Please find below the latest news from Makhaza Reformed Baptist Church in Khayelitsha, South Africa.
We thank the Lord that he has sustained and protected us even in these trying times. This time has brought closeness in the family as we have had to be in our homes. We have been enjoying being there for the kids and helping them with their studies. In fact, we are not just helping them with their studies, but have to take the full responsibility of educating them and thinking of other ways of doing school while having fun. Both my wife and I have been taking turns in making sure that we give them lessons, and we have all enjoyed this time. We have been thinking about homeschooling our kids, but because of financial constraints it was difficult to do so; now, we have been afforded that opportunity to do that. We are also thankful that this time has given us more time in prayer, as it is greatly needed, and also praying together with the kids. I must say that working at home with everyone here and helping the kids has made my work slow; it is difficult to cover the amount of work I am used to.
Under these circumstances, we have been able to continue functioning as the church, all thanks to the technological world we living in. Before lockdown, we were able to meet for our church service and prayer since we are not a large number, although we tried to keep the strict measures of social distancing. Towards the end of March, when lockdown was announced, we decided to create a church WhatsApp group so we could continue using this time for prayer and spiritual nourishment. More people have access to WhatsApp than other media platforms, which is why we opted for it. We use Wednesdays for prayer, between 18:30 to 19:30. We try to send short messages of encouragement through voice notes and some prayer points, mainly focusing at this scourge we are facing.
With regards to the radio ministry, we were able to do only one talk, but telephonically, since there were already social distancing measures. But with the lockdown, the Xhosa programs stopped; only the Afrikaans ones continue. This is because the allocated time for the Xhosa programs are between 22:00 till 06:00, so they had to cut them in order to minimise the number of people using the studio. However, they can post audios for their listeners. Therefore, every week I send them 10–15-minute audios, which means there is still a gospel opportunity, although there is no longer an interaction with the listeners.
The program with the students’ forum has also been cancelled since the universities have been closed due to lockdown. Nevertheless, some requested audios and I have made them available to the group. There has been other ministry opportunities that have been created. For example, there is a pastor in the Eastern Cape who has been preaching through the covenant code in the book of Exodus, and he sent his audios since he needed some input. His church members also send their questions through their WhatsApp group, so he needed some assistance in answering with regards to that. I have been sending audios to respond to their questions and he forwards them to the group. There has been a positive feedback, and we thank the Lord for that. Now he has invited me to preach, so I will be sending a video so that he can upload it for his members. This shows that, even with over one thousand kilometres distance, this lockdown has created an opportunity to reach each other and be able to do ministry. Furthermore, this period we are in has brought many questions on people, especially with some theories circulating among the people. I have spent a lot of time answering questions from people.
- Pray that God will help us as we do ministry in unfamiliar ways: that we will do it effectively, using these social media platforms that have been provided for us.
- Pray that the Lord will bring certainty, strength, and encouragement to people in the midst of these unfamiliar and uncertain times.
- Pray that the gospel will reach unbelievers through these social media platforms.
- Pray for families to be able to strengthen each other and be able to assist the kids in learning.