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Allegheny East Pastor, Youth Harvest Many Baptisms in South Africa

Story by Beth Michaels
Published 11/19/2012

Hazel Harris and Mpilo Norris interact with Pathfinders and other children attending the camp meeting Sabbath service.

It is no surprise that the Lord was recently able to use two dynamic preachers to gain nearly 100 new believers through baptism at a camp meeting in South Africa. However, what is surprising is that one of those preachers was a 12-year-old from Baltimore.

Mpilo Norris (pictured), an up-and-coming evangelist from the Liberty church, joined another Allegheny East Conference pastor, Gregory Nelson from the University Heights church in New Brunswick, N.J., to share God’s Word to seekers in the country’s East Rand District. Grace Zuzo, a member of Nelson’s church, invited both gentlemen and financed their mission trip through Mission Exchange USA-Africa, a nonprofit organization she started in 1995 (Read about the organization in the November 2012 issue of Visitor magazine, p. 9.). 

Young Norris made a visible impact on the thousand or more Pathfinders who attended his presentations, which he centered on the week’s theme “Revival and Reformation.” Zuzo reports that Norris preached two sermons a day for a full week, sometimes in the adult tent, and concluded his messages on Sabbath. According to the South African district pastor, Ziphozonke Mbatha, Norris was responsible for harvesting 42 baptisms.

“He is a spiritual leader who takes God’s business seriously,” Pastor Mbatha said of Norris. “He is a mature man of God who was able to proclaim the Good News of salvation with power, [and] he was able to conclude his sermon with an appeal for baptism.”

Here is what Norris said about the trip: “I thank God for allowing me to preach to the kids in South Africa. The point of my mission was to get kids to realize that the work of the gospel is not just for old folks, but that young people have a part to play too. Pretty soon kids wanted to stop wasting time with television and video games but to instead read the Word of God and preach about it as well.” He added, “Many children wanted to get baptized. I know that the devil will be at work; one child’s mother disowned him because of his decision to be baptized. Please pray for him.  This trip has helped me because I too realize the necessity to study the Word of God more. I thank God for providing, and I ask that you pray for me, Mission Exchange USA-Africa and the people of South Africa.”

Pastor Nelson also worked hard to encourage and inspire the attending adults during his two weeks of preaching. As a result, 56 of them took a stand for baptism. This was Nelson’s second mission trip with Mission Exchange USA-Africa this year. For this trip, two of his church members, Hazel Harris and Beverly Francis, accompanied him. The ladies offered prayer, gave special music and led workshops for local widows.



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