One of the most fascinating aspects to our mission is the support we provide to the Indian community in KwaZulu-natal. Our work with this amazing subculture began in 2004 during the first visit we made to Durban. Our original intent was to directly evangelize among the vast Zulu population in the area until the Lord abruptly changed our plan. God stongly knitted our hearts with Indian South Africans and impressed upon us that part of His plan was to use the Indian Church as a primary means of reaching Zulus for Christ.
An abbreviated history, since the arrival of Indians to South Africa, helps to show why these two cultures are linked spiritually. Indians first arrived in 1860 as a part of an indentured labor program with the sugar cane industry to a part of South Africa, the KwaZulu-natal provence, that was the traditional Zulu Homeland. From very humble beginnings, the initial seed of immigrants grew and saw its spiritual composition change dramatically. Today, the Indian population has increased to almost 1.5 million and a people group was initially 99% Hindu in faith is now more than half Christian. Indians are much more economically prosperous on average than Zulus and this has caused both a palpable jealousy and some xenophobic violence. We believe that Christ has changed the hearts of many Indians in South Africa and their willingness to walk in forgiveness has made them special messengers of the redemptive power of Jesus for the Zulu Nation.
The Lord has made the encouragement of leaders a primary aspect of our mission and allowed us to form many relationships with Indian pastors. In November, we spent time with two men that have changed Trina and I far more than we have changed them. Pastor Steven Frank of Harvest Time Tabernacle in Estcourt, KZN is a true elder according to Biblical Standards. Having been saved from Hinduism at a young age, he has faithfully reached out to both non Christian Indians and Zulus for more than forty years. They ask us to preach and minister to congregants and give our opinions on their future vision for their ministry. Pastor Ellayah Ezra of the Church of Pentecost in Chatsworth, KZN is one of the pillars of the Body of Christ in South Africa. This modern day Apostle has planted countless numbers of churches and in his near seventy year career in ministry! He has asked us to “troubleshoot” a number of issues over the years and wants us to visit more of the churches he has an ongoing relationship with in the coming months.
Matthew 20:25-28 NASB
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.  It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,  and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The message of Jesus to His disciples highlights a common, crucial attribute in both of these wonderful men of God: A true servant’s perspective on leadership. Trina and I do not have passing relationships with these pastors, having spent time praying and discussing difficult issues that affect both their public ministries and personal lives. Each has resisted numerous opportunities to respond to personal attacks from individuals they were serving in a self centered way by laying down their own personal gain to see God’s purpose fulfilled. It is an all too common pitfall in the Church when circumstances arise that tempt a leader to begin thinking about his or her own well being first. Please pray for Trina and I as we finish out 2017 that we take courage from and follow the example of these remarkable servant leaders in the the Indian Churches of KwaZulu-natal. Blessings in Christ!