Ministry Update: Moletsane Baptist Church (Soweto, South Africa) (April 2020)

Greetings friends,

Just to share how things are going this side: the mood and situation in our community, church, and family during this lockdown.

Community

As I write these words from Soweto in Johannesburg, it is day 15 of the initial 21 days and our president has extended it by further 14 days. I thought it would give you a balance of things on the dynamics in our community.

The status quo remains unchanged in most of the sections in Soweto. Children can be seen playing on the street, groups of adults socialise with friends, while non-essential shops remain open for business. Zakhele, who stays the same street as our church premises, showed me a picture of our street with a caption, “The only street that is compliant to the lockdown regulations.”

Soweto has all different classes of people: lower, middle, and upper living just across the street from each other. The middle and upper class are able to stockpile and remain behind their three-metre high retaining wall; however, the lower class, where six or more live together in a tiny shack, are expected to sit in a small little room all day and do … what? how are they to earn money to buy food when they already live week by week? This lockdown is relatively easily implemented among the minority but not for the majority, which means the status quo remains unchanged or difficult to comply. A lady in our community asked, how can she remain indoors while there is a crying baby in need of food? She would rather risk catching the virus than dying of starvation.

Church

These are days of abnormal fear, panic, anxiety, and hopelessness with towering ramifications on human health, financial security, social life, and future goals, even among Christians. Where do I start bringing hope to these saints? You say, preach the word brother! But how when gatherings have been suspended and only a third of our members have Internet connection?

I feel like my time at seminary and internship never prepared me for this. This also serves to highlight that ministry during this pandemic is not a one-size-fits-all. What works for me might not work for someone in a different context. The comforting truth is that the wellbeing of the saints is not in my hands but in God’s. We find his unshakable, incomparable comfort from his word and it has been our desire at MBC to draw wisdom, strength, guidance, hope, and encouragement from the word.

Brother Precious Chindongo continues to lead a weekly Bible study through Psalm 119 via Zoom Meeting. We reach out others through WhatsApp, text, and calls. We also thank God that we have been granted a permit to serve our community even during the lockdown. This means that I will be able distribute donated face masks, food parcels, and blankets to our community, which will provide me the opportunity to also see, encourage, and pray with our members while adhering to the lockdown regulations, keeping the required social distancing.

Family

We are doing well under the circumstances, thanking God for slowing us down and helping us to think of what really matters in this life. We are drawing closer and closer to him and seeing him sanctify us.

Just before lockdown, I had a minor crash with my car. We praise God that there were no injuries.

Prayer Pointers

  1. Pray that the Lord will be pleased to bring the pandemic to end.
  2. Pray for wisdom to minister God’s word in spite the unfavourable season.
  3. Pray for our vulnerable populations: that God will protect our elderly and those suffering from chronic disease.
  4. Pray for providence for the less privileged in our church.
  5. Pray for Christians in our community and city: that the Spirit will convict us to pray, give, love, serve, and proclaim the gospel, and that the name of Jesus Christ will be glorified.

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