Monday, August 19, 2013

Taylors spend six months serving in South Africa

By Dawn Freeman, Volunteer Writer

The Call to Go
It was a late life dream for Rodney and Patty Taylor, and it had been two years in the making. However, they got back last month from what would be a memorable short-term mission journey to Cape Town, South Africa.

In 2008, Rodney went on a mission trip to Cape Town. As he got to know John Thomas, founder of Living Hope, pastor of King of Kings Baptist Church, and board member at Cape Town Baptist Seminary (CTBS), he learned that one of the professors at the school was scheduled for furlough in the states. Because he taught Greek he'd only be gone a couple of months.

"John told the seminary about me, and we began discussions about my replacing him for a semester because I had the skills and background to teach Greek," Rodney said. "So this tour to Cape Town was to allow me to join the faculty of CTBS and teach Greek, both elementary and advanced. As a part of my responsibilities, I also taught a course on Ephesians."

Rodney said he and his wife, Patty, left Nashville on January 11, had a 26-hour flight, and arrived late in Cape Town on January 12. They were there six months and two days. They left to return home on July 14. During that time, they experienced a lot.

Cape Town Baptist Seminary
Rodney talked about one of his memories from the trip. It was during Mission Week at the seminary when students went into the townships to do various kinds of ministry. Both Rodney and Patty joined with the students a couple of days to observe and participate in the activities.

"I watched in amazement as one of my students, Mzamo Stuurman, went through a township, stopping everyone he met on the street, and asking them if they knew Jesus," he said. "If not, he would take time to stop and share the gospel and witness to them. I personally observed him lead three or four people to the Lord in the matter of a morning."

According to Rodney, that experience made him long for the same kind of excitement and dedication among our church family.

Living Hope
Patty also spoke of a memorable time for her. It happened during the senior adult club for men and women that she worked with. Each week, they met for Bible study, support, and craft time.

She took dish towels, trim, embroidery thread—all donated by her Bible study and LIFE Group. She taught them how to simply thread a needle and embroider. Each person completed a dish towel and decorated washcloths with buttons and trim. In addition, she taught them how to make greeting cards, name bracelets, and cross necklaces.

"I was intrigued by the fact that they wanted to do their best, wanted me to approve," she said. "And [they] acted like little children when they had accomplished their project. The group leader told me that many of them probably had never had anything with their names on it or made anything like we had done."

According to Patty, the group planned a lunch and invited the Taylors to join them to say goodbye when their time had come to leave. She said, "They fed us, thanked us, hugged us, and gave us a card they all had signed.”

Ministry Impact
Patty said, "Most everyone whom we encountered impacted us. The humbleness of the people in the townships is hard to ignore. They so greatly appreciate whatever you do for them. The people generally are friendly and want to know about America."

Rodney spoke of his time and impact among the seminary students. He said, “I considered it a privilege to teach students who will be going out and impacting many others. It was a way that I could multiply my contribution to the kingdom of God many times over and over multiple generations.”

He also talked about the people who impacted him—his students. He said, “They are all so dedicated to their purpose in the kingdom and to leading the African continent to the Lord.  To them, one’s relationship with God is utmost, and they have dedicated themselves to preparing their heads, their hearts, and their hands to do the work to which God has called them."

Rodney said he was impressed by their willingness to lay it all out on the line for Jesus. Most attend seminary under extreme financial conditions. Some come from the townships where poverty is a way of life. But they do whatever it takes to break that cycle and get an education. 

He said, "They recognize that education is their ticket out of poverty, and they acknowledge that God has provided."


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