Merry Christmas! As we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus in a few days, let us continue to take advantage of the opportunities that God provides for each of us in this upside down and sideways world that we are living in today. Proclaiming Jesus as the way, and the truth and the light in this season just might be how your friend or family member finds real and everlasting hope, joy, and love.
As we approach the end of 2020, we are reflecting on the opportunities that God has provided for ministry during a time when many things we planned to do were stopped by worldly concerns. Life is different now. Ministry is different now. But God has not, does not, and will not change. His plan is in motion. We are called to be part of His plan here in South Africa.
We have been telling you about the desire of many people to receive the Word of God and they are very open to hearing about Jesus Christ. The request for Bibles in the Vhembe continues. We know that God works wonders through his Word and that He changes lives through His Word. Thus, we are anticipating miraculous transformation that His Word is accomplishing in Vhembe District while we wait. The fourth and final trip to Vhembe was planned for this week. Paul had our vehicle filled to the brim with Bibles, donated school supplies and backpacks on December 15. However, just as he was preparing to leave Johannesburg, he had to postpone the trip because our next-door neighbors received a positive Coronavirus test. Since our families are together all the time, we are now self-quarantining until Christmas. So, we wait for God’s timing.
Bibles in the Vhembe District
We also continue to wait for the meeting with the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) leadership. Since the lockdown started on March 26, the local ZCC congregations have not been meeting. On September 18, we had a meeting scheduled with the main leader, but we were not granted access to the church’s grounds at Moriah due to Covid19 safety concerns. We trust God to be working in the lives of the individual ZCC families and local congregations during this time.
One of the promising opportunities is the radio ministry. We now have 170, 15-minute Zulu audio programs produced, based on the Bible books of Romans, 1 Timothy, Hebrews, and 1 and 2 Peter. We will continue to record and produce new programs on the books of 1 and 2 Corinthians in 2021. Please pray for a native tongue Zulu speaking person to join the team to assist with program editing and contacting new community radio stations in South Africa. Currently the Trumpet of Zion Zulu program is broadcast on three local radio stations.
As Paul is building relationships in the Vhembe District, it would be a GREAT ministry to have a radio program that could be distributed there. Pray for a Zionist, who is a believer, who likes to teach and has a good radio voice that could be a part of the radio ministry! This seems like an impossible task…. but we know with God, all things are possible.
Another promising opportunity is finding new ways for the ZEBS to train and teach the Zionist leaders. Paul has been meeting with a media specialist and a team of ZEMA missionaries to research and develop new media tools to reach the Zion churches in this new normal when many in-person meeting/training ministries have been stopped. This has included placing Bible training materials on the ZEMA website, www.zemasa.co.za, while also researching radio media expansion, considering the creation of a ZEMA smart phone App, and finding other internet and Wi-Fi/SD Card platforms to distribute audio, video and written Bible training materials.
ZEFA (Zion Evangelical Fellowship of Africa) is a strategic organization founded many years ago to facilitate training, fellowship and unity within Zion church denominations in Southern Africa. This is another place of great opportunity in ministry. The goal is for Zion leaders, who have received formal Bible training through the ministries of ZEMA, to receive additional pastoral training and encouragement through this organization. Paul has been involved with this ministry for years and is now in transition to be the ZEFA Administrative Officer. He has good relationships with the Zion pastors that are a part of this group and is looking forward to seeing how God will bring true Biblical transformation and revival.
New opportunities are many in our ministry these days. With excitement, we report that our ZEMA Johannesburg missionary team has reunited and grown! Our coworkers, Tim and Luann Kuehl, returned to South Africa on November 12. On December 12, we welcomed Matthew Kuehl (son of Tim and Luann) to South Africa as a new ZEMA Missionary! We will be his official ZEMA mentors for the next two years. Matthew grew up in South Africa as a missionary kid but has been living and working in the USA for the last 14 years. He will be studying Zulu while joining in with the other various ZEMA ministries. Matthew has a passion for Bible teaching, and we are very excited to see what God does in and through Matthew in 2021.
We were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with Tim and Luann and Kit Tischler. Our team is excited for the ministry and what God will do in 2021.