During the end of October I had the immense privilege to travel to South Africa with 7 other people to work with the staff of Hope Africa Collective. Let me be candid in saying that before the trip I wasn’t quite sure what to expect — this was my first time working with Hope Africa Collective and my first time out of the United States for missions. I had heard great things from people who were familiar with this organization and its staff, and I assumed it would be an enjoyable trip filled with plenty of God moments—but I never expected to experience the life change that I did.
Almost immediately I realized that God is moving powerfully in the community through this organization and the people who work there. I had the opportunity to listen to the students talk about their experience with Hope Africa Collective and share their testimonies.
On the first day we arrived, I talked with a young girl who was full of joy and beauty. She seemed shy at first, but as we talked she quickly opened up. I asked her what she liked most about her experience and her answer will stick with me for years to come. She began to tell me how she had found freedom in Jesus. She had been raped and found out that she was HIV-positive. She had felt such shame in her past, but through her involvement with Hope Africa, she knows now that God loves and accepts her—and the friends that she’s made while in the program accept her as well. What struck me the most was that she started off by telling me of her freedom, not the horrendous injustice that had been forced upon her. I can’t imagine the pain and anger she felt or how she’d dealt with any of her emotions before she had a relationship with Jesus, but what I can tell you is that the amount of joy she was exuding as she told me of her new-found freedom was remarkable. Nothing less than breathtaking!
My trip was full of stories like this—full of experiences that showcase the grace of God and how extraordinary His redemption is. It is apparent in interacting with the staff and founders that they see this on a regular basis and are passionate about bringing even more of the Kingdom of God to South Africa. The impact that is being made in this community is beyond measure, and I am just thankful that I got to play a small part in it
-Kara M. from the Discovery Church team