The people were all smiling as they came out to greet the missionaries driving into their cactus lined village. The national partner arriving with the missionaries made introductions as they all sat down on the woven mats laid over the dirt. The nationals and missionaries exchanged proper greetings. The missionaries asked, “Do you want to hear about Jesus Christ and sing a song to God?”
“Yes!” the villagers responded.
“What song do you know?”
“We don’t know any songs to sing to God. Teach us.”
The missionaries proceeded to teach them a song along with the gospel. A few people showed interest in following Jesus.
Within a few months, as the national partner continued visiting and sharing with the people, many came to Christ. They were hungry for more stories from the Scriptures and insights into how to follow Jesus.
The missionaries were able to visit every once in a while, but the national partner was key in meeting with the villagers regularly. The time came for the new converts to follow in baptism. In the deserts of South Madagascar water is scarce. Finding a water hole deep enough to baptize is a huge challenge. On this day, the villagers and missionaries walked 10 miles to get to the ocean and back. The lead missionary, along with a few volunteers from Louisiana, stood on the shore surrounded by the new converts and modeled how to baptize. After a little more teaching and verification that the people understood what this step in their faith meant, the leaders of the village took each new convert one by one and baptized them! The people from the village sang praises to God and celebrated with a meal on the beach; rejoicing in this step of obedience in their new found faith.
Teachings continued and the new converts gained more and more understanding of the Scriptures. After some time the missionaries were asked to come back and teach about taking the Lord’s Supper. The people were all smiling again as they came out to greet the missionaries driving into their village. The missionaries had permission to set up a tent and stay for the night. They got the tent up and began fellowshipping with the people. Some women missionaries were cooking with the women in the cooking house. The missionary kids were teaching the village children how to play hop scotch and the men were sitting and beginning to discuss the steps to take the Lord’s Supper, described by the Scriptures. It was an incredible experience to be a part of these milestones in the lives of new Christians who had no preconceived ideas of what these actions should look like. From the time they confessed Christ as their Lord and Savior and learned songs to sing to praise him, to following him in baptism and then learning what it means to remember the Lord through taking the Lord’s Supper, the missionaries were determined to teach them to do everything based upon what the Scriptures say.
Pray the people in the village of Amby will grow in their faith according to the Scriptures. Pray they will weigh every action in light of the Scriptures and that they will be able to stand firm in the midst of persecution and temptation. Pray for the people in the church to grow stronger in their faith and be diligent in sharing the gospel with their neighbors.
It’s that time of year, when many people pack up and prepare to serve the Lord around the world. International World Changers from the state of Louisiana are in route to Fort Dauphin, Madagascar. They will be on the ground from May 19-30. Pray for the villages they will serve, including Tsihombe, Salohimahasoa, Marovato and more. Pray for the hearts of those they will be sharing with to be receptive to the Gospel. Pray also for their time in Fort Dauphin as they use sports ministry to reach the youth of Madagascar. Pray for logistics and their health.
There are other volunteer teams in and coming to South Madagascar. Keep this area of the country in your prayers. Pray the Lord would continue to see the missionaries and these volunteer teams through to the finish
February 24-March 9, a volunteer team will work among the Swazi people in Swaziland. Ministries will include BGR bucket and food distribution, Bible study, revival services and communication and multimedia ministries. Pray that the team’s time in Swaziland will be a blessing to the Swazis as well as to each team member. Pray the Lord will continue sending His chosen servants to work in Swaziland to help see that the darkness in which the Swazis are living will be replaced by the Light. Pray many will accept His bidding and purpose to receive wonderful blessings and life changing experiences.
For the sixth year in a row, a team of high school and college students, plus their leaders, will return to Johannesburg in order to work in various areas across the city. They will lead Holiday Bible Clubs, tutor, and share the Good News with many Joburgers. Please pray for the team as they prepare for teaching and speaking, and as they prepare spiritually. Pray He is glorified through them and in them.
GraceLife Baptist Church is in awe of all God did through them in 2014 among the Ndau of Zimbabwe. A small church now exists in a spiritually dark area of the country. GraceLife is grateful the Lord allowed them to be a part of such great and needed work. Please pray that God will continue to work among the Ndau, changing hearts while strengthening and raising up church leaders who are “sold out” to Jesus. GraceLife has 4 ministry trips scheduled for 2015. Pray that church members will step out in faith and obedience and participate on one of the 2015 ministry teams in order to continue the work of making disciples, teaching, and guiding the Ndau.
Members of the Swazi Team and Swazi Baptists are anticipating “great and wonderful things this month when volunteer team members from North Carolina come to minister with the Swazi people June 7-15. Ministries will include homestead visitation, leading Bible studies, conducting revival services as well as a ladies’ retreat, leading Sunday morning worship services, distributing the BGR buckets to those suffering from AIDS or are terminally ill and other ministry opportunities the Lord will provide!! Pray as volunteer team members begin ministries in Swaziland. Pray each team member will stay healthy and happy. Especially pray for the Swazi Baptist Youth Leaders’ Retreat June 13-14. Theme: “Effective Leadership in the Latter Days”. Scripture: Titus 1:7-9. Four sessions will be led by the volunteer team that will encourage Swazi Youth leaders. Pray for a good representation of youth leaders from Swazi Baptist churches. Pray for a great time of fellowship and encouragement.
Proverbs 16:20 tells us that he who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he!! What joy to see happy people come to minister, fellowship, and worship with the Swazi people. The volunteer team from South Africa came (July 1-7) with smiles on their faces and compassion in their hearts. Each day they traveled the rugged roads visiting, delivering (BGR – Baptist Global Relief buckets) and encouraging those in their paths. Each visit brought the unknown. On the first day, one group’s visit was to a woman with a very serious injury who desperately needed medical attention but did not have the means to seek help. Through compassionate hearts, the group returned the next day to provide transport to a hospital where long waits are the norm, to see that the lady received care. Evening revival services with wonderful singing, testifying and preaching brought happiness to hearts, especially those who came to know Jesus as their Savior. The smiling faces of our visiting “missionaries” brought happiness to many Swazis. The Swazi Team thanks the Lord for this team who heeds the word and is happy in the Lord. Pray for the many Swazis encountered during the week with medical, spiritual and physical needs. Pray for those who came to know Jesus as their Savior. Pray each team member received wonderful blessings through their work and ministry in Swaziland.
David and Julie share these prayer items! Pray for the church at Isangoyana. This is one of the most remote churches that we work with. The church is small in number with only about 8 women and 10-15 children and youth. They will be having an evangelistic revival weekend in early July. We are praying for many to come to salvation. The church particularly needs to reach the men of the community. Currently they have no men attending services.
Pray for a volunteer group from Louisiana that will be with us July 17-19 to prayerfully consider the possibility of their church making a long term commitment to help start a new church in the Nongoma area. The Nongoma area is a vast area that has many small village clusters of population where churches are needed. Currently we only have one church in the area. With God’s help, the potential for ministry and church planting in the area is great.
Reflections from a medical volunteer in Swaziland (February 12-22) after delivering BGR buckets: The lady was 26 years old and had 4 children. She has AIDS and cancer. The youngest child was sick as well. The lady was lying on the dirt floor in a block building about 10 x10. We were told the woman would not live long. The appreciation for the bucket from her and the caretaker was such a blessing. The group asked if they could with pray with her (sick lady) before they left and she was very determined to stay and pray with us, though her strength was so weak.
The caretaker and the Swazi woman praised the contents of the BGR bucket and thanked us over and over. The feeling when leaving that homestead was overwhelming, knowing the outcome and what the days ahead would bring for these 4 children. Yet, another orphaned family. The group was told the father had rejected her and would not help her though she was dying. I (Jeff) felt so useless to her and all I could offer her was prayer for peace and comfort and praying the Lord would be graceful to her. I don’t think I will ever forget this visit that reminded me of my calling to Africa to minister. It also provided me with a perspective upon return to the states of how by the grace of God we live as we do and have all the necessities of life, abundantly. –Written by Jeff Williamson
Missionaries know a lot about travel. Whether packing suitcases always being mindful of taking those special items that can’t be found in your country, filling out travel documents for every family member, or making necessary contacts with local believers to ensure the continuation of ministry – a missionary’s life is full of comings and goings.
Some of our South African Town, Village and Rural missionaries are caught up in transition over the next couple of months. Please be in prayer for the Allens as they have just returned to Swaziland from a Stateside Assignment. Pray for them as they finalize logistics for a volunteer medical team soon to arrive. Pray for their daughter as she settles in school and their small son who is in pre-K.
The Myers have a full schedule as they continue to share what God is doing in Swaziland with churches in Kentucky and North Carolina before their return to Africa in March. Pray for safe travels, fruitful times of fellowship, and new opportunities to share God’s story.