Greetings in the name that is above all names—the name of Jesus Christ!
As a good Baptist, I have a three-point update that I hope will help you know how best to pray with us at this sad, promising, and exciting time. The apostle Paul affirms that we can have sorrow and joy at the same time. Here are some sad, promising, and exciting updates.
My dear wife, Vanessa, lost her young sister a week ago in Johannesburg. She had complained of headaches, went to hospital, and was diagnosed and admitted with meningitis. She died a few days later. She was only 32 and has left three children (13, 11, and 2). Sadly, as far as we can tell, she did not know the Lord. This makes the loss even sadder. Burial is this Saturday in Johannesburg.
Three weeks ago, I appeared in court. I had applied for the court to dismiss the case because the state had failed to take me to trial. While we were making this application, unknown to my lawyers and myself, the state applied to the court of their intention to commence trial. So when I appeared in court, my understanding was that my appearance was about the application for dismissal, not knowing the state had intended to commence trial.
The defence lawyers raised a concern in court that the state hadn’t communicated their intention to commence trial to them and, because of that, they did not provide ample time to prepare me to plead appropriately.
The state acknowledged the “oversight” and apologised to the High Court judge. They asked for an adjournment. Instead of going for a potentially lengthy trial, my lawyer and the state prosecutor have discussed a plea bargain. The plea bargain means I will withdraw the discharge application and the state will amend the charges from manslaughter to cause of death by accident.
The lawyers believe this is the best course of action. We are hopeful that this will mean the end of the court case. The uncertainty has been hard to deal with, but the good Lord has granted us grace to keep on keeping on. We have been busy about his business and not wallowing in self-pity. I have continued preaching, shepherding and currently (among other responsibilities) have three young couples going through pre-marital counselling. Two weddings are in September and the third in October.
As you may be aware, our church embarked on a building project in February. I had sent an update that a donor had pledged to fund 80% of the project. With this in mind, I had anticipated the 20% support of the construction of the church would come easily. I don’t know why I thought like this, but I was naïve enough to believe that, once the project was in motion, it would be easy to have friends share our excitement. It hasn’t been the case—of course, with few exceptions. This has taught me a valuable lesson. Our eyes should always be on the Lord. He uses people, but that is not where our hope lies.
Thankfully, the church building project is now complete. As a church, we remain humbled by what God has done and the picture below is the progress of our building.
Join us in praising God for what he has done even as we pray for some needs and burdens.
Praise God with us for:
- the completion of the church building project;
- three premarital counselling opportunities; and
- the grand opening on 28 August 2022.
Pray with us for:
- the burial this Saturday, specifically that the gospel call will be clear; and
- urgent need of the following benches or pews and a PA system for our completed church building.
If you have a usable PA system we could use, or know someone who does, please let me know. If you are able to contribute towards these needs, please let me know.
For the Master,
Newton Chilingulo, pastor
Reformation Bible Church