Ministry News: Hope Bible Church (May 2017)

Greetings in Christ’s name. It has been a long while since we sent out an update on the work of the Lord in Bloemfontein. It has not been easy going, but the Lord has been good to us.

Since we completed our study of the book of Romans, amongst many teachings in the book, the Lord has been teaching to live out 12:15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Since then, we have had a series of seasons where we have had to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. By this, we mean at the same time.

We have a church WhatsApp group that we use to share important things in our lives, well-wishes, announcements, edification, etc. It is usually very easy to share something, but we have learned that it is not easy to share asking the people to “rejoice” with you while there is someone who wants to share “weep” with me.

Very recently, as see in the picture on the left, Tshiamelo’s younger sister of 23 suddenly passed away while walking on her way to work with a colleague. A car drove into them as a result of an intoxicated driver’s loss of control. On the same day, Vernon was celebrating his dad’s fiftieth birthday, and as a family they were rejoicing.

On 9 May, the church celebrated Richard’s birthday and the birth of Thokozane and Charity’s baby girl. Tragically, the baby passed away on 11 May due to some medical complications. We buried her that Saturday. Her death has been particularly difficult for Keitu, who emotionally does not know how to feel that she is carrying a baby while another mother lost hers.

Family News: The Kukunis

We continue to be sustained by the Lord. Keitu’s pregnancy has been going well, with no major issues. The mild pains and discomforts she feels are as a result of the closeness of the arrival of the baby. We are 30 weeks pregnant.

Warona is starting to be aware of life. In this picture, we had a small birthday celebration with her when she turned two years old on 14 April. She has an incredible memory. She sings gospel songs, play songs, knows body parts, knows I don’t know how many animals and their sounds, knows a few Q&A’s Westminister’s Catechism for Kids—and she does not sleep for a long time. She is also starting to show that she is born “totally depraved.”

Family News: The Ravens

We as a family are thankful for the Lord’s continued sustaining grace. It has not been an easy year balancing ministry load, secular work load and family responsibilities. Time management for normal responsibilities has become rather a challenge as well as finding the time for extra things that come up and require attention. This is obviously spilling over to Liza as well. The children are doing well and enjoy taking part in winter sport at school. Elizabeth does cross country and the boys play rugby.

Local Church News

Recently, we have had the joy and privilege of baptising sister Tshiamelo. (Notice the boys standing in front of the pool as if they are the ones to be baptised, but they thought it was water play time!)

One of the most encouraging things for us as a church is our ongoing discipleship course for those desiring to be members at Hope, those interested in learning the fundamentals of our faith, and the members who want to grow in obedience to Christ. In the above picture, we were 29 in total because we had a combined study. We had two groups for “The Local Church” lesson because we regard it as important.

Above is the Friday night Young Adults, which consistently averages 15–18 young adults. Many of them are university students. We have taken a break from the 1689 and are currently studying “Christian Ethics.” The engagement and response have been encouraging.

The morning service’s attendance is also growing. We average 50–60 people every Sunday. Richard just finished preaching on 1 Corinthians 13, and he is now going to preach a two-part series on the qualifications/qualities of a pastor in preparation to induct Tsholo as an elder in the church.

Sunday evening prayer meeting / service continues to grow as well. We average 30–40 people. Tsholo has been preaching on the attributes of God, and he is about to bring the study to a conclusion. The other men have been preaching on the “one another” texts of the New Testament, and are also about to bring the series to a conclusion.

The reason is that we are going to start a new series in a few weeks on “What we Believe, Why We Believe What We Believe, and Why We Do Things the Way We Do Them.”

Other News

A few of us at the church took some time out for a bit of fun at an annual event in Bloemfontein called “BloemShow.” It is liked for its rides, but there are all sorts of things as well.

In this picture is Paul. Paul is a South African who lives in Perth, Australia. Hope Bible Church is very dear to him and a few other brothers who also reside in Australia. Here, during his visit, he was preaching on Romans 16:17–20.

Prayer Requests

  1. Please pray for the church to know how to weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn well.
  2. Please pray for those grieving that they may continue to heal, and be active in the life of the church again. (Tshiamelo is Gomolemo’s sister, and Ernest is Tshiamelo’s husband. Thokozane and Charity are parents to Lindokuhle “Lindo” Lungile Mkhize who passed away at two days old.)
  3. Please pray for the eldership process that is underway.
  4. Please pray for the new series, that in the end we may be able to say what we believe is biblical and what we do is done in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 14:40.
  5. There is a man who has started coming to church and says he has given his life to Christ. He lives on the streets.
  6. Pray for conversions and for believers in general.
  7. Please pray for Richard’s work load.
  8. Please pray for Keitu for this last trimester, and the coming baby.

Banking Details

Bank: Absa Bank
Account Holder: Hope Bible Church
Account Number: 4086594786
Account Type: Cheque Account
Branch: Westgate
Branch Code: 632005