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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Church Names

I passed, or rather, was passed by this church van today.  I'd hate to be the church secretary, typing that name out.  You'd have carpel tunnel before you even finished.  Seems like maybe an abbreviation is in order...

If you're having trouble making it out on my grainy photo, the name is "No. 1 Holy Apostolic In Zion Of Jerusalem Church South Africa"!  Say that 5 times fast.  But they're taking after the Baptists though, getting that numeral in the name.  Good thing too, because if that second church comes along and wants to steal your name at least everyone knows who was first.

On a serious note, though, please pray for us as we have ongoing opportunities to preach the gospel and proclaim truth.  While there are many false teachers among the "christian" churches of South Africa, there are also many who have never been exposed to true, orthodox theology.  As Pastor Joshua says, we often think they've been given the truth and rejected it, when in many cases, this is the only "christianity" they've ever known.  Pray for an awakening!

Please pray for us specifically with three opportunities the Lord has granted us:
1)  Mukhanyo Theological College - I am leading the Welkom Group, which is made up of 7 full-time students and 2 part-timers.  Of those 7, three are pastors or elders at their own churches (not counting Pastor Joshua).  This gives us an opportunity to train men who are already in positions to teach truth to their congregations!
2)  African Pastor's Conference - We host this every year and this year Pastor Joshua has had the opportunity to be the speaker at 3 conferences in Zambia and Botswana.  In an effort to provide ongoing training we host quarterly meetings with the pastors who attend the local conference.  Our next quarterly meeting is scheduled in May.  Pray for humility and openness as the Word is studied.
3)  Unashamed Camp and Youth events - You know about our December camp.  We are in the planning stages of that already.  But we also hold quarterly youth rallies to hopefully build a thirst for Jesus among our young people.  This year we're focusing on teaching young people how to study the Bible for themselves in order to discern truth from error.  Our next event is June 4th.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Baptism Pictures

The candidates







Mohau Lebajoa

Mohau is on my left
Mohau Lebajoa is a young man that we’ve known for about a year now.  We met him through a Bible study that we have been doing at Thotagauta Secondary School.  He is completing his 12th grade year.  “Matric” is considered a very important time for South African students, as it largely determines their future opportunities.

Mohau and his older sister have been living alone for the last several years, as both parents passed away due to cancer.  The home situation was not a good environment for a young man to focus on his academics or his relationship with the Lord.  At the end of last year Mohau’s school results showed many “opportunities for improvement” and he began looking for another place to live.  About the same time God opened up an place in the flat we’ve renovated for just such circumstances.

Also at the same time, Tolu approached us about living in our flat as well.  He is one of the young men that has grown into leadership in the ministry here.  He’s studying electrical engineering, with hopes of one day transferring to Iowa State University.  With his godly character, strong study habits and self-discipline, we thought he might be an excellent mentor for Mohau.  When we renovated the garage into a flat it was specifically for young people in Mohau’s situation, not so much for those in Tolu’s situation.  But the more we spoke with Tolu the more excited we became to work alongside him in Mohau’s discipleship.  

Mohau has been staying with us for about 3 weeks now.  He moved in with a backpack and two grocery bags.  That was the extent of his belongings, and the backpack was full of school materials.  The first week he was with us we had a severe thunderstorm and he arrived home from school soaked to the bone.  His school shoes, stitched together with pieces of wire, were sopping.  Those were his only pair of shoes.  So we had the privilege of taking him down to the shoe store to purchase a pair of shoes.  Helping him through the selection process was pretty cool, as he weighed out the functionality, price, durability and attractiveness of the different options.  Just the day before he had asked if I knew of any way to solve shoe-odor in his school shoes.  He hadn’t said they were his only pair, or asked about new shoes.  He just wanted to know how to get rid of the smell.  Of course, a little baking soda will do the trick.  But the bigger issue is he also only had one pair of socks to go with those shoes.  So it’s no wonder they started to get a little musty.  

Mohau Lebajoa
Before he came I asked him if he knew what he was getting into.  For a guy who’s lived under his own authority for 5+ years, it’s going to be tough to come under the authority of someone else.  He assured me he was ready.  And I’ll say this, he’s definitely willing.  But we’ve had a couple hiccups these first few days.  From calling to notify us of school schedule changes, to getting permission to run to the store, there’s been a little bit of a learning curve for all of us.  But with Tolu’s help and Mohau’s willingness, we’ve enjoyed the transition.

Continue to pray for Mohau, for his growth spiritually and intellectually.