You’re Needed in Africa

You can help in Africa without leaving your home. You say, How? Answer: by way of your prayers which are desperately needed. Specifically, we need your prayers for a couple of things. One, in just a couple of weeks we’ll be doing a Shepherd’s conference in three places in South Africa. These Shepherd’s conferences in South Africa are modeled after the Shepherd’s conference that has been conducted at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California for years. Apart from the fact that John MacArthur will not be speaking and that we do the conference in three locations (Johannesburg, Polokwane and Capetown), the conference is set up in basically the same way as it is in the USA. We will have plenary sessions and workshops. Dr. Bill Barrick from The Master’s Seminary, Pastor Bruce Blakely from Grace Community Church, Dr. Timothy Cantrell of Honeyridge Baptist Church (Honeydew, RSA), Pastor Joel James of Grace Fellowship Church (Pretoria, RSA), Pastor Brian Biedebach of Grace Christian Church (Primrose, RSA), Pastor Mark Christopher (Capetown, RSA) and I (Grace School of Missions, Pretoria, RSA) will be the speakers. Between the three conferences we are expecting to have 300 to 400 (or hopefully more) pastors and church leaders in attendance from all over South Africa and even from bordering countries such as Namibia and Zambia. Many who have attended these conferences in the past have testified that God has used the material presented to change their lives and ministries. One man recently told me that his approach to the study and teaching of Scripture was dramatically changed through what he heard at one of the conferences. This man is being wonderfully used by God especially in his teaching and mentoring of young men. Among the many the subjects presented at this year’s conference will be Using and Preaching the Old Testament in ministry, church planting, A Purposeful Ministry, A Patient Ministry, A Humble Ministry before God, A Humble Ministry before Men, Marriage and Family Counseling, A Biblical Perspective on Homosexuality, Resolving Church Conflicts and The Pastor’s Family Life.

We are moving forward with our plans for the opening sessions of Grace School of Missions in October and November of 2006. We will have a full week of classes in each of these months. The classes will meet from 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM every day for an entire week in these two months. In October we will have a class on Fundamentals of Biblical Counseling and a Discipleship Lab which meet from October 23 – 28. In November the courses which meet from November 6 – 11 will be Methods of Biblical Counseling and Hermeneutics. The classes will be held at Grace Fellowship Church in Pretoria. We are encouraged by the number and nature of the people (pastors, elders, pastor’s wives, church leaders, potential pastors) who have manifested an interest in the courses. We have planned a two year curriculum where we will be teaching most of the courses offered in the Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling at The Master’s College in California. We have already worked out an arrangement with Northwest University in South Africa and The Master’s College in California for the courses to be credited towards a Master’s degree in biblical counseling if the students meet the qualifying criteria of each of these institutions. For those taking the courses for credit students will need to do some presession work by way of preparation and then they will need to do some post session work after the course by way of applying and processing the information they receive.

On a personal level, we will be returning to the USA for a period of time during the summer. I will be teaching counseling at the Bible Church of Little Rock throughout the summer, The Master’s College as well as doing seminars in San Francisco and Mexico City and doing some preaching in various places. I am a board member of Faro De Gracia and will be attending a board meeting in Mexico City. I also am a board member of NANC and will be attending a NANC board meeting and their conference during our time in the USA. In addition to this, we will participate in the Grace Missions International conference in San Diego, California prior to our return to South Africa. Oh, and one other thing to which we look forward very much, we’ll have the opportunity to visit members of our family – children, in laws, brothers and sisters, grandchildren – and dear friends. Then, God willing, we will return to become reinvolved in the work of strengthening churches in South Africa for Gospel ministry through the various venues in which we will be involved, especially Grace School of Ministry.

Brethren, if you are willing, we would so much appreciate your support in these ministries. Do you want an outreach to what many have called the dark continent? Here in Africa the problems are enormous (see one of our former blogs for a description of just one of the enormous problems that people live with every day – the security, safety issue; another problem relates to the AIDS epidemic – 60% of world’s total with HIV virus live in Africa – many of them in South Africa and these are just two of the problems); the needs here are great; the opportunities are numerous. You are needed in Africa and, as stated at the beginning of this post, you can minister here without even leaving your home through your prayers. Will you join with us in doing our little part in bringing some light (John 8:12; Psalm 119:105) to the people and churches of Africa? Without Him we are nothing and can do nothing. We are convinced that it is no prayer, no power; little prayer, little power; much prayer, much power. Please come over and help us through your prayers. Do what the Corinthians did for the ministry of Paul – join in “helping us through your prayers, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many” (2 Corinthians 1:11)