Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I count myself extremely privileged to share with you a report about the undeserved work of the revitalisation of our church that God is doing in our little church. Just as I reported last time that one of the “downsides” of being a little church is that when disturbance happens in the church, it is easily felt by all. Now I am happy to report that the exact opposite is true as well. One of the benefits of being a little church is that when joy comes, it spills over to all.
The latter is encouraging. As you read about what has been happening in my pastoral life, church life, please continue to uphold us in prayer. We can see some of the fruit of what God’s people have been praying for, for a long time.
Kukuni Family: Health Concerns
The Lord has been good to us as a family. Many of you know that I struggle with migraines. About four weeks ago, I experienced terrible bouts of migraine again. The doctor prescribed medication that helped temporarily. The second time I visited the doctor, he told me that my blood pressure is worryingly high. He then prescribed medication to help with the migraine that almost killed me in the night. My dear wife almost woke up to a lifeless body because I could not breath and felt the most terrible chest pains I’d ever experienced.
The next day the doctor discovered which of the prescribed medication might have caused this. I stopped taking those immediately. Ever since, I have been feeling better with little to no pain for the past two weeks. My health feels like what God’s people have been praying for, despite all seven of us now coming down with flu or that “rona.”
Aspirant elder Tebogo and Deacon Frank advised me to go on long leave. This will be my first ever, long leave if I stay on leave the entire duration of the leave. I’ve attempted to take leave in the past, but always returned to work after a few days. My body now tells me it’s time to rest and to glorify God by taking care of my health. A leave plan has been tentatively structured to allow me to go on leave from 20 June.
Kukuni Family: Enjoying the Lord’s Goodness
On 21 May, our little boy Tikvah attended a maths competition for people in his age group. He came out on top, as a champion of champions in the Free State Province for five-year-olds. He completed a six-minute tasks in two minutes using only his brain and not a soroban that helps them to calculate. He says his mind tells him. He is smart and he can read already. We are grateful.
His seven-year-old sister is the opposite. She is creative and enjoys the artistic side of things. She is emotional about life in general. This is a blessing because she takes devotions seriously, asking questions such as why we read the Bible instead of hearing God speak audibly. When you ask her a catechism question, she gives you the answer but always asks “why” or “so what”? I know who she got that from.
Kukuni Family: Personal Devotion and Growth
The Lord has been good to me in that he has blessed me with the ability to read Greek proficiently. For quite some time now, I have replaced my English devotionals with Greek. My former seminary lecturer, Dr. Joseph Mahlaola, will not remember, but while we were sitting around the fire on a missions camp in Malamulele, Limpopo, he said Greek reads like English to him because he does Greek every day. That convicted me but I lost it after seminary.
But the Lord has been gracious to provide helpful tools. Dr Joseph, Dr Darryl (who awarded me with a scholarship to achieve the ultimate goal of reading Greek fluently, understanding all the grammar and all aspects of the GNT through his Biblical Mastery Academy based in New Zealand), Dr. Plummer, and my supervisor Dr. Genade have all been used by the Lord to influence me to love and enjoy the Lord Jesus Christ’s words in a different language. I am Tswana, trained in theology in English. The first church I pastored was a Sotho church. I learned the habit and tools of writing sermons in English but preach in Sesotho while I translate in my mind. Eight years later, those habit and tools help me with different languages.
Kukuni: Needed Sabbatical
While on a sabbatical, the plan is for me to take good care of my health. Please pray that the Lord will help me to take all the help offered to me by friends and doctors so that I can honour the Lord by leading a healthy lifestyle. Top of this would be to learn to sleep. I sleep roughly four hours a day and my body functions at 100%. My struggle is that I don’t feel affected but it might not be healthy for me. Pray that the Lord will help me to not sin against Him in this area of overworking myself and sleeping less.
Notwithstanding this, recently my precious wife encouraged me to have a knock off time. I’ve been spending evenings with her and a lot of time with the kids which I have found to be an incredible blessing from the Lord. Steve Lawson helped me with his, “give your mornings to God, day to people, and evenings to your family.” Keitu is happier now.
FSBC Family: Recapturing our First Love
On 8 and 15 May, we did a two-part exposition on Revelation 2:1–7, titled, “Recapturing our First Love.” We pondered five aspects of this Lord’s love letter to us, looking at his care (v. 1), his commendation (vv. 2–3, 6), his concern (v. 4), and his correction (vv. 5–7). The members called this sermon “the big sermon” because it transformed lives in a way I did not anticipate. It is frightening to see how the church has suddenly come alive again. People who neglected their duties have revived them. There are all sorts of activities happening in the church. We pray that this zeal does not wane over time.
You can find Part 1 here, but Part 2 (the big sermon) was unfortunately not recorded live. It was with fear and trepidation that I embarked on this two-part series, taking a break from 1 Corinthians, so I forgot to push record. Nonetheless, Part 2 is also available on YouTube. Pray for all the groups in the church to continue building themselves up in the love of God.
FSBC Family: A Vibrant Church
Recently, the Lord has added to the church many enthusiastic people to a list of the adherents. They include five men who are eager to serve. Two are IT graduates who have been working on our website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel.
One is Papi Mmolelo who God saved from hell’s door. After he got saved, while longing to find a Bible-believing church since 2016, he resorted to almost concluding that Bible-believing Christians don’t exist near him. So, he lived his entire Christian life fighting with nominal Christians and acting as an apologist. He debated people quite a lot until he met Clive, a member in the church. He invited him to come to church. Papi recalls that when he heard the Bible expounded, and Genesis read as a historical account, he for the first time met people who believe the Bible and for the first time did not hear anything to disagree with. He then knew that he has found a spiritual home to sit down and be taught. It has been a blessing to see how the Lord is working in his life.
The other one is Mandla Mkhwanazi. Mandla used to come to our church before 2020. He was passionate about the Reformed faith, but did not cultivate his walk with God. Sometime early this year, the Lord impressed it on his heart to return. The man is really committed and has brought many people with to church. The last is Ronnie Maluleke, previously a reformed Pentecostal. He is in his final year of studies at the university but only found out about us about a month ago.
The Young Adult women are also showing interest in the things of the Lord in the church. It is encouraging to see the older women seeking for ways to apply Titus 2 to serve the young ladies. Praise the Lord!
Almost all of the adherent ladies, plus the men, have not been baptised so pray that that will happen soon. It is baptism season for us here, because almost all the baptisms I’ve done were in winter. In addition, we have Shezree Tiel who has completed all the discipleship lessons required to take membership in the church. Her story is encouraging. She was brought by an adherent with a solid understanding of the reformed faith and ecclesiology, but her discipleship is delayed because of commitments in her life, but comes to church regularly. At the upcoming quarterly general meeting, the church will vote to welcome Shezree as a member.
FSBC Family: From Vibrancy to Lethargy
The vibrancy and recapturing of the first love that is happening has exposed areas of concern we need to work hard on. Some people don’t seem to understand what biblical change looks like. Our deacon has been trying to encourage some that if faith has no works, it is dead by itself. Faith requires change. He is trying to encourage them that change is not an intellectual or academic understanding but something factual that actually took place at a given point in time and should manifest itself in maintaining our first love, Jesus. The apparent absence of the grasp of this concerns us. Please pray. The Lord is pruning and building this little church.
- Pray for my health to continue feeling as better as I feel currently.
- Thank God for our kid’s home-schooling progress. Pray for Keitu to continue teaching well.
- Pray for my personal growth, to honour the Lord in all I do to give him the glory for the access to resources He has graciously granted me.
- Pray for my sabbatical, to be refreshed and revived again.
- Pray for everlasting fruit of our recaptured love to ever be visible in the church in the many areas of ministry and the use of spiritual gifts in love. Thank God for vibrancy.
- Pray for those who are waning to be awaken from lethargy.
- Pray for the adherents, and for membership classes on 11 and 18 June, and subsequent interviews, baptisms, and membership applications.
- Pray for the continuing training of aspirant elder Tebogo. He is a true help from God. Pray for support from our gracious church while I will be away. Pray for Lungi, Tebogo’s wife, as she supports him by home schooling their five children while she is still recovering from mourning the passing of her mother and aunt recently.
- Thank God for Amanda, Richard’s mom and former member of FSBC, who visited us from Australia. She brought a lot of joy to our people.
- Pray for a musician to aid in worship and the provision of musical instruments.
- Pray for financial support. Many of our people are students and unemployed.
- Pray for the QGM that will be on 15 June, to go well and smooth. Tebogo will chair it, which will be his first time.
Grace and peace to you,