Emmanuel Baptist Church continues to know a growing sense of unity and community in the gospel. We are encouraged to see many of our members strive to deepen their relationships with others in the congregation.
We must also give God many thanks for the way he has shepherded this congregation through the recent changes in the eldership that has affected us as a church. Bernard Kuyper retired from the eldership during January 2015, after serving faithfully for many years. Also, Brian Stone stepped down as pastor of Emmanuel in December 2014, with Gus Pritchard officially serving in his place since January 2014.
On 6 December 2014, the church held a farewell luncheon for Brian and Judy Stone. This served as a wonderful reminder of God’s grace to this church during the last ten years of Brian’s ministry. Indeed, as we reflected on the healing and growth that has transpired at Emmanuel over these years, we were reminded of the power of the preached Word. The mark of Brian’s ministry has been the faithful exposition of God’s Word, and truly God has used this to build his church here.
As the congregation settled into having a new pastor, Brian graciously removed himself from the life and ministry of Emmanuel for the first half of 2015. During this time, Brian was able to minister God’s Word at Free Grace Baptist Church in Boksburg for a few months. Most recently, he has been preaching at Victory Christian Fellowship in Eldarado Park.
With Brian & Bernard’s departure from the eldership, God was pleased to raise up two brothers—P. J. Wright and Frik van Heerden—to help lead the congregation. Clearly, God has been kind to us in providing a number of suitable men to lead and shepherd his church at Emmanuel. Please do continue pray for the eldership, that they might grow in unity and wisdom, and that God would keep them from the schemes of the evil one.
On the night of 4 August this year, Ayanda Khumalo was involved in a terrible car accident, which proved fatal for one individual. Thankfully, Ayanda was spared from death and any serious injuries; he suffered some minor scratches and bruises. We praise God for his mercy to Ayanda and his family, and also to us as a church family, where Ayanda serves as an elder. Please continue to pray for him and his family as he recovers from the trauma.
Hope Bible Church, our church plant in Bloemfontein, continues to progress steadily under the oversight of Richard Raven. Most recently, Hope Bible Church moved into a building in the middle of town, after the church met in the Raven’s home for the past three years. This move has clearly been a milestone for the work, and already they have received the first visitor to Hope, who came because they have been driving past the site during the week. We are praying earnestly that God raise up leaders to help shepherd that congregation with Richard. At the very least we hope to see a deacon being elected by that church.
On the weekend of 5 September, Brackenhurst Baptist Church will send a group of twenty members to visit the work. Richard and the members at Hope are anxious to receive this group, and we are praying for much spiritual fruit to come from this trip.
We covet your prayers for God’s work here at Emmanuel Baptist Church. Please pray that God would strengthen our unity around the gospel and make us faithful stewards of this life-giving Word.
Emmanuel Baptist Church