Any involvement in ministry has its ups and downs.
In Fort Dauphin, we just wrapped up a week of ups! Sixty brothers and sisters in Christ came together every day this past week to learn under the teachings of a seminary professor and pastor from the States. In the mornings, they studied and discussed Christian Ethics. These sessions included much conversation about cultural influences on a Christian’s life. In the end, the Word of God is the plumb-line. Each afternoon, they looked at God’s grace. What an amazing study with unfathomable reason, but for grace! These individuals represent 25 churches that have been planted in recent years. There was not enough space for all our partners, but these individuals will go back and teach their disciples and congregations what they’ve learned. Pray they will continue to ponder the truths they learned as they teach others and spur one another on. Also, praise God for all he’s done and is going to do in the Antandroy and Antanosy regions!
Recently, Adam made a trip to the capitol, Antananarivo, to visit the seminary and convention leaders. As he was at the seminary he was able to see a handful of students from the South of Madagascar. As he was reporting back to me on the visit and as I later saw the picture of some of the students I was so encouraged.
Sometimes we forget how the Lord has worked and moved in the lives of the nationals when they go away to pursue theological studies. May we reflect and remember all the Lord has done and may we pray as Paul in Philippians 1:3-6, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God is doing a mighty work among the people of South Madagascar. Would you remember them in your prayers and agree with me that he who began a good work in each of them will bring it to completion?
Botswana has about 26 Baptist churches in the entire country, but only about 15 of them have someone in permanent leadership/a pastor. This year, we will be starting the first Baptist Seminary in Botswana that will allow people to be trained from all over Botswana to not only go and make disciples, but also to train leaders to help strengthen some of our existing churches and train pastors to teach at some of our existing churches and hopefully new church starts we will have in the near future. We are so excited to see how the Lord is going to use this seminary “so that all may hear!” The Principal of the Seminary recently wrote: “At Baptist Convention Seminary, we focus on the importance of God’s Word and not men’s ideas and provide practical ministry tools. With emphasis on the Word, the anointing of the Holy Spirit and prayer, we endeavor to prepare men and women to fulfil the destiny of God on their lives.” Please pray for these students as the first class starts at the end of January 2016.
This week a construction team from Trinity Baptist Church in Lake Charles, LA is in Gweru, Zimbabwe doing some remodeling at our Baptist Seminary. Last year a team came from Trinity and helped repair roofs on two seminary houses and did some work on the chapel. This year they are replacing the roof on the library. If noise and mess are any indication, they have gotten off to a great start! Praise God for the 10 men on this team who were willing to take their “holiday” time to come do this work in Zimbabwe. Pray that their sacrifice will be noted by our seminary faculty and students as an example of living the sacrificial life. Pray also for safety as they work.
Before they can put the new roof on, the old roof has to come off. Ecclesiastes 3:3b reminds us that there are times when we must tear down and then there are times for rebuilding. Pray for Christian leaders in Zimbabwe that they would allow God to tear down all that is within them which is hindering them from following God wholeheartedly. Pray that as they allow God to “rebuild” their lives that they will also participate in the building up of the kingdom of God.
Thirty six rural church leaders from Northern Madagascar are gathering now for seminary training. This week, Michael, an IMB missionary in Northern Madagascar, will begin teaching them Apologetics. During this time, Michael will be trying equip these church leaders to protect their flocks from heresies and to be able to lead people from other faiths to trust Jesus Christ. Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and many other false teachers have unfortunately thrived in Madagascar because people here didn’t realize the error in these false teachings. Pray for Michael to communicate clearly and for these leaders to understand and use these lessons on Apologetics to further the gospel in Northern Madagascar. Pray that these leaders would equip their members with the truth so that they can combat the lies and false teachings that they run into. May the truth of God’s Word and love of Christ Jesus be made known in Northern Madagascar.
Many students from South Africa and other African countries study at the Baptist Theological College in Randburg, Johannesburg, South Africa. Students come to the college for classes, but a large number are distance learners, that is, they study at home and post or email papers and tests in to the college. It is our prayer that as students study and become more familiar and knowledgeable of the God and His word that these BTC students also continue to grow in their love for God.
The Cape Town Baptist Seminary graduated a new army of ministers in November. Some will return to northern Africa countries; most are from South Africa. Pray that they will continue to follow the Lord’s promptings and receive ministry positions. Pray that God will continue to provide for them and their families. Pray that those who left families for four years to study in Cape Town will find family waiting excitedly and with open arms to see their returning ministers for God.
Followup to previous request:
In the newest English class in Elsies River, Cape Town, South Africa, there are now 13 students from 2 major faith systems. The exciting part is everyone wants to be in a Bible study. The even more exciting part is that a local Burundian refugee lay pastor, an elder from his church, and Gail, will be visiting all the students in their homes to prepare for this new Bible study that will be lead in their heart languages, Swahili and Kirundi. A local Baptist church has offered the use of their building for when they want to become and official church. Though there are only 13 students, these student with their families total almost 40 people. Can you imagine the praises God would have when they all raise their voices in prayer and worship?! Continue to pray for this group of refugees to grow to know and love the Lord and then, in due time, to take their faith back to Burundi.