Pastor – Rustenburg, South Africa
After completing his studies at Christ Seminary in Polokwane, Karabo was called to pastor Central Baptist Church in Rustenburg. Rustenburg is a major mining town in northwestern South Africa, and is one of the country's fastest growing cities.
Testimony of Salvation
I grew up in a Christian home, although that must be explained. My mother is the one who is a Christian, not my dad – but we were raised on Christian principles. As a family we were never exposed to African Traditional practices. My dad, although not a Christian, encouraged us to go to church and would occasionally go with us. Most of my life was spent in church activities: Sunday school, camps, youth, and going to evangelistic crusades – so I believed I was a Christian. I lived a moral life, respected my parents and neighbors, did my chores and came home before dark – and, based on these things, I truly believed that I was a Christian. But as my teenage years drew near I began to see things differently. I developed a sense of dissatisfaction and gradually drifted away from the things of God.
No Taste for Heaven’s Joys
I started to convince myself that God did not exist (Romans 1:18-23) and that Christians were only stupid to believe what they believed. I used every chance I could get to mock the Christian faith. I hated everything that had to do with Christianity: the noisy people preaching in trains, buses, street corners, and gospel music. When I finished my high school, I enrolled for an Information Technology course at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). One of my goals in University was to further disassociate myself from anything Christian – I wanted to engage in drinking, sex, and partying, but in God’s providence none of that happened.
After Darkness, Light!
Though I wanted nothing do with God – He however was pursuing me with His relentless grace. Looking back, I see three factors that God used to condition me to the gospel: 1. Sunday school lessons from childhood, 2. My mother’s prayers, and 3. My Roman Catholic friend. The Sunday school at church was solid, lessons were biblical and we memorized a lot of Scripture. My mother is the praying Hannah, since childhood I’ve known her as a woman of prayer. She prayed for us day and night. When I was in University she would call and tell me she was praying for me. In University I met a young lady who became a close friend of mine, she was a Roman Catholic. She had an NIV Bible that she kept in her room, though she hardly read it (it functioned more as a lucky charm than the Word of God), so when we were together I would read through some of it – though not because I wanted to hear from God. Looking back I don’t think I know the reason why I was drawn to it except that God sovereignly orchestrated it to be so.
With these three factors in mind, one day I found myself waking up with a strong sense of conviction upon my life – that I was a sinner (Gen. 6:5, Ps. 51:3-5, Ecc. 7:29, Rom.3:23) and that I deserve only the wrath of God (Rom.6:23). The conviction was so intense that I was convinced that if I got out of bed, I would plunge right into hell. At that moment I remembered two Bible passages, John 1:29 (My first memory verse) and John 3:16 – based on these two verses I called out to God. From that day on my heart was filled with a peace I couldn’t understand. Although for the first few days I couldn’t describe what had happened to me, I had a joy I could not understand, I loved the things I didn’t love before, and I was repulsed at sin.
Call to Ministry
My vision restored, I began to see what I did not see before. A world lost, daily plunging into hell. Day after day I would shed tears seeing how people lived without a sense of needing God. All I wanted to do was sound the alarm, tell them of the impending danger if they did not turn from their gospel-hating lives. Although I was filled with unspeakable joy at the thought of how Christ considered a helpless sinner like me, on the other hand I was deeply saddened that many were not hearing this truth.
I began studying the Bible, and within a few months I had read from Genesis through Revelation and going back to the beginning. During this time I was given opportunities at the SCM (Student Christian Movement) to preach – one opportunity leading to the other. This served to fan into flame a desire to preach the gospel to the lost, and it was during this time that my local church discerned God’s call upon my life. In 2010, I left University and enrolled to study with a Bible college, Emmaus College (EC). During this time, I was involved in prison and clinic outreach, open-air evangelism, and reaching out to the youth involved in gangsterism in the Soshanguve township. Now I was the noisy person preaching at every street corner!
Even though I was studying with EC, I grew discontent in their lessons and was sensing my need to be equipped more if I was to serve diligently and faithfully. It was the following year that I heard about Christ Seminary in Polokwane and enrolled with them. Here a world of sound theology and expository preaching was opened to me, it was like discovering Narnia. In my 3rd year, as a student, I was called as an associate pastor for preaching and teaching in Modimolle (Modimolle Christian Church), which is 150 km from Polokwane. I served there for 4 years then accepted a call to Central Baptist Church Rustenburg in July 2017, which is where I am currently serving as the senior pastor.
Growing up in a Christian home where my dad was the senior pastor of our church, church attendance and a moral lifestyle was always part of my life. I knew no other way of living except doing things right, and being a good child. We had family devotions and I would constantly hear my dad preach the gospel, but I thought I was fine, I was okay, those sermons were for the congregation and not applicable to me.
It was when my family invited a few members over at our place for a movie night that it dawned on me that I needed to submit to Jesus as Lord and saviour. I was eleven years old at that time, and we watched ''The Passion of the Christ”. The movie opened my eyes to the pain and sorrow that Christ suffered in my place, and how He loved me so much that He had to die on the cross for a sinner who did not realize she needed saving. It was the total work of God that day and it was my first time really thinking and being convicted of my sin (Romans 3:23).
I didn't sleep that night, conflicted with the thought of being saved and how I can be saved. So, the following morning I asked my dad to clearly explain the gospel, and how it applies to me, and most importantly what Christ expects of me. My dad opened the bible in John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 and explained the unconditional love of God for me, and how to live a life that honours Him. We had a lengthy conversation about the grace of God, and how nothing could ever make me earn it, it is just the total work of God. I burst in tears that moment and gave my life to living for the Lord, for He showed His love for me in that while I was still in my sins He died for me.
And since that day, there has never been a greater thing than knowing Christ. My life verse is Philippians 3:10 “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death that by any means possible I may attain resurrection from the dead”. My life is His, and my desire is to know Him more and more and to glorify Him in all that I do.