Seeking to Build Up the Church

Dear beloved,


Pastoral Concern Update

The last time when I updated you about the spiritual life and vitality of the Free State Bible Church (FSBC), I informed you about our waning prayer life with the hope that you will pray to the Lord to rekindle our desire and commitment to prayer. This time, in addition to the waning prayer life, another need has arisen in the church. It pertains to discipleship and the building up of the church through the use of our gifts, talents, and time.

Our church is diverse, made up of individuals with unique situations. This has a direct impact on forming strong relationships and cultivating healthy fellowship in the Lord with one another. In our church covenant, we solemnly pledge to exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over one another, and to seek to use our time, gifts, and talents to serve others and to build up this body of Christ. In short, we have made a promise to one another and to God that, by his grace, we will disciple one another in obedience to his word. However, discipleship and the cultivating of strong relationships is another area our church desperately needs the Lord to help us with.

Encouraging Work in the Midst of Discouragement

Notwithstanding this situation, the Lord has been using the efforts of the few to encourage and build up the church. I want to point out, in particular, that, after months of training, discipleship, and guidance, the Lord used a few men to serve in different ministries in the church for the first time. Firstly, He used Paolo to lead corporate worship service for the first time. Secondly, He used Tiaan to also lead corporate worship for the first time and to serve Communion for the first time. Thirdly, He used Papi to do Scripture reading for the first time during our corporate worship service. All of them are relatively new to the confessional Reformed Baptist convictions, and sought a church like FSBC for long until the Lord brought them to us. We were delighted and encouraged to see them used by the Lord in this way.

These men and others are continuing with one-on-one street evangelism every Saturday morning just outside the church premises. As they set their hands to the plough, please pray for fruit from their evangelistic endeavours.

The ladies in the church are also an encouragement. They are continuing with the study of the Gospel of Mark with enthusiasm. Many of them are university students; mostly studying medicine. With that said, we are sadly going to say goodbye to all the medical students as they are all graduating this year, Lord willing! We thank the Lord that he brought them to us and that they will somewhat enter the profession grounded in the gospel and biblical ethics.

A few years ago, the Lord brought to our church a young man who had just come to the saving knowledge of the gospel of Christ. He was a medical student in China. After fellowshipping with us for a few months, he left for Russia to complete his medical degree. Because it was a new country, he started the studies de novo. The Lord preserved him while in Russia as he attended a healthy local church there for the duration of his studies. He recently completed and has returned to Bloemfontein just as zealous for the Lord as he left. Please pray for him to be able to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to be able to practice medicine in South Africa as a foreign trained student. It has been a hurdle for many other people in the country, with some having to wait for over a year to write the board exams in order to be admitted to the profession. Please pray that his will be a speedy process.

Praise God for Answered Prayer

For a few months since we had a break-in at church, resulting in our sound equipment being stolen, we struggled to retrieve the equipment from the police. This made it difficult for us as we sometimes need the microphone and speaker to amplify the voice, and every Lord’s Day we need to relay sound to the mother’s room for parents with little children who make use of the room during the service not to miss out. Thank you for praying. We are happy to update you that we received the sound equipment back this past weekend. If it is still in working condition, it will aid and make things easier for us.

Many times in the church we walk the path of righteousness with beloved brothers and sisters for some years. Out of the blue, they sometimes leave the church without working hard to keep the bond of fellowship. Recently, the Lord has brought back some of the former members back. As there was no enmity between us, we prayed for them, wishing only the best for them. If it is the Lord’s will for them to be reconciled with the church, please pray that we will have tremendous wisdom in discussions and decision making, and ultimately in serving one another and the Lord as members of one body.

Tsholo’s Surgery and Nurses

On 18 September 2023, I underwent surgery (cholecystectomy). I battled against the pain for many months not knowing what it was, until the doctor detected the problem. The surgeon our family doctor referred me to is a Christian; one of only three doctors in Bloemfontein who can perform the surgery I required. I don’t know what I said or how I spoke with him, but he said he could tell from the consultation with him that I’m a Christian and a pastor. We had good conversations leading up to the surgery. The operation was a success even though there were complications in theatre, and the surgeon said he was 90% satisfied with how it went. He said mine was one of the worst conditions he had seen in a long time. Because of how serious it was, I had developed some infection which he said was fatal, and I was a high risk for septicaemia.

He observed me overnight and ran many blood tests before discharging me. By God’s grace, the tests showed signs of improvement and less chances of septic spread. My nurses at home—Keitu, Warona, and Tikvah—took good care of me and ensured that I followed the doctors orders. The family doctor continued observing me for three weeks after the surgery, and the last tests he conducted returned more positive news that my recovery is going exceptionally well. So far, I have not had any lingering symptoms or symptoms the doctors said I will certainly experience post surgery.

Caring Church

During the recovery time, I was placed on sick leave to rest and recover. The church cared for me and my family in amazing ways. My associate pastor, Tebogo, carried all the preaching and teaching load, which was a blessing. Our fellow brothers and sisters in the universal church also ministered to me and my family during this time, and extended good works and concern as the Lord used them. All our needs were met, and we thank the Lord for his amazing love and care.

Prayers of Thanks

  • Thank God for a successful surgery, the care I received, and the ongoing recovery.
  • Thank God for the new people who are displaying signs of commitment to the Lord and love for his church.
  • Thank God that we recovered our stolen sound system.
  • Thank God for the students who are going to graduate and start practicing medicine next year.

Prayers of Needs

  • Please pray for us to have a zeal for prayer.
  • Please pray for us to be able to form strong, healthy relationships as the disciples of Christ, and to disciple those who are younger in the faith.
  • Please pray for God to continue using the men and women who faithfully and sacrificially serve him.
  • Please pray for me to remain on the positive recovery trajectory, and to lead a healthy life without one of my vital organs.
  • Please pray for Tebogo, the medical student graduate from Russia, to be able to sort out his statutory requirements to practice as a doctor in South Africa.
  • Please pray for wisdom in reconciling with the former members of the church.
  • Please pray for the Lord to increase our finances in the church. We are in the red at the moment, but we trust the Lord will provide.

Grace and peace to you,