photo courtesy Cody Bell

From Church to Community

GAiN South Africa helps transform a community through the gospel and humanitarian aid.

Rita Wright

Driving outside of Pretoria, South Africa, Pastor Abraham Mokhwiti asked God for wisdom about where to plant a church. Seeing an open field in Mmakau, he asked and received permission from the local council to plant his church there. Soon after, the staff members with Global Aid Network South Africa came alongside of Pastor Mokhwiti to provide people, evangelism training, and a showing of the JESUS Film.

“There could be a church on every corner, but that doesn’t guarantee that the community is transformed,” Cody Bell explained. “You’ll likely find broken families, broken homes, abuse, alcoholism, suicide, etc. there.” In South Africa, where Cody Bell serves with GAiN, the humanitarian arm of Cru, there is not a church on every corner, let alone within every community, but the peoples’ needs are still evident and complex.

“We don’t want to provide a bit of aid and then back out of a community. We want to help build holistic movements through the gospel message, providing empowerment, development, relief, and networking. We want to plant holistic-minded churches,” Cody explained.

When Pastor Mokhwiti requested help, the GAiN staff conducted an eight-hour training in Mmakau through the “Four Spiritual Laws” booklet. “The South Africans were leaning forward the whole time. They were hungry for it,” Cody said.

At the end of the day of training, everyone – from ages 11 through 70 – was eager to talk with people in Mmakau about the gospel of Christ. Going from door-to-door in this rural community of homes and squatter camps, they provided boxes of food and engaged in conversations about the gospel. Most of the South Africans were doing this for the first time.

After an hour and a half of talking to residents in Mmakau, one of the training participants expressed disappointment to have so little time to talk with people before having to go home for the night. This made the attendees all the more eager to go back out again into the community.

The group visited 24 homes and saw 8 people trust Christ that day. Each of these people is being plugged into the spiritual movement that has begun in Mmakau. Pastor Mokhwiti’s church has grown from eight to 30 people in seven months, and the GAiN staff believe this to be an important first step toward holistic transformation in the Mmakau community.

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