Vusi’s lives in Mpumalanga. A beautiful, subtropical province of South Africa. The name literally means “the place where the sun rises.” [photo by Commonist / CC BY-SA 3.0]
Even as a recent ZEBS graduate, Vusi is one of the most determined gospel preachers in Mpumalanga, South Africa. He’s also a new father.
When Vusi Nhlapo first started attending ZEBS he was what ‘church-speak’ likes to call a seeker.
“In Zulu, we would say he’s a ‘hard listener,’” Tim Kuehl, ZEMA missionary to Gauteng, says, “When I met Vusi the first things that stuck out to me were his friendliness and the way he listened. He would follow the ZEBS lessons so intensely. Then he would approach me during the breaks and ask really good questions about any number of things. He wasn’t argumentative. He just wanted to understand the Bible as best he could.”
Vusi was part of the first ZEBS classes ever in Standerton. A little commercial and agricultural town lying on the banks of the Vaal River in Mpumalanga, South Africa, just across the border from Gauteng.
Standerton ZEBs has now been running for four years, and that means this year’s 4th-year certificates were the first graduating class to come out of Standerton, ever.
Sketch of a street in Lekwa Local Municipality of Mpumalanga. Standerton is the seat of the municipality. [photo by lekwalm.gov.za]
ZEBS graduation took place on December 1st, 2018, at Brackenhurst Baptist Church in Alberton, Gauteng.
On December 1st, 2018, Vusi crossed the border of his home province of Mpumalanga into Gauteng. He attended ZEBS graduation with fellow African national church leaders and pastors from the city of Johannesburg, from its suburbs and nearby towns, and from neighboring provinces like North West Province and Mpumalanga. Vusi received a 4th Year Graduation Certificate from ZEBS, along with:
103 — 1st Year Certificates
72 — 2nd Year Certificates
64 — 3rd Year Certificates
76 — 4th Year Graduates new high
That’s a grand total of 315 southern African pastors that completed some level of formal Bible training through the Gauteng ministry alone!
After the graduation, Vusi came up to Tim Kuehl and thanked him profusely saying, “We waited a long time for these studies. We have very much benefited from ZEBS.”
Pictured: ZEBS teachers. (left to right) Carrie and Paul Seelhammer, Luann and Timothy Kuehl, Pastor and Mrs. Nkosinathi Mchunu, and Mary Jane and Godfrey Maseko.
Though we can’t know for sure when the gospel really took hold over Vusi’s life. We can tell that somewhere in his second year of ZEBS his trust shifted from his ancestors to Jesus Christ alone. How? That’s when Vusi started engaging in one of the most powerful indicators of life change.
Vusi started witnessing.
“I have shared the gospel with everyone at work,” Vusi says, “Now I want to live my life in such a way that they will see that I live what I am preaching to them.”
So much of ZEMA’s ministry relies on increasing the crowd of witnesses in southern Africa. We reach pastors, Sunday School teachers, and church leaders so that they may be a witness to their congregations and communities.
“Now I want to live my life in such a way that they will see that I live what I am preaching to them.”
How encouraging, then, to see Vusi’s life.
Vusi, who is not only a pastor of a church, is not only preaching Biblical truth from the pulpit on a Sunday morning. He’s not only personally evangelizing to his community: to his coworkers and friends. But he’s also incorporating truth into his everyday life. So that he may attract even more people to Christ!
“But thanks be to God, who … through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
2 Corinthians 2:14–15 (ESV)
There is one other place where Vusi is incorporating everything he’s learned about the Bible into his life.
Vusi and his wife, Jabulile, just had their first child, a son. Vusi is determined to let neither tradition nor experience dictate how he will lead his family or raise this child.
“Not like we were raised, being taught false religion, which we now see is a sin.”
Only the Bible will do.
Vusi says, “With the birth of our first child, a son, this month, I want to raise my children in the way God wants like we are taught in Deuteronomy. Not like we were raised, being taught false religion, which we now see is a sin.”
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Deuteronomy 6:6–7 (ESV)
Giving pastors like Vusi access to ZEBS classes gives them the opportunity to understand the Bible and the gospel in a deeper way. Plus, ZEBS classes help them understand how to share the knowledge of Christ. It breaks bonds, transforms lives, and improves futures for generations to come.
You can help bring Bible teaching to incredible people like Vusi today. Your gift will serve African families and communities.