Considering the unnatural times, we live and work in, I thought I might not have much to share with you. Because of the COVID crisis, we’ve not been allowed to travel to our work and ministry outside of South Africa. However, as I collected reports, letters and pictures sent to me by our regional teams; evangelists and church planters, Bible School facilitators, and orphan program staff, I realized that
a lot of good work has actually taken place. And, in spite of us not being able to physically visit the regions, those tasked with the work continued to serve diligently. By comparison, my job of overall facilitation, contacting, encouraging, praying for, and raising the funds to help equip and support the various ministries, has certainly been the easier one.
I’m reminded of a relay race. (Hebrews 12:1-3) The first runner carries the baton on to the next runner, who runs with it and passes it onto the next and so forth until the race is completed in victory. I see your prayers, financial support, and encouragement as that first runner. AFnet then carries the baton on to our Ministry teams, evangelists, orphan staff, and regional facilitators. And they carry the baton on to the very remote areas; evangelizing, planting churches, and providing for the specific needs of our orphans. They are our feet on the ground, sharing the gospel and ministering in practical ways to the spiritual and physical needs of the people – many whose lives have been severely impacted by the COVID pandemic, conflict and spiritual oppression, brutal poverty, and an overall sense of hopelessness. What a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ working together to serve the people with the love and Good News of Gospel!
Church services, for the most part, were not allowed. So, our pastors creatively broke up their churches into smaller house groups. Thus, launching a new dynamic House-church movement, which has resulted in great new growth in their congregations. While larger traditional Bible Schools and Seminaries were forced to close, our smaller, cell-based regional Bible Schools continued to function and enroll students throughout the COVID lock-down. With public schools being closed for months at a time, our Orphans were able to keep up with their academics and education through the hands-on help of our trained and caring Day Care Providers. Some of our larger congregations used this time of church closure to work on construction and expansion of physical facilities. And so, all in all, we’ve not lost much momentum. Matter of fact, I dare say that the felt impact of the pandemic may even have led to a long-term advantage for the Church in Africa.
As you can see, by passing on the baton to our dedicated and faithful co-workers, the ministry is moving forward despite COVID lock-downs, financial difficulties, military controls, civil war and closing of borders, communication difficulties and lack of infrastructure. The Gospel passes through all borders and restrictions. God doesn’t allow boundaries to limit His Good News. And so, together we are running the race to victory!
One of the great joys of my position is receiving letters of thanksgiving and appreciation. It’s heartwarming to know how much those in the trenches appreciate “our” support. I’m privileged to share in their tears and their joy. I’m honored to be called “daddy”, “spiritual father”, “grandfather”, “mentor”, or just “brother” by so many of our pastors, students, and precious orphans. And then of course I’m constantly asked to pass on grateful appreciation to our many sponsors and supporters, you, who so graciously support this Ministry.
Therefore, I can boldly ask that you pray for God to bless, protect, and guide our workers, as they work selflessly to bring spiritual and physical healing to the people. Pray also for Africa during tremendous turmoil, upheaval, and human suffering. Pray for God’s protection, care, and victory over evil. And, with that please continue donating to this worthy cause, so we, and on your behalf may be able to continue providing the funds and help needed across this region of the world. As you pass the baton on to us, we can pass it on to our regional teams and workers, who in turn pass it on to those most in need, and who like us, must also finish the race!