October 18, 2006
Kara Roberts is using her musical skills to make harmony – on a global scale.
A senior music major with a minor in education, she has spent the last two summers using that training to impact people for Christ in Swaziland.
Since her days in Mission Friends at her church, she has wanted to teach children in Africa.
“My mom was my Missions Friends teacher, and she always had a desire to go on a mission trip to Africa,” said Kara. “It was natural for me to follow in her footsteps of being burdened for African children.”
She and her mother, Kristina, realized their dream in the summer of 2005 when they traveled to Swaziland with DoMissons, a team coordinated by Southern Baptists’ International Missions Board.
Kara returned to Swaziland with a group of 13 OBU students last summer.
“The children cherished everything that we taught and gave them,” she says. “They caught on to the songs we taught very quickly, and by the second time we sang through them, they were creating their own harmonies for each of the songs.”
Kara and her colleagues led Bible studies on both trips.
“We originally planned for about 20 children and instead had more than 100 in attendance by the second day.”
During the second trip, Roberts and the other OBU students also were involved in revival meetings.
“One does not think that you can have that much impact in 10 days, but a church we visited immediately grew in attendance from 25 to 75,” she says. “Swaziland only has three full-time missionaries, so when teams come to assist for 10 days, they can cover the same amount of territory that it takes missionaries six months to cover.
“The people love church,” she said. “They dance down the isles to give their offerings. They will sing for two hours before the preaching begins. All the music was unaccompanied, with incredible harmonies.”
Kara was fascinated by what she heard in the meetings. She returned home with six CDs of worship service recordings.
On her 2006 visit, she spent one night in a Swaziland family’s home. She said 15 family members lived together in what Americans would view as impoverishment. She says the family was hospitable and worked to “spoil” her as their guest.
Each of her African experiences made a major impact on her life.
“I’m thankful for what I have and realize that I don’t need all that I have,” she says. “My eyes have been opened to what I can really live without.
“I don’t think I can go through the rest of my life without returning to Africa,” she says. “But as of now, I really don’t know what my future will be.”
For now, she is contemplating a master’s degree in music missions, or embarking on a two-year mission program.