When God Surprises You – God’s work with unlikely people

Turi Family

In the last few years a number of families have moved from the U.S. to assist the church in South Africa, in order to see healthy churches planted. Pastor Bryce and Sarah Turi, along with their family, were faithfully serving in Southern California when the Lord opened a door, moved on their hearts to go out and they began to  assist in an existing work that had been started in Paarl, a small city about 60km outside of Cape Town. Little did they know the plans that the Lord had in store for them as they would soon take over the church and see God do a tremendous work.

The church is growing and there seems to be a real sense of a move of God within the lives of those attending. There is an extremely diverse group of cultures, age groups and backgrounds and it is evident that God is both building into this group an infectious love for one another, but also to see others genuinely come to know Jesus personally.

In a very religious culturally Afrikaans community where many have grown up in the tradition of church, but as people have come to CC Paarl they have been amazed with the teaching of God’s Word, the vibrant worship and the fellowship and communion they have been welcomed into. Many are now experiencing for the first time a desire to grow in a knowledge of the Word and learning to serve the Body of Christ.

We recently sat down with Bryce for a few minutes to see what God has been doing with them.


You were faithfully and comfortably serving in a church in Southern California. How did you sense the call to come to South Africa? 

Bryce Turi and Mike PortlandWhile serving at Calvary Tustin as Youth Pastor for 8 years, we never imagined we would be pastoring a church half way across the world! God has had other plans. After spending a couple weeks in Paarl visiting Pastor Mike Portland (the original church planter of CC Paarl), on a short term mission trip in 2012, we felt a strong leading to dig up our roots and begin labouring in Paarl, South Africa. God was with us miraculously each step of the way. He led us and provided for us, and we had the affirmation of the church leadership.


What are some of the limitations and advantages to being a foreign born pastor? 

Paarl is very rich in tradition. Since we’re from Southern California, we weren’t really aware of traditional norms of the culture. We definitely have had our share of awkward moments and have had to learn the hard way, mostly through failure but while still having a pure heart.  However, the very thing that has been a limitation has also been an advantage. We, despite our ignorance, have had much grace from the community and much of it has opened new opportunities. God has used it to at times break norms that may not be Biblical and as we have attempted to stick to the Bible as our model. It seems to be shaping people beyond these cultural walls.


Sarah serving the community

What do you see happening in the country of SA with the church and with Calvary Chapel?

There is a huge need for the model of church that we grew up within Calvary Chapel and we are committed to reproducing that here in our fellowship. We see within the community a hunger for God’s Word. While some of the churches moving away from biblical teaching and others focused more on the experiential side, we have tried to remain balanced and allow the Teaching of the Word and the movement of the Holy Spirit to shape lives. We are also seeing this idea of servant leadership take root. It’s something a bit foreign to church leadership in many places. People have also loved the style of worship we so appreciate, which is filled with the Spirit but based in the Truth. With Calvary as a movement we see a new focus and opportunity for church planting. It’s an important time to train and send.


Bryce and sarah Turi leading worship

What have been your greatest lessons? 

God gives MASSIVE strength in my MASSIVE weakness. God seems to be using my family and me in a unique way from weakness. We definitely don’t have it all together but love God and these people and He is using it to draw people to Himself.


What are just a few of the things that God is doing at CC Paarl that excites you? 

CC Paarl Baptism ServiceGod has added real quality families to the church over the past four years. We are seeing some really gifted folks with an enormous heart to serve Jesus. I have a real heart for outreach, so throughout the week we participate in lots of ministries in the community. We’ve really endeavoured to sow this same heart for outreach into the congregation. It is so cool to see folks beginning to jump on board and get involved in ministering to inmates at the prison, reaching out to the homeless and feeding at the soup kitchen. We are seeing people step outside their personal, cultural even relational comfort zones. It’s cool and we’re excited to see how it’s changing their lives as well as reaching people.


What is the vision God has given you?  

To labor to build a church that authentically loves Jesus. It’s that simple.


How would you encourage others praying about venturing overseas to pastor? 

The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few—just go for it! If God is putting it in your heart step out in faith and trust Him. He will do a great work.


Continue to pray for Bryce and Sarah and their family as the plod, and preach and serve the body of CC Paarl and desire to see more churches planted in their area. God is doing a exciting and genuine work through them.


Would you commit to praying for the Church at Calvary Chapel Paarl and the possibility of seeing more churches planted? Get in touch with us for more information.