We invite you to join us in giving glory to God for his love, faithfulness and grace toward us as a church during this past year. While, like every church, we have many challenges, difficulties, disappointments and setbacks, by God’s grace, Germiston continues to be, as one of our members recently described it, an oasis in a derelict landscape.
As one travels through Germiston to get to the church, you cannot help but notice the urban decay, the signs of poverty and of a society losing self-respect. However, that all just helps one to appreciate all the more, what a precious gift the Lord has given to us of a loving, caring, united and happy local church—a church comprising a rich diversity of races, cultures, economic classes, ages and so on. We are asked from time to time whether we have ever considered relocating to better surroundings. The answer is that it would be impossible for us to do so, humanly speaking. Our current property is virtually unmarketable, so if the Lord wanted us to move, he would show us, by making the impossible happen. However, as one member observed, who else would minister into this very needy area in which the Lord by his providence has placed us?
The Lord has continued to add to our numbers over this past year. We have been pleased to add four new members thus far with a further three applications being processed at the present time. In addition, we are expecting two or three more applications shortly. What has been particularly encouraging has been the addition of families, for which we are very grateful. We have also been blessed with the birth of babies and the Lord has added five newborns to our community in just over a year.
It has been encouraging to see folk growing in grace and love for the Lord, particularly some who are being exposed to the doctrines of grace for the first time.
The pulpit ministry over the past year has been devoted to an expository/evangelistic series from the Gospel of John in the mornings and an exposition of a selection of Psalms in the evenings. We recently began a systematic expository series working through Proverbs in the evening services.
As the church has grown, so has the need to get everybody “onto the same page,” as it were, in terms of the basics of the Christian faith. To that end, most of our folk are busy working through the discipleship program produced by Brackenhurst Baptist Church. This is being done in our various Bible study groups. The intention is to use it in the future as a membership initiation series.
Our ladies’ Bible study has been a blessing to the ladies over the past eleven years as well as being used by the Lord in bringing new families into the church as wives and mothers have initially joined our ladies for Bible study.
Our ministry into the old age home has been a real blessing as the Lord has added to the ministry team. The ministry has a two-pronged approach. We hold a service where the word is preached and we also do visitation. Our church pianist has joined the team, which has made all the difference to the service.
Our hospital ministries continue, albeit with a smaller teams at present due to various circumstances. The “Cradle Care” ministry, in which various ladies are either knitting baby clothes or providing wool and other items, is a real blessing to the needy mothers in the maternity ward at the hospital.
The Bible sales ministry has now sold in excess of 7,300 Bibles and 1,400 Catechisms in both English and Zulu.
Our book table is averaging a turnover of c. R1,000-00 per month, which is good indication that our people are reading.
We give praise to the Lord that, financially, our income for the first nine months of this year has been according to budget. We continue to covet your prayers in this area as, by and large, we are not a wealthy congregation and it is only by grace that we are able to make ends meet.
All of this sounds very positive, but we do covet your prayers not only in giving thanks to God with us but also in praying for a greater level of commitment on a broader basis. While some of our people are extremely committed and very faithful, others do give us cause for discouragement. In the final analysis, prayer is the only effective tool for dealing with what is essentially a problem of the hearts of people.
Indeed everything that has happened and is happening at Germiston is in no way attributable to us, to our wise ways, words or abilities. It is and has all been simply a demonstration of the grace of God and the work of his Spirit. To God be all the glory alone!