Maundy Thursday

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

Adjusting ~ We’re Back in South Africa

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.

Home USA …just before Christmas.

Home SA …just after we arrived!

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.


Unity in Diversity

img_1892Each 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.

What’s Up?

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.

Support team map 2016

Life on Two Sides of the Ocean

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.

Photo by Kyle Seghers


Home Assignment -April 2016

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.

From Busy ….To Still Busy

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.

Loved, the lights… it’s been a long time!
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. 

Thankful Thoughts As We Tie Up Loose Ends

As we enter the holiday season, we have much to be thankful for. Our children are healthy and transitioning well into new stages of life. Even though we live on the opposite side of the globe, we can communicate with each of them regularly. We are blessed by family, co-workers and ministry partners who have willingly stepped into new roles to cover for our absence both in America this year, and in South Africa next year. And we are blessed to be a witness to God working in people’s lives.

Kyle is living with Carlene’s family who have graciously, without any hesitation taken him into their hearts and home. We are so thankful for each one who has been gracious and flexible in these new circumstances.  Corbin and Madeline are both happy in their jobs. It’s been a blessing to see our son and his bride live and grow together. Ryne and Amy are expecting another baby boy in May, and Tyler chatters away on Skype telling us about ….well, we haven’t figured that out yet! In the many circumstances of our family, we are thankful for God’s provision, health and new life as He moves us forward day by day.

Greg completed photocopying all of the lessons that will be needed for our Zion Evangelical Bible Schools (ZEBS) in 2016.  We are thankful Pastors Khuba, Shobede, Mbonambi, and co-workers, Marius & Nozipho Swart, Eric deLange, and Dan & Beth Hoffman have each stepped forward to run, or assist with the running of these schools in our absence.

Pastors Khuba, Shobede, Greg and Mbonabi


Dan and Beth Hoffman
Dan and Beth Hoffman

Eric and Di deLange
Eric and Di deLange

Over the past few years, Greg and I have been privileged to share in the lives of a few couples through mentoring relationships and studying the word of God together. It is a blessing to see God build communication skills and understanding, as seeds of truth from the Bible become relevant and practical in their lives and marriages.

One of these couples has been Marius Swart and Nozipho Zincume. We have known Marius since he joined ZEMA and began his ministry with the amaZioni in 2011.

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Marius and Nozipho’s wedding ceremony at Sunbury in October. See more wedding pictures in our Photo Album.

Nozipho graduated from ZEBS and then agreed to continue as a translator for the Umlazi school where Marius was teaching. Eventually, a spark ignited between translator and teacher. We have gotten to know this couple over the past year and are blessed by the times we have shared together. In October, we were privileged to witness their vows, and what was a really beautiful joining of families and cultures.

It is likely your next communication from us will be in person during Christmas, or in the New Year of 2016! We wish you and your family a blessed and safe holiday this season! With love, Greg and Carlene


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Our South African “Butterfly Christmas,” taken at Sunbury 2003
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ZEMALOGO 2011zion

Ministry Happenings In August

Short Term Ministry/Visitors

Joel Cabrita is a professor at Cambridge University. Presently she is researching Zion history and the amaZioni church movement in Southern Africa. She is writing a textbook relating the history of the church in Zion IL, USA, to African church history and the amaZion movement of Southern Africa. We had a great time sharing with her.

Pastor James Wychers and Randy Elrod of the Beach Bible Church in Zion IL, are presently with us. They assisted with teaching at the Sunday School Teacher Training and ZEBS teacher conference this past weekend. They then traveled to Nkandla with Umfundisi Khuba to experience life at his home and in his community. James taught at KwaMashu ZEBS last week and will again this week.

Sunday School Teacher/ZEBS Teacher Training

Over the weekend, over 100 people attended our Sunday school teacher training and ZEBS teacher’s Conference. We discussed how to teach and lead children to Christ. We also equipped them with the materials for nine lessons based on the fruit of the spirit. The ZEBS teachers also participated in times of discussion, fellowship, and Bible study together.

Joel visited a Zion church service and Umlazi ZEBS. This school is now taught by pastor Ngcobo (far right), Mark Hugo (back left) and Marius Swart (back right).


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Pictured from left to right are Pastors James Wychers, Khuba, Mrs. Mpungose and Randy Elrod.

Sunday School teachers preparing their resources to take home.

For more pictures, see our PHOTO ALBUM by clicking that tab located on the menu bar above.

Home Assignment 2016

We will be in the USA for the full year of 2016 on home assignment. This home assignment will be our longest time in the USA since 1997. During this time with our children, we will be evaluating how to be “a family in two countries”. We will try to envision how we might better be available to our family while continuing our life and relationships with friends and ministry partners in South Africa. We are presently scheduling our time in the USA. Please let us know of events that we might participate in with you and your church. We also plan to commit time to working and help out in ZEMA’s home office.

By request of the national pastors we work with, the ZEBS we oversee will continue in our absence. Please pray for those who have stepped forward to carry on in our absence: Abafundisi Khuba, Shobede, Mbonambi and fellow missionaries Marius Swart, Eric deLange and Dan Hoffman.

For more PRAYER REQUESTS, click on the tab for that page, located above. You may also view our updated schedule, by clicking on the HAPPENINGS tab, also located on the menu bar above.