gabriel grew up in a Christian home with a dad that is a respected theologian among the Afrikaners of South Africa – a group descended from Dutch Calvinists and Germans. At eleven years old, Gabriel and his father had an exchange about apartheid that would set the course by how Gabriel would live his life.
Gabriel’s observation about apartheid was that he didn’t mind mixing with blacks but he felt they needed to understand their proper place and work under the whites. The wise theologian didn’t chastise Gabriel for what he had said but put this question to him, “What would Jesus think about what you just said?” And Gabriel became convicted by that question as he realized that Jesus would want people equal and not separate.
That exchange with his father at eleven set Gabriel on a path of activism in his country where he works diligently to create equality among all people of South Africa. He was an activist in University and even with apartheid dismantled in the 1990s, Gabriel continues to fight because racism in South Africa continues to linger on.
Just this past year, though, he found out that his bold stance on this might cost him and his family their lives. Gabriel serves a church in Delmas where we are committed to building in the black township of Botleng – outside of Johannesburg. A tragedy took place this past spring in a family that are members of his church. The gardener of this family who happened to be black murdered the nanny and the child of the family she cared for – who both happened to be white
The story was all over the news in South Africa causing the leading Neo Nazi group to descend on Delmas protesting these deaths. They were asking for an “eye for an eye” meaning that a black child should be sacrificed and die as well!
Gabriel was livid and began writing the papers telling the Neo Nazis that they weren’t welcome in Delmas to protest these tragedies. And he made it very clear that as unfortunate as these deaths were, they were the result of drugs and not an issue of race.
The Neo Nazis went so far to obtain Gabriel’s home phone number and called him one evening saying that they knew where he lived and that he had two lovely blonde children under the age of five. They suggested that one of his children could be the sacrifice instead.
Pastor Gabriel asked them to come to his church and discuss this with him. He hung up the phone that night with no assurances of what they were going to do. The next Sunday as he was preaching the Neo Nazi group entered the church and walked down the aisle toward him. As he shared with us, he felt that there was a good possibility that they had come to kill him in front of his congregation.
He kept preaching God’s word while looking their leader straight in the eye. And lo and behold the group sat down in a pew and Pastor Gabriel finished the service. Afterward they talked without coming to an agreement on the issue, but this intimidating group of Neo Nazis left Delmas alone after that day.
For more on this story and images of that day visit http://www.oasisglobal.org/
Please support Pastor Gabriel in prayer as he works to bring reconciliation in his community. Consider whether you can join him this summer in South Africa on one of our three mission trips.
Also, please be praying for the pastors serving our brothers and sisters on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, and consider whether you can join us for one of the Amor Three-Day mission trips this next year.
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