by Annie Kirke
It's 32° C and 80% humidity - welcome to the beginning of summer 2000 in Durban, South Africa! Outside of my office window I can hear the distant sound of the waves rushing shoreward and in my imagination I can picture the surfers bobbing on the backline waiting expectantly for that one perfect wave. If there is such a thing - it could happen in Durban - in the meantime they'll keep riding the waves that come their way, after all we'll simply miss it unless we get on and ride it.

Soul Survivor has been working in SA for nearly 5 years. It began by invitation from St Martins Church in Durban North to Mike and Matt to come and do some Worship-Teaching-Ministry in some local churches and from there it began to grow year by year. Currently SS hosts events in Durban, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Cape Town as well as taking local teams of musicians and speakers to different churches and schools around the country in places like East London, Pietersburg and Zimbabwe. We have just had our 4th 5-day event in Durban during September and this April will host SS Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg together with an evening celebration in Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Here in Durban we have an office where 3 of us work hard at administration, together with trying to be an available resource to schools and churches around us. I, Annie, am from SS Watford, Siphewe, is Soul Survivor's SA fieldworker and heralds from Prince of Peace Church in Inanda, Durban where he is also the youth leader and Shelley is SS part-time administrator and is based at St Martin's where she also works in the youth department.

Soul Survivor, as you probably know if you have been to any of the events, has 3 core values.

Intimacy in worship
Relevant teaching of the Word to today's generation
Ministry in the Power of the Holy Spirit

These values are who we are and are integral to the ministry of Soul Survivor, however the way that they are expressed varies from country to country according to the diversity of cultures and ethnicity.
Here in SA there is a wide range of diversity to be celebrated and embraced and for Soul Survivor the greatest challenge lies in the expression of intimate worship, teaching and ministry in the African culture, which is made up of a spectrum of races, and cultures.
This last Durban event saw over 2000 young people attend over a 5-day period. This year saw the outworking of our inward desire for Soul Survivor to become more 'africanised'. Worship was led by Tim Hughes, who worked with Siphewe and 8 of our friends from their church in Inanda, to flow from English into Zulu worship and vice versa. This was a new step for us and it was amazing to see the way people grew hugely as they too stepped out to embrace either language as they sang their love songs to Jesus. Together we embraced Jesus and one another through a desire to see the diversity of all our cultures reflected in our love for God.

The reality was that God brought us closer together as one people which had been the focus of the event: 'Fusion' - 'All the people with One voice'. It was awesome.

As well as seeking relevancy through language and style of worship, Soul Survivor faces the challenge of being relevant in it's teaching too. As young people, I believe that, we are pretty similar the world over. We are all seeking after security, self-worth and significance. However the aspects of our cultures that threaten to hamper these 3 aspects of our lives vary from place to place. In the UK, drugs, alcohol, sex, broken homes and money play a huge part in the lives of many young people's lives. Here in SA these are all problems that young people face daily - however there are bigger more pressing issues such as AIDS, poverty, crime, violence, abuse and alcoholism which threaten their lives daily. In order to reach young people these are some of the issues that we need to be aware of and prepared to talk about in order to help them find Jesus in their context.

Plans for 2001 are already in the pipeline! The SS UK team will be returning in April to host events in Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth. The dates for these will be 4th and 5th April at Bryanston New Covenant Church in Johannesburg, 6th and 7th April in Durban, venue to be confirmed, and 9th, 10th & 11th April at Harvest Church in Port Elizabeth. For more information delegates may contact the Soul Survivor office in Durban on 031 562564.

With projects such as 'The Noise' firing up in UK, here in SA we are excited at the prospect of what God could do across the world through His people. There are many areas of UK which will be blown away by the sheer passion of Jesus heart as churches everywhere go out in His love with a radical approach to reflect His love for the world through actions, not just words. Here in SA there are huge opportunities for the church to touch it's communities. Soul survivor Port Elizabeth in April 2001 plans to take young people out in the afternoons of the 3-day event to get involved in social action projects all over the city. This is so exciting. This last Soul Survivor in Durban reflected the unity that the world needs to see if it's to glimpse the whole body of Christ rising up - I hope that through SS PE and 'The Noise' this May Jesus will be seen from The Midlands to Durban and beyond…

Many of you are probably aware of the transformation videos, which are circulating around the world. They contain documentaries on places around the world where churches unified to pray for their communities and subsequently God began to move and change their homes. Through these videos something wonderful has stirred in SA. All over the country churches have been uniting in prayer. Where there was distrust and disunity God has brought pastors and church leaders together and He is doing something amazing. Here in Durban we have a monthly prayer meeting at a church which is situated in the centre of our community and God is stirring something incredible as all the denominations come together to seek His face and His agenda for this community and nation.

Being here at this time is an incredible privilege - and I am excited for the future here. God's got great plans for this country - there's a wave of His Spirit coming - perhaps one of those once in a lifetime waves and like those surfers we all don't want to miss it. So we keep paddling out and seizing the opportunities He gives us as we ride the waves of His Spirit ever shoreward.

In His love,


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