Greetings brothers and sisters,
Please find below the latest ministry news (for November/December 2019) from Grace Baptist Church in Daveyton, South Africa.
I can’t believe that is already the last month of the year. We are so thankful to the Lord always for your partnership in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the God all grace meet all your needs.
Our son, Zanecebo, is almost three years old and our daughter, Emihle, is almost two years old. Their sins are been revealed each and every day. Disciplining them sometimes becomes a challenge but we trust in the Lord, who said withhold a rod and you will spoil your child. My wife is done with her PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate Education) exam. She is waiting for her results. Her health has stabilised.
The life of a church planter can be very busy. It is easy to fall to the trap of serving the tables and neglect the ministry of prayer and the word. Helping my wife with the kids and with some home choice when she’s struggling with her health, and preparing our meeting place every Sunday for our church gathering, and picking up people early in the morning for church, got me exhausted. This has slowed down my outreach ministry and my personal study of God’s word and prayer. I have decided to slow down on the work that I do and to dedicate more time to prayer and the word. I’ve been reading the Minor Prophets, which has helped me to have a right view of God in evangelism and shepherding his people.
After laboring in the local clinics for years without seeing much fruits, the Lord has begun to grow some flowers in our garden. We have seen a handful of people visiting our church regularly. Four of them have begun attending a membership class. We are hoping that, by next year, they will be done with the class. We have bought a baptismal pool to baptise the people that have given their life to Christ.
The door of counseling student that the Lord has open for me in one of our high school is been a blessing.
Students were surprised that the Bible is relevant to their lives. One day, a teacher called me to his class to speak with two of the students who were fighting. One had borrowed money from his classmate and didn’t want to pay it back. The other was charging interest daily. He then started taking the belongings of the other learner. The teacher was forced to intervene, but the student insisted that a deal is a deal and the borrower must pay back. It was obvious that the teacher had no authority to instruct these students to do the right thing. I took the learners to my office and asked them to read Deuteronomy 23:19. They were surprised to find that the Bible speaks about lending and borrowing money. After we looked at how we must apply this principle, I asked them what they think they must do with what they read. The one who borrowed the other one money said it was wrong to charge interest. And the one who landed the money said she should have paid her classmate on the date she promise she would pay. Both of them agreed that they had broken the law of God.
I ask them what they thought they should do. The lender agreed to take what the borrower had without interest and the borrower one was prepared to pay it full. I then helped them to understand that the Lord Jesus has paid for their sins and that they must repent and place their trust in him alone. They admitted that they had never read the Bible before would like to each have a Bible.
This is one example of what I deal with in school and I thank God for the opportunity to share the gospel with the school kids through their problems.
I have started preaching through 1 Corinthians at church. We have been encouraged that the Corinthians were full of knowledge. I interpreted that to mean that they were full of the knowledge of God. I applied the passage by suggesting that we should help our community to be full of the knowledge of God.
We suggested that each house needs a copy of God’s word. This teaching encouraged us to start distributing Bibles in people’s house around the church.
We went every house to have a Bible in its own language. We decided to visit the houses around the church and ask people the following questions: (1) Which language do they speak? (2) Do they go to church? And (3) do they have a Bible? Many said they don’t go to church and don’t have a Bible. We then started distributing Bibles in their houses on Saturdays.
We gave a Bible to one old lady and asked her if she knows how to read it so that she might benefit from it. She admitted that she doesn’t know how to read the bible. We then taught her how she can read the Bible in order to understand it. She started asking questions about speaking or praying to dead people. She was convinced that this practice was supported by the Bible. We opened to Deuteronomy 18, helping her to understand that actually Moses taught that people shouldn’t worship or pray to the dead. She was surprised that the Bible teaches against what her church taught her. She has been so receptive to the teachings of the Bible. We are currently continuing teaching her more.
So far, we have distributed ten Bibles. The reason we have distributed few is that the moment we give people Bibles they are more open to talk with us. We have a team of seven: me, Happy (my wife), Zanecebo (our Son), Emihle (our daughter), Ntombi, Fezeka, and Johannes. Our children are always smiling and people like to talk to them. By going with our children, people are not so threatened by our visit.
We lost a number of people through discipline and thought we might by now have very few people attending our church. But the Lord has started sending new people to us.
This has encouraged me that God is building his church and the gates of hell will not overcome it. This year, we have lost lots of people, but the Lord has replaced them.
This month, we lost another committed member of our church. This was not through church discipline but by relocation. Denise has been with us in the beginning of the work here in Daveyton.
She has served our church as a missionary who was coming from the US and who was working for the International Board of South Africa (IBSA). This is a big organisation of missionaries serving in different parts of Africa. Denise decided to come and serve with us in the township. She learned a few Zulu words and has taught the Sunday school class and women’s Bible studies. She has been an encouragement to me and my wife. It was a sad moment to say goodbye to her but our hope is that, if we don’t meet here on earth, we will meet in heaven.
In my previous letter I told you about Brother Johannes who was planning to pay lobolo for his girlfriend. The negotiations went well and Johannes desired to marry his fiancée this year.
He asked the church to pray with him, trusting in the Lord for provision. The Lord has used likeminded brothers and churches to give towards his preparation for wedding. As I write this, brother Johannes is preparing for his wedding that will happened on Friday, 20 December.
The past Thursday we had a meeting with a plan designer, civil engineer, and a likeminded pastor, Mthobi, who is assisting us by asking his engineering team to assist us. The meeting went well and we have discussed the possibility of cutting the price to what we can afford. The architect says we can design a plan that can cost us R300,000–R400,000 ($21,000–$28,000). This was encouraging to me. It means that, if everything goes well, by next year we may be finished with the building.
While we are in these discussions we do still think about the community that was planning to oppose us. But they have been quiet and it is clear to us that they are used by the enemy. People around the community are asking us when we are building the Church. There are also new people who are renting or who have bought the places there. Some of them we do know. We hope that, with the changes, the Lord will grant us grace. The reason we are concerned by the reaction of the community is not that they will stop us to build a church there but that we don’t want anything to stand in the way of the gospel for them. Part of the reason we bought this land is that we are aiming at reaching them with the gospel. Therefore, our concern is not them stopping us but with the possibility of them being angry to a point that their hearts are hardened toward the gospel.
Praise and Prayer
- We praise God that my wife finished her PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education) course.
- We praise God for Gill, who has offered to design a plan for our church structure free of charge and for taking time to advise us.
- We praise God for Pastor Mthobi, who has organised qualified engineers to assist us.
- Pray for the health of my wife—that the iron supplements will help increase her iron levels so she may feel better. Pray for me to love her selflessly and sacrificially during this time.
- Pray for me to balance my time well and not neglect the ministry of the word and prayer in my personal life.
- Pray for the people who have started the membership class to finish it and to join our church.
- Pray that the Lord will save the students we’ve been reaching in school.
- Pray that the Lord will give us more Bibles and for a bigger team to join us in distributing them.
- Pray for Brother Johannes and Portia to honour God in their wedding and to exalt Christ in their marriage.
- Pray for our building project to go smooth and the Lord to touch more people to give towards it.