Charlotte Moore was born in Alabama to a family steeped in racial strife. Now she finds herself ministering in a country where until 1994 it was against the law for people of different races to even share a meal together.
“My ministry within the black community [in South Africa] and my deep love for people of other races and cultures is at least partly a response to the hatred that existed in my family line,” she said.
Charlotte is a missionary who trains children and youth workers in Polokwane, South Africa. Her friendships with black South Africans is an anomaly to many local people—she is often given strange looks when she is with black friends in public, and has even had racist remarks shouted at her.
“Though I’ve not been in the heat of the struggle, I do get to play a small part in demonstrating that God’s love is color-blind!”
The racial tension in Charlotte’s family began when her grandfather married a woman who was part American-Indian. His family never approved of their relationship and they made her life miserable.
“There was all kinds of division and bitterness in the family. I am thankful to the Lord for bringing my parents out of that and allowing me to know Him and be the one to break that past of sin and violence and hatred.”
At age ten Charlotte started to understand the concept of sin and realized that when the Bible said “all have sinned” it really meant that she had sinned. Her pastor at the time allowed her to come to classes that he offered for people who wanted to know more—he helped her see that Jesus was the only answer for her problem of sin.
In 1995, a South African missionary spoke at Charlotte’s church’s missions conference. She leaned over to her best friend and asked, “when do we leave?” She sensed God’s calling to South Africa at that point but she didn’t know what it meant. The next year, her church announced that they would be sending a team to work with this missionary so Charlotte went.
“When the two weeks were finished I didn’t want to come home. I cried the whole plane ride back, which was 16 hours! There was a funny movie showing on the airplane, so I would laugh at the movie and then start crying again. I know the guy sitting next to me thought I was nuts!”
On January 1, 1996, Charlotte surrendered to the Lord’s call to full-time missions. What she didn’t know was that this would entail getting a two-year degree from Dallas Seminary.
“I told God I would go anywhere and do anything He wanted me to do. I had not even thought about further schooling. I believe God called me there to prepare me. Even though my heart was in Africa and it was really hard for me to wait four years to be on the mission field, I knew I had to be obedient to God’s calling for further studies.”
Charlotte began her studies at Dallas Seminary’s Tampa extension, and later transferred to the main campus, where she completed her Cross-cultural Ministries degree in 1999. While she believes that she got the best possible education at DTS, both in Bible/theology and in cross-cultural ministry, her training could not have fully prepared her for what was ahead. The cultural diversity in South Africa surprised her—there are 11 official languages (English, Afrikaans, and 9 tribal languages)—plus there are strong Muslim and Hindu communities.
“It is challenging enough to move from one culture to another, but I moved into many different cultures—even within the mission and the church, we have several language groups and countries represented. It has called for lots of understanding and flexibility (also known as grace and love)!”
She said she would love to come back and take all the cross-cultural classes again, knowing what she knows now about the challenges she has faced. Charlotte’s other challenges have been physical in nature, but emotional in consequence. She could have died twice, once in an accident while towing a camper/caravan through a mountainous area, and once at the hands of three armed hijackers.
“Even after all that has happened, though, you would have to drag me kicking and screaming to get me to leave this place! I know without a doubt that God has called me here for a purpose—it is that sense of calling that has kept me through all the hard times. I am where I’m supposed to be and I will tough it out no matter what until the Lord leads me somewhere else.”
The mission of Dallas Theological Seminary is to
glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders
for the proclamation of His Word and the
building up of the body of Christ worldwide.