The third annual Eastern Cape mission trip took place from 22 to 27 September; this is in addition to various small team mission trips that take place during the year. This year’s team was the largest yet and 30 team members from EN Zola (21), ENSW (just 3), EN Khayalitsha (2) and EN Bedford (4) piled into the Adelaide Primary School hostel for 5 nights. Sometimes we didn’t have hot water, sometimes we didn’t have water at all and the conditions were quite rustic, to say the least. However, our catering team, led by Sonia Mabee, was inspired and delighted us with wonderful meals conjured up in the hostel kitchen.

As before, our activities centred around the Adelaide’s Got Talent (2019) auditions and contests (co-hosted by Themba Connect and Every Nation), which were held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings in different venues around town. The various community and town halls were filled almost to capacity and the noise level was deafening! Of course, we didn’t miss a chance to show off our own talent and the EN Zola worship team led the crowd in praise and dancing, followed by an inspiring and challenging message from Pastor Linda. We wanted to show the people of Adelaide that God loves them and has given them talents and gifts which they can celebrate and enjoy, and can also use to bring Him glory. While we have been careful to work with a number of churches and not exclusively promote our own brand of ministry, Pastor David from Every Nation Adelaide was able to connect with many new converts and existing believers and offer them a warm welcome to a spiritual family that will care for them and offer them discipleship.

There was also time for plenty of street ministry (in both Adelaide and Bedford) and discipleship activities and we were overjoyed to see dozens of first-time commitments to Christ. A number of us remarked at the openness of the spiritual atmosphere and how freely many people embraced the gospel. The fields really are “white unto harvest” in the rural Eastern Cape, especially when people are presented with the story of a loving God and an opportunity to grow in their faith in a caring environment. We are always mindful to showcase one of our core Every Nation values, being diversity, and to make it clear that all believers have an equal place in God’s family. This is refreshingly different to the hierarchical and domineering culture in many rural churches and this message, together with the demonstration of humility and servanthood, has won us favour with both churches and communities.

We spent much time encouraging our brothers and sisters from the EN churches in Adelaide and Bedford and also hope to start a discipleship group in neighbouring Cookhouse soon. After many years of drought, we were delighted to arrive in the area as it received the first rainfall for many months; more rain fell in the weekend after we left. We are praying that God will pour out heavenly rain to break the spiritual drought and strongholds that exist in the rural Eastern Cape and that the prevailing sense of hopelessness and neglect will be overturned as people put their trust in the living God. Please join us in praying for our churches there and consider how you might support our township and rural area kingdom initiatives that add such flavour to our Every Nation family. We are planning further small team visits late in 2019 and again early next year and there will of course be an opportunity to join next year’s mission trip in September.

Anthony Geard