Happy Good Friday and even Happier Resurrection Sunday!
This is always a wonderful week in ministry as we remember and celebrate the immense grace and love of God through the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. This past Wednesday for life group we had a great discussion on God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. We discussed God’s will of decree and his will of desire and what it all means for salvation, our justification and sanctification. While we will continue to discuss these truths through Scripture it made for a good preparation leading to the cross and why Jesus had to die to be our Redeemer. Looking forward to the next few weeks with our life group. They clearly have lots of questions and its been a fascinating discussion so far! All praise to the Lord for the greatest display of love man could ever know! All glory to His name as there is no other by which man can be saved (Acts4.12)! All honor to the One who made salvation possible to us by the gospel of Jesus Christ, he power to save all who believe (Rom1.16)!
By God’s grace alone, we remain faithful. It has been a tough few months in ministry and we can certainly say the “honeymoon phase” is over. It has been rewarding, but more challenging than we have ever experienced. The Lord of the Harvest has been working mightily over the past year and we are now preparing to welcome thirty or so new members into the fellowship at Mountain View. Hallelujah! At this same time, we have had some challenges, from resignations from membership to church discipline. We have had our both our lead pastor and wife hospitalized in the last few months, a family battling with demonic oppression, counseling through issues of divorce and even having to work through filing criminal charges. Through it all the Lord has been allowing us to see so much fruit, including salvation and growth in maturity in Christ, yet at the same time, shadowed at times by all this darkness and sin. We are heartbroken and we plead for you to pray for us and for your own selves, your church leadership, elders and pastors. If you have forgotten the sort of battle we as Christians fight, hopefully, this is a wake-up call (Ephesians6.10-20)
It is when we are weak, we are made strong (1Corinthians1.26-31; 2Corinthians12.5-10). Our all-sufficient God sustains, carries, and lifts us up so we can strengthen, encourage, pray and weep with the afflicted in Christ. It has definitely taken a toll on us as well. After weeks of restless nights and these burdens, Nate struggled with shingles yet again. By God’s grace, we managed to catch and treat it early and it was much less severe than last year’s case. Fortunately, we have planned a little holiday this week while the kids are on a term break from school to slip away to refocus and reenergize for the next few months of ministry. We’ll be spending some time mesmerized by God’s beauty in the mountains over the next few days.
In the midst of this, Lauren is into the last trimester with our baby boy. The whole family is very excited to welcome him. First baby born here in SA, so learning and experiencing new things in this process unlike the other three. Please be praying for mama and baby, the birth, and then all the paperwork and logistics that come after as we navigate this system between two countries.
On top of all this, we have started communication with our immigration specialist to begin RENEWING our visas! Crazy it’s that time again! We have been here over 2 years on our 3-year visa! It is recommended to begin this process 8 months before our visa expiration. Ours expire January 2022. We will keep you updated on the progression, but ask for your prayers even now.
Nate preached a doctrinal study two Sundays ago on the Bible. A message we need to hear over and over again in this world. The Bible is the verbally-inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God. He has not left us alone. We have His presence in the Spirit, and His Word by His divine providence. We have been overwhelmed by His grace and mercy. In Christ, we have everything we need to complete the good works He has prepared for us – to do the mission and make disciples of all nations! Hallelujah! And we cannot fail! The Gospel IS the power to save all who believe!
In other news, coffee shop is doing well. Nate just had the opportunity to talk to two students and a teacher from the school across the street about the Lord. They were all remarkably receptive! And the teacher was particularly interested in picking up our conversation again. They were cut short and Nate had only shared the bad news regarding our human condition of sin, God’s wrath towards it, and our inability to do anything to save ourselves. So Nate is desperate to share the actual good news of Jesus Christ, who came to save sinners, when they meet next! Our discipleship relationships are growing deeper and more plentiful. We just finished up the first term of the Ministry Training Centre. Nate just finished instructing a course on biblical interpretation. This class just grew and grew with more folks joining in. It was a joy to watch some finally getting to connect dots in the Bible they could never understand. The focus of the course is train disciples to study their Bible and interpret it accurately in context. So great to see so many non-church members coming and getting interested in God’s Word. We are doing some marriage prep counseling with another couple after just finishing up with others. Nate was asked to marry the first couple in January- who were also our first disciples here! What a blessing! Finally, we just returned last week from a ministry trip to George in the Garden Route. We have missionary teammates and ministry partners on that side we were able to see. Such great opportunities to expand evangelism and discipleship ministries over there from sports outreach to coffee shops, to counseling and more! If that speaks to you, get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Praise the Lord for such grace and the privilege to be a part of His work here in Cape Town. I think Paul summed up everything we’re experiencing in Colossians 1.24-29. That’s us right now and we are so grateful of your prayers and encouragement. We are together in this mission. We are a body of which Christ is our head. When one of us is afflicted, Christ is afflicted and the body suffers. Brothers and sisters, we are hurting here but we know we are not alone. Our Risen Lord is with us to the end, our body and family in Christ carries us, and the hope of Christ reminds us of glory to come. We can know, because Christ rose, so too, will we rise. And our Victor will lead us home where there will be no more sin, no more pain, no more tears. And finally, the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God, will receive all the glory, honor, and praise He is due! Amen!
And until then, we press on (Philippians3.8-16) and we fight the good fight (1Timothy6.11-16), holding fast to the gospel which saves and resurrects us (1Corinthians15.1-11)!
Now that is good news! Praise the Risen One! HE IS ALIVE!
**Bonus Content for scrolling all the way down here! A few of Nate’s recent sermons through a doctrinal series called “What We Teach”: