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south africa : recording 2003

sounds of freedom : from apartheid to worship

Two co-founders of HSI had the great privilege of being with a black South African church in Soweto. It is the largest black township in South Africa (3,500,000 people) which was the center of much violence before the end of Apartheid.

Pastor Isaac and his wife Linky have started this and three other churches. They have a heart to bring reconciliation to Soweto through the impact of the gospel. Each service is translated into English and Zulu (the largest black tribal group).

The worship was simply amazing. Perhaps it is fueled by years of suffering and oppression, perhaps it is the lack of material distractions — one can only speculate. No instruments were used, and no singular person led during the worship. All that was brought to worship was their exuberant voices, their bodies which joined in movement, and their passionate hearts so given to God.

The simplicity and purity of the worship was astounding. So little was brought, but so much was offered. We were reminded that all God really needs is a worshipping heart. If this is present, then worship follows regardless of how simply it is offered. The contrast to the church in the western world was evident — we bring so much to worship yet often offer so little.

worship in the rural homelands

We then traveled north to the “Homelands” of South Africa. The black populations, who comprise 75% of South African peoples, were assigned 13% of the country’s land under the Apartheid system. Village after village is found in these rural areas and are accompanied by poverty and a lack of education. But God is bringing a people to know and worship Him.

The church in the village of Moshakga was begun by a white missionary couple, John and Nancy Hudson. The church is pastored by Jonas, a young man who was converted out of a life given to the political causes of South Africa. He was a member of the African National Congress (ANC), which eventually brought an end to Apartheid. Jonas found a greater cause when he discovered the love of God. The church’s vision is to plant a church in every surrounding village.

Jonas learned to play guitar from his missionary mentor. He now leads the worship in this church of about 200. The guitar is the only difference between this church and the one in Soweto. The sheer volume of their heartfelt worship serves as a witness to the village.

It was again impressive to view the ease of movement that accompanies their worship. Their voices and their bodies unite as they offer their praise. Dance is a natural expression of their worship, and their hands are joined as they flow through the aisles of the building.

The sounds of freedom are being released after years of oppression and hardship. God is refreshing a people who have experienced much hardship, and He is building a new kingdom in the land, which is fueled by love instead of violence.

a recording

A subsequent recording was produced by HSI for the church in Moshakga. The recording has been distributed locally and found airplay on local radio.