“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
Justitia et Veritas (Latin: justice and truth) was my high school’s motto. Carter High School in Pietermaritzburg was named after a judge. I think it was prophetic. My passion to fight for justice and truth continues to be stirred, as my eyes are opened to God’s Word and the plight of victims of abortion, pornography addiction and human trafficking worldwide. I praise God for His Grace in enabling me to serve these past 7 years as the International Co-ordinator of Africa Christian Action.
By God’s grace, a book I have been working on for the last 6 years, is almost complete. The pandemic of pornography unleashed upon South Africa has been so devastating, that I decided to coin a new word for the title – Porndemic. The subtitle is Finding Freedom from the Pornography Plague.
Over 11 years ago, my predecessor Christine Mc Cafferty started working on an update of Dr. Peter Hammond’s very successful booklet Finding Freedom from the Pornography Plague, first published in 1991, and expanded in 1994. She ended up responding to the other attack on the family by completing The Pink Agenda instead. When she moved overseas, she left the work on the anti-porn book unfinished. I decided to finish what she had started and have been working on the book in between various projects for the last six years.
As Christians, we need to confront controversial, unpopular and dark issues – issues that are not often talked about in the public square. The topic of pornography is certainly one of those issues, and is an issue that needs to be addressed sensitively and boldly.
Pornography was legalised in South Africa in 1996. The impact has been devastating. My book is about the harmful effects of pornography and details how South Africans can take action.
I have endeavored to make it as up-to-date as possible by drawing from peer-reviewed research from International ministries such as Morality in Media (pornharms.com), and some local experts and research where available.
Christine McCafferty (who is a professional editor) and several others have assisted me in proof reading the book. However, there are still be a few things that need to be tweaked.
I have sent the book to leaders of 7 ministries for feedback and endorsements. Please pray with me for the 4 endorsements I am still waiting for.
I aim to publish it in February next year.
Articles Published in JOY and JUIG Magazines
I had 2 articles published in JOY! Magazine this year. Christians Under Fire at Stellenbosch University detailed how Christians at Stellenbosch University have come under attack for their Faith in several incidences in the last two years, raising concerns about a growing anti-Christian prejudice on campus. This article was also translated for JUIG! magazine. It is very exciting to think that potentially 180 000 people (based on how many copies of JUIG and JOY are printed each month) could have read my article in English and Afrikaans.
I also adapted and shortened an American article called 10 Reasons Why I Want an Abortion, responding to the top 10 ten reasons women facing a crisis pregnancy choose to have an abortion.
Constitutional Court Case on Sexually Explicit Magazines
In November last year, the section of the Film and Publications Amendment Act regarding the classification of magazines was struck down in the High Court. It appears that the judge misdirected himself in many regards and did not understand the practical implications of his ruling. The judge fully sided with Print Media South Africa and the South African National Editors Forum in declaring that the pre-classification of magazines with sexually explicit content is “censorship”. The case was then referred to the Constitutional Court.
Friend of the Court
The Justice Alliance of South Africa (JASA) was admitted as a ‘friend of the court’ and presented crucial points at the Constitutional Court hearing. We thoroughly examined the High Court ruling and suggested points for JASA to include in their arguments. Some generous supporters donated money towards the flight costs for myself, and my advocate friend, to travel to Joburg to attend the hearing. Although the ruling was not in our favour, it was a fascinating experience to watch the court proceedings.
The Battle for the Mind
Before the ruling, if a magazine contained ‘sexual conduct’ as defined by the Act, it was required to be submitted to the Film and Publications Board for classification prior to publication. The Constitutional Court has now severed that portion of the Act. This means that a magazine could get away with publishing, without any classifications, extremely degrading and exploitative sexually explicit material, even condoning rape.
Fighting for the Family The Film and Publications Board is a statutory government body that is responsible for classifying films, computer games and publications. Every 2 years they review their Classification Guidelines and the public are asked to submit comments.
The FPB invited me to present points from my written submission at a Consultative Conference on the FPB’s Guidelines for Classification in Johannesburg. In the 10 minutes I was given, I spoke about the need for the FPB to raise the moral standards of the Classification Guidelines and not simply to reflect “levels of tolerance”. I also focussed on the need for the hyper-sexualisation and objectification of children and women to be considered as factors that should result in stricter classifications. Conference participants included the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Ms Fatima Chohan; the FPB’s CEO and classifiers; traditional leaders; representatives from SABC, DSTV and E-TV; pastors; grassroots organisations and many other groups.
Biblical Worldview Seminars and Summits
We started 2012 with a Worldview Weekend. Over 30 young people participated. I gave a presentation on Change the Campus – Change the World.
Our week-long Biblical Worldview Summit at the end of March in Vereeniging was preceded by Missions presentations at a Bible College in Kimberley, a meeting with farmers in Lichtenberg, and a Great Commission Seminar at Back to the Bible Training College near Barbeton. Participants of the Biblical Worldview Summit came from all areas of South Africa and some from Zambia. The venue for the BWS was a large Christian school which includes an Adventure Centre straddling the Klip River with tremendous obstacle courses, rock climbing and other great facilities.
The BWS participants had their minds and muscles stretched and enjoyed a most challenging week of PT, Bible Drill, team building exercises, lectures, adventure activities, sports, outreaches, discussion groups, debating skills games, films, worship and devotions. There was also a Bible Exam and Variety Concert.
Our special guest speaker was Creation Scientist, Dr. Philip Stott, whose presentations on The Roots of Science, What is Evolution?, The Flood, and Biblical Creation, were greatly appreciated by participants.
I presented The Christian Action Workshop and all the Frontline missionary field workers presented an interactive Evangelism WorkshopandCareer Guidance Panel Discussion.
Films shown included: The Final Frontier; Pop Culture Paganism, Joshua Harris’, Dating vs Courtship; Hell’s Best Kept Secret; Islam Rising and The Ultimate Gift.
We were also invited to conduct a Biblical Worldview Seminar in the small farming community town of Riversdale in August. Despite it being the coldest weekend of the year (when it was snowing in many parts of the country), we still had a good attendance and the participants were very appreciative.
Trafficking: a Nefarious Trade In the run up to Women’s Day, we screened a film about the global challenge of human trafficking to a packed-out boardroom here at Livingstone House. We had so many responses that we needed to screen it again the following week. I was blown away by this film last year when Exodus Cry came to Cape Town to screen it. I determined that we should screen and promote the film further. We imported 20 copies for our bookshop, which have already been sold out, and will be importing more.
Nefarious: Merchant of Souls is a hard-hitting documentary that exposes the disturbing trends in modern sex slavery. From the very first scene, Nefarious ushers you into the nightmare of sex slavery that hundreds of thousands experience daily. It exposes where slaves are sold (often in developed, affluent countries), where they work, and where they are confined. It includes first-hand interviews with real victims and traffickers, along with expert analysis from international humanitarian leaders.
Women’s Day Outreaches On National Women’s Day, Africa Christian Action set up displays in 4 shopping malls in Cape Town. 77 volunteers helped us distribute 9 500 Gospel tracts and leaflets and 2 230 balloons with Scripture and pro-family messages on them. By God’s grace, during the 12 hour Mission to the malls, we were able to counsel over 56 people and explain to them the way of Salvation. Each person who was counselled through Way of the Master and Evangelism Explosion received Way of the Master Todd Friel and Kirk Cameron’s DVD – The Biggest Question. This is the 17th year in a row that we have organised these outreaches.
Stop the Traffick!
Due to greater mall restrictions on religious organisations, we focussed on mobilising people to take action against the exploitation of women in human trafficking. Two new tracts were developed for our outreaches this year. STOP the Traffick exposes the global challenge of human trafficking and pinpoints what we can do to help set the captives free.
We also partnered with two anti-trafficking organisations – STOP Trafficking and Justice Acts. Several of their volunteers joined us for the outreaches and we used some of their posters and banners. Our pamphlet encouraged people to support STOP’s Safe House for rescued victims of trafficking, report brothels to the Vice Squad, and to “Traffick Proof” their school or community.
Fight the New Drug
Our second new tract: Fight the New Drug, exposes how pornography is like a drug in the way that it rewires your brain and is as addictive as hard drugs such as cocaine. The tract also points out how pornography fuels the demand for prostitution and therefore trafficking.This proved a “crafty” method of encouraging teenagers to read the tract as they thought they were receiving a pamphlet on drugs!
Fight the New Drug is a youth-run, youth-focussed organisation in the USA, that gives presentations at school assemblies across the USA on this topic. I have been practicing their fast-moving, creative powerpoint presentation with the view to possibly giving similar presentations at schools next year.
I helped to mentor numerous students in Biblical Evangelism during O-Week Mission and the two-week long Exam Prayer outreaches in June and October. During the Exam Prayer Missions we go door-to-door in the UCT Residences and pray for students for their exams. Many are also open to Gospel conversations afterwards. The students that I take with me always learn so much, especially how most people who claim to be Christians have very little understanding of the Biblical Gospel. I teach them how to articulate the Gospel clearly, and emphasise that if a person is truly saved, it will be evident in a changed life. For most of them, it is the first time they have ever shared their Faith one-on-one! After the outreach, they usually feel more confident and excited about Evangelism.
Answers to Prayer
By God’s grace, during the June mission, I led a young woman in a prayer of commitment. We can praise God that at least 10 students (that we know of) made commitments to Christ as a result of all the outreaches. Hundreds of others were invited to church and to join a cell group. These were answers to prayer.
Next year, I will be speaking at the His People Baxter Missions Camp just before the O-Week Mission and will be involved in other Evangelism training initiatives throughout the year.
We have had up to 40 students join us for our (His People Baxter’s) quarterly Fearless Friday outreaches on the streets of Rondebosch and in Groote Schuur Hospital. We praise God for many seeds sown on the streets!
I have donated New Testaments and copies of excellent Evangelistic booklets – TheSecond Greatest Lie and One Second After by Mark Cahill for distribution to unsaved students during these outreaches.
Last year I discipled Ncedi to take over the Groote Schuur Res cell group. She took a while to find her feet but seems to be doing well.
I enjoy taking Sunday evening walks on the beach! This year I have taken several of the students that I know well individually for informal discipleship walks on the beach.
Fun in the Sun
I am very grateful for the many DMCs (deep meaningful conversations) that I have enjoyed with my housemate Angela, especially on several outings and walks on the beach, or at Rhodes Memorial. In my weekly jog round the Rondebosch Common with my friend Hannah, we keep each other accountable on our goals, and also discuss (in between each huff and puff), God, life and everything else.
The above are just some of the many outreaches and ministry opportunities that I have been involved in this year. Others included: our National Day of Repentance March to Parliament on the 15th Anniversary of the legalization of abortion in South Africa, a book table at the Christians for Truth Conference, our Life Chain in October, meeting with the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, a March Against Crime, an outreach to Gaga fans outside the Cape Town stadium, our weekly Salt and Light Radio programme and helping to edit our Christian Action magazine.
I will be placing snippets of this newsletter with relevant photos on my Facebook wall. View here.
-Porndemic book almost ready for publishing, 6 endorsements received so far.
-New relationships with organisations/ministries developed.
-Gospel seeds sown through outreaches.
-Further endorsements and publishing of the Porndemic book.
-Upcoming Great Commission Camp and Course.
-Relationships with local churches to be strengthened.
Thank you for all your prayers and support. I think of the many words of encouragement, practical help and kindness shown to me beyond the call of duty.
I’ll be spending Christmas with my parents and extended family in Joburg, then will be back in Cape Town before New Year’s Day to start preparing for the GCC, Sanctity Life Sunday and the National Day of Repentance.
I wish you all a joyful, Christ-centred Christmas with friends and family.
Wise men still seek Him.
Yours in Christ,
Taryn Hodgson Africa Christian Action PO Box 23632 Claremont 7735Cape Town
South Africa Tel: 021-689 4481 E-mail: