Please find herewith the latest ministry news from Chris Mnguni and Grace Baptist Church in Daveyton, South Africa.
I can’t believe we are at the end of the year. Living with an uninvited guest, whose name is COVID-19, has its own challenges and encouragement in our family. My wife has been teaching Grade 12 this year. She has enjoyed her work. What she loved most was the opportunity to offer students biblical counselling. Although her opportunity to work outside a home provides gospel opportunities, it has also produced extra work and some required intentionality at home.
We have also enjoyed breakfast time with our kids of sharing Bible stories. They are curious about praying before we eat a meal. Emihle, our girl, has been really loving to sing. Zanecebo likes books. At the age of 5, he likes reading and is curious about writing his name and surname. They also enjoy Sundays. They know it’s church day.
One day they learned about the fruits of the Spirit, so Zane knows fruits as well but he does not differentiate between physical fruits and the fruits of the Spirit. One morning, he said to us the fruit of the Spirit is apple. This has granted us an opportunity to share the gospel.
During family devotions, I’ve been working on my favourite verses, trying to make the family devotion simple and engaging. We’ve been also enjoying inviting church people on Sundays, especially those we have recently welcomed to membership. It has been a great joy to have a big family on Sundays.
Personally I’ve been encourage by the book of Mark that I am preaching at church. I was challenged by chapter 5. Jesus, after casting out the legions of demons, told the man to go home and tell his family what God had done for him. Mark tells us that this man went to ten cities. This story reminded me of the great work in the township of planting more biblical churches. I took some time to reflect on our area. I realised that there are five areas that we still need to take the gospel to. I call this our Jerusalem: Mina Nawe, Chrishani, Etwatwa, and Cloverdene—all within Daveyton. I’ve been praying that the Lord may bless our efforts.
Opposition from Within
My prayer life has been up and down. For the most part, I still strive to wake up early in the morning and commit my ways to God. Sometimes, I wake up a bit late and then pray in the car as I drive to the local clinic to take the gospel there. As the apostles said, our ministry is prayer and the word.
I’ve been reading Paul’s letters to Timothy. These letters came at the right time. During my study of these letters, a man arose at church who came from a cult church. He said he was a pastor but was not looking an opportunity to preach. We took him and his family into membership like everyone else. But he visited me more often. After becoming a member, he showed interest in accompanying me in house visitation ministry. Since he was an older man, I didn’t think it was a bad idea. But I realised that he wanted to talk as well or give counsel as I am counselling people. The words of Paul to Timothy that he must not allow some men to teach encouraged me to stop taking him along. I realised that he was not teachable. He thought that, since he is older than all of us at church, he must teach us. He also wanted to introduce some rituals at church like closing a door when we pray, and singing in a certain way, and praying in a certain way. When he realised that I am not in agreement with the things he was saying, he started speaking badly about the leaders and the church. He would take what I said and go to people that he thinks they may be offended by it and ask how a pastor can say this. I thank God that the people that he tried to win over were mature believers who told him to speak to me. He then came to discuss some of the things with me. I told him that he needs to support his practice from the Scripture. He was so offended by that then he accused us of using education over the Spirit. Then I realised that Paul was right that some people want to teach the law but they don’t understand even what they teach. He decided to leave our church but didn’t live in peace. He went around speaking badly about me and the church. We thank God that the leaders were in agreement and we were able to protect the church from the wolf.
A Serving Church
Jesus said, “I will build my church.” I do believe this statement more and more. Since the beginning of COVID-19, we are seeing Jesus fulfilling his promise not only in the world but also in our little flock. We have seen him adding day by day those who are being saved. In my last letter, I mentioned that we decided to choose some men and women to be tested in the ministry of serving. We have appointed eight: Brothers Nia, Enoch, Elliston and Sisters Portia, Ntombi, Frida, Feo, Vicky and Ntombikayise. These people have been growing in serving the church. They get to church early, clean and set up the chairs and the instruments. They also prepare teas and coffee after the church service. We are trusting that, from these people, we will appoint deacons in the due time. We also have seen God burdening some with evangelism. One man by the name of Nkululeko decided to join me in street and taxi ministry. He wakes up early in the morning to be in my house at 6:00 AM. We start preaching at 6:30 AM while people are waiting for public transport.
We also have some shoes that were donated to us. We took them to a needy community. We normally collected clothes and food to take it to such communities. But before we distribute it, we share the gospel and distribute gospel tracts as well. The gospel has gone forth. We are waiting patiently to see how the Lord will cause the seed that is planted to grow.
A Mission-minded Church
During my preaching of Mark, when we reached chapters 5–6, we couldn’t pass without doing some practical applications. In chapter 5, we were encouraged by the testimony of the man who once had legions of demons. We are told that he went to ten cities. And in chapter 6, after Jesus was rejected in his home town, he sent out his disciples to go and preach. We then stopped and did a series on missions. It was during this series that we decided to apply the teaching.
We planned a short mission work to one of the surrounding area. One lady from church gave us a tent. We set it up and we preached for nine days. In the first week, it was very hard, and it was very windy and raining. In the second week, we decided to move our tent and put it in another area. This was good training for our people. Our people were so dedicated and hands on. We distributed gospel tracts together, did door-to-door campaigns, and set up our tent together. It was a first time to do missions together as a church. Many have mentioned that they were so encouraged by the work and learned a lot.
The God Who Answers Our Prayers
As a family, we’ve been praying for a home. I mentioned in our last newsletter that we are trusting God for a home. As a missionary, my financial status was making it hard for a bank to approve our loan. But after asking for prayers, the Lord answers your prayers. The first time we applied for the loan, no bank approved us. But now banks have approved us. We had to choose one that was offering us a better deal.
The Lord has also answered our prayers concerning the building project. We’ve been waiting for the municipality to approve our structural plan. This month, I went to the municipality, not expecting any good news at all. I got there without an appointment. I was told that there is no further adjustment that we need to do. They admitted that the delay is on their part now. We were given a due date of 24 December. We were promised that, by then, they should be done with our site development plan (SDP). We do believe that all things work together for good. Our church has grown in maturity in many areas since we started this process. I remember one older man saying to me, “We are Christians but we must not be naïve in these things. If you pay a bribe this plan should be out long time ago.” Whether this was true or not, God has grown our faith. We do know he answers prayers in his right time. We will keep on waiting for his right time.
Pray Without Ceasing
- Next year we are plaining to stay with a student who will be doing her internship in law. It has been our prayers to live with students and disciple them. Pray that God will use this time to grow her and us as a family. Pray also for me to be an exemplary man to my wife, kids and church.
- Pray for brother Bongane and Cebo (his wife) who came to Daveyton seeking to plant a biblical church, or to join and strengthen a church that is already in an area. They have come to our church and they have taken membership. Their desire is to open their home for ministry. Pray that the Lord will bless their efforts and will strengthen the work in Daveyton through them.
- Pray for Johannes and Caleb. They both wanted to do theological training. They both have young families and desire to equip themselves in theology. Brother Johannes is accepted at Shepherd’s Seminary and Brother Caleb is considering studying through South African Theological Seminary. Pray that God will provide for their studies as they seek to do it part time.
- Continue to pray for our building project, especially that the municipality will keep their promise of approving our plans before 24 December 2021.