See the poverty around you? We do daily. You will too, if you’re looking for it. View a 3 minute clip by the Chalmers Center on OUR MINISTRY page as we consider our response to poverty.
ZEBS Alumni Conference 2017
This past weekend, we invited our ZEBS alumni to bring their spouse to a conference focused on building healthy marriage and family relationships. We’re thankful for the 37 alumni which were able to come. And for our colleagues who assisted with teaching at this conference. See photos on our PHOTO ALBUM page.
Greg and Carlene began the meetings on Friday by laying a Biblical foundation for marriage. We led the students through passages to demonstrate how God designed men and women to reflect the unified relationships of the Trinity. Created to function as one, our neediness reflects that God’s image remains, though our unity has been broken.
We’re thankful for those who helped with the teaching, and for those who travelled great distances to attend. Pray for God to complete His good work in our lives, and see our PRAYER REQUESTS page for other prayer items.
Carlene and Greg each participated in the activities and services of three Zion churches. We’ve posted pictures and video clips that can be viewed on our website. To view these click on the title next to our picture. From there you can check out our updated pages: PRAYER REQUESTS, HAPPENINGS,PHOTO ALBUM, and OUR MINISTRY.
Destroy this temple, and in three days …I will raise it up.
What’s GOOD about Today? Today Greg traveled five hours to share about the Zion Bible Schools with Pastors from the Christian Catholic Apostolic Church in Zion (pictured above). This is the first time we’ve had this opportunity to share about ZEBS with this denomination and feel like it is a significant step! We are excited that all of their pastors are encouraged by their leadership from the CCAC in Zion, IL to attend a Bible school with ZEMA. Greg traveled 5 hours this morning to meet with their assistant to the General overseer and help to clarify and translate for some of their meetings.
But even more importantly, today is the day we commemorate Jesus’ death. Is that good? Absolutely! We chose the road to destruction, and He took the punishment in our place. Then He overcame that judgment in life, and instead of destruction we have the privilege of being temples and joining with our God through His Spirit.
Enjoy your celebrations this blessed weekend!
Do you not know? Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God. You are not your own, you have been bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you…
Today is Maundy Thursday. Does that mean anything to you? It didn’t to me. What I do know is that today Zionists are traveling all over South Africa to get to their services which begin tomorrow. And for our ministry, this is the busiest weekend of the year. Carlene will host the Easter camp for Umfundisi Shobede’s Church, which comes to Sunbury each year (Baptism above, 2012). Greg will be traveling to various services from the Eastern Cape to Empangeni, which is just north of here.
So, evidently, Maundy comes from the Latin root, “mandatum,” which means command. In the context of Easter, it refers to Jesus’ commands. “A new commandment,” He said. You know it well. Love …as He loved.
How? Listen to others, live with others, connect. Give, and forgive, as He did. “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” That’s grace; His grace. Forgiveness offered, even before the offense is realized. Because “they don’t know….” We think we know, and say we know. But Jesus’ perspective says, we don’t. Forgiveness. A graceful offer to identify, and connect in the most difficult of circumstances. And this is the love He asks us to pass on.
Then? All will know. He will multiply, and build His Church. Today, and every day, that is our goal and our prayer …for you, for the Zionists, and for ourselves.
… you also, love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34 & 35
Over two days we traveled from Chicago’s snow to the sweltering heat of Durban: a temperature change of +80ºF! We arrived in South Africa on 6 January 2017. After spending a year in the USA, to be with our children as they slotted into their new lives in the USA, saying good-bye to them and our grandchildren was quite emotional.
We arrived at Sunbury in the middle of ZEMA’s Annual Missionary Conference. The timing was quite helpful! Though jet-lagged, and I’m not certain how productive our presence at the meetings seemed to others, it was good to be with friends who understood our spaced-out presence and gave us several days where our meals were provided before we needed to do a big grocery shop and begin to fend for ourselves. ZEMA’s conference ended on Monday, and by Friday we were as ready as we could be for students to arrive at Sunbury for ZEBS.
Now we’re happy to begin working out our family life and ministry from this angle. There are still many questions to be answered. But we feel content to wait, believing God will continue to lead us.
Initially, Carlene spent days reclaiming our house from the geckos which had taken over! Greg spent his initial days sorting through names, certificates, and schedules for ZEBS and its students. Presently we’re also deciding what new ministries we will be able to participate in since our workload slightly decreased while we were away.
The past two weekends Greg began teaching once again. He says his Zulu is a bit “rusty,” but he managed with occasional reminders from students who also know English. On Saturday he also preached at an all-night service, which he enjoys immensely.
Carlene is getting caught up with office admin, and once the Newsletter and Blogs are updated will begin writing once again. See the Redeeming Sexual Love page for some details on our Bible study project.
We don’t know how our life and ministry will unfold over the next month and year. What we do know is that we’ll continue to administrate the ZEBS at Sunbury, support the three schools which happen simultaneously in northern KZN (KwaNgwanse, Jozini, Mbazwana) and teach at each of these as well as other opportunities. We’ll also continue to develop mentoring relationships, and continue to edit the Bible study Redeeming Sexual Love.
Each year one of our supporting churches, Christ Community Church, has a week long missions conference, affectionately known by their fellowship as “Convocation Week.” Greg was asked to speak this year at their Convocation’s opening service. The Conference theme was drawn from Revelations Ch 7, which describes a day we look forward to when every tribe and nation will gather at the thrown of God. “Until the Whole World Hears, Convocation 2016” was held September 25-October 2 at the CCC in Zion, IL. An audio of Greg preaching the sermon on that first Sunday is available. You can listen by clicking here. The clip is just over 40 minutes in duration.
It’s good to be with our kids for significant life events and connect with family and friends. Many of these things have been posted on Facebook. If you’re on Facebook but we “aren’t friends” yet, please send us a friend request the next time you go on-line. For those who aren’t on Facebook, in addition to being located in Zion close to Carlene’s family, we’ve had family times in Mississippi and Louisianna with Greg’s family. We also have connected in various ways with each of our supporting churches. And are thankful and happy to welcome Beach Bible Church in Zion to our support team.
We have now begun to visit our support team. Our goal is to get together with as many of our ministry partners as we are able. So far we have traveled through much of the South East United States and are presently on a road trip to visit those living in the North Eastern USA.
Before moving to South Africa in 1993, all of our financial support centered in the Chicago area. Over the 23 years that we have lived overseas, many of our ministry partners have left Northern Illinois. If you are one of those people, we have been looking forward to connecting with you. If you haven’t heard form us already, we’ll be trying to connect soon. Please watch for our call; Greg’s number is 847 309 4890.
Our boys and their families are each transitioning into life in the USA. We’re thankful to be with them for this year. You can see pictures and updates on our Photo Album and Prayer Requests pages on this website. Greg and I have enjoyed our family times and sharing significant events in each of their lives. It has also been good to visit and catch up with friends and supporters. Our Happenings and RSL Bible study pages will give more detail regarding our ministry over the next couple of months.
News from Sunbury
Over the past few years, the electric company in South Africa has not done well. A couple of years ago, we began to have scheduled power outages to lighten the electrical load in the country at any given time. Inconsistent electricity has been a challenge for the camp. It’s hard on the electrical appliances, and it also becomes a problem when there are camps in session. The field council approved the installation of a generator at Sunbury.
Another concern begging for attention has been Sunbury’s timeworn water tank. We’ve fixed it several times and treated the metal to keep rust at bay. None-the-less, the gravity fed system and tank are obsolete and cumbersome to maintain.
The Hoffman’s have done the research and spearheaded both of these projects. As of this week, a new generator is powering a new water pump that will supply the entire camp! These additions to Sunbury are a step toward better. For now, they are working out the kinks. The new pressurized water system blew five geysers, and several pipes began to leak as well. Fortunately, the camp at Sunbury last weekend was a small group. Pray for Dan, Eric and Clive as they work to resolve these problems this week.
One project we would love to see completed while in the USA is to have the manuscript for our Redeeming Sexual Love Bible study in a usable form and being piloted as studies of individuals and groups. Each person who has studied through RSL with us has given us feedback that encourages us to pursue publishing. However, it’s not quite ready! We have asked someone with experience, to edit the manuscript for this Bible study. We hope that her fresh eyes will be able to refine the study in ways we couldn’t. Those who have recommended her services indicate she is good at editing compositions for clarity and flow.
If you or someone you know is interested in working through Redeeming Sexual Love to give us feedback before we take steps to publish, please email us and we’ll get back to you when the manuscript is ready. Also, if you can support this project financially, ZEMA will accept donations earmarked “RSL Bible study”; or this may be done directly through ZEMA’s website by clicking HERE.
We hope to visit each of our supporters and participate in activities at our four supporting churches. If you haven’t heard from us yet, you will. Please feel free to let us know if you are in our area, or have a particular date when getting together works best for you. As much as we are able, we’ll be participating in church life at First Baptist in Sycamore, Christ Community, Grace Missionary, and Beach Bible Churches. Please let us know of your coming events.
We’ve also made ourselves available to ZEMA for stateside missionary conferences, college mission’s weeks and other types of visitations and orientations.
Come directly to this website by clicking on the Title next to our picture above. From there you can check out our updated pages: PRAYER REQUESTS, PHOTO ALBUM and HAPPENINGS.
Over the past three months, we have covered quite a lot of ground and moved from one extreme to the other. But we have much to be thankful for!
We travelled safely, spent Christmas with our family, experienced the extremes of heat and cold, have moved from busy …to still busy. We’re settling into new routines, enjoying reconnecting with our family and friends in the USA and have had good reports, from our co-workers, of all that is carrying on in our absence in South Africa. All is well, and we look forward to finding out what 2016 holds for us. Take a look at our Photo Album to see highlights of the past 3 months.
The reason for our extended furlough this year is to be a part of our boys’ lives as they transition back into the American way of life. We’ll be here as Kyle finishes high school, for the birth of our second grandson, and to be more closely available, as each of them make decisions and are answering the question: “What next?” This year also will give us time to reconnect with our support team, as well as evaluate what it will look like to continue our ministry and still be a part of our family’s lives. In a new way, we’re discovering how to live on both sides of the ocean.
This year we will be working with those in ZEMA’s home office to visit churches and schools to share about ZEMA’s ministries at missions events. We also plan to connect with all of our supporters and, as much as we are able, to participate in events at each of our supporting churches. So, please keep us in mind, over the next months and year; and get in touch with us. Let’s make a date! You can contact us through this website, or email directly.
We are mentoring couples and continuing to edit the Bible study, Redeeming Sexual Love, By the Power of God’s Plan. We’ve had positive feedback from those we’ve gone through this study with, and would like to make it available for others. So we’ll continue to explore what our next steps toward publishing may be; this Monday (8 February), we have a meeting with a woman who may be able to help walk us through this task.
Since arriving in the US, a local ministry has shared with us a support raising opportunity. Through an organization called Integrity, and without any cost to the local business, small businesses have the ability to support community-based ministries (including our ministry in South Africa). If you have a small business or know of one who might be interested, please let us know.