Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
It gives me great pleasure to be able to greet you in Christ Jesus. The command to greet the saints has recently had an impact on me upon reading the closing verses of the book of Philippians. There Paul instructs the believers to “greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” It seems to me that it is only possible to greet one another, show one another love, and care because of v. 23: namely, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ with whom, v. 21 says, we are in union.
The Free State Bible Church (FSBC) greets you and ask you to pray for us because your prayers sustain us. There are many encouraging things that the Lord is doing in our little church, and this update is to share with you how the Lord is at work here and how you can pray for us. I will begin with my family’s update, the health and vitality of the congregation, and the future of the congregation.
As a family, we will never cease to marvel at the Lord’s goodness towards us. He sustains and provides for us in ways that always leave us at awe for how he loves us so much. This year has been difficult for us and could have been more difficult had it not been for God’s people in our lives. The Lord used you and many people who prayed for us to sustain us and to cause us to be closely knit than ever before.
The challenges we faced caused us to spend a lot of time together as a family to talk about what God is doing in our lives and what he is teaching us. The fruit of that, for example, is that we can’t remember the last time we had a disagreement, complained, quarrelled, or just got angry at one another. Our house has been a house of peace. We do not want to take this for granted because we did not engineer it. It is all the Lord’s doing.
My health is going well, and so is our spiritual wellbeing. The Lord is gracious to our children, too. Both of them are doing well school-wise and spiritual-wise. We thank the Lord for his grace.
FSBC Family: The Health and Vitality of the Congregation
For the past ±3 years, our church went through some really challenging times. I found myself questioning my shepherding. I was not the only one questioning my shepherding when we faced trials, but the members too questioned if they contributed to the spiritual lethargy and the difficult people we had to deal with. It took a while to experience some encouragement in the church.
Then lockdown happened. It was during this time that those who were not committed to the Lord struggled to endure the pressure that came with lockdown. At the same time, there are those who were not part of our church who sought a theology that would help them make sense of the confusion the world was facing. The Lord used the lockdown to cause those who were not committed to him and to his church to find a spiritual home where they will be shepherded and cared for and given wisdom and care to deal with the difficulties of this world.
Some of these people became adherents in the church when we were allowed to physically meet. As you saw a couple of months ago, some got baptised after having professed faith in Christ or recommitted themselves to Christ. We are happy to report that, Lord willing, six of them will be considered for membership in the church at the quarterly general meeting to be held on 21 September 2022. They have satisfied the requirements for membership in the church. This past Sunday (18 September 2022), they shared their testimonies in front of the congregation. Briefly, they shared the circumstances that led to their conversion, what the gospel means to them, and why they would like to become members of the Free State Bible Church. Here are their pictures.
There are so many good things happening in the church that you can sense that there is life in Christ’s church. The ladies are vibrant. The young men have started doing street evangelism under the guidance of Brother Tebogo. There is a pulpable willingness to be used of the Lord in the church.
In addition to some encouraging news in the church, the church is finally ready to vote for Brother Tebogo’s eldership in the church. We have been praying and waiting for a long time, even though in the Lord’s providence it was not long. The Lord knows why he planned for it to be this way. Please pray that we will have a successful QGM.
FSBC Family: The Discouraging Side
The previous time we reported that the vibrancy we were experiencing in the church was at the same time exposing some areas of concern regarding the faith of some that seems to be dying. Even though currently the encouraging things outweigh the discouraging things, it is very hard to ignore the pain and heartache that is brought by the waning members who seem to refuse to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. So, while we will have a joyous time of welcoming in new members, we will at the same time be dealing with those who are failing to live out Hebrews 12:12–17, which encourages them to
- Pray that God will continue to sustain us as the Kukunis.
- Thank God for the vitality and encouragement we are experiencing as a church.
- Pray for those who are in deep spiritual trouble to awaken from lethargy. It will be hard to deal with those who are struggling spiritually for we ourselves are sinners and in need of grace. But if God requires us to be bold, please pray to be defended from cowardice.
- Thank God for the renewed zeal to do street evangelism.
- Pray for the success of the QGM on 21 September 2022.
- Pray for Brother Tebogo’s Eldership vote on 21 September 2022.
- Thank God for the zeal to serve in the church, from both men and women.
- We have seen an influx of students visiting almost every Sunday. Pray for some of them to stay and be committed and one day become members in the church.
Grace and peace to you,