We have a public holiday on January 16th here in South Africa called the Day of Reconciliation. My husband, Fred, had gone to the gym on this holiday, which is his usual daily routine, and as he was sitting in the sauna, he was practicing his memory verses. A gentleman then walked into the sauna to join him, and asked him what he was saying. He shared that he was reciting Romans chapter 1, which then lead the man to ask, “So…what is your job…and what do you do?”
Fred then paused for a minute, trying to think of the best way to explain that he was a missionary, and then replied to the gentleman, “I am a minister of reconciliation”.
Fred had never before replied with this response, but the Holy Spirit gave him the words to say, and the gentleman then wanted to know what that meant. Here Fred sat, in a sauna, on the Day of Reconciliation, and a man was wanting to know how to be reconciled to God! Fred then shared the good news of the gospel to this man, and that day a new life was born for God’s kingdom!
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 says, “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation…and God has given us the ministry of reconciliation…Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ!”
God wants to use us in every circumstance of our lives, to be an ambassador for Him, and to help those around us to be reconciled to Him. Please pray for our missionaries living in South Africa – that we’d be faithful ministers of reconciliation. Pray that God would use us in every situation that we may find ourselves…even in the sauna, at the gym.
Making disciples is a journey. It takes each believer along a learning curve that is continually ebbing, flowing and growing. The vastness of strategies, ideas, trainings and books that offer suggestions for what’s best can be overwhelming. In the midst of all these amazing ideas and tools, one truth remains, the plumb line, the best strategy, the Word of God. As missionaries and national partners go out proclaiming the gospel and seeking to make disciples it’s important to take many things into consideration including context, reproducibility, longevity and end goal. It’s also just as important to know “what’s next”. Each time a new relationship is formed or a group meets, the missionary or national partner, every believer, should ask themselves, “what’s next?”
In Fort Dauphin and the surrounding bush villages much thought, discussion and planning has gone into this process of making disciples. There is continuing discussion on best practices and consideration for what needs to change. Two years ago a group consisting of the six leaders over Antandroy and Antanosy work met together. Recently, another group of leaders over these same two regions met. This time there were 30 leaders. The gospel is spreading. Disciples are making disciples. Workers and leaders alike are rising up. As you pray for this work to continue, don’t forget to ask yourself, “What’s Next?”
This sounds like an unusual title, and an unusual prayer request, but this is exactly what we ask you to do for us. In Exodus 17 the Bible tells of how Joshua and his army were victorious over the Amalekites only when Aaron and Hur supported his hands. When Moses’ hands dropped down, the Israelites would be defeated, but they were victorious when his hands were held up. This is a model for us in prayer. This past weekend, March 10th and 11th, our two families who work in Pretoria (see the two men on the far left and far right) did a very intensive discipleship training at a church in the Durban area. More than 60 people were trained with “tools” in how to be “a disciple who makes disciples”. Luke 10:2 says: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few, PRAY to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers” – and this is what we need you now to do…PRAY. These individuals have been trained now to go into the harvest with their testimonies and the gospel of Jesus. Will you support their/our hands through prayer? Satan HATES what we do when we teach followers how to share the gospel, and he loves to cause trials or distractions to stop us/others from doing what God has called us to do. PLEASE pray for boldness, courage, and for much fruit to result for God’s kingdom.
Recently some of our missionaries visited a new “squatter camp” called Killarny, which is located just outside the beautiful suburbs of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. A “squatter camp” is what is known as a settlement with shacks made of wood, cardboard, tin and other scrap material, where whole families live in a single shack, the size of a garden shed. Most of these people have come from all over Zimbabwe in hope of a better life near the city, and hopefully a job. These few missionaries, along with the partnership of the local Baptist Church, went into this settlement in order to do a “food distribution” to those who are starving. We gave out mealie meal, oil, salt, soy products, beans and tuna chunks. But even more important we went in with the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Most of the 150 people were only hoping to get some nourishment, but we also fed them the word of God, and gave them the hope of salvation which only comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Will you pray for Killarny, and for the local church who is reaching out to them, that much fruit would come from the teaching times in this community? The “harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few…so pray” says Luke 10:2. Pray that many would come into God’s Kingdom through the outreach in this community.
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.
In just 5 days a very exciting event is beginning in the city of Pretoria, South Africa. Proverbs 27:17 says: “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” – and for the next 5 days 70 leaders from all over Africa will gather for a “sharpening” time. During this week we will all participate in what we call a “SWARM”, which is when we all enter an area, walking down the streets of downtown, two by two, sharing “My Story” (our testimonies) and “His Story” the Gospel with those we encounter. Is it any coincidence that there are 70 missionaries due to attend, and in Luke 10:2 it talks about “70”?! This SWARM event is an opportunity for the participants to find God Prepared People (GPP), and Houses of Peace (HOP). Please pray now for this very important meeting, also pray throughout the next month that much fruit would result from this teaching time.
K & F were invited to a wedding in a community where they have been ministering lately. A young man, whom they have been discipling, shared boldly with the H**du guests.
The Lord brought K & F to a sari shop on the east coast of the island in a strong H**du town to start discipleship with a new believer.
A friend of K & F invited them to share with a doctor who was open to spiritual conversation. This meeting turned into weeping repentance as she placed her faith in Jesus.
Will you pray for K & F as they go into spiritually dark areas where the Gospel has yet to go?
- Pray for strength and stamina
- Pray against spiritual opposition
- Pray for them as they enter the last trimester of pregnancy for F
- Pray against discouragement as they encounter obstacles
It is almost impossible to imagine a people who have never heard the story of Jesus. In the Maluti Mountains, of Lesotho, Africa there are literally thousands of villages living in darkness. In June of 2017, IMB missionaries will make a huge effort to dispel the darkness by providing evangelism and discipleship training to approximately 200 young adults from Lesotho and Swaziland. Teams from America will come and help train these potential “church planters” to take the gospel, to disciple, to worship in Spirit and in Truth. Will you PRAY that the God of all Gods makes Himself known among these people? June 23-28 Church Planting Boot Camp 2017
There is a family preparing to enter the city of Pretoria soon. They plan to enter the new fields of people like a “mustard seed”. The Parable of the Mustard seed found in Matthew 13:31-33 says that the mustard seed is “the least of all the seeds, but when it is grown it becomes a tree”. Will you join them in praying that as they enter this new city with the seed of the gospel, that even though it may seem small, and their work insignificant, that the gospel would spread throughout the whole city, and that it would become a huge tree of life to all in this area?
Thank you for your constant prayers concerning the work visa approval for the family entering Pretoria, South Africa! God has answered these prayers, and this family has been granted a 5-year approval! Take Your glory Lord!!
Will you now pray for them as they seek the Lord as to WHERE they will live? They want to live in the precise location which God has purposed for them. Pray also as this family prepares to enter this new field of ministry – that God would prepare the fields for the gospel.