From Tampa to Johannesburg: Charlotte Moore (M.A./CM, 1999) Finds Her Calling
Charlotte Moore sings in Zulu better than she speaks it. But in the six years she’s been in South Africa, Charlotte has learned a different language well—one of forgiveness, change, and hope.
Her journey to South Africa began in Florida, where she took her first Bible course at Dallas Seminary’s Tampa extension site.
“I started at the Tampa extension in January of 1996,” she says, “but knew that I was called to Africa.” She knew because a trip to South Africa in 1995 inspired her to become a missionary. “I fell in love with the country and the people. I didn’t want to come home and cried on the whole plane ride back.”
Prior to attending Dallas Seminary, Charlotte worked for Easter Seals. “I loved what I was doing,” she says, “but God called me. I was 35 years old when I [started at] DTS.” She continued to take courses in Tampa until 1997, and then moved to the Dallas campus to finish her degree in Cross-cultural Ministries.
“God really used seminary, not only with the classes, but also experientially to prepare me for what he was calling me to,” she says. Today, as a missionary with Global Ministries Fellowship, Charlotte partners with a South African agency called Turn the Tide, “an umbrella ministry that facilitates Walk Thru the Bible, Purpose-Driven Ministries, John Maxwell’s Million Leaders Mandate, Turn the Tide 4 Children, and Silver Ring Thing.
“My specific area of ministry is with Turn the Tide 4 Children. We empower local churches to meet the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in their community,” she says. “What I love about Turn the Tide 4 Children—and part of the reason I partner with them—is that it is a South African ministry almost exclusively funded by South Africans.”
Charlotte is also launching her own nonprofit organization called Kagisano, which in the SePedi language means neighborly cooperation.
“I’m basing it on Luke 10, the parable of the Good Samaritan,” Charlotte says. “I’m trying to establish that kind of neighborly participation. A third of the world’s poor live in sub-Saharan Africa, people living on less than a dollar a day. The UN projects if the trends continue, it will be half of the world’s poor by 2015. That sub-Saharan population is only ten percent of the entire world, but it’s 64 percent of all HIV infections,” she says. “The bottom nine countries that are called southern Africa are only two percent of the world’s population, but [represent] 30 percent of all HIV infections. In South Africa alone,” she says, “five million people are infected. The parental generation is being wiped out. So we’re left with grandparents and older teenage brothers and sisters who are left to care for the children. What I’m trying to do is encourage the church to be the place of care in their community.
“Instead of a YMCA popping up in their village, let the church be the place where the kids come for food, for help with homework, for discipleship, for love, for care while the parent is dying,” she says. “Let the church do what God’s called us to do. And if you really want me to preach, get me off on what the Bible has to say about orphans and widows.”
Passionate about caring for the vulnerable members of South African society, Charlotte and her ministry associate, Ray, are training international leaders how to use their curriculum, God’s Answer to AIDS. She also plans to use her gifts of communication to speak to a society in which people fear not only AIDS, but also abuse, battery, robbery, and rape. Those plans include a curriculum for teenagers about finding identity in Christ and a book to encourage women who have been abused or raped.
“God is absolutely in control,” Charlotte says, “When things happen to us, they have been filtered through His loving hand, and if He allows it to happen, somehow in his plan, He’s going to get more glory. There have been three times in the last six years in South Africa when I could have died, when God could have taken me home,” she says. “So I basically think if God was through with me in South Africa, I would already be with Jesus by now.
“I’m just a normal person. That’s the other thing you need to know,” she says. “Sometimes we put missionaries up on a pedestal. I struggle and have good and bad days. I’m just trying to do the best that I can to serve Jesus with the days that I have left … but you are too.”
With the days Charlotte has left, she is singing a song as relevant in Zulu as it is in English. Its chorus could be what she tells herself daily: “No matter what happens to me, God’s plans cannot be thwarted. He will accomplish His purpose.”
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.