rebelling against low expectations

I’m 23 and I’m a Missionary to South Africa: Louis’ Story


After reading so many great entries for the Do Hard Things Story Contest, we’ve decided to highlight a story on TheRebelution every week for the rest of the year. Each story emphasizes how Do Hard Things has impacted these rebelutionaries. Today, meet Louis!

In 1992, I was born into a Christian family in Central Texas, the child of South African immigrants. We spoke Afrikaans at home.

At a young age, I became a born-again Christian as a result of hearing the Gospel at my preschool Sunday School class near Austin, Texas. We soon moved to five acres between San Marcos and Wimberley.

In 1998, my father died of a heart failure, leaving a wife and five children.

I attended private Christian schools, and when that got too expensive we did homeschooling. I went through Child Evangelism Fellowship’s training course at the age of 14 and started helping with their Good News Clubs.

A man from church lent me Do Hard Things in 2008 (when I was 16) and I not only fully agreed with the message of the book but it also encouraged me to do much more than what was expected of young men.

That whole summer I worked on our family business and on my own small business.

When I was 17, the Lord finally got me to really start reading my Bible a lot, every day, which changed my life for the better in many ways.

After my salvation, reading my Bible regularly was the greatest turning point in my life.

It was a hard thing, at first, but got easier.

In 2010, the Lord let me go on my first missions trip at the age of 18: I worked with a missionary from Texas in Mozambique, Africa for two and a half months, primarily doing children’s ministry.

Upon my return I continued with the CEF Good News Clubs and my church’s AWANA program in the greater San Marcos area. My 13-year-old brother and I eventually did children’s ministry at six different places every week (at four schools and two churches).

After months of prayer throughout 2011, we became convinced that the Lord was sending me to a Bible College near Cape Town in the Republic of South Africa.

It happened like this: the reasons why I did not want to go was that I would miss the children I had been evangelizing, I would miss my mother and my siblings and I would also miss my house and our backyard.

I was praying intensely and reading through Matthew in Afrikaans when the Lord answered all five concerns in a single verse:

“And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my Name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Matthew 19:29 KJV).

That night my mother and I prayed and listened to a sermon about discerning the will of God in which my pastor asked, “Is it in line with the Scriptures? Is it a God-sized thing? Will it get you out of your comfort zone?”

We then received the peace of God in our hearts about the matter.

I sold my broken car (The Gospelmobile) for scrap metal and — along with all the money I had saved — I had enough for half of my one-way ticket. The Lord provided the rest, as well as a laptop and someone who paid for my tuition.

But the best thing that the Lord provided was a group of friends and family who prayed for me faithfully.

The Bible College was an intense training course. It was two of the best years of my life, and God brought me nearer to Him than ever before.

During that time, the Lord led me to stay in South Africa to do full-time evangelism with a local, country-wide ministry.

They preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in churches, prisons, preschools, primary schools, high schools, businesses and retirement homes.

I did that for all of 2014 and am still doing it, by His grace.

At this writing, I am 23-years-old. There are many trials and difficulties when doing full-time evangelism in South Africa — I do not deny that.

It is not the easiest life that I could have chosen, but life is not about ease; it is about obeying God. He prepares us to complete the mission He has called us to.

And He is with us every step of the way.

At a certain point in my life I had felt as though I had failed God so much and so often that He could never use me, but I was wrong.

He lifted me up — so to say — built me up, and now He uses me much more than I deserve or could ever ask for. Praise the Lord.

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About the author

Louis Gervais

is a sinner saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Although born and raised in Texas, he is currently a missionary sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Republic of South Africa. Photography, filmmaking and history are among his personal interests. The love of God sustains him (as does a love for God’s Word) and encourages him to reach out to lost souls.


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  • Thank you for telling your story, Louis! I was already acquainted with part of it from you newsletter, but I enjoyed reading it again. And on a side note, I love the “Gospelmobile”. 🙂

  • Wow!!! Its amazing to see what God can do in life of young teens like me. Thanks so much Louis for sharing your story! I feel like God is calling me into the mission field and its encouraging to know that God can use teenagers in amazing ways…if we are willing to be His hands and feet.

  • “It is not the easiest life that I could have chosen, but life is not about ease; it is about obeying God.” I love this. I feel like so often we get used to our easy life and don’t want to leave. But God has blessed us by sending His Son to die to save us and willingly using us when We don’t deserve it. So easy life vs God’s plan. I hope i make life choices that reflect the later.

    It’s awesome you did CEF! I lead 5-Day clubs they put on during the summer. I did it for the first time this year and am now in love with children. I want to do the Good News club when we get another car. Can’t quite do it at the moment. But God will provide if it is His will.

  • This is very encouraging to me as a Christian South African because, though I know there are always people who are serious about their love for the Lord everywhere, I sometimes doubt in my darker moments that there are any others here. Thank you for sharing, Louis.

    My Afrikaans is nie so goed nie, maar ek is so baie dankbaar vir hierdie post en vir al wat die Here het met jou gedoen.

    Stay strong in the Lord!

    • Dis ‘n plesier! Although serious young born-again believers could be described as being “few and far between” in South Africa, as I travel around the country I find that there’s usually at least a few in almost every small town, and more in the cities (you just need to know where to look =v)

  • Louis,

    What an awesome story of God’s love for a young man. While it can be so discouraging watching your generation turning from God, you are a true light in the darkness and give people hope. I am so glad that you said the big change in your life was when you started reading the Bible continually. That is the key. May God continually bless you and keep you! Your parents are truly blessed.

    Always in Him,

    • Praise the Lord! Yup, in the end, the Bible was the book that changed my life, but ‘Do Hard Things’ encouraged me to take that step to read the Bible regularly.

  • Hey thanks for writing this! I’m so glad you are able to spread God’s glory in South Africa. What is it like for Christians over there? Is it a fairly gospel-less country, or are there churches? Are there many unreached or unengaged people groups there? What about orphans? I have a ton of questions, but mostly, I’d love to know how we can be praying.

    • Hello Okie Gal! I’ll try to answer your questions: What’s it like for Christians? Not really any physical persecution that I know of that regularly happens to speak of. It’s frustrating for a fanatical Christian like me because you get a lot of people who say they are Christians but they’re not born-again (a.k.a. not Christians). (It used to be a Christian country, and then a nominally Christian country, and now it’s going to a post-nominally Christian country, to put it briefly, in my view). There are many churches, but not so much Gospel (that is, there are many who are going to church as a tradition–among the white Afrikaners–but they (nor even some of their preachers) are saved). You do get born-again people and preachers, too. And the African churches/cults are usually aspects of ‘Christianity’ mixed with paganism/animism. You get born-again Africans and Cape Coloureds (there’s a big difference) too. And a lot of churches which teach false doctrines or feel-good messages. Unreached groups? Yeah sorta, but each of the 13 official languages has the Bible in their language and most have had missionaries (many of whom were Germans) going to them for over a hundred years, so, not ‘unreached’ in that sense, although most are unsaved (the majority of all +17 people groups in the Republic of South Africa are unsaved). Orphans? There are, yes, as sinful cultures cause early deaths of parents, fathers who abandon their families, diseases, poverty, neglect, etc. If you’d like to pray for us, I do send out a prayer letter every weekend. Or, if you just have more questions, you can email me at [email protected]

      • Thanks for taking the time to answer all of these! This gives me a lot to pray about already. I’ll be sure to email you.

    • Welcome asher! I don’t know what fundraising ideas you need, but you could maybe try submitting it into the Discussion Questions? I have done a bit of fundraising so I might be able to give advice.

    • Hi there, Asher! Ummm… I’m not sure. How do you mean? Like, you have fundraising ideas, or you need fundraising ideas?

  • Thank you for your story Louis! I have felt like I should start a childrens/teens ministry in my church, but keep thinking no one would let me. They would think I am to young. I am still a teen, why would they let me do this? Thank you for your encouraging message! If God let you to do it, He provides a way for you to do it as well!

  • That is cool that you were apart of CEF. I used to do there mailbox club and have helped a couple times with a big children’s event they would have annually in a city near us. I don’t know many people who are aware of or a part of that ministry, but enjoyed it when I was a part. 😉

By Louis Gervais
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →