Ministry Update: Hope Bible Church (Bloemfontein, South Africa) (February/March 2021)

Dear brethren,

Please find herewith the latest ministry news from Tsholo Kukuni and Hope Bible Church in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

The Kukunis

The Lord is good to us as a family. At the beginning of the year, we had a huge scare. Our son, Tikvah, ingested my medication and found himself in ICU. We thank the Lord that he made a full recovery. He and Warona have started doing more schoolwork this year and are both enjoying it.

I and Keitu are doing well in the Lord. We have adjusted to life under lockdown even though it is still a challenge logistically. Our devotional life is going well. Even though my devotional life has been going well, I have been battling in my mind whenever I think about the spiritual life and vitality of the church under lockdown. Having little to do, in terms of services, has been a challenge. I like being busy because I sense purpose in the busyness of life and ministry.

I have hope that things will go back to normal, to enable me to tell where people are really at spiritually. I am not in total despair, because the Lord’s gracious hand is visible in my life and in the church.

Evidence of God’s Grace: Church Life

Hope Bible Church has been meeting on an on-and-off basis. This is as a result of the lockdown regulations that are currently in force. Every time we get a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the country goes into partial lockdown which always includes the banning of religious gatherings.

At the moment, we are allowed to meet, and in our case only ±30 people can meet at a time. The regulations state that “gatherings at faith-based institutions are permitted but limited to 50 persons or less for indoor venues and 100 persons or less for outdoor venues; and if the venue is too small to hold the prescribed number of persons observing a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other, then not more than 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used.”

 

As you can see in these two images, our church looks full almost every Sunday. We thank the Lord for this grace. During this time, we were able to have our Annual General Business Meeting and passed our budget for 2021. We have also made great progress in getting Hope fully registered as an autonomous church. We would like to thank all our supporters and partners in the gospel who helped us get this far, especially those who pray for us regularly.

 

Evidence of Grace: The Elders

For many years, you have been praying with and for us to have elders and deacons in the church. The Lord has answered our prayers. At the AGM I announced that I have identified three men as potential church leaders. We will be considering them and praying for them for about a period of three months. During these three months I will teach the church on what the qualities and qualifications of elders and deacons are, and what our interrelationships/responsibilities (church members and church leaders) should be. They will serve in their capacities as elders and a deacon until the church can come together again to vote on them.

Meet Tebogo Molefi: Elder in Training

 

Tebogo and Lungi became members at Hope in 2017. Just before then, they were in Cape Town in a healthy church. They have been serving the Lord for many years.

Meet Vernon Avis: Elder in Training

 

Vernon became a member at Hope in 2016. Prior to this, he was in Johannesburg fellowshipping at Brackenhurst Baptist Church.

Meet Frank Oosterhof: Deacon in Training

 

Frank and Ruleen became members at Hope in 2017. Prior to this, the Lord radically restored them back to himself, and they embraced the doctrines of grace, which led them to finding Hope.

Recently, the Lord has brought a few people to church who have come to the Reformed conviction. We also see regular visitors every Sunday. Please pray that they will stay and be plucked into the church. Many of them are students at the university, so please pray that their time at Hope will have a lasting impact, so that wherever the Lord takes them after graduation they will continue to serve him in healthy local churches.

Summary and Prayer Items

  1. Pray that the Kukunis would have a productive, God-glorifying year this year.
  2. Pray for the church registration process, especially to meet the statutory requirements.
  3. Pray for the elders and a deacon in training, and for the church that will be observing them.
  4. Pray for the visitors and for conversions.

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