Ministry News: Nelspruit Bible Church (December 2019)

Dear brethren,

There is so much to celebrate, not only during the Christmas season, but every day that the Lord so graciously grants us.

We are always grateful for those who read our newsletters and for any replies we receive.

May Jesus be your greatest treasure this Christmas.

The Lord’s continual faithfulness

Our church family continues to be our joy and delight. It has been a year of trials for many in the church and we have seen them grow stronger as they endure with joy looking to Christ for answers and comfort. The  “personality” of Nelspruit Bible Church continues to be one of joy, humility, love, unity, and holiness. What a privilege for Richard to be to be shepherd of such willing sheep.

As folk see more of the beauty of Jesus they speak of him more excitedly. Octavia has not missed a Sunday since she was hitchhiking home from work and Tebogo picked her up. Tebogo spoke to her about Christ, as she always does, and before the ride was over they had exchanged numbers and Tebogo had arranged to pick her up for church on Sunday. Octavia had been part of the biggest cult in Africa. She is now free of the enslavement that has dominated her life.

More men are leading midweek Bible studies and Sunday meetings. The picture on the right is Richard Senna encouraging Knowledge, who was nervous before leading his first Sunday meeting.

The benefit of remaining small in number is that people truly care for one another and are involved in each other’s lives. Preaching through Philippians has drawn the church even closer in putting others before ourselves and holding each other accountable in replacing grumbling with thanksgiving. We have so much for which to be grateful in Christ. Thank you for supporting this work financially and in prayer. Please don’t give up! We continue to be 60% financially self-supporting and 40% dependent on support from the wider church family. Please be praying for a fellow worker to join Richard. Opportunities abound but willing folk are not sufficiently equipped yet to share the leadership load.

Eldership training unexpectedly expanded

How unexpectedly the Lord works! Richard’s greatest desire is to pass on the privileged training he has received. Most men don’t have the same opportunity. The Lord has graciously caused people to hear about NBC eldership training and have asked to join in. Last month, three elders from a local township arrived eagerly as well as a delegation from Swaziland, a neighbouring country. These men left the training marvelling and confident that the Lord’s word is sufficient for all of our spiritual needs. They are hungry for more.

Richard is now learning Siswati so that he can tell the many lost souls around us about the excellencies of Christ and how each can be saved for eternity. But how much better if he could train some Siswati speaking men to teach in their mother tongue. Richard’s Siswati speaking brings many laughs to the Siswati people but all with gratitude that he is making the effort and walls are broken down making way for meaningful conversations.

Another game changer has been the distribution of good books to eager people including those being trained. The church now also sees the benefit of buying two copies of a good book with the intention of giving one away. Many local pastors have no resources. We are thankful for organisations like Ekklesia Afrika, which makes exemplary books available either free or at negligible cost. Some of these books are life changing in setting leaders on a new trajectory in serving their congregations and leading their churches in a godly, humble way.

Family

We are hopeful that we are emerging from eight months of family turmoil. We understand that adopted children have unique challenges. One book helpfully said, “No child asks to be adopted. No child asks for rejecting birth parents. No child wants to be told how ‘lucky’ they are to be adopted. Adoption always starts with a loss.” We are slow and faltering in our parenting of the complexities of Andrew’s life. We are challenged by how much Jesus loves us when we are unlovely and calls us to do likewise.

Following in his footsteps continues to bring blessings though sometimes clouded in the sadness and challenges of the moment. We are privileged to be able to point both Andrew and Tyler to Jesus who alone can fill their deep hurts and needs.

The church has supported us with overwhelming kindness and words of encouragement. When one member saw the devastation of a bedroom trashed by anger he could have told us how to change our parenting to get better results. Instead he said, “Thank you for showing us what it means to love when it’s hard. We know that you will love us too when we fall.” Such tenderness and grace has sustained us when we are weak.

Praise

  1. Men from afar being trained to lead their churches in a biblical, God-honouring way.
  2. Continued support locally and internationally.
  3. Understanding that trials refine and are good for us.

Prayer

  1. Mature believers to support Richard in the work. The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.
  2. God to grow his church in holiness and number.
  3. Patience and gentleness in training Andrew and Tyler.

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