You are probably familiar with Seth Meyers and Paul Schlehlein, who are church planters working with various plants in Limpopo and Zimbabwe, among which are several Sola 5 churches. A friend recently sent Seth a message asking about the various plants with which they are working. Seth responded with the below. Since several of the churches mentioned are Sola 5 churches, we thought there might be value in informing the Sola 5 churches about these works.
Elim Baptist Church
Elim Baptist Church is a Sola 5 church in the Limpopo Province of South Africa is pastored by Alpheus Nyalungu. Elim is located about 20km from Louis Trichardt, where Seth and Amy currently live. The church has a membership of 20, with an average attendance of 30–40 (13 and older). The primary language in the church is Tsonga.
The church was planted by Seth Meyers in 2007. In 2017, Alpheus became the pastor and the Meyers family stopped attending.
Pray that God will give this church faithful men, since they have numerous young men who have gone through church discipline.
Trinity Baptist Church
Trinity Baptist Church is a Sola 5 church in the Limpopo Province of South Africa is pastored by missionary-pastor Paul Schlehlein. The church is situated in the Mbhokota Village, about 10km from Elim. The church has a membership of 25, with an average attendance of 40–50. The primary language in the church is Tsonga.
When Paul moved to South Africa in 2006, he immediately found a place to stay in the village. From that time, he started the long process of making disciples, some of whom make up the current membership at Trinity. Though the church members completed the church building, the Schlehleins are still eagerly waiting for national leadership.
Pray that God will give the church godly and mature men whether through patient effort or through new people joining.
Valdezia Baptist Church
Valdezia Baptist Church, currently not a Sola 5 church, is located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Valdezia is a village some 30km from Elim. There is only one baptised believer in the village, and therefore a single member in the church, though 6–10 people regularly attend. Preaching is shared by Alpheus and Seth, who consistently evangelise in the hope that divine grace will grow the seedling church into a fruitful tree in due time. The primary language in the church is Tsonga.
In 2015, Seth and Alpheus began evangelising in Valdezia, anticipating the time when Elim would be a “selfish” church. In 2017, they began meeting every Sunday afternoon at Tinyiko Phaswani’s house, who was baptised in April that year. They now have a tent on her property, but it is usually too hot to worship inside so the congregation typically gathers under the avocado trees.
Pray that adults will be drawn, convicted, and comforted by Christ alone.
Old Gospel Church
Old Gospel Church, currently not a Sola 5 church, is located in Jimmy Jones in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, some 75km from Elim. Only Pastor Reginald Mabasa and his wife are formal members of the church, though roughly 20 people regularly attend in a shaded area behind the pastor’s house. The pastor was formally a prosperity gospel preacher, but came to Reformed theology, with a small number of his former church members remaining with the church. The primary language in the church is Tsonga.
Reginald planted the church as a split from a prosperity church, but over the last few years the light has been dawning more and more so that he is now trying to reform the church. A number of people have left since he cut certain songs and began preaching verse-by-verse.
Pray that the pastor will be able to explain the gospel so that the false assurance of longstanding attendees will be broken up and a new foundation on Christ will take its place.
Mashamba Bible Baptist Church
Mashamba Bible Baptist Church, currently not a Sola 5 church, is located in Mashamba in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, some 30km from Elim. The church has a membership of some 10 people, with 10–20 regularly attending on Sundays. The church is pastored by Godfrey Ngomane, and the primary language in the church is Tsonga.
In 1994, Godfrey started this church in his home after having been trained by American missionaries in Johannesburg. Paul and Seth began working with this church when they first arrived.
Pray for the people in Mashamba to be interested in the gospel.
Rock Baptist Church
Rock Baptist Church, currently not a Sola 5 church, meets in Dzingira Village in Zimbabwe, some 350km north of Elim. Pastored by Wastemore Sarireni, the church has a membership of 42, with some 60–70 regularly attending. The primary language in the church is Tsonga.
Wastemore finished studying theology with Paul and Seth in 2011 and, by the end of 2012, was back in the village where he had lived for many years before coming to South Africa. Though the village lacks running water or electricity, he has done a good job giving the gospel.
Pray that the pastor’s son, John, will become a pastor as his heart is devoted to the Lord. Pray that God will meet their needs to send their children back to school in 2019.
Somerton Baptist Church
Somerton Baptist Church is Sola 5 church in Somerton in the Masvingo Province of Zimbabwe, some 450km north of Elim. Pastored by Shadreck Zireva, the church has an average attendance of around 20. The church has faced serious challenges, with forced relocation by government edict over the last seven years, which has effectively forced a plant-from-scratch both times. The primary language in the church is Shona.
Like Wastemore (see above), Shadreck came to Limpopo Bible Institute from 2009–2011. After finishing the course, he returned to his rural village in Zimbabwe. The government opposition has made their lives very difficult and scattered their hard-won church members to other areas.
The pastor needs grace to see people genuinely converted again as well as spiritual eyes to take encouragement in the Lord.
Hope Baptist Church
Hope Baptist Church is Sola 5 church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, some 800km north of Elim. Currently with a pastoral vacancy, the church has a membership of 12 with an average attendance of around 20. The primary language in the church is Shona.
Samuel Meda graduated along with Shadreck and Wastemore from LBI. He then started Hope Baptist church in his home but, sadly, family problems have caused him to step down from serving as the pastor of this little group of believers. Two young men who have recently been converted have helped Sam at this church plant as they try to honour the Lord with preaching and evangelism.
Pray that the church will be provided with a godly pastor.
Whunga Baptist Church
Whunga Baptist Church is Sola 5 church in Whunga in the Beitbridge region of Zimbabwe, some 250km north of Elim. Pastored by Jastone Sebola, the church has a membership of 15 with an average attendance of around 20. The primary language in the church is Venda.
Justice Sebola, Jastone’s twin brother, moved to this village in 2011 after finishing at LBI. Paul and Seth met them during youth evangelism in South Africa in 2005. Jastone is continuing the work that Justice began.
About five teenaged boys have been coming for a number of months. Pray that they would persevere to become godly men.
Grace Bible Church
Grace Bible Church, currently not a Sola 5 church, is located in Louis Trichardt in Limpopo, South Africa, some 20km from Elim. Pastored by Seth Meyers, the church has a membership of 11, with some 15–20 regularly attending. The primary language in the church is Tsonga, though various African language are commonly used at the prayer meetings.
Seth started this church in the Meyers home in 2018 after having been evangelising in the town for several years. They moved to Louis Trichardt in 2015 because of crime.
Pray that God will save sinners in the town so the church can stand on its own. Pray that they will soon be able to direct all their time back to the villages, where their heart is.
Some of these “churches” are mere church plants, representing the gospel labours of at least one servant of God for years. If you looked at any of these assemblies you may see shades of the church at Corinth, but Paul still called them saints. Pray that a great work of revival and conversion will come to the rural areas. It is not beyond the power or mercy of the Lord of the harvest to triple those numbers in the next ten years.
Hopefully, this list and the maps and photos will help you imagine the scenes and pray for them.
For the glory of God among the poorest people,
Seth and Amy Meyers