Ministry Update: Nelspruit Bible Church (May 2018)

Below is a ministry update from Nelspruit Bible Church in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

Personal family growing

At the end of January, our lives changed completely as Tyrel (11) and Tyler (5) joined our family. They are lively boys and we enjoy their company. Tyrel, in particular, has a tender heart towards the things of the Lord while Tyler thinks that the answer to everything must be “Jesus” or “God”! We long for both of them to be saved by God’s grace; Tyrel is professing faith in Christ. Parenting them has been humbling and sanctifying, and more of a joy than we ever expected. At the moment we are having to foster with a view to adoption, for two reasons.

First, Richard does not have his permanent residency yet. Please pray that this will be granted soon. We have been waiting for three years.

Second, the boys’ dad needs to give consent for adoption. Only our great Father in heaven can oversee all these decisions. We trust in him and his goodness, which never fails. Having the boys has been a huge change for us both; please pray that we would apportion our time wisely. Telda is weary from home-schooling and caring for the boys and has less time for ministry to women. Pray for her investment into the lives of the boys, and women, to be fruitful.

Church family growing

Last week our twentieth member joined Nelspruit Bible Church. We continue to be encouraged, not only by numerical growth, but even more so by spiritual growth. A few have been baptised after realising that they were never saved—even though they grew up in religious homes, ranging from Lutheran to Pentecostal / Prosperity Gospel.

We are rejoicing to see individuals becoming more like Christ, and for those who are sharing the gospel with those around them. Richard gets burdened when he considers those who are not growing, especially those who forsake the meeting together of the saints. He can too easily forget the many evidences of God’s grace in the church. And, of course, there are those who are facing the normal struggles and trials of life. Richard often needs to recall 1 Peter 5:1–7, remembering that he must humbly trust God to change and protect his people.

As the church grows, there are more opportunities for discipleship and counselling, so we continue to pray for mature believers to join us to help.

God’s amazing grace

About a ninety-minute drive away from us is a “mission station.” It is a cult, and we have had a few people come from there to NBC damaged by years of false teaching and ungodly practises. We have got to know the leader of this mission, J. He has started listening to Grace To You sermons and he has been radically changed as a result! He recently met with Richard seeking counsel: He knows that if he starts speaking the truth he may well need to leave the mission, orthe Lord might choose to use him to change the whole mission! Please pray for courage for this young man and his family. He has grown up in the mission, so leaving with his family and trying to live in the “outside world” would be very costly. We are grateful that our God never makes mistakes and we know for sure he has a plan to accomplish his great purposes, which are often hidden from our dim sight. Please also pray that we will be a support and encouragement to this special couple whom the Lord has chosen.

We are still eager to find local black Africans with whom Richard can partner, train and encourage. He has lost contact with Lexin, and language and culture barriers are an ever-present problem. Please pray for Isaac, who attends one of our Bible studies with his wife, and also teaches in a local church. He has seen the grave falsehood in their teaching and practices and values seeing wonderful things in God’s Word as he spends time with us, but still he remains in that church.

With the increasing costs of living in SA, which are rising by more than 10% each year, we remain immensely conscious and grateful for the Lord’s provision. Many of you who are reading this give us your prayerful support. Thank you. Please pray for us as we raise our boys that we would show them Christ. Opportunities abound to point them to the one in whom we have life, but do we show them by our choices—how we use our resources—that God alone is our greatest treasure?

Please also pray for wisdom for Richard as he feels the weightiness of leading the church and wants to give time and effort only to what the Lord wants him to do. There are a couple of men who now are able to lead a Bible study or a Sunday meeting, but none who can counsel others as needed or preach. Please pray for Richard as he trains men, and for men to join us who are qualified and able to serve as elders.

This coming Lord’s Day we plan to begin teaching in Bible Hour about evangelism and mission. As John Piper says, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. [But] mission exists because worship doesn’t.” Please pray that as a church we would be stirred up to have a burning and passionate zeal for the glory of Jesus Christ, such that we would be joyfully active in evangelism and missions.

“Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods” (Psalm 96:2–4).