The Scotts in South Africa

Recently Ali, Claire, Joel and Evie Scott visited South Africa. Hear what they got up to below, from Claire.

"We, Ali, Claire, Joel and Evie, were recently blessed to travel to South Africa for three weeks to attend the Regions Beyond Master Builders conference, spend time with two families who are leading different Regions Beyond churches in South Africa and also have five days of family rest.

 Joel Scott makes himself at home

Joel Scott makes himself at home

We saw many wonderful gracious practical answers to prayer from Jesus, including travelling mercies, children who slept (at least some of the time), and some much needed time out. But the biggest thing that God blessed us with was a reminder of just how amazing He is, just how worthy He is of our whole lives, just how much we need to live in His presence.

He challenged us through the lives of Jeremy and Laura Webb, who lead a church in a township in Bethlehem, living their lives poured out for Jesus and loving those who are currently held in darkness and poverty.

He spoke to us through the lives of Gareth and Nicci Oosthuyzen, who lead Dihlabeng church in Clarens as they faithfully heard the call of God to go to Clarens to simply go and see what He was doing there, and are now obediently leading a church there and reaching out to disadvantaged people.

 Young people in church, South Africa

Young people in church, South Africa

The Dihlabeng church lovingly hosted the Master Builders conference for the 12th year. Steve Oliver, who founded the church, told us how years ago the church site was just a mud hill within the township and they felt it was where God told them to build a church. Now, 12 years on, it is the site of the church, Christian primary school and nearby Nnete Foundation in the township, which helps young people with after school support to further their education and give them aspirations where they previously had none due to poor schooling.

The conference saw church leaders and members from across the nations gather to share something of what God was doing in different parts of the world and to be encouraged, challenged and inspired by Him through one another. It was amazing to see a whole blackboard full of the names of different countries where Regions Beyond have connections and are building God’s Kingdom. The UK, Americas. Africa. Middle East. India…each person, each church with their own story of hearing God’s call and going.

Marc Dupont, Ray Lowe, Steve Oliver and others brought wonderful teaching through the conference on the glory of God and being captivated by Him throughout struggles, when provision doesn’t seem to be there, when distractions come. There was repeated reference to:

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
— Psalm 27:4

The three prayer mornings prior to the conference fuelled our worship, which was colourful, loud and vibrant in true African style! We have much to learn from African worship here in the Western world, I think there’s definitely a place for more unhindered worship and crazy African dance moves! During the afternoons there was opportunity to build further relationships with past and new friends as we shared meals together and attended different seminars.

One afternoon we went out with Gareth and the team to do some mission outreach on one of the local farms. By farm, I don’t mean a lush, green pastureland full of cows and sheep, but rather deprived, dusty, barren land with a cluster of small homes which make up a community of people living in the middle of nowhere. Houses are made from mud or brick with corrugated iron roof tops and children, roaming chickens and scrawny dogs are not in short supply.

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We went from house to house asking if anyone wanted prayer and seeking to build conversations with some of the people living there. We were able to pray for one of the families we stopped at where 4 children were sat outside in the dust doing their homework. We joined hands as we prayed for the peace of Jesus to stay with them as they were afraid of a ghost in their house.

It is hard to imagine what their day to day life is like; we didn’t meet their parent(s), the eldest girl was in Grade 9 in an English speaking school but whose English was so poor we were barely able to hold a conversation together and relied heavily on gesturing and our interpreter. They had no shoes on and the T-shirts were falling apart. Fear (witchcraft and ancestral worship are prevalent in the area) is a very real part of life.

We then met a man called Janny who asked us to pray for blessing and prosperity in his life. Ali had the opportunity to share with him about Jesus being the only answer to his longing in life, and where true “prosperity”, happiness and meaning comes from. After explaining the Good News of Jesus with him, Janny said that he wanted to give his life to Jesus and to receive new life through him. We were able to pray with him and trust that God has started a wonderful new work in Jannys’ life!

Now being back home and very much enjoying an English cuppa again (Rooibos just doesn’t quite cut it for me!), the clarity of the challenge is still very much ringing in our ears, as Jeremy shared so powerfully last Sunday: “Do we trust Jesus enough?” “Do we love Jesus enough to lay down our lives daily for Him?” We need to keep asking Jesus for more of Himself in Durham, in Chester-le-Street, in the villages and towns where we live. We need to choose to surrender more of ourselves, to allow ourselves to be filled with His Spirit to live for Him. To be more captivated by His glory than our own. This is a pretty high calling, but one that we want to press into as we return home."