First Baptist Senior Choir tour to South Africa 2013

FBC Newman at St Johns

ACTS had the absolute privilege of serving this amazing group by helping to arrange some of their logistics. Here is a look at what they got up to on a day-by-day basis:

Day 2

Short night of sleep and up and a’ tem to the Lion Park to see the endangered White Lions, to even pet them and to feed the giraffes. We’ve seen more lions today than in our entire lives. The rest of the group were able to exchange money at the bank and then it was off to Lesedi (cultural center). We were able to see how 5 of the tribes of South Africa live, cooking techniques and methods of hunting. The tribes sang and danced for us and then we were able to sing for them. Afterwards we had a South African feast with ostrich, crocodile, lamb and chicken. It’s been an extremely long and we are all ready to crash. We begin home worship services in the morning with Pastor Raphael and the Bellvue church.

Day 3

This morning we left for Bellvue Baptist Church and working with Pastor Raphael and his church members going to members houses and businesses to have house worship services. We split up into 3 teams and lead in worship through giving personal testimonies, reading scripture, singing and praying for specific needs of the church members. Afterwards we came back to the church to give reports of our time and to thank God for His work in us and the church members. We then helped in the after school tutoring program. Mrs. Ann Verlander, wife of Larry, our interim organist last fall, was one of the originators of this program. Our students were able to help them one on one and then have some fun playing basketball. Tonight was our major rehearsal with all the sound equipment and use of all the handbell materials we had purchased in South Africa. Finally we were able to skype almost all our familes. If we missed someone please make sure you are online at 5:00pm ET today and we will try again. Thanks for the prayers and keep them coming…..Our God is good!

Day 4

Early start this morning as we presented a ministry concert at St. Andrews girls school. What a beautiful place! There were over 400 8-12 graders present and the Head Mistress said we were overwhelmingly well received as our choir received a “rare” ovation from the school at the close of the concert. We were then treated to customary 10am tea on the terrace, changed clothes and off to Bellvue Baptist. We tutored in the afterschool program and then introduced South Africa to “Little Sally Walker” (Mrs. Brenda Clifton would be proud). Tomorrow we have the opportunity to share a one day “mini” VBS with the same students. Pray that their hearts will be softened to the gospel. Cheers!

Day 5

Early, early morning as we went to sing at St. John’s all boys school. We sang for the 1st-7th grades and were well received. After the concert it seems that the St. John’s high school age boys took a strong “interest” in our girls. We loaded up and headed to Bellvue church to do our last day of ministry with them. Instead of tutoring we were able to do a “mini” VBS with them. We had teams sharing the stories of Joshua, Jona and Daniel, sang songs and taught them Siyahamba to sing with us on Sunday.

Tonight’s concert was at Edanvale Baptist, where Larry and Ann Verlander were members, and we were warmly received. It has been a long and rewarding day with two ministry concerts and work at Bellvue. Tomorrow is organic market and ministry concert at Rosettenville Baptist Church. Cheers

Day 6

Today we helped the Johannesburg economy as we went shopping at a local Organic Market. It was a great place to see and purchase local artisans work and try some local cuisine. We were asked to sing in the middle of the market and the kids drew a great crowd as they sang in Zulu, Shona and a great English spiritual. We then headed to Rosettenville Baptist Church for our second Benefit concert for Door of Hope Ministries. The kids presented a wonderful ministry concert and you could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst. The pastor, Daryl, had been converted to Christ in 1989 when an American mission team came to South Africa. He gave his life to Christ and soon after was callled into ministry. The bus is becoming full from the nappies (diapers), formula and wipes we have been collecting from our two benefit concerts and we have another tomorrow night. We have an early morning as we lead in worship at Bellvue Baptist Church. We have made a great relationship with the children there this week so we know tomorrow will be a special and sad time as it is the last time we will see them during our trip. It has been a good day and our Lord is good!

Day 7

Today we lead in worship at Bellevue Baptist and what a wonderful worship service. Pastor Raphael preached, we sang and played and the church also lead in worship. The Chairman and his wife from Door of Hope were present and it was such a joy to meet them and hear the passion for this ministry. It was hard to say goodbye to our new friends at Bellevue as they will forever be engraved on our hearts. We then went to Spurs to eat some great hamburgers and french fries and enjoy some “line dancing” from our waiters. We drover over to the Berea Mission church to see the original Door of Hope sight and the actual door used by the mother’s to place their child into. Our evening and final concert took us to the Lyndhurst church which has over 24 nations represented within this small congregation. Our students pulled out all the stops and gave their best in song. It was truly a moving concert and I am so proud.

When we arrived back at Heron Bridge we separated all the collected items we had received at the benefit concert into sections. The items received/donated were: 29 cereal boxes, 29 bottles of formula, 16 jars of porridge, 40 blankets (made by girls at Camp Sonshine 2012), 78 baby wipes, 89 jars of Baby Food, 11 bottles of lotion, 48 jars of vaseline, 2 jars of cream, 13 bottles of Baby Powder, 16 bottles of baby soap, and almost 7,000 Rand (approx $700 US). We will also be donating the handbell tables and foam for the tables to Door of Hope. Tomorrow is going to be a good day!

Day 8

This morning we stopped by the IMB headquaters for Sub-Saharan Africa to drop off our borrowed AV equipment and we were able to sing for the missionaries. We then split up and headed to two of the houses for Door of Hope ministries as we would finally get to see, hold, feed and play with the babies we had been raising support for during our benefit concerts this week. We were able to work in their clothes bins, sort various items, wash their van and sense the presence of angels as we held these precious little ones. These pictures will break your heart knowing that these precious ones were literally thrown in trash bins or left on the side of the street. Of the 2 million orphans in South Africa the government only allows 300 for international adoption each year. It was very emotional for all of us as we immediately fell in love with each one. Though hard we prayed over the babies and for their mothers, sang songs as we fed them together and wanted to take them all home to Newnan. What a day, what a week, what a merciful God we serve who adopted us into His family and kingdom. All this while we were yet sinners, He loved us. God is Good!
Tomorrow we leave for a two day Safari game drive in Pilanesburg. We have been so blessed to minister to the beautiful people of South Africa all week and now we go to see the handiwork of our Lord’s creation and in the amazing animals he has made for us.

Day 9

We headed to Pilanesburg today to see the wonderful creation of our Lord through magnificent animals. We stopped to eat lunch on the way and the place we stopped allowed us to have a “Jumping” good time!
Once we arrived at the National Park in Pilanesburg, we split into two groups. How amazing to see animals in zoos but how breathtaking to see them in their natural habitat. One group had rhino charge them and the other group had elephants charge them. The sun set quickly and then off to a “bush braai (cookout in the bush). It was excellent and then we shared in the Lord’s Supper around the fire. How special this week has been and faithful our Lord has been. We have another early morning as we head out for our morning game drive before sunrise then it’s off to Johannesburg for our evening flight back to Atlanta. I may not have time to post anything else in the morning. Stay tuned!


Day 10

An early morning day 2 of Safari Game Drive as we headed out to the Serengeti at 6:00am! It was a bitter, freezing cold as we bundled up to see more animals, beautiful sunrise and hot air balloons as they hovered over the mountains. How amazing is God’s creation as we were mesmerized with every view, scenery and landscape. How blessed we are to see this with our own eyes and to be able to share in this experience together. Now it’s time for the long ride back to Joburg and then the long flight back home. Other than the delayed flight coming God has watched over and protected us the entire time. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow! Cheers until tour 2014…….where will God take us?


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