Chris and Judy Smith, pastors of Yada Ministries church in South Africa, first heard about Transform from Esther Banzi, a member of the conference coordinating team and a full-time missionary in their church. When Esther asked the Smiths to come to Transform 2017 to teach workshops “We knew it was God,” Judy said. “Chris is a teacher. He loves going through the Hebrew and searching out the Scriptures.”
At Transform, in addition to training participants, Judy said she learnt more about the missions work happening around the Mediterranean. “Many churches in South Africa are not aware of what is happening around the world. I’ve never had France on my radar at all, and even Spain,” she explained.
The Sunday the Smiths returned to South Africa, they shared with their church what they discovered about the different countries, encouraging people to be part of short-term missions trips.
During the conference in Tarragona, Chris and Judy taught two workshops: (1) identity in Christ as a basis for missions and (2) what is the Gospel. “Our number one priority is that people have personal, intimate relationships with Jesus,” Judy emphasised. “Once they’ve got a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus, then they can go and share Jesus.”
"Of course, having that true, intimate relationship with God is not as easy as it sounds,” she continued. “People need an encounter with God, and we can’t manufacture that in any way. It’s not something you can psyche people up about. You are totally reliant on God to do what He needs to do.”
"Young people want to know 'What am I here for? What does God want me to do?' ” Judy said. “Amongst the 100 people that are here [at Transform], there are some really awesome hearts for Christ. If they get cultivated well, and we disciple those young people well, they could be the next world changers. But if we don’t, we’re going to lose them…That’s the cry of my heart, that we disciple well.”
"Pastoring a church is a long-term ministry", Judy explained. World missions is also on the couple’s heart. Next year, Yada Ministries will join another South African church on a short-term missions trip to Turkey.