Brethren, please find below a brief update from Elim Baptist Church.
Reading from the Book Distinctly
Last year our teammate, Paul Schlehlein, began a concept called “Ezra Buddies” at Trinity Baptist down the road in the village of Mbhokota. Each church member has a partner with whom he meets on Sunday between the services at church. They ask each other questions about what they read in the Bible that week so as to be like godly Ezra who set his heart to study the law of the Lord. The men at our church asked if they could practice this habit which we were only too glad to see. The pictures show a few Ezra groups on Sunday morning.And in August, those groups had a sharp increase as four more people were baptized. We now have more adult members than teenagers for the first
time in our church’s history. One of the women, Aniki, was the young woman who stayed with us last year for about two months. Another was a friend of my wife’s for whom we have been praying a mere seven years.
That He May Be Ashamed
Recently, we have had several cases where church members are bearing the works of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit. How can we cultivate a hatred for sin (Rom. 7:15) and protect the members who haven’t yet fallen, while also being patient toward all men (1 Thess. 5:14) and showing the grace that Christ did to the woman caught in adultery? There comes a point when a sinning member should be rebuked and publicly shamed for his sin as Paul says in 2 Thess. 3:14. We dearly love all our church members, so please pray:
1. Those who have fallen into adultery would be willing to fight with their sin.
2. All the believers would fear sin like Joseph.
3. The leaders of both churches (Elim and Trinity) would be wise.
4. Our Father would work these sad failures into greater displays of his grace and glory.
Pulling them Out of the Fire
Since August, I have been trying to reach Valdezia, a new village about 25 kilometers from Elim. Currently, two Bible studies with about 5-8 adults each gather every Wednesday. Two weeks back, I invited Mrs. Mulaudzi, the 50-year old neighbor across the street from one home where we were studying. She showed interest even asking a few questions about the Bible and where to meet the next week. Having already met her, I felt hopeful that she would be there.
However, on my return seven days later the Bible study was canceled because Mrs. Mulaudzi had suddenly entered eternity two days previous. Her neighbors studied with me this week as I labored to impress upon them the desperate nature of the spiritual war. Pray for us to be more fervent in our witness because life is more tenuous when you live in a poor, rural area.
To Be a Pilgrim
In three-part, tight harmony, a choir of members at EBC sang at a combined service for Reformation Day two Sundays back. I translated John Bunyan’s “To be a Pilgrim” and my wife arranged the music to these words:
He who would valiant be
′Gainst all disaster,
Let him in constancy
Follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.
The man who is training at EBC to be an elder preached a solid message on “After Darkness, Light” before our churches broke into groups to pray for a great moving of God’s Spirit among the rural areas.
The Church’s One Foundation
Our church is nearly done with the foundation on our building. So far all the work has been done by the members on the weekends and days off. Our goal is to finish by Reformation Day 2017 for the 500th anniversary as well as our church’s 10th birthday which happens to fall at the same time.
For the church which He purchased,
Pastor, Elim Baptist Church