Dear Wake Chapel Friends,
Birds are singing, sun is shining, flowers are blooming, children playing...Spring has arrived in South Africa! A time of newness, freshness, a time of change...
A New Church Plant
We are excited about a new endeavor for our church, Hilton Baptist. HIlton Baptist has been in existence for over twenty years, starting as a church plant or sister church, of a Baptist church in Pietermartizburg. The leadership of the church have decided to take the risk, step out and begin another church plant, in another area without an evangelical witness. We are looking at areas that are not only in need of the gospel, but also in great need of better education, stronger families, employment skills,...Our desire is to harness the many passions, skills, and abilities within Hilton Baptist to be Christ's hands and feet in this community as we share Christ's love in practical ways. We envision literacy outreaches, children's Bible clubs, skill development courses, computer courses, entrepreneur training, parenting classes, marriage counseling, all permeated with the Gospel to reach a community in need of Christ. During that time, we will also look for a location to begin meeting to worship and having Bible studies. Paul has been designated the leader of this church planting initiative and we have begun meeting and praying concerning the where and how to begin. Our goal is to begin outreaches in early January of 2016. We are in the initial praying and planning stages. Please pray with us as we seek God's direction and wisdom in this church-wide initiative to share Christ through a new church plant. Spring is in the air!!
Change of Ministry
As we have shared in previous letters, we have been struggling for this past year to work with the leadership of the Union Bible Institute. We have decided to part ways. UBI is a good school, but under the present leadership, we cannot continue to serve there.
Our mission and mandate has not changed. We are still training leaders for Christ through mentorship and teaching with the goal of church planting. Paul has already been approached to teach New Testament courses and develop a mentoring program for students studying for ministry at a theological college in Pietermaritzburg (about a 15 minute drive from where we live). Presently, he is still mentoring numerous young men for ministry, especially Ayanda who will graduate and get married in a couple of months. He is with Ayanda daily, building into his life. Our focus in ministry is to build into a select few individuals with intense mentorship in conjunction with training them to be involved in Gospel centered church planting. Please pray that the Lord will lead us to some godly young men who will be able to do an internship in our church planting efforts next year.
Paul and Ayanda have also been meeting with the chaplain at the Pietermaritzburg New Prison. The prison holds 6700 men. We have presented a proposal to develop a computer training center at the prison. Our goal is to offer Gospel centered, basic computer literacy courses to the prisoners. The chaplain was very excited at the proposal and he has forwarded it to the area supervisor. We are waiting for the area supervisor's decision. Please pray for this initiative.
With this shift in ministry location, we needed to find a new home. We are no longer living on the UBI campus, we have moved into Hilton, near the boys' school and to our church. God has again provided wonderfully for us. Our new address is : 21 Irvine Road, Hilton, South Africa 3245. This has opened doors to being more of a Gospel witness to the families of Hilton as we are in walking distance of some of the boys' friends.
Though Joshua and Michael enjoyed the season of living on campus at UBI, they are thriving in this new context. Our home is a bit bigger, allowing for more room to wrestle and play which boys seem never to grow out of. We also have a new puppy, a pet was not an option on campus. They are loving their new border collie, Duke...Still trying to determine how we can have a daughter studying at Chapel Hill and name our puppy "Duke"...one of life's mysteries I suppose.
Final Steps at Mashaka Primary
Penny has taught lessons in the classroom, developed curriculum aligned to their educational objectives, and completed training for the teachers in effective teaching strategies. Now she is assisting and observing as teachers begin to understand that teaching is a calling of God, not a job. As the Gospel has permeated the training, it is exciting to see the teachers beginning to implement these strategies and curriculum...in this, both teachers and students are empowered. Teachers are seeing how Bible stories and God's truths must be integrated into the daily teaching so that students can grasp the truth of the Gospel. Presently, there is an open door at this school to share Christ and we are hoping they will continue to embrace this opportunity.
Penny will begin taking steps this next term to bridge a relationship between our boys' school and Mashaka Primary. This is quite a challenge, but one that is necessary in helping the ongoing empowering of these rural schools to grow. A rural underprivileged school partnering with a school of excellence in the suburbs is one way to help both schools to stretch and improve. Pray as she begins negotiations with the leadership of the schools, especially with the school of excellence as they have to step out of their comfort zone to help uplift another school and community.
Since Penny will probably transition out of Mashaka in early 2016 to assist in another school, she desires to start a weekly morning Bible study and prayer time for the teachers. She has been building into the lives of the teachers individually, but is hoping that an ongoing spiritual development as an educational team would continue. Please pray for all of these final steps as Mashaka begins to take ownership of the things learned.
Kathryn is coming for Christmas!
We are so excited that Kathryn has the opportunity to come for Christmas! She was unable to come last Christmas due to the cost of the ticket as well as unavailable funds. This year, all came together for both the funds and a great price with the airlines. What a blessing to have everyone together for Christmas! Expect a new picture for the missions board at church!
Please pray for her. She is doing very well in law school (we are very proud) but the challenges are great. Pray that she grows spiritually and emotionally as she studies. Please continue to pray for God's provision in her life. Pray also as she travels in December; she flies out on the 9th of December.
We praise the Lord how He continues to use His people to complete His work. Thank you for your faithful prayers and giving that allow us the scaffolding to stay and serve in South Africa. We could not be here without you. Thank you for your partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ!
We pray for you all that "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." Colossians 2: 6,7
Please praise the Lord for...
• new opportunities for a church plant.
• a new home with a new puppy,
• Ayanda and his upcoming graduation and wedding in December.
• the progress at Mashaka Primary.
• Kathryn's opportunity to come home for Christmas.
Please pray for...
• God's wisdom as decisions are made concerning where and how of the new church plant.
• unity as we work as a team from Hilton Baptist toward a church plant.
• Ayanda as he completes his studies and formal mentorship in the next few weeks, prepares for his wedding, and seeks God's wisdom concerning future ministry.
• Kathryn as she is already preparing for exams in late November.
• our family, that we will bring glory to God in all that we do.
Blessings in Christ,
Paul, Penny, Kathryn, Joshua, and Michael Hesman