From 23 June to 1 July 2018, Theology and Religion student Tswanelo Serumola had the life-changing opportunity to go on a mission trip to two different places of Botswana, namely Gaborone and Maboane. She describes it as truly an awakening experience, in the sense of making herself completely open to the voice of God.
Tswanelo recounts: “Our first stop was in Gaborone and we camped out at the back of a local church, where we were exposed to the congregation who were predominately Afrikaans. They ran a concept called “adopt a missionary” and in this way we were able to freshen up in their homes and experience how they live. Monday afternoon we went to the outskirts of Gaborone to a blind school orphanage. We held a party for all the children, and that was one of my greatest highlights of the entire trip. Before the visit I was approached by our head leader, who asked me if I could deliver a message to the kids. I had the advantage of being Setswana speaking, so I could communicate with many of the people we encountered without any barriers.
“Many would think, being a theology student, you automatically have a sermon prepared, but I found this rather challenging because I had to relate to the children and there were not many things we had in common. For one, I’m a young South African woman who is completely mobile, so to stand in front of them and say I understand exactly what they’re going through would not be right. I had a moment of introspection in search of similar attributes that bind us as people, such as pain, suffering and the need to be validated, so I took that concept and ran with it. There I was, standing in front of the children, their teachers and my fellow missionaries feeling as though my heart was beating out of my chest. I shot up a prayer of luck and opened my mouth to speak: ‘Dumelang bana ba ko gae!’ I said enthusiastically, which simply means ‘Hello children from home’. Hearing their little voices respond conjured the confidence in me to proceed. In summary, I told them that no matter where we come from, no matter who we are, we are all faced with our own fair share of problems and difficulties, but that should not hold us back from the life God has set before us.
“Jesus came down to meet our pain, become our pain, bared our sins on the cross and still conquered the grave. The pain we’re going through here on earth does not compare to the joy that awaits. The children received the message well and they then proceeded to sing a gospel song in appreciation. I witnessed the significant work that God is doing in our midst. What an amazing time for theology in Africa!”