Ministry Update: Hope Bible Church (Bloemfontein) (March 2019)

Dear brethren,

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Saviour and our hope.

Personal and Family

The Lord has been good to my family, except that I have been experiencing terrible migraines lately and have had to go for long hours without work. But we are still busy as always; my wife working part time assisting at a mathematics center, while studying at the same time, and pre-home-schooling Warona. The Lord has blessed us with energetic children, who enjoy good health, and that is something we will never take for granted. They enjoy church and the things of the Lord.

Warona and Tikvah staying behind after Sunday school.

Spiritual Life

Since Richard left, I have experienced tremendous grace from the Lord. The people the Lord has placed at Hope Bible Church are really gracious and supportive. I must say I was extremely anxious, but seeing people serve the Lord willingly and doing works of ministry has been humbling. I am a content pastor because of the Lord’s people at HBC. The Lord has been teaching me to pray for his people and to thank him more for their labours. He has also been teaching me to be supportive and to encourage them in the work.

Ministry

My ministry since Richard left has been to assume the role of lead pastor. That has entailed preaching on Sunday mornings (currently in Hebrews 8), equipping the men, seeing to it that members do the work of the ministry, visitations more regularly, praying every day for our few members and for more to come, focus on the music ministry, and handing over some administrative duties I used to enjoy doing.

I had mixed feelings about how this year would start. I thought it would be a rocky start, but to my surprise it has been smooth. This is because everyone at church is very supportive. In all honesty, that got me confused. It got me confused because rejoicing in that felt like rejoicing in Richard’s leaving because I was surprised that it only left us with sad hearts, but the ministry continued normally. The Lord be praised for Richard’s labour because he laid a strong foundation. But I think the Lord has given people at church a special measure of grace to handle this very well, despite a number of them still going through various personal challenges.

A full Sunday morning service.

However, our number of visitors has done down this year. We usually only have the regulars, averaging about thirty people in attendance. The Lord has built it into my system to not be easily discouraged by the number. Mine is to equip and edify the saints, and so the core group that comes regularly, I aim to strengthen and build through strong preaching and teaching. Of particular encouragement has been four men at church who are ensuring that I do not carry all the load, and they have been edifying the members by their serving. Last Sunday the Lord blessed us with a full service. We had in total sixty-plus visitors, fifty of which came from a nearby town.

Young adults chatting after a service: strong, core young adult group.

A very unique opportunity was open to us recently. My sister in law is studying for an MA Degree in language practice, specialising in sign language. There is also one prospective member who is doing sign language at the university. Through their witnessing and sharing with friends, a need was brought to our attention to reach out to deaf students. For the first time, and for a couple of services, we have been having deaf students come to church and my sister in law has been interpreting for them.

In this image, Lebo, wearing a pink shirt, sits opposite one of the deaf students during the discipleship group that Vernon leads.

Final Words

We are still somewhat in a period of transitioning as a church, but we are trying our level best to keep things going as we are used to.

Prayer Requests

  • For the Kukunis to continue enjoying the Lord.
  • For the Lord to raise up elders and deacons from among the men at church.
  • For the church to continue to grow spiritually, theologically, and numerically.
  • For Lebo’s skills to improve as a sign language interpreter and to complete her studies so that she can be in practice full time and serve the Lord in this area.

For Hope Bible Church,

Tsholo Kukini
Pastor

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