Life was good
Life was good for young Bradley Ramsamy.
He lived with his parents and older sister in Lenasia, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. “We were neither rich nor poor,” he recalls. “My mum and dad earned enough to feed and clothe us. We had a humble home and car.”
He and his friends – Indian and African boys and girls – played for hours in the street, making sure to head home before their parents returned from work. Table tennis, soccer, cricket and especially volleyball filled his days.
“I loved playing volleyball for my schools and excelled at local and provincial levels along with my peers,” even though, he adds, “I was shortest of them all.”
At government primary and secondary schools, his favorite subjects were Afrikaans, accounting and math, though, he says, “I did not do too well in math. I was the average grade surfer. I just [managed] to pass every subject and coasted through schooling.”
When he was 13, he learned to play guitar, discovered he loved to sing and began playing at church services and with his friends. As a teen, he says, “I was the music man with no girlfriend.”
Bradley’s spiritual and family life took a few turns during those years. The family got along well with each other. His father’s family had its roots in Christianity and his mother’s family were pastors and preachers. His mother, in particular, taught Bradley and his sister about Jesus.
“Although my parents served God well, they struggled in their marriage,” Bradley says. They divorced when he was in his last year of high school. “Neither my mum nor dad remarried, and both passed away 15 years after their divorce, five months apart … true love does exist,” he says.
Bradley committed his life to Christ as a child, rededicated himself to the Lord at age 10 at a friend’s funeral and was baptized at 19. And then, he says, “I rebelled. I fell into sin, all kinds of it. I was so good at living a double life – one in church and one in the world. Only when I totally surrendered to God’s Spirit at work in me did I get true freedom from the sins that held me in bondage. I started growing in my walk with Christ through discipleship training at church.”
In 2005, the year Bradley turned 20, he and his sister, Chantel, enrolled as part-time students at a satellite campus of the International College of Bible and Missions. Entrust’s Dr. Arthur Alard and Dr. Steven Briix serve as principal and academic dean, respectively, at ICBM.
Bradley took occasional courses and worked various jobs for several years until 2017, when he was nominated as a successor to his pastor.
“I am still studying part-time,” Bradley laughs. “Yeah, I know, it’s a looong time but I am taking it slow and understanding what I am learning.” He’s doing a bachelor’s of theology degree while simultaneously pastoring a church in Lenasia.
Bradley loves the campus, interacting with the teachers and the worship time at chapel.
“My goodness! Worship – sometimes I felt my tears welling up. In 2018, both my parents died, and those worship times at college were strengthening times.”
Life had its ups and downs for Bradley from 2018 through 2020. Following the pain of both his parents’ deaths in 2018, he was married to Sheena. In 2019 he underwent three eye surgeries. Later that year, he made the transition from working in the corporate world to working in full-time ministry.
“But in facing all of those times,” Bradley says, “I was assured of God's presence in a tangible way. ICBM — the teaching, the lecturers and staff as well as the students were part of my support structure. They prayed for and helped me get through those times together with our local church family.”
Academics at ICBM were far more than academics to Bradley. Asked which courses have especially impacted him, he has a hard time narrowing the list down.
“Every course I do, I learn so much.
“Evangelism and missions really helped me see the need to support the global church, to spread the gospel. I have personally supported a missionary since [that course]. In [the church he pastors], I have made sure that even during COVID, when income declined substantially, we did not drop our missions support.
“Biblical counselling has cemented my belief that the Bible is sufficient for all counselling.
“Comparative religions showed me insights on how to reach people from other religious beliefs.
“Biblical geography was such an eye opener, to actually see the things of the Bible in colour. Now I’m not just imagining something, I can go and see the area where it happened.”
Bradley describes his church, located in the midst of a primarily Indian-background community, as one which “welcomes people warmly. We preach the gospel of Christ. We believe in discipleship and disciple people from evangelizing them, baptizing them and then training them in the faith to be reproducing disciples.
Bradley’s sister Chantel graduated from ICBM and serves on staff at Bradley’s church. “She made many reproducing disciples,” Bradley says. “She heads up our evangelism, baptism and discipleship ministries. She is also a preacher, a member of our leadership team” and she provides teaching on a monthly radio program.
“Our church supports missions, rehabs, poor homes with grocery parcels every month, soup kitchens. We help our community find jobs – we have helped many young people create a CV and apply for jobs or learnerships. During the worst of COVID, we helped with oxygenators, and distributed grocery parcels for a year to many homes in the community. We pray for everyone who calls on us and counsel anyone. We do funerals for everyone in the community – whether they are in our church or not – as we see it as an opportunity to preach the gospel. Our church believes that we are here for the needs of the community. We are here to direct them to Christ, to build them up spiritually as well as physically.”
Bradley and his church are committed to disciple-making and do so using materials from the Navigators.
“Our church believes in making reproducing disciples and as a church, we have gotten it right on a small scale, where many who were baptized are being trained on various levels to be a disciple. As they are growing, they are teaching others to be a disciple.” People who’ve completed a book in the Navigators’ system observe and facilitate studies in that book with newer disciples, while they themselves move on to work through the next book in the series.
So much good fruit. So many good things. The “music man with no girlfriend” is happily married to Sheena and the father of 1-year-old Caleb.
“Whatever challenges I face in ministry, the Lord continues to be faithful to me in carrying me through this journey of life and guiding me through his Holy Spirit.”
As a faithful disciple and servant of Jesus, shepherding a local church and receiving pastoral training through Entrust’s ministry partner in South Africa, life is good for Bradley Ramsamy.
Bradley asks for your prayers.
Pray for us as a family. We are struggling to juggle work and home life. We are managing, but we need help.
Pray for our church to be more effective in discipling the community. The community must not just see the church as a means to get what they want but as a means to draw near to God, experience him and walk with him daily.
Pray for me and our leadership to be on fire for God – that all our efforts would contribute to winning souls for God’s kingdom.
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