Greetings brothers and sisters,

Disclaimer: This is my first ever newsletter, not just for this purpose, but the first one I have ever written. I do then plead for grace if it is not prepared properly, I do hope to improve as we go along.

Brief background

This year for me has been nothing short of exciting and transformational. When 2022 started, I was working as an accounting clerk doing my postgraduate diploma in internal auditing since I had earlier in the years obtained my BCom accounting degree. I had been nominated in 2019 to be a lay elder at our church then ordained in August 2020 and have been serving alongside the other only elder Kobus van der Walt.

It has been extremely hectic at times to prepare sermons, attend seminars and workshops, or even do house visits while I was still in fulltime secular employment. The hope was always to serve on a fulltime basis but that was extremely difficult in a small congregation like ours, which comprises membership of 10–20 people, of whom some were not even working. I still had to provide financially at home as well.

HeartCry Missionary Society Support

Then, like a blazing fire in the midst of darkness, HeartCry approved an application we had done for financial support! For a small church like ours, this was the sweetness of providence being experienced. This approval came in late March and, after praying and talking with my fellow elder, it was clear that the next step was obviously resignation from employment and becoming one of those enlisted to serve the risen King on a fulltime basis. Then officially, in May 2022, I started with fulltime ministry, but not before I went home in the rural areas for a week to mentally prepare and inform my family. There are no of words—not even poets can assist—to express the amount of gratitude our church and I have because of this support.

Ministry Thus Far

I have since been able to make house visits to the congregants, even assisting one of the elderly congregants with cleaning her yard.

I have also been able to attend conferences, seminars, etc. and, most importantly, been able to have more time to study and improve my knowledge of the word. We had had baptisms, membership applications, and a few resignations these past two months alone.

We have also continued with a gospel outreach to a poor community in Orange Farm. At the moment, we are continuing with our Bible studies there, which began in early 2021. We are now prayerfully considering having a formal Sunday service at that township. We have also started with a Bible study to reach out to North-West University students, which is located just less than 20km from our church.

Our biggest challenge has been sharing a venue with another church. They have been unreasonable at times, which has led us changing our meeting times from 9:00 AM to 8:00 AM, and then to 7:30 AM, and now we are meeting at 3:00 PM. This is reminded us of our need for a church venue so as to have flexibility worship as we would on the Lord’s Day. We have started to pray and contribute towards a building fund.

Personal Life

I am a single man at this stage and am not in any relationship. My focus for the past many years has just ministry and work. But after this decision to go into full-time ministry, the need for a helper is evident and as such we are praying along with the church for a wife for this year, then next year (2023) I shall begin to take action towards finding a wife. Also, I will use this year to save up money so as to afford Lobola next year. I love any gatherings with believers, whether it be soccer or just for braai. I hope to do some parttime courses as well next year in theology to further enrich my knowledge.

Prayer Points

I have been, over the years, encouraged and comforted by the following verse, which I hope will encourage you as well.

“Fear not, little flock for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

We would appreciate prayers for the following:

  • church growth (members individually growing in the Lord);
  • gospel outreaches and Bible studies to have fruit;
  • a church building where we can freely fellowship;
  • wisdom and endurance for the two elders; and
  • for me, Athi to grow as a Christian and a shepherd to the people of God.

Thank you for taking the time to read this report. Thank you for your prayers.

For him,

Athi Mgqibelo
Three Rivers Baptist Church
Vereeniging, South Africa