Look closely at this picture! Do you see the man in the foreground with bare feet? This business man, Leon, aged 50, almost died twice this year. This past February he came down with a very rare bacterial infection which over took his entire body. He went from a very fit, healthy young man, to one whose life was almost taken from him. Twice his four girls, ranging in age from 4-18, were called in by their mother to say goodbye to their dad.
Now for some background. Back in September 2017 this small group of Christians started meeting together in Leon’s home for the purpose of learning how to be a “disciple who makes disciples”. From September until when Leon got sick, this small group met to learn some “tools” to help them obey the Great Commission from Matthew 28:19-20. Jesus commands His followers to “Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded them…”. Then in February 2018 Leon got terribly sick, and was in ICU for several weeks. We stood by his hospital bedside, praying to the Lord to spare his life. God heard our prayers, and has allowed Leon to slowly recover. It is now August, and Leon is recovering day by day. GOD HAS USED THIS ILLNESS TO GET HIS ATTENTION. Leon and his family (who host this group),have now expressed their desire to make this discipleship group “church”. We will need a larger meeting place than this living room pictured, and are prayerful for God’s perfect will to be done in this next step. Will you pray right now for Leon and his family? Pray for complete healing for his body, and protection over his family. Please pray for a new location for us to meet, and pray for this body of believers, that much fruit for God’s kingdom will result from this church plant.
In April a group of 11 business men gave up their precious free time to meet together to learn how to be a disciple who makes disciples. Their free time is so precious to them, yet they were eager and excited to be learning some “tools” on how to better be a witness to those whom they work with, and encounter in their day. They left this Saturday training knowing how to start spiritual conversations which allow them an open door for sharing the Good News of the Gospel. They also learned how to share their testimonies, and how to effectively share the Gospel in a time-sensitive way.
Will you pray for these 11 men? Pray this month that they’d continue to put into practice all that they learned, and pray that much fruit would come from their spiritual conversations.
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.
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.
“Satan dreads nothing but prayer. His one concern is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, he mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.” (Samuel Chadwick)
This is the month that a brand new discipleship group begins in a Pretoria home! This group will be training men and women on how to be a disciple who makes disciples! Already much spiritual warfare has been experienced by those preparing for this training. Ephesians 6 tells us clearly that we “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”. Therefore, we are commanded to put on our spiritual armor each and every day, and to “pray always” (Ephesians 6:18) for each other.
Will you do this now? Satan is working overtime to stop this teaching from beginning. Pray now for this group, that God would strengthen them and establish them for His glory. Pray for their protection from the schemes of Satan. Ask God to use this group to bring much fruit for God’s kingdom.
*Burt and *Belinda have been working full-time in Kingdom work for the past twelve months. They are leaders in the work on the island. They have baptized numerous people, and they are currently leading two house churches. They disciple 10 people regularly and have participated in most of our SWARMS. We have loved seeing God change their hearts to be busy in broken and lost communities. They are faithful to share the Gospel to their family, neighbors and in communities where many people will not go because of the crime and drugs.
They have found creative ways to maintain their livelihood, while at the same time dedicating much time in the Kingdom work on the island. One of the creative businesses they run from their home is “Nature’s Creation”. They make natural, orgainc soap in their living room. *Belinda grows and uses plants, flowers and herbs from her garden (and sometimes ours) and she and her husband use all natural ingredients to make this incredible soap.
*Belinda is also an amazing cook and we regularly order food from her when we have fellowships, CORE meetings and leadership trainings.
They have been a blessing to us in ministry! Will you pray for them?
- Pray for setbacks as they work in many broken communities and have experienced personal hurts while helping people whom they are ministering.
- Pray for their livelihood. Pray that God would continue to sustain them and provide for them so that they can continue in the Four Fields work on the island.
- Pray that they would continue to trust in Him and walk through each door He opens, trusting that God will be honored and glorified in all that they do.
- Pray that they would remain faithful, fruitful & obedient!
Frank: The Taxi Driver/Disciple-Maker
Frank* makes a living for his family driving a taxi. He starts early and finishes late but shares Jesus with his clients on a daily basis. He and his family have led neighbors to Christ, planted a church in their home and are planting a second church in his sister-in-laws neighborhood. They also care for a 3 year-old whom they rescued from the street (literally).
One astounding fact is that a car here costs the same or more than the equivalent car in the west, yet a taxi fare is a fraction of the cost that it would be there. The math does not add up. When you visit, you notice immediately the great number of taxis and buses and that adds a lot of competition to Frank’s* already demanding and underpaid career.
Please pray for Frank* as he works out how to create a unique point of difference in his service, that makes him different to the competition. On a spiritual front, pray for Frank* to find a healthy balance between work, family and ministry. Pray that Frank* would continue to be a faithful and bold disciple of Jesus and use his work as his platform to share Christ!
For two years God was telling us to start a church in our home for the purpose of modeling the Acts 2 church model. We resisted wondering if it was putting too much dependence on us, as outsiders. Finally in October 2015 we started a church meeting in our home. The name of the church group became “The Refuge” and it continues until today.
We spent all of 2016 modeling healthy church and took the group through the books of Acts. It was very basic teachings with emphasis placed on simple obedience. Our structure has been much different than traditional church meetings and the “Three-Thirds Process” became the structure of each meeting where we would spend time together in fellowship, pastoral care, prayer, small group accountability, vision casting, learning the new lesson and goal setting with prayer. (Look back, Look Up & Look Ahead). 2016 was a growing year for us as we saw individuals get stronger in the faith and in evangelism & discipleship. Every believer in the group is considered an active disciple with a role in Kingdom work.
2017 has looked much the same in regards to individuals growing deeper, but we’ve also seen a shift where churches are being birthed out of this initial church plant. It’s been exciting to see this evolution take place since our goal is to have a healthy church in every village here! In 2015, we envisioned this to be the role of The Refuge as we started, but it was obvious that this would be a gradual process initially. The group is thinking multiplication now and that has encouraged us. Sometimes a church group meets on a different night of the week so the church will come to join The Refuge meeting on Sunday night. This has been a perfect time for accountability, training and follow-up conversations.
We praise the Lord for how He has taught us to just obey even if we have doubts about how things will turn out.
Please Pray for The Refuge as it has become a training center for multiple leaders and church groups. We get constant feedback each day from people being impacted and challenged. Please pray for the new church plants on the island… House of Prayer, Amazing Grace, & House of Faith to name a few.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin! Zechariah 4:10a
Until There is No Place Left!
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.