Creede Baptist Church

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Moving On

Well not that we are back from South Africa, it would be nice to use this area of our web site to create a dialogue concerning matters of importance for the church. Let us consider how we may spur one another on to good works. I hope this works and we can learn from each other here in the blog.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Half way Home

Well this will be my last entry for this trip. God blessed us in remarkable ways. I cannot even begin to sum up the las few days. We saw souls saved and churches strengthened. We saw pastors revived and their wives encouraged.

The only way to express that God walked with us is by sharing what happend on our last full day in Africa. We went to the Pilanisburg Game Park to see the wild animals. In Africa the "big five" are the Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo, Lion and Lepoard. Many who have lived in Africa for a long time have never seen all five. God belssed us with seeing them all in ONE DAY. Even our guide, Peter, was amazed. (Check out the galery.)

We are all weary but revived. We are looking forward to coming home. We miss you all terribly.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lots of News

As I am writing this the rain is falling and creating a cool environment. Thank you for your prayers. Today I had many new experiences. First, I went to the bank with Pastor Darryl, for those of you who have difficulty with patience, I suggest you move to South Africa. The pace here is much slower than at home. We spent over an hour in the bank to accomplish a relatively simple task.
Later, I met a man named Onan. Onan is a refugee who has come to know the Lord and has been called to be a missionary. Along with his wife Christine and son Obed, Onan is preparing to go to Turkey and teach English as a Second Language to support his mission. Onan’s story is long and I will share more of it upon our return. Onan’s hardships are the things of movies. I was truly humbled to meet this Godly young man.
I have found great contrasts here in Joberg, but it seems that no matter how difficult the situation here, people are always smiling. They are a great joy to be around.
The service tonight was very well attended (maybe 150) and almost two thirds of them came forward in public repentance. There is a great desire to see an out pouring of God’s spirit. Thank you for allowing me to come here and teach the deep truths of the scriptures to these great people.

Again my day was filled and busy. But I am truly enjoying learning about South African Christians. We started the day by going to the Baptist Union. The BU is South Africa’s equivalent of the SBC. While there I met the General Secretary and the Director of Missions. I was able to have a time of prayer with the staff and I was truly blessed. God showed me several similarities between the SBC and the BU as some of its members seek God and others engage in politics.
After our excursion to the BU, Frank Pretorius, took us into downtown Joburg where we learned about the Door of Hope (DOH). This is an organization that willingly accepts unwanted babies, cares for them, and adopts them out to worthy families. In its 6 year existence DOH has saved almost 500 babies. These little ones have been found in trashcans, gutters, and fields. Some have physical problems that local doctors remedy for free; others just need to be loved. DOH has four houses now and the two houses I went to housed 23 children with the oldest being only five. Frank told of a house they have out in the country that is being modeled on the South Texas Children’s Home. There a child can grow up in a farm environment and learn about love and responsibility. The vision of this farm is to eventually have 22 houses staffed with dorm parents to care for the children who do not get adopted out.
The service tonight was again challenging. God is doing a remarkable amount of restoration in the church. I am so grateful that He is using this time in such a great way.

Wednesday is Darryl and Marianne’s day off so we had a relatively quiet day. We started out with a hike in a nature area here in Joberg and I was blessed to get to see Weaver Birds working on their nests. Darryl and I were able to sit and talk for several hours which was another blessing.
The service tonight was focused on unity. I obviously hit a nerve. So I pray that God will intervene and heal whatever problems there may be here.

It was good to be reunited with the other members of our team. The first thing I noticed was an overpowering joy one faces of everyone. They were drenched in sweat and beaming with an inexpressible and glorious joy. The work in Phake (pronounced paukey) has been productive. Several have come to know the Lord. Others, curious about the Word and the Lord, have already been to Pastor France’s Bible study.
The ladies teaching the home based care workers (HBCW), (Ginny, Patty, and Regina) had glowing reports about how quickly the HBCW picked up on not only the techniques but the necessity of the medical procedures. Sherri and Doolie have had great enjoyment in teaching their ladies. Sherri is teaching the momo ruties (pastor’s wives) and Doolie is teaching the Mamas and the Sissies (older and younger ladies). Sherri has mentioned how mature some of the momo ruties are and what a great vision they have for the church their husbands pastor.
Caleb is like a superhero here. It is a beautiful sight to see all of these three and four foot tall black children surrounding this giant (very) white man as they play games together. I do not believe I have ever seen a greater expression of unadulterated love than what I see in the eyes of these little ones as they play with Caleb.
Lowell, David, and John have been involved in several ministries, do odd jobs as needed. Tomorrow they will be going to the coffin factory sight and exploring all that is necessary to get this enterprise off the ground. Thank you for your prayers concerning the weather. From all accounts this has been the coolest January in some time. Please continue to pray for us in several ways. First, several of the group will be leaving in the next few days. So pray for their traveling mercies. Second continue to pray for strength, especially spiritual strength, because while the fields are fertile here, the evil one is also strong here. But remember, greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world (1 John 4.4)

It has been awesome to spend the last couple of days with the pastor’s wives. They are very curious about American culture and we studied about dressing modestly. The idea is for them to go back to their churches and be able to teach the younger girls. They all shared and asked questions and we had a great time together. The heat was the worst this day but God blesses in wonderful ways. On our ride to the lodge we were able to stop and watch a couple of Rhinos and after we got onto the Phakama property we saw a giraffe- incredible, the color of the giraffe was darker than what we see in pictures he moved so gracefully thru the trees it was awesome. Then we went for a swim, had dinner, sat by the fire for a shorter time than usually, as everyone was very tired, and headed to bed. Thank you all for your prayers and continue to pray for the work God had started here to continue until its completion. Sherri

The Pastor’s Conference was a pleasant success. The pastors were a little reserved in their participation on the first day but as they gained confidence in me they began to ask more and more difficult questions. Practical theology is the most difficult part of becoming a pastor. I thank you for your prayers as God did a very good work with these men. Tonight Sherri and I return to Joburg for our last ministry there. I will be preaching four times tomorrow. God has enabled me to have the energy to complete the tasks he has given me so far. I know he will continue to enable me.

There is a possibility that this will be our last post for a while. We will pray that God creates an opportunity for us to find an inexpensive connection.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

New Pictures

Thaks for all your comments. The are really encouraging. I will share them when I get back to the bush.
In the mean time chrck out the new images. Doolie is dancing!!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

First few Days

We have arrived and we are getting settled in. We have our guides Megs, Rita, and Ethan (pronounce Eden). They are full of energy and woke us up this morning with a traditional African song.
Last evening we met Pastor Bethuel and Cliff and Lauri Ingram (IMB Missionaries). They were very gracious and greeted us warmly. Today, Pastor Bethuel has arranged for us to have a traditional African greeting but several of the women in his church. The greeting will be offered in the nine languages of this region.
After settling in we were treated to a safari ride through the bush. We were blessed to see many of God’s creatures including Impala, Kudu, Heartbeast, Warthog, Diku, and Giraffe. The bush here in South Africa greatly resembles the Hill Country of Texas. The temperatures are comparable and the wildlife is remarkably similar.

The day started slowly which was good. Most of us slept through the night. One notable exception was Martha. She has become ill but seems to be on the mend. We had our first South African breakfast. It was quite good. We met with Cliff Ingram for an orientation to the culture and discussed our assignments for the next few days. Around 11 o’clock we were treated to an impromptu African worship service. It started out as a traditional African greeting by the grannies from one of the churches but quickly elevated itself into an international gathering of brothers and sisters in Christ. During a break Doolie and Patty Mason went over to the grannies and began to learn how to dance and sing some of the African worship songs. It was wonderful.

After the greeting, I had to leave for Joberg. I am now with Pastor Darryl and Marianne. The team was going to go out to see where the churches are and meets some of the pastors. I had the opportunity to attend a birthday party for a 60 year old Indian Christian. It was quite a great time. There were many who thanked her for her faithfulness and how she was instrumental in leading them into the faith or encouraging them to remain faithful. The food was unique. We ate curried chicken, and another dish that included rice and chicken. They were spicy.

God has prepared an opportunity here for us; I just pray that we can be sensitive enough to be useful.

What a good day in the Lord. I had an opportunity to preach four times. I found the people here to be hungry for the deep truths of scripture. One of most blessed events that happened today was the ability to preach to the Zulu’s. I must admit that preaching with an interpreter takes some getting used to. But what a remarkable people! They sang and worshipped for two hours before they took time for the sermon. When I preached, they felt I didn’t preach long enough. That is a miracle! I have discovered a fondness for all the peoples in South Africa. They are so receptive and generally a happy people. As Christians they are not so different from any other Christians to whom I have had the privilege to minister. They want to be fed the meat of scripture.

During the English speaking services God has encouraged me to spend time refocusing the church to follow God. God has been faithful to use me to help begin a restorative process. I am very pleased. Please pray for Pastor Darryl and Marianne as they are tired and discouraged because of a small group of people in the church.

God is revealing the good work he has sent me here to do. Please pray that the evil on will not be allowed to enter the activity and disrupt our progess.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Half Way There

We are half way to our destination. We are in Heathrow Airport outside of London, waiting for our connecting flight to Joburg. Everyone fared well on the first half of the trip over. Doolie is working on her lessons. Andy, Gay, Sherri, Caleb and Martha are shopping. I believe that this airport has more people in it that Creede has on the fourth of July. God has blessed the trip so far. Caleb, Sherri and I were given seats by the exit which provided unlimited leg room and an exceptionally comfortable flight.

Check out the gallery, I am putting some early picture there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Well the next post we make will be from another country. God is so cool!