Since 2010, Joe Readling and his wife, Anna, have called South Africa their home. While the beauty of the land is one thing, what truly drew the Readlings in was God’s calling for them to become missionaries.
“We are all missionaries. God has called each of us to share His gospel wherever we are. God called my wife to the foreign mission field when she was 17, while in Kenya, Africa. She continued her education while progressing in that direction. God directly called me in April 2008,” explained Joe.
The Readlings always knew they wanted to spread God’s message on the mission field, but didn’t quite know where He wanted them to go. After spending time praying about the mission field, Joe specifically asked God to send someone to tell him where to go. Just two days later, Joe received the message he was looking for.
“Someone we knew and had no idea what I had been praying about, hesitantly approached us and said the Holy Spirit asked them to tell us to go to South Africa,” explained Joe. “So, we did.”
Currently, the Readlings live in Hani Park, a settlement in Welkom, South Africa and a community rooted in African traditionalism and a dark magic culture. They work with the organization “Hope Haven,” of South Africa. According to Joe, their mission is “to reach the adults, teenagers, and children of Hani Park where they are, in their homes, their schools, and their communities, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and see them come to know Him as their personal Savior.”
“With the dark magic culture, many people believe those things carry power and protection. Our ultimate goal is to train nationals to fulfill their roles in the local church. We disciple, train, and equip them to impact their native people, sharing the gospel and furthering the Kingdom. We love the Lord and we are so humbled that He would allow us the privilege to serve Him in South Africa,” Joe stated.
In Hani Park, Joe serves as a pastor and Anna heads up the women’s ministry at a local church, which they founded. Part of their work includes discipleship, mentoring, and helping people learn new skills to attain and keep work. In addition, they help kids and teenagers in school to complete and further their education, giving them the opportunity to end the poverty their family has faced for many years. Lastly, the Readlings’ church provides housing, food, and clothing.
“It’s been an incredible experience seeing God show them His power as He sets them free. We love the Lord and He is our everything. We do whatever we can to build relationships with people, so we can share the good news of Jesus with them,” maintained Joe.
Every three years, their visas expire and they come back to the United States for a little while. During their time in the States, the couple spreads their message and the importance of missionary work in South Africa.
“This is really the first time we have been in the States in seven years. While here, we speak at churches. Recently, Anna and I have turned a lot of our attention to individuals,” commented Joe. “Maybe people we know well or someone that’s just heard about what we are doing from someone else. God is giving lots of open doors and bringing new financial partners to our team.”
According to Joe, their missions are about 70% supported. The Readlings are always seeking individuals who are interested in learning about their work. Every year, funds are raised through a yearly golf tournament. A new event, an annual education banquet, will be starting in spring 2019.
The Readlings are sent to the mission field by Christian Bible Fellowship in Gibsonville and have strong ties to True Gospel Baptist Church in Madison. Communities, families, and individuals can support them through prayer, becoming monthly supporters of Hope Haven, donating items for the ministry, or by coming on a mission trip and working first-hand with the couple.
“Jesus Christ gave His all for us and that is what we want—to give our all for Him. Even if that means moving to Africa and telling people about Him or living right here in the United States and sharing His message that way. Being a missionary is the least we can do to show our love to God,” reflected Joe.
The Readlings can be contacted at (336) 340-6060 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow their journey through Facebook at Hope Haven of South Africa, Inc. or Anna Bullins Readling. You can also donate by visiting give.cornerstone.cc/hopehaven.