When we go into an unreached village, we first meet with the chief or the headmen to ask official permission to share the Gospel. The living and loving God of Christianity is in contrast to their traditional religious beliefs, which involve worshipping and sacrificing to the spirits of their ancestors. We typically start our meetings—which are held in a mud hut with a grass roof and dung floor—after sunset, and we continue through the night until sunrise. On a typical night, 70 to 100 Xhosa villagers commit their lives to Jesus.
But the Great Commission is not just about making converts—it is also about making disciples. Consequently, we are committed to discipling these new converts so that they become mature followers of Jesus. One of the ways we do this is by leaving one or more of the Xhosa outreach team members in the newly reached village to disciple the new believers. Or, one of the new believers may accompany the team on to the next villages. Churches seem to start up everywhere, and the demand for discipleship is overwhelming. In part, this need is met by Gatyana Bible College, which we started in 2000.
Having lived and ministered in Africa for over three decades, we now continue to help the mission in ministering to the remote tribal villages. It is interesting to note that the Transkei is 80% women. This is because the Xhosa men typically travel to the white factories and mines of South Africa. These men hope that someday they will have saved enough money to buy a wife. But once they begin to earn money in the densely populated black “townships”—which are basically shacktowns or squatter camps—they are reluctant to return to the struggles of village life. In 1992, we expanded the scope of our mission so as to reach the men who live in the townships. This mission is called African New Life Ministries. Although these men are more Western in their lifestyle, they have suffered greatly under the oppression they had to endure during the era of apartheid.