I spent the first week of February 2018 on a journey through South Africa as part of the Global Prayer Safari (GPS), an initiative of Resonate Global Mission based in the USA. GPS takes groups of international participants on a journey through a country (a different country each year), praying at strategic sites with local church leaders giving input into the context. Their slogan is “Praying on site with insight”. GPS took place in South Africa this year with the theme, Reclaiming Hope.
We travelled in a convoy of six 8-seater cars, journeying from Pretoria through Johannesburg, Soweto, Potchesfstroom, Bloemfontein, Graaff-Reinet, Sutherland, Paarl and Cape Town. We visited churches and church-based programmes, schools and universities, memorials to sites of struggle, places of government, a prison and a hospital. The Warehouse was responsible for co-ordinating the Cape Town leg of the safari, while I accompanied the group on the whole trip. Throughout this process we were able to share many of the Warehouse processes, strategies, stories and resources, with which the group was very impressed and highly grateful.
For me the trip came at a time when I was needing to reclaim hope, and truly I found that I did. It was invigorating to meet so many people from different parts of Africa and to hear their stories of struggle and victory. It helped to take my focus off our local challenges and my own struggles. The journey itself brought much refreshment to my soul as we travelled from place to place, becoming part of the road and the sky, the changing landscape and the endless Karoo. But what was most surprising and uplifting was the response of people everywhere to our prayers. The aim of the safari was to pray. Yes, we came, we saw, we heard and asked questions, we laughed and played and cried. But the aim of all of that was to inform our prayers. And wherever we went our prayers were welcomed with enthusiasm and joy. From prison to parliament, hospitals, schools, council chambers, streets and the hotels where we stayed, everyone not only welcomed, but participated in and asked for our prayers. That was my biggest hope-booster, to know that South Africa still believes; that we still trust in God; that there is still hope.
And I come away more than ever convinced that the Warehouse has a message to give and a role to play; that we have some things right and need more of others; but that all in all God’s Kingdom is here, we are part of it and his power is in us.
By Colleen Saunders