Please find attached news from Grace Baptist Church in Daveyton, South Africa, for January-February 2020.
Partnership in the Gospel
Your love, prayer and support are such a great joy for us. We thank God for calling to be in the same family with you. Please do not grow weary in doing good, more especially to the house of God. Thank you a million times for you consistent support. My prayer for you is John’s for Gaius: “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul“ (3 John 1:2).
From Driving to Walking
I can’t believe it’s already the second month of the new year. My family has been planning a vacation since last year December. But with the busyness of ministry, we haven’t yet found the suitable time to go. Our car has also contributed to that. We have finally sold it, with a hope of adding that money to buy a better mileage one. But we have not found another car yet. This has been a challenge for the family. However, the Lord has given us plenty of opportunity to walk with people and to share the gospel with them. Our children are getting used to being pushed around on the pram, even though they are constantly fighting for the front seat to get a better view.
Seeking the Face of God
Our personal devotion has been up and down. I have started this year by reading through the Bible through genres every morning. I read a chapter per genre. I’ve been getting a good overview of the whole Bible from Law through Revelation. My prayer life has been revived by an invitation to speak somewhere on prayer. I was convicted that I was not praying as much as I should. I have started a habit of waking up at 5:00 AM to pray. I have also started teaching our church on the importance of prayer in the life of a believer. My wife has also been revived on her journey of reading through the New Testament this year.
The Blessing of Having Fellow Workers
The Lord has answered our five-year prayer for leaders in the church. I’ve been training men to take up the leadership position. But the past six years we’ve been dealing with a problem of training people who don’t take up the leadership position because they feel like they don’t qualify. Although this was discouraging, it was better than disciplining them later on. The Lord has now raised brother Johannes, who joined our church two years back. He came being zealous for the Lord and teachable. He showed leadership qualities as he pursued to marry his girlfriend, who had become a Christian at the time when he was thinking of leaving her, because she was not a Christian. He was like Joseph, who planned to leave Mary without making a big deal about it. Like Joseph, he discovered that the Lord was already working in sister Portia’s heart. Johannes got married to sister Portia in December and they are now serving at church. Brother Johannes is passionate about evangelism, while sister Portia is passionate about discipleship.
The Lord has also brought to our church brother Caleb and sister Mwewa. Brother Caleb can play the keyboard, which has been a blessing for our church. You may remember, in one of my newsletters, that we lost brother Febri, who was doing an excellent job in leading us in music. The Lord has raised brother Caleb to take over from that position. He is also a good Bible teacher. He has been assisting me in teaching the Bible hour class every Sunday morning. He has also asked to lead a Bible study in his home to reach out to his neighbors. We have encouraged him to do so.
These two brothers and their wives have become a great support and encouragement to me and my wife. My wife has also been enjoying discussing how to disciple young ladies with sister Mwewa (Caleb’s wife) and sister Portia (Johannes wife). After teaching on discipleship for many years, it is so refreshing to see the Lord put in peoples heart a desire to be disciples and to disciple others, especially from the women’s side. Our leaders’ meeting has been full of questions and suggestions received from the women and their discipleship program. We have started reading ahead of time some of the materials and the books that they want to use for discipleship. Apart from that, our meetings have been such a blessing, meeting with these men every Monday and review our service and pray for our members by name. I am grateful to Sola 5 for giving me an opportunity to attend the internship in Washington D.C. Many people have asked how an American church can be a model or an example for a township church. But I must say the internship has revolutionised the way we do ministry and the way we are so intentional in training leaders and seeking to improve in our church service.
After Six Years
It has been said that church planting is hard work. After labouring for six years in one place, I have baptised the first four disciples of the Lord Jesus. Many people will wonder what took us so long to baptise people. One of the reasons is that some people were taking longer to commit to membership. Every time we teach the membership class, people realise that they don’t qualify to be the members of our church. I was bit worried by that.
I remember one young man after we finished teaching a class, he said to me, “Pastor, if this is what it means to be a church member, I don’t think any of the people in our church qualifies to be members.” I thought that he was exaggerating. When I conducted interviews with those who were interested in membership, I realised that many were still holding on to their old lives and they were not ready to take up their cross and follow Jesus. And many of them left the church. I was so discouraged. We lost people after two to three years consecutively. But the Lord continued to encourage us to continue. And through all that the Lord has taught us, we have been reminded that he is the one building his church. He has taught us that he is the one who calls his people to a saving faith.
It was such a joy to baptize Johannes, Portia, Ntokozo, and Ntombikayise. Their testimonies ware so unique and different. I had not taught them how to share the testimony following the three steps of your life before Christ, how God has changed your life, and your life now. But all of them shared their testimony based on how the Lord had used different people to call them to the living faith. I was blessed just to hear that the glory was not given to man who was used to be an instrument for their salvation but to Jesus Christ.
The Gift from Sister Churches
Many people have asked why South African churches are not taking part in supporting the work that is happening in the township. Some have thought that apartheid has to do with this. But over the years we have realised that the Bible offers a better answer. I believe that the churches are not aware of the needs that churches in the township may have and, if they are aware, they don’t have the opportunity to help. Paul encouraged the church of Philippi for reviving their love and concern for him. As a church, we can say the same about Antioch Bible Church in Randburg and Antioch Bible Church in Midrand. These two churches have revived their concerned and love to us by sending gifts and delegates to us. Antioch Bible Church from Randburg sent two delegates, brother Mushe and brother Nil, with their families. They visited our church to fellowship with us and presented their love offering to us. It was a joy and encouragement not only to us as a family, but to the church as a whole just to know that we are not all alone. But we are part of a big family of Christ.
Antioch Bible Church from Midrand they are like a Macedonian church. They don’t have a building of their own but they committed to paying the person who drew the structural plan for us and the civil engineer. They also paid for the appointments that we had to discuss the structural plan.
The Book of Nehemiah becomes Practical
Building is really hard work. The story of Nehemiah is making good sense now, as we are striving to build a church in the township, which will be a landmark of hope. After many years, when children ask what that building is for, those who will be there will answer that it was built to make known the name of God in the townships—that it was built to provide an option for many who are tired of the churches that does not preach the true gospel.
We have made a lot of progress concerning the planning. This week, I will be visiting the municipality offices with the completed plan to submit it to them. Our prayer is that our plan will be approved. We believe that, if they accept it, by next month we can start building the foundation. I know that it sounds like it’s soon. We are trusting God that this year we should start building.
Presenting Our Case before the Lord
We covet your prayers for us.
- Pray that the Lord will continue to raise more leaders in our church and give us a clear direction and wisdom as we lead his church.
- Pray for the continuation of the discipleship that the women have started.
- Pray for the building project that we are busy with. Pray for the municipality to accept our plan and to give us a go ahead to build the church.
- Pray for my family in this time while we are still looking for a car. Pray that the Lord will grow us during this time and that we will be thankful in all circumstances.