Zimbabwe has become our second home on the continent of Africa. We love the Body of Christ in this nation and it serves as an unlikely hub for our ministry to the leaders of many other nations in Sub Saharan Africa. In 2015 we hosted […]
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.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NASB) speaks to us of one of the most fundamental purposes in Christianity,
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Trina and I seek to contribute in any way possible to the discipleship process of Church leaders in Africa. It is our passion and central to our missionary purpose.
We have recently had the privilege of spending time with a number of pastors in the Western Cape Provence of South Africa. Pictured above and right are Riaan and Helen Jacobs of Swellendam, South Africa. We met them close to ten years ago when they were young bible school students and still single! They are now prominent leaders in a growing congregation in their city and serving the Lord with a passion in many different ways. Words can’t describe how proud we are of them for laying down their lives for the sake of God’s Kingdom and we can’t wait to see what more the Lord has in store for them.
This trip took us from Swellendam to Paarl, Capetown and Worcester in the Western Cape area. We were very diligent on this trip to spend extra personal time with the Church leaders and their families, having many conversations in the homes that were really sermons away from any pulpit. What a joy it was to travel safely and effectively in our new vehicle that was so graciously supplied by the Lord through our Christian Brothers and Sisters in the USA!
The return to Durban was followed soon by a tent crusade in one of the Zulu township areas near our home. We are partnering with several local pastors to help their development and bring the message of Christ to the lost. The Zulu tribe is one of the most difficult groups of people we work with because of their connection with the Shembe cult and the practice of ancestral worship. However, when Christ is preached, the light always penetrates the darkness. Many people gave their lives to the Lord and scores of discouraged men and women were lifted up. The relationships with the pastors we are working with are strengthening and we are already talking about when the next outreach can be held.
We travel to Johanesburg this month to do a leadership seminar with many new relationships. Please pray for a safe trip and that we continue to do everything that the Lord desires!
Trina and I have just returned from Harare, Zimbabwe where we co-host a Southern Africa leadership conference. This is the eleventh year we have participated in these meetings and it was definitely one of the best experiences we have had. We draw influential leaders from […]
We are finally back in South Africa after spending most of the first three months of the year in the USA. Because our updates have been infrequent, we will divide this one into two parts to cover the significant aspects of our travel.
Missions in the United Kingdom
On our way back to Texas we spent just over two weeks working with a number of Churches and Ministries in the UK. We visited many new fellowships from Anglesy in Wales to Lytham, Oxford and London in England. This is our primary mission field outside of Africa and the desire to preach Christ in this part of the world grows with every visit. We covered a large geographic area during this visit and we found the Body of Christ to be both small relative to the general population and hungry to make Christ known to the world. We are steadfastly committed to preaching Christ and encouraging those who know Him to do the same in this part of the world.
As you pray for our work in this area consider these prayer points:
1) There is a general spiritual attitude of pessimism and hopelessness over the Church in the UK. While the representation of Christianity isn’t as wide spread as it once was, there is a remnant of God’s people in the UK that are there because of God’s choosing. PRAY for encouragement and boldness over the Church in the UK rather than speaking pessimism and hopelessness over the current situation. God can do much with little and He will do more than most of the Body of Christ believes He will in the UK before it is all said and done.
2) The opportunity to share Christ with Muslims is unique in the UK. While it is a scary proposition at times, the ability to share Christ openly with even radical Muslims is greater in the UK than in most parts of the world. We need to pray for Spirit led boldness for Christians to take advantage of this opportunity.
3) Pray for creativity in the Church about speaking the truth concerning the sin of homosexuality. We were overwhelmed by the proliferation of individuals living a homosexual lifestyle and the general attitude of acceptance that such a practice is fulfilling option. It is not effective in England to just stand up and say that homosexuality is wrong. There is a growing population of deceived people that need to see how much more fulfilling marriage and life is when it is lived according to God’s plan!
4) It is our perspective that the Church in the UK is financially responsible but stingy concerning finances. Our needs were taken care of by a select few that were not subject to this prevailing attitude in the Church. Please pray for generosity to be found in a much wider portion of God’s people there.
The time in Texas
When we left England, the next several months were spent travelling across Texas in the USA. We had started a fundraising effort last year to replace our ministry vehicle and that was a primary focus of the time during this trip. What a joy to report that the Body of Christ in the USA responded to this need with overwhelming generosity. It is very humbling to report that we have been able to purchase a new Honda CRV that will certainly take us where the Lord wants for years to come. This was a great encouragement to our personal faith walk and we believe it will serve to strengthen our resolve to be more effective ministers of the Gospel than ever before.
Please be encouraged by Ephesians 3:14-21 (NASB) which was a constant source of personal inspiration during this time,
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
What lies immediately ahead
We have already put the new vehicle to use in our local outreach to the refugee community that we have been working with in recent years. Some of them are in the picture with the car at the top of the blog and on the email newsletter. They have grown in Faith so much and this will certainly be a great encouragement to them as they continue to mature. We do need prayer in several specific upcoming areas:
1) Please pray that we will sow our time and resources in fertile spiritual ground. With the new car we can go many places with more bibles than ever before so we must be careful to go where God wants.
2) We are constantly evaluating which Pastors/Leaders we are supposed to be involved with. Please pray that we work with the ones God wants us to.
3) Trina and I will travel together to the Mpumalanga Provence for the last week of May and then to Zimbabwe for the last week of July. Please pray for protection and the anointing of the Holy Spirit during these times.