Celebrations!!

Randy’s Birthday  To celebrate Randy’s birthday our family visited Lions Park, which is about 40 minutes outside of Pretoria. We have never experienced anything like it.  In an enclosed pen, we were able to interact (pet, play with) lion cubs!! The cubs were both playful and feisty!

Also, the park had a very friendly giraffe that visitors were allowed to feed.  This bold giraffe apparently was not satisfied with the pellets offered up to him by tourists because as we stood watching, he broke through his enclosure and began freely strolling around the park.  We stood there in shock as he walked past his fence.  The park workers rolled their eyes, as they appeared mildly irritated at him. Apparently, this type of escape occurs often. Once over our shock, we followed the tall creature around and every once in awhile the workers would warn us to keep our distance because Geoffrey’s relative is known to kick! We also drove our car through several of their camps to view different lion prides.  Because it was a warm afternoon most of the lions were lazily taking naps.  We did, however, very briefly, get one majestic white male to stir and take notice of us before becoming bored and dropping down his kingly mane to finish his nap.

Sunday, October 7, 2012, a blessed day to be in Pretoria, South Africa worshiping with Living Hope Church!

We celebrated the baptism of 6 members of Living Hope Church.  After the worship service in Sunnyside, most of the congregation piled into cars and taxis to head to the home of Josh and Marda Mack.  The African sun shone bright and balmy as we all found places to sit or stand around the Mack’s pool, crowding around to witness the miracle of God’s transforming grace in a person’s life.  One by one five men and the eldest Mack daughter stood on the deck of the pool and boldly, confidently testified that by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone they have become a child of God.  They acknowledged their deep need for a Savior, and declared their commitment to serve the Servant King, Jesus Christ!  We were in awe and so very blessed to take part in this joy-filled celebration!

McKenna Mack and five other men were baptized last Sunday by Pastor Josh.

Nixson and Esther  After the baptism celebration we were honored to have Nixson, his wife, Esther and their two sweet children join us for dinner in our home. They shared their testimony with us and we were filled with such praise and wonder at the sovereignty of our God that we must share the story with you.

Nixson and Esther with their two beautiful children

Nixson and Esther are a young couple from Zimbabwe and members of Living Hope Church.  They both grew up in Christian homes, however the gospel that they heard their whole lives was what they would call a “false, works-based” gospel.

According to Nixson, “With this type of gospel, the more I tried to earn my salvation, the more I failed.  So I decided to give up on Christianity and started to live for myself, doing things like drinking, smoking.  I decided that since I was going to hell anyway, I might as well live for myself.”

In 2005 Nixson attended a “Christian” conference where several pastors preached the same works-based gospel that he had heard his entire life.  However, one pastor preached something different.  This pastor preached about Jesus Christ and that salvation comes from what He has accomplished on the cross.  When Nixson heard this gospel, he knew deep in his soul that this was truly the “good news” that he had longed for his whole life.  He accepted Christ that day and was hungry to learn more.  Nixson never saw this pastor again, but felt within him a strong desire to share with others, his friends and family, about this new freedom he had found in Christ.  He even had this crazy idea of one day becoming a pastor, but had no idea where to begin.

A few months later Nixson came to South Africa looking for a better life.  Back in Zimbabwe he was working a job at a grocery store.  The salary he received was only enough to pay for transportation to and from the job and nothing more.  The reason he even stayed at this job was because he was able to obtain food from the store “on credit”.   “It is the only way I was able to survive,” remembered Nixson.

Here, in South Africa, he found a job as a security guard.  To work this job, he was required to rise at 3 am so that me could catch a train to arrive promptly for his 6am shift.  He would not return home until 8 pm and had only one day off per month! His salary for this employment was equivalent to $200/month.

To help earn income for the family, Esther decided to look for employment.  One day as she had taken her 3 month old daughter in for routine vaccinations, she ran into a white couple standing outside of the government hospital in downtown Pretoria.  Esther recognized an opportunity, boldly approached the woman and asked her if she could assist her in finding work. This couple, by God’s loving and divine intervention, was Josh and Marda Mack!!  They were outside the hospital because they had just finished picking up medication for their two HIV+ children.  In fact, Josh and Marda had actually driven away from the clinic, but turned around when they saw a member from their church.  They were casually chatting with him at the time Esther approached them.

Through this connection, Nixson and Esther began attending the Bible Study lead by Josh and once again, Nixson heard the gospel of grace that had so resonated in his soul.  “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32)

Josh began discipling Nixson one-on-one and in February 2011, Josh had the wonderful privilege of baptizing Nixson and Esther together.

One thing has lead to another and Nixson was asked to quit his security guard job so that he might intern for 1Hope.  Nixson shared the dream God had placed on his heart with Josh, to go back to Zimbabwe as a pastor so that he would have the opportunity to tell others about Christ’s finished work on the cross. God has, since then, miraculously open doors and provided for Nixson to attend seminary full time!!

Nixson and Esther look back on all they have been through and know without a doubt that God has been intimately involved in the details of their lives.  They have a passion and joy for Christ and a desire to see Him made known to the world, but especially to the people of their homeland.  Nixson’s heart is to plant and pastor a church where the True Gospel is preached.

When Nixson is not at seminary, he and Randy lead a bible study together on Wednesday nights in the home of Cladious.  (see previous post).  Please pray for Nixson and his family.  He is working diligently on his studies and has three more years of seminary to complete.

Muphamuzi Baby Home Update

The babies are thriving!

Currently, the monthly running costs of the baby home is more than the its monthly income.   Within a few months, the reserve that the home has been running on will be depleted.  If you are interested in partnering with the baby home as it cares for abandoned babies please click here Sponsor a Crib.

Julia loves taking care of these precious little ones!

7 thoughts on “Celebrations!!

  1. amazing animals, life changing baptisms and great fellowship! And that was only in 2 days right? wow; missing you and loving your updates!

  2. GREAT post Clarks!!! We love you and miss you so very much. Sonia was just saying tonight how much she misses Sunday afternoons hanging with the Clarks… =)

    Glad you had such a blast at the Lion Park. Susan = I love your expression – half thrilled and a little afraid staring into that lion cub’s face =)

    LOVE hearing about God’s work in Nixon and Esther’s life, about the baptisms, and about the baby home. We will pray for support to come.

    Talk to you soon??

  3. Love hearing your posts! I wait for them! We were just talking about baptism in Awana, can’t wait to share this with the kids!! I print out each one of your blogs and share them with my grandkids and then I give them to Paula to share with the Awana club but not all of them get to be shared. I think I am going to start reading them to the girls as they come in 🙂
    So glad you got to go to the Lion Park (nice break).
    We”ll be praying for Nixson and Esther and for the baby home too!!
    Missing you and the girls and the great hugs!!
    Love you all soooo much!!

  4. Awesome and amazing story about Nixson and Esther! Ezekiel and I read this post together…he is so interested in what you are doing! (He even remembers the name of the baby home!) Our family talks about what you are doing in South Africa OFTEN and we are praying for you! Miss you, friends!!

  5. Clarks — we miss you!! So sad to know that your hearts are breaking over the sudden loss of Charleen — I am sure she was a dear friend already in a short time. God only knows……..praying for all of you there, far away. Love, the Surowiaks

  6. Pingback: Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed | Journey with us as we follow Christ to South Africa.

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