What value is there in a certificate? To some it is a simple encouragement to continue on but to others it is the only recognition of completion they will ever receive. This month we held a pastors conference in Duran with about 80 representatives from […]
One of the most fascinating aspects to our mission is the support we provide to the Indian community in KwaZulu-natal. Our work with this amazing subculture began in 2004 during the first visit we made to Durban. Our original intent was to directly evangelize among […]
Hello to all our friends and family around the world! Rodney is making me write a little as a part of the changes that we have made to our website, so here are a few recent highlights to help our family abroad keep informed:
September ended with winds that took off some roofs in our area but praise God only a small section of our fence was damaged. At the same time, we were very blessed to host our Zulu friend and spiritual daughter Irene Mkulise while she studied for her teaching certificate. We actually missed the storm by a few hours because we drove her back to her home in the Drakensberg Mountains nearly 3 hours from our home. We took the time to share in John and Irene’s church and the combination of wonderful scenery and humble hearts was great. We also had a little time on the farm of our friends, Hendrick and Ina Goosen. Their place is truely “a home away from home” that serves as a critical base for our outreach to a number of rural Zulu communities. Bridget used to call their farm her happy place because it reminded her of Texas and our family in the USA. It is an amazing home to Rodney and I because the Goosen’s have become profoundly encouraging spiritual family here in South Africa!
October brought a second storm that caused major flooding in our region. Several lives were lost and many homes were damaged or destroyed. Some missionary friends of ours had almost 24 inches of mud and storm water rush through their house causing irreparable damage to everthing it touched and leaving them looking for new accommodation. We count ourselves very lucky to have only lost the other half of our fence! Rodney and I have definitely gotten acquainted of late with our hammer and nails!
We had the opportunity to get reacquainted with a lovely group of people in Estcourt at Harvestime Tabernacle. This congregation is largely Indian and was founded by Pastors Steven and Premy Frank more than forty years ago. We have ministered there a number of times but we really enjoyed catching up because it has been several years since our last visit.
Finally, I was very humbled to be asked by Celine Choloe of Living Stone Church in Durban to speak in a Congolese Womens Convention. It was a very unique experience as I danced and sang with the ladies while Rodney sat outside the meeting with the other men, a very rare occurrence in African culture! The theme of my message was from Genesis 16 about the story of Sarai and Hagar. The teaching was on what humility and submission mean even in a difficult situation like the one Hagar faced.
Please pray for us as we prepare for a Congolese Pastors Conference at the end of the month and the arrival of our friends and guest speakers Scott McClellan and Billy Bohannon who are making the trip from Texas.
One of the most difficult parts of Christian Ministry is the process of making disciples. You begin by either introducing Christ to someone who isn’t saved or entreating a believer to deepen their commitment in their relationship with Jesus. This begins a long road of […]
Trina and I recently finished a leadership meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe that we have participated in for the last twelve years. It never ceases to amaze us just how different our experience is every time we visit this conference and this year was no exception. […]
The winter months, June through August, in the Southern Hemisphere, are traditionally very busy times in our ministry. For the first time in several years, this season has been approached with more excitement and anticipation as opposed to a sense of duty. Trina and I are eternally grateful for the wisdom from our spiritual oversight that encouraged a sabbatical time away from ministry to begin 2016. We are profoundly refreshed and very enthused about reaching out to pastors and the Body of Christ in general for the remainder of this year.
Our first significant ministry endeavor following the sabbatical was the coordinating of a Holiday Bible Club during the first week of the South African school holiday. This event continues to astound in every facet. Despite several significant changes to the daily schedule of events and many new participants, the time was awesome. The daily average in attendance is around 300 children ranging from age 4 to age 10. Because some don’t attend every day, the total number of children reached throughout the week is closer to 400. This year we distributed around 100 Bibles to kids who prayed to receive Christ.
While we are very excited about what the Lord does in the hearts of the children, the ministry only starts there! We have moved to illustrated Bibles because the children are very eager to have their parents and grandparents read to them about the bible characters they have seen during the week. We have had great and numerous testimonies of children introducing the Lord to unbelieving households through the illustrated bible stories. Participating in the Lord touching the heart of a child is truly a profound step in reaching an entire community.
This elections in South Africa have complicated our ministry in the local township near where we live. There has been significant, random violence on the route to the area in which we minister and while it has not touched us personally, the threat has been very real. We believe our prayers have been answered and we will shortly resume our evangelistic work in eTete on the last Saturday of July.
Trina and I will travel to Harare, Zimbabwe from July 18 – 25 for our annual Sub Saharan Africa Leadership Conference. This is a meeting of many influential leaders who come from many African Nations.
We will finish the winter period by spending several weeks of August in the Western Cape Provence of South Africa.
Please remember to pray for our efforts to know Christ and make Him known. We can’t do anything apart from His Grace and your prayers are a big part of that!
Romans 12:3-5 (NASB)
3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,
5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
As we journey through 2015, it has become clearer and clearer to Trina and I that we are dependent on the Lord through relying on His Body for help and spiritual support of every kind. To provide a picture of this reality, we’ll trace some of our work thus far this year, introducing many of our co-laborers at each stop.
This year began working with our local outreach in the North Coast area of KwaZulu Natal. Seven years ago, Levi Nzuzi (a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo), repeatedly asked Trina and I to “come and help” a group of hurting people that were living only a few miles inland from us in a township named Etete. While I resisted for a time, eventually we started the ministry by offering prayer to individuals under the shade of a tree! A large percentage of the initial group that was reached were French speaking refugees from nations outside South Africa. We were completely dependent on Levi for the initial introduction and interpretation in many of these prayer sessions. Our partnership has progressed from this small beginning to yield many new Believers in Christ, a handful of growing disciples, and a network of food/clothing distribution that continues to touch multitudes of lives. The Lord has developed Levi’s pastoral gift over these years and his role has grown to where he has primary responsibility for the weekly meeting.
We traveled in February to the Northern Drakensburg area of our province. Here we have two main relationships that are important to Trina and I personally while also being vital to our ministry. We lodge in the area with Hendrik and Ina Goosen on their farm near Bergville, South Africa. They have a profound gift of hospitality and the comfort of their home after a full day of preaching is something that has greatly added to our effectiveness. When we go out each day, the actual ministry is done in conjunction with John and Irene Mkulisi. John is a pastor’s pastor and an outstanding English to Zulu interpreter. This work started small 6 years ago drawing 8 leaders to a multi day teaching seminar. In March we hosted 88 pastors from all over the region with many relating how encouraged they had been over the years through the teaching and prayers they had received in the conferences. The Zulu cultural tradition is among the strongest in Africa and without John’s wisdom, the ministry would never have seen growth to this degree.
Finally, it is important to note a final partner in both of these works. Ari Cavalcanti, founder of the ministry Galatas220, helps us primarily by providing bibles to the people we work with in their native languages. Though this was not part of our original vision, the need for Bibles among Christians in Africa is profound. So far this year, with Brother Ari and other individuals support, we have distributed over a thousand bibles in these two areas with plans to give away many more in the near future.
It isn’t hard to see that our ministry starts and continues based on the strength of the bond we have with those we work with! Our “team” is not a group of people connected by a legal organization, but rather a group of spiritual relationships that serve to encourage one another toward the ultimate goal of presenting Christ. Please pray for us as we continue to seek out and work with others in serving the Lord’s purpose in Africa.