My head is swirling as I sort through how to share all that HE is doing here. It truly is too long, our last update coming in April. I wish I had strived harder, but will continue to do so, and get out more frequent updates. It is our goal for these to be monthly, not quarterly updates, as God is up to so much! And we treasure and thrive on your prayers. That is where the work is done. Once we, as partners in HIS Gospel, surrender in prayer to HIS will, then HE can do HIS work! This reminds me of my home pastor, who often prays from Zechariah (4.6) before our Sunday morning service, “’Not by strength and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord who rules over all.”
We are breaking this upcoming series of updates into our core passions and prayers for our ministry here;
- Making Disciples
- Planting Churches
- Developing Communities
I have been praying for six men to disciple and several to disciple me. I have been able to sit down with a number of young men in different stages of life from high school, to university, and working in careers. I praise God for a young man at Mountain View Baptist Church, who heard me speaking about my passion for discipleship, approached and requested me to disciple him. Martin is German and studying exercise and sport science at Stellenbosch University. We have been working through Ecclesiastes as he is seeking a lot of wisdom with all the upcoming life decisions of a university student preparing for the next phase of his life. Julio is another young man I have been blessed to spend a lot of time. Five years ago, I discipled Julio while teaching him to play drums. I would say he plays better than me now and is currently studying to be a filmmaker. What an opportunity to jump back, five years later, and keep walking the Way with Julio! Also five years ago, Luke was figuring out his post-high school direction. Praise God for his call into full-time ministry. Luke has now finished seminary and was called by Mountain View Baptist Church to join Pastor Mark in full-time ministry in April. I have the privilege to walk with Luke through life and work with both of these South African pastors to serve and seek new opportunities disciple our own and reach the lost with the Gospel. We are working through My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Kyle is a young man that is sorting through life and feels so familiar to me. He is seeking direction and purpose and we are just discussing biblical perspectives. The Lord has presented a few other men who have expressed interested in spending some time together discussing life and faith. So grateful for the 4 men the Lord has already brought to encourage and sharpen me as I, Lord willing, do the same for them.
Pastor Dave Drullinger, fellow ABWE missionary, and I have been meeting for discipleship since shortly after our landing. I have treasured his help in adjusting to life here and learning from him about ministry in South Africa. One of his ministries includes the Ministry Training Centre which I am pleased to be participating.
Beginning this upcoming term, I will be teaching in the Ministry Training Centre at Mountain View. This is a free four-year training program running Sunday evenings for two hours. I will be teaching Survey of the New Testament this term, beginning the 21stof July and Survey of Christian Doctrine in term four. I am very excited to wrestle through the truths of God’s Word and how this applies to the lives of believers.
And now introducing your new favorite part of these updates. Many of you ask about how Lauren and the family our doing, so we’re going to hear from the source herself. She has agreed to write a “little bit” of a family and ministry update from her own point of view…
A “Little Bit” from Lauren
Even though my ministry is first and foremost to my family, I crave time with other mothers and my kids crave time with other kids their age. We were very used to having playdates, attending a play café, going to mom groups and just being around other kids. That has been one of the hardest adjustments- finding other mom friends, who “stay at home”, and have kids around my kids’ age. I have a good friend who we met when we were here 5 years ago who has 1 year old twin girls. She invited me to a “mommy bible study”. I’ve been going for about 2 months now and it has been such a breath of fresh air. We gather, drink coffee, watch the kids run around and discuss a chapter of a book we are reading, (Parenting- by Paul David Tripp). We’ve been able to make some good relationships and organize some play dates, so God is blessing that time. It been good also to pick the brains of mothers and help me with things like schooling in the future, places to take the kids and just all kids raising children in South Africa.
The kids are adjusting well. In the beginning they were missing friends and family and things like the zoo, museums and play cafes. So we tried to have “family fun day” on Tuesdays to show them other fun things around us. And they definitely don’t disappoint! So we try to get them excited about things and I think it working because NO ONE in Ohio can hand feed and pet giraffes or live 10 minutes from the beach. But they are champions and really thrive in all situations. We visit other churches and they can’t wait to go to the kids class. Sometimes I wish they were shy but in this season of life it’s just perfect. Henry will turn 1 in a month, Lennon will turn 4 a week later, and Miss Lola is living up the 2 ½ year old life! God is good!
Watch your inboxes for the notice next week about Part 2: Planting Churches! So much more to share! Don’t mean to abuse it, but something’s brewing…
“‘Not by strength and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord who rules over all.” Zechariah 4.6