Busy weekends are nothing new for most parents.
When Thomas and Elizabeth Gibbs of Midland heard the weekend their South African guests would be staying with them, they tried to decide what to do. With Elizabeth tied up with a Bible Drill competition and Thomas scheduled to coach a soccer game, they wondered, “Should we try to trade days with someone else?”
“It was God’s timing that we should meet and that we should [go] to the Bible Drill,” said Thomas, pastor of First Baptist Church in Midland.
The Gibbs were participating in a partnership between Cabarrus Baptist Association and the Baptist Union of South Africa. The partnership was established primarily to provide assistance to the churches and pastors of the Northwest Province Baptist Association, which contains 30 churches scattered over a sparsely populated area about the size of Texas and is part of the Baptist Union of South Africa.
That weekend the Gibbs hosted Pastor Moeng Segoai (also known as Kenneth) and his wife, Tshupetso (also known as Rebecca), from Kimberley, South Africa. The couple is also part of the partnership. Kenneth is pastor of Phutanang Baptist Church. While in North Carolina, Kenneth preached and shared about their ministries in Africa.
Thomas still doesn’t know how his family’s name got on the list to host the Segoais but he said God was at work. After a heart stent procedure in December, Thomas had gone for a follow-up appointment. He stopped at a restaurant where he ran into the pastor in charge of coordinating housing for the South Africans. He thanked Thomas for being willing to host a couple. Thomas didn’t say anything, but wondered what was happening since he had never signed any list. An email came a couple of weeks later letting Thomas know when his family would be hosting the South African couple.
Besides not signing up and having health issues, Thomas said they don’t have a lot of room in their home. The Gibbs have five children, ages 13 to 21, all living at home in their 1,500-square-foot home. There are three bedrooms and an office that also serves as a bedroom.
“Never try to second guess what God is trying to do,” Thomas said. “He works in His own way and in His own timing.”
When Thomas went to pick up the Segoais April 20, his soccer game had been cancelled due to rain. Instead of going to the soccer game, he took the couple to Parkwood Baptist Church in Concord, where the regional Bible Drill was taking place.
Elizabeth, left, and Thomas Gibbs, right, were able to provide Bible Drill supplies, including Bibles, to Kenneth and Rebecca Segoai of South Africa. The Segoais were in North Carolina as part of a partnership with Cabarrus Baptist Association.
After observing the children and youth taking part in the event, Kenneth and Rebecca asked where they could learn more about Bible Drill, a program that teaches the importance of studying and memorizing scripture.
Elizabeth Gibbs, who has been part of Bible Drill for around 15 years at various levels, shared how to use the materials they had with the Segoais. Deborah Robson, consultant with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, provided some supplies as well.
The Segoais were excited about having a tool they could use to help young people in South Africa learn scripture.
“If we had come at any other time, we might not have seen [the] Bible Drill,” said Kenneth. “We may have been sick or just been too tired to have watched, but God planned it this way. We were looking for something to use to teach the young people in South Africa.”
Bible Drill provides deeper understanding
While FBC Midland didn’t have a lot of participants in Bible drill this year – one youth and four children – Thomas said Bible Drill offers a deeper level of Bible understanding.
“It’s vitally important to memorize God’s Word but also to apply it,” Thomas said. “They use a variety of techniques to help them learn,” which include music CDs and other resources.
Elizabeth has seen Bible Drill make a difference in her own home. All five of the Gibbs’ children have participated in the program at some point. She sometimes hears her children remind each other of scripture they learned during Bible Drill events.
“I know that God’s Word says it will never come back void,” she said. “It impacts people’s lives.”
Thomas pointed out that Americans take for granted the resources that are available.
Many can walk into LifeWay Christian Store or order various materials online. Something Americans might use once, the Segoais and other South Africans will be able to use numerous times.
“They just see us as having so much because they have very little,” Elizabeth said.
The Gibbs bought extra suitcases for the Segoais to carry back Bible Drill supplies.
The Segoias left with two boxes of Bibles and full suitcases of Bible Drill materials.
Thomas said his church and another congregation took up love offerings for the Segoais. Those funds will go toward helping complete a church building.
Kenneth said he “felt doubly blessed” by the generosity of the churches.