Meet the Missionary {Chris in South Africa}

by Laura on March 21, 2012

Chris and Lindsey Lautsbaugh live in Muizenberg, South Africa. They serve with Youth With a Mission (YWAM), teaching and training internationals to be missionaries and church leaders. As leaders on the campus, they steward and guide ministries in and around Cape Town, reaching out to under privileged communities, planting churches, and meeting needs associated with the issues South Africa is facing. They have been in missions for 35 combined years. They serve together with their two boys, Garett and Thabo.

Chris blogs at and has published a book on grace, Death of the Modern Superhero. Tomorrow, Chris will be doing a guest post on this site and offering free copies of his book. Be sure to check back then!

You can find Chris and Lindsey at their personal website here or on twitter here {@lautsbaugh}.


Tell us one story of someone that has been impacted by your ministry?

The first South African that got into our hearts was a man named Thabo. He came from a child headed home, working to support his brothers. He came to YWAM, received training,  and traveled into missions for the first time. He is now serving as a church planter and pastor. We love him and his name so much, we gave it to our son!

What advice would you give a younger missionary?

The greatest amount of influence and lives transformed, comes from every day faithfulness rather than the newsletter headlines. People comment more on how we live out our marriage or parent our children than remembering even the best of sermons.

What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned on the mission field that you didn’t expect?

Experience isn’t everything. I had 15 years in missions under my belt when we came to South Africa. Culture shock and a new set of “rules” made me as green as the newest rookie. 

What are the biggest challenges of being a missionary?

Raising your children away from their grandparents and extended families.

What are the biggest benefits of being a missionary?

Seeing the ripple effect. Impacting a person’s life, then watching them impact other lives.

What is the biggest mistake new missionaries make during their first year on the field?

Missionaries often attempt to hit the ground running rather than taking time to plant roots and build relationships. Many things start fast, but fizzle out quickly. Start with an attitude of “what can be learned” rather than “what can I give.”

What is a normal day like for you/your family? 

Both my wife and I both work in the ministry in positions with a lot of responsibility. We work each morning while the kids are at school and then alternate afternoons; one with the boys and one at work. Missions as a family includes a lot of “normal” life – school, outings, shopping, homework, etc.

What impact has living overseas had on your kids?

Our kids love living overseas; it is all they know. We work hard to keep ministry attractive to our children

In your opinion, what is one of the best books on missions? 

Cross Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer. I’ve blogged about it recently. This is a book that I need to read over and over.


Remember to come back tomorrow and read a guest post by Chris about cross-cultural living. If you do, there is an opportunity to win one of 50 signed copies of his book {yup, you heard us right, 50}!

Related Posts. Interview with an Urban Missionary  |  When You Become an Awful Person {First Year Missionary} |  Missions and Hollywood  |  8 Reasons You Should Never Become a Missionary

  • Katy

    Ohhhh Africa! So fun seeing fellow South African missionaries popping up in this series!  Sounds like you guys are loving both your family and the people well!  Thanks for sharing a bit about your life! =)

    • Chris Lautsbaugh

      Thanks Katy. Love to hear more about your story! Does fellow South African mean by birth or by serving here?

      • Katy

        By serving =) I spent a year near Qwa Qwa and Harrismith as a missionary. Definitely is a place I call “home” even though God’s got me Stateside now. 

        • Chris Lautsbaugh

          Africa has a way of getting in your heart!

  • @ngie

    Thanks for the succinct words of wisdom, Chris. I took a peek at your post about the book you recommend. Looks like a must read, indeed. It was nice to meet you! I wish you and your beautiful family all the best. 

    • lauraparkerblog

      Oh, yes– I want to check that out too. Is the author, Duane, a YWAMer?

    • Chris Lautsbaugh

      Thanks!! The book’s author is a professor in the USA, but he spent many years in Africa and abroad. He is actually speaking in one of our upcoming programs! Can’t wait!

  • Pingback: Your Questions About South African Weather | South Africa Budget Travel()

  • Nicknadaisy

    Great words of wisdom Chris. 

  • Lauraleighparker

    Start with an attitude of “what can be learned” rather than “what can I give.”  This was my favorite piece of advice.  Excellent and sooo hard to do in real life .

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