ACBC Africa Conference Upon our return to South Africa in August from our six week visit to California, the Association of Biblical Counselors, Africa in partnership with Living Hope Church and other churches, held its second annual conference teaching on the sufficiency of scripture in counseling all areas of life. Although adjusting to such a different time zone is always a challenge, we were able to attend parts of the conference and soak up teaching on the wonderful truths that God’s word is truly is sufficient. All the sessions were excellent, but this one in particular (click on “Heath Lambert-My Personal Journey to the Sufficiency of Scripture”) gives amazing testimony to the sufficiency of God’s grace to overcome some of the most painful and dark circumstances this world may give us. If you have an opportunity, it is a must listen!
As a result, the leaders of Living Hope church were inspired to put together a year-long program to train and equip us for ministry in “coming alongside people as a faithful friend and helping them to grow spiritually and honour God in their various life situations by wisely counseling them with biblical truth.” Randy and I are both excited be taking part in this training which began this month.
Muphamuzi Baby Home We are thankful that God has provided for our little Christmas Baby from last year! This month he has been placed with a wonderful South African family that will foster him until he can be legally adopted. To God be the glory for his goodness and kindness!
The little guy picture below has been with the Baby Home since he was just 10 days old and this month has celebrated his one-year birthday. His situation is quite complicated, but we are praying for him to also be placed in a loving home that will point him to Christ.
Intern visits and revisits Our newest intern, Danielle, is from Germany and is the younger sister of an intern who served at the Baby Home earlier last year. Former MBH interns, Emily (from California) and Sarah (from Switzerland) have returned to Pretoria for a visit with Living Hope Church family.
Discipleship Opportunities Living Hope church seeks to be a church of disciples making disciples.
Prayer Request As I have mentioned in the past, Living Hope church is a beautiful, diverse community with families/believers from many different nations. Most of our immigrant families have been granted asylum/refugee status by the government, but two families have struggled with this and have lived outside the United Nations building for over a year attempting to obtain the paperwork necessary for them to remain in the country. Earlier this year, the men of these two families were taken to prison and their wives and children were place in shelter homes with the threat of being deported. You can read about one these families in the Pretoria New article.
For the past several months, once a week Randy has driven to the prison in order to visit, encourage and pray with our brothers in Christ. Since then, one family has been released and the family reunited, but another husband along with his wife are in prison apart from their children. They have lawyers advocating for them as it is believed that they have grounds for refugee status. This case has been heart-breaking to watch, but at the same time so encouraging to see these men stand firm in their faith trusting and understanding that our lives rest in God’s sovereign hands. It has also been wonderful to see God work through his church to bring encouragement to these families. Please pray for this brother in Christ and his family. That he would be encouraged and stand firm trusting God although the situation, from a human perspective, appears hopeless. That he would find favor with the SA government and be granted asylum so that he may be released from prison and his family can be reunited.
New Neighbors We were thrilled for our friends, ministry partners and neighbors, the Dewit family, when they purchased a home of their own! Our year and a half having them live in the 2 bedroom flat on our property was a special season of community that we are thankful for.
God has brought us new neighbors. Sarah Ray, who came to Living Hope/1Hope in January of this year from Arkansas to serve as the Muphamuzi Baby Home intern director and also to help with ladies discipleship. She loves the Lord and has been an encouragement and a blessing to our church family and the baby home. Her roomie, Lu, has become like a sweet daughter to me. She has a deep passion for the Lord and as a newer believer is learning more and more what it means “to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10)
Family Updates: August 22 marked our fourth year of life in South Africa for our family. Looking back on our journey, we can only marvel at God’s sovereign and gracious hand on us as he has gently and lovingly lead us along the way. We stand in awe of a good and holy God; that there is nothing about us that would cause him to choose us to be part of His family and even more so that He would give us the privilege to serve Him in this way.
This fall (spring for us) all the kids have started a new year of schooling and my primary focus continues to be on the education and discipling of my five precious children. We are so thankful for Lu (one of our new neighbors)who has been lovingly and firmly helping us with the homeschooling of our youngest, Elijah, who is now in third grade. She approaches each teaching session in prayer with the focus that their time together is to glorify God! What a gift she has been.