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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
….How Greg sounds when he’s speaking Zulu? We’ve added a new page to our blog called, “Experience Our Ministry”. On it we’ve shared short video clips of what it might be like to visit our ministry, and see and experience it’s sights and sounds. To view these clips, come to our blog by clicking on the Title next to our picture to the left.