Winter is ending here in South Africa. Though the temperature does not drop down to the levels as it does in the States, the lack of insulation and central heating, not to mention open vents to the outside on each wall …make the cold prevalent all day and night. So we all gain a few pounds…no, not from over eating but from layers of clothes! It seems that the Zulu people really feel the cold. Often, they come to class or visit the house with not only the multiple layers of clothes but also a huge blanket wrapped around them!
With the cold weather, arrives the onset of the flu and pneumonia among people. Please pray for our college students as well as the teachers and children at the primary school, that God would keep them strong and healthy so they can continue with their studies.
Thank you for your prayers and giving! We could never fully express our appreciation for your partnership in the gospel!
“Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I
thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you
all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;”
Philippians 1: 3-5
We spoke of Siphesihle Msweli in our last prayer letter. At the beginning of last term, he had a couple of boils and complained of headaches. Within two weeks, the boils went away but he almost lost his ability to walk due to severe pain in his back. He went to the government hospital and was there for much of the term. He had an MRI done a month later. Everything is based on a waiting list in the government health care system…from waiting on a bed to an MRI! The MRI was inconclusive so still no diagnosis or treatment. Since that time a few weeks ago, his health actually seemed to improve. He began walking again with a walker, then a cane, and then on his own…this is a young man in his early twenties! We thought that God had chosen to heal him…then a couple of weeks ago he had a relapse. Severe pain again gripped him in his back to the point that he could not even move. Msweli went to the hospital and they gave him an injection for pain and said, “That is all we can do.” God gave us an advocate, Eve, a head nurse at one of the government hospitals. We and Eve prayed and she made inquiries for Msweli to see a specialist. He was given an appointment, a real surprise in this bureaucratic system. God has been at work. Msweli went to the appointment and he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis in the spine. He has been placed on a strong medication for 18 months! He is improving and could recover completely by God’s grace and healing. Please pray for him…pray also for his family who does not know Christ. Msweli’s attitude and faith has been a real testimony to them!
Joshua and Michael are doing well. Joshua just celebrated his 10th birthday! It was a wonderful time as he invited fifteen boys from school over for a sports party…The campus was filled with boys playing soccer and volleyball. We are thankful for the Christian families that some of these boys represent. We are also praying for the many unsaved families of the other boys. Please pray with us as we seek to be salt and light in every aspect of life, even at a birthday party.
Kathryn is also doing well. She just completed her English degree at UNCG and is looking for a job where she can start using some of her writing skills. She has been diligent in waitressing to supplement the cost of her studies but would now like to find a job that is more challenging with a daytime schedule. She is based in Greensboro, NC for the next year as she works and prepares for graduate school. She has done well at college and we are so very thankful. Please pray for her during this transition.
Bible Club at Mashaka
The Bible College has a Christian Education class in which Penny assisted in teaching last term. She enjoyed this opportunity. In addition to the theory in the class, the students had to apply what they had learned by running a Bible Club at a school…The school they went to was the same rural primary school Penny is mentoring teachers! What a brilliant opportunity to share Jesus with the children in the very same school as she is sharing Christ with the teachers. God is the architect as he orchestrates these events. Many children came to know Christ in these meetings! We continue to give our God the praise and honor! Please pray for Penny as she continues to build into the lives of the children, teachers, and staff of the Mashaka Primary School.
Paul was in prison for three hours
Paul had the opportunity last Wednesday to go and minister in the local prison. New Prison is a medium security prison. Paul accompanied Andy Munro who runs a short course on Biblical decision making. During the course, Andy has a number of opportunities to share the Gospel. Paul gave his testimony of faith to a group of juvenile delinquents. The Lord used this testimony and Andy’s course to touch the hearts of this group of teenagers. Praise the Lord for the decisions made!
Paul is teaching Greek, Leadership, and leading the computer outreach this term. Pray for his students as they learn and Paul as he prepares and teaches.
Paul requested for Dr. Dale Marshfield, a former missionary to South Africa and an expert in curriculum design, to come at the beginning of the term to lead a module for the lecturers about assessment. This is the second time he has come to help the instructors develop their curriculum and evaluate their assessment methods. This is an initiative to help build the curriculum and leadership of the school. Please pray as Paul is the liaison for this initiative and the teachers that they will be able to improve their instruction and assessment through this training.
We praise the Lord for a special missions Sunday on the 4th of August at our church, Hilton Baptist. This event was organized by the missions committee and Paul had the opportunity to preach on “Our Missional Identity in Christ.” The community of faith at Hilton is learning how to embrace their call as “sent ones” as we all share Christ intentionally daily, during life and living.
This is a mouse…no, not the one running across the floor!
The computer lab is up and going. May God receive all the glory and honor! He has provided for this lab through His people and we are thankful. The Bible College students are using it and we had one five-week afternoon outreach for a group of teachers from a disadvantaged primary school. Next term, we will expand this opportunity to the larger Sweetwaters community, again, initially focusing on the teachers and leaders in the community. Pray that the Gospel will be shared powerfully to those who come.
Computer literacy is taken for granted in the USA. Many here in South Africa think a mouse is that little rodent running across the floor! A computer lab is a place many will come looking for skills though those same people may be reluctant to ever enter a church…this opens a great opportunity to share Christ. In addition, many of our Bible College students have completed their high school education without ever touching a computer! Can you imagine the Biblical resources and basic tools this lab opens to our UBI students to take to be used in ministry?! We are excited about how God is empowering these students in new ways for His glory.
We are planning for a six month furlough beginning this December. We will return back to South Africa, Lord willing, in late June. Please pray for us in preparation for this time. God has provided housing for our time in the States near the triad area. We are thankful! We will also need to organize a car for this time, again an item for prayer. We will begin scheduling meetings so if you have a special missions Sunday, let us know. We have over 40 churches that make up our support team, so we will not be able to see everyone during the six month period, just not enough Sundays and Wednesdays! So if you want us to come, please contact us via email or skype…we will try to see as many of you as possible!
We praise the Lord for…
- Kathryn’s successful completion of her studies at UNCG.
- A wonderful birthday celebration for Joshua.
- A beneficial and successful curriculum training for the UBI faculty with Dr. Marshfield.
- Many children who came to know Christ at the Bible Club.
- Decisions that were made at the prison.
- A powerful missions Sunday at Hilton Baptist.
- The computer lab at UBI and its’ use in training future ministry leaders as well as sharing Christ with the unsaved.
- Provision of housing during our furlough.
- That God would continue to provide for Kathryn’s needs.
- That God would continue to work in the life of our children that they may grow in Christ.
- That God would heal Msweli according to His will.
- That God would continue to work in the lives of our church family at Hilton Baptist, that they would be salt and light in the world.
- That God would give Paul wisdom and discernment in his teaching, mentoring and leadership responsibilities at UBI.
- That God would help Penny in mentoring the teachers at Mashaka Primary School.
- That God would work in the lives of the children and their families at Mashaka Primary.
- That God would provide a car for our use during our furlough in 2014.
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Our mailing address is:
P. O. Box 267
Hilton, KZN 3245