Evangelical Baptist Church Monte Christo (January 2011)

59097a582bd3f050c728d1751d451cccDear all,

Greetings in Jesus name. This is a short report and prayer letter to our friends, and specially all Sola 5 members, BEF members, as well as two families who stood with us in many difficult situations. Although all of you do, I am specially pointing to Aad and Jan van Onselen; Bob and Herary Davey, not forgetting our dear Baptist family in Namibia. I am reporting about the progress of the work in Namibia, much reaffirming our vision for 2011. First and foremost, we are grateful to God for what had happened last year, 2010. Our God and gracious Father has been very good to us as a family, church and ministry countrywide.

MY FAMILY

We are all well. My wife, children and I are doing well by God’s grace. Laamenange, our first daughter, is still at the costal town; she might married this year, God willing. We look forward to what God may allow. Mightypower is working at as a chef at a nice small lodge in town. Mightytower is doing his Grade 12 study at one of the Odibo High School, one the Anglican Christian schools in the northern region. Hileniera and Labanera are both in Grade 8, since Hileniera has failed last year. She is in the some class with her brother. We hope he will help and push her to pass this year. She is a slow learner, even when we help her to a great extent.

MINISTRIES

We have, as you know, seven ongoing ministries in the church, namely:

Mission ministry—A tool which has been used of God to start new local churches, help them to get grow, select leaders and train them to mature them to attain high level of being valuable disciples. One of the effective ways of doing that is through our house-to-house (face-to-face) and heart-to-heart ministries. In this we do house-to-house every Wednesday. Five groups overseen by five church leaders including myself are lodging ourselves to cover our city, spent three week coming there every Wednesday, and ask the owner of the house to invite friends neighbors to two hours and half Bible study and fellowship. This is very effective since at fellowship time we divide ourselves to evangelize and encourage each other in a one-to-one and face-to-face context. Of course, Monday all the members of Monte Christo (Evangelical Baptist Church Monte Christo) are coming together to pray. Wednesday is a house-to-house ministries; well, Friday we meet as a church for fellowship. 75% of our members are university and other institution of higher learning students, so God is able to influence Namibia at all levels, and we thank him for his grace and the invitation he gave to come and join him in his work.

Training ministries—A agency that train all church members, church leaders and church elders at three levels.

Sunday morning we have what we call Family Bible Hour. The goal of this hour is to help the entire church to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus. House-to-house ministries is another additional manner of training in Level 1. We call this first level “Discipleship Training Ministries.”

The second training ministry is leadership training ministries. We do that every Sunday afternoon, inviting all churches to send their leaders (of different activities in their churches) to Monte Christo Baptist Institute to study the Bible with us on different subjects. Last year we covered the topic called “What the Bible is All About,” and fifty students attended: mostly from Pentecostal Churches, Anglicans, Lutherans, two or three from Roman Catholic. (I do not know whether they will come back this year; they had hard time last year when we were dealing with the authority of Scripture, the authority of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Holy Spirit—see Dr. D. M. Lloyd-Jones on this subject.) Nevertheless, all fifty had received their certificates after they have completed this course in twelve weeks. Our vision is not to qualify anyone but to influence them with good and biblical teaching. This is very effective ministry. Our intention this year was to enroll 75 students—120 students have enrolled. I am sure our former students have informed the others about the radical change they are going through (free of charge), and we resolve to work very hard, we will send back none. Of course, “A curse on him who is lax in doing the work of the LORD! A curse on him who keeps his sword from shedding the blood” (see Jeremiah 48:10).

The third level of training is called “Grace Ministerial Academy.” This is a ministry run twice a year, mostly for us pastors to update us about new developments, upgrade us in many areas of theology, and uplift pastors who have never been in Bible school. We will take in thirty for a course in April with two lectures, one from USA who will lecture on Biblical Theology, and another from Zambia who will lecture on Church History, and much on the African soil.

Research Ministries—A studying, thinking and rethinking ministry—then writing material to answer issues facing Namibia in the context of African culture. Few people do not want to hear this, due to lack of thinking and lack of praying, lack of willingness to know the course of Africans relaxedness to flourish spiritually, intellectually, socially, morally, financially etc. Lazy thinkers and idlers to reform Africa who will not seek God to help us in facing all these challenges that face our society. They pretend as if things are okay in the African continent. Or those who want to believe in that unwarranted theory which taught that Africa is a born to lose continent. Isaiah is calling these lazy thinkers “silent dogs.” He said: “His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. These dogs have a mighty appetite; they never have enough. But they are shepherds who have no understanding; they have all turned to their own way, each to his own gain, one and all. ‘Come,’ they say, ‘let me get wine; let us fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow will be like this day, great beyond measure’” (Isaiah 56:1-12).

One of our best and by far the most outreaching ministry is the production of a Christian magazine and MP3 sermons on different topics called “Grace to the Nation” Magazine and MP3. Although many people are interested in contributing good and well-written material to this magazine. The person I appreciate most is Joachim Rieck, who has just contributed three lessons of three missionary pioneers in Namibia.

First he contributed well-written material on the life and ministry of Johan Heinrich Schmelen (1777-1848), whom we call “Father of Mission in Namibia.” He operated mostly in the southern part of the country in early years.

Second, Joachim touched on the life of Missionary Carl Hugo Hahn (1818-1895), who operated mostly in the central Namibia. This was the most effective missionary who had developed the mind of many Namibia people whether they were aware of this or not. Hugo Hahn avoided replacement and brought real development in his days. He worked nearly like William Carey (father of modern mission, who was, as Vishal and Ruth Mangalwadi put it, “an Industrialist, Economist, Medical Humanitarian, Media Pioneer, Agriculturist, Translator and Educator, Astronomer, Library Pioneer, Forest Conservationist, Crusader for Women’s Rights, Public Servant, Moral Reformer and Cultural Transformer etc.”).

The third missionary Joachim had highlighted was Dr. Martin Rautanen (Nakambale—the word Nakambale means “one who wear the hat”). Rautanen was operating mostly in Northern Namibia; this is why we call him “apostle to the Ovawamabo.” Others (including Marinus) contributed articles on God, the Bible, Man etc., material simple to read and to follow, from Wayne Grudem on Systematic theology (wait for our next issue Jan/Mar 2011). This magazine, called “Grace to the Nation” (Eng), “Genade vir die Volk” (Afr), “Efilonghenda kOshiwana” (Osh), is a biblical Christian journal, heading to reformation, seeking revival, and expecting the renewal of minds and hearts of the Namibian nation. It is a non profit-making ministry, conservative in its theology, evangelical in its confession and Reformed in its doctrine. That does not mean that it is not provocative though.

Editing Ministries—Editing of sermons preached though the week and then re-preach it in our radio ministries three times per week: Sunday 07h00 at Omulunga Radio; 09h00 at NBC; and 19h00 at NBC again, answering questions and commands made in a live programme. This is a very effective ministry. Yes, they are also looking forward to present it at Channel 7 Christian Radio, but Channel 7 is growing towards being too Charismatic. I am no longer interested in them until they make changes. Radio is a mighty instrument, if you find opportunity to it, get hold of it and use it. Do not look at or listen to what people say; labour until our country sees something unusual: the true gospel of God.

We do also have other ministries like:

  • Community marriage counselling and members consolidating ministries.
  • Local to local material and region to region resource distributing ministries.
  • Praying for a great awaking and planning for great visitations from our great God.

MISSIONARIES

I have stopped travelling from one corner of the country to another, and started operating from the local church. We, five of us—that is me (Laban Mwashekele), Buddy Bahun, Manfried Bendt, Zeca Anton and Carlos Simao—have decided to build a strong local church, that is Monte Christo Baptist Church and made it a model for other local churches countrywide. We selected three fulltime missionary families and let them come to Windhoek every second month to spent a week with us and see how we do ministries. They come in Monday and return the following Monday or Tuesday depending on what time they arrived. We want all of our missionaries coutrywide to see our full programs from Monday to Sunday, we invite them to Sunday church lunch also, for the church do prepare a meal on their last Sunday before they return to the battlefield.

Another thing you need to know is the effective prayer life of the church. Mondays we take two hours (17h00 to 19h00) to pray. Sundays, before the church starts, we pray for 30 minutes (08h30 to 09h00) and our Bible school runs from 15h00 to 18h00: two hours lecturing, 30 minutes question time, another 30 minutes praying. I personally have to maintain my two praying and devotion hours every morning—that is, from 04h30 to 06h30—before I take my children to school. The only day I cannot fully pray and fully do my devotion is on a Sunday because I have to be at radio station at 07h00, finish at 08h00 and be at the prayer meeting at 08h30. So I have to wake, pray only one hour (04h30 to 05h30), wash, get dressed, and eat, roundabout 06h30 I am leaving for radio ministry.

ENFORCEMENT

Dear people of God, let me issue you a warning: I am sensing something—believe it or not. I sense something coming, this may be either the end of the world, or it will be a great revival. Something unusual is on the way, and it is close, so let us labour for the Master from the dawn till setting sun, let us talk of his wondrous love and care, then when all of life is over, and our walk on earth is done, and the roll is called up yonder, then we must all be there—reporting, or presenting ourselves to God as men approved, workmen who do not to be ashamed who have been correctly handling God’s given time, talent and tenth. This however must not frighten you. He lives, so we can face tomorrow. Fear must go, we know who holds the future, so life is worth living just because we know he lives. Of course one day, we will all cross the river, let us fight life’s final war with pain, and then as death gives way to victory, we will see the light of glory for we know he lives. (Words from two songs: “When the Trumpet of the Lord Shall Sound,” and “God Sent His Son.”)

Yours truly

Laban Mwashekele

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