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2004 NEWSLETTER #9

And summer arrives early! Yes, the sun gets up earlier and hotter. The flowers are in bloom and the sunsets are stunning. Greetings from Cape Town!

AIDS CENTER
A few months ago, I was introduced to Pastor Queun Raaf by Samuel Jacobs (I have a regular Sunday morning CBS classes every 2nd and 4th Sunday at his Elsies River congregation). Another local church has taken it upon themselves to fund and operate a small AIDS clinic in their area. Q (I call him that after the special effects guy in the James Bond movies) heads up this program. I was impressed with the way that the Christians have fitted and provided for the clinic without any government assistance. Q felt that AIDS was such a problem in their area and no one helped or assisted those who suffered so much. They were desperately short of Bibles, Sunday School materials and other teaching aids for the church and the clinic – yes, they teach those who come because some of them do not have long to live!

I’ve visited the clinic regularly and donated several boxes of the Celebration 2000 New Testaments which are in a simpler English – the clinic has twenty six beds for people who are extremely ill – and they have placed a brand new New Testament next to each one. Not only do the patients read it but also they ask visitors to read it to them. The impact of the gospel to those without hope is tremendous.

Q is leaving very shortly for the United States to visit his contacts there. I’ve e-mail Alan White at First Christian Church in Chicago to see if there was a speaking opening for Q. Al has responded in a tremendous way, opening doors for the AIDS clinic programs with organizations who could help. Also, Q will travel to Northview Christian Church in Coldwater to speak, too. Our heartfelt thanks goes to Alan White and Jeff Bream (Northview) for providing opportunities.

BAVUMELENI
The Colorado team has arrived safely. Fourteen emerged from the terminal after twenty hours of flying! Pat and I greeted each woman with a giant King Protea to put in their rooms for the two week stay. Primrose and her kids, Doreen, Reinaldo and his wife, Lorna, were all there to welcome the team, too. Although we’d never met anyone other than Wayne and Barbara Ferguson, it was a joyous occasion! The fellowship and camaraderie were immediate.

The team has begun their work and all the changes are such a blessing to Primrose and her helpers. The simple home has no hot water, no shower or bathtub, concrete floors, etc. The inside of the raw asbestos roof sheets were coated and painted several times (yes, in South Africa, asbestos roof sheets are still manufactured and sold as a cheap building material). Plumbing was piped for hot water into the small bathroom where a shower will be installed. Amy, the Ferguson’s granddaughter is an artist and designed, sketched and painted the new sign for the Children’s Center. The floor in the living room was carpet-tiled. New furniture was bought to replace the old sagging sofa and chairs. The work continues…!

All these alterations and materials have been purchased by the team members themselves. They arrived with sleeves rolled up to work, men and women. A few more members arrived a few days later and joined the efforts.

On the last Saturday of the month, Ntobie and I accompanied the team to Paarl (about 30 miles outside of Cape Town) to share a special day of fellowship with a combined group of churches, led by Pastor Happy. I don’t know his last name but happy sure described his eagerness and enthusiasm for the Lord. Ntobie and I were both given an opportunity to speak as well as selected members of the team. It was such a blessed experience and many were moved by the personal testimonies of the team and the teaching of the Word.

The Colorado Christians will be leaving early November. Already they have served so well and Children’s Center has been blessed so much with their efforts and sacrifice.

PERSONAL
Kelley, our youngest son, asked his girlfriend of four years, Louise Jones, to marry him! It was a truly special occasion, done in a true romantic style. Kelley made special posters with board, gold and silver foil with his proposal – very fancy Burma Shave signs. Pat helped him tie them to a series of telephone poles and at the appointed time, I fetched Louise and drove her up the street. Kelley waited for her in the parking lot with sixty yellow roses surrounded by two red ones. He was dressed to the hilt, got down on one knee and asked her to marry him – she was so overcome that she couldn’t accept for a few minutes. He gave her a ring – a Brazilian kunzite (pink) set in white gold, personally handmade by a goldsmith friend of ours. Kelly and Louise left for a work assignment outside of Boca Raton (FL) on a six month contract.

Bad news: gas has gone up again and probably more increases are in the pipeline. Please pray for this – if anyone wishes to help, kindly mark your donations for the Gas Fund.

We are also in prayer, like many of you, for the forthcoming Presidential elections. America needs a strong Christian leader. Please continue to pray.

We thank everyone who has written and encouraged us. The Lord’s work continues and more are being saved every month. May God bless you all.

Steve and Pat Zimmerman
S.A. Christian Mission , Cape Town

SACM Update #12

South Africa, particularly the Mother City of Cape Town, has always been a popular tourist attraction. More so in recent years when the local government realized that by promoting the city, more people would come to spend money!

What began as a simple product saving device on a local farm has turned into one of the most unusual native art scenes in the country. About thirty years ago, a strawberry farmer near Stellenbosch (about 30 miles from Cape Town) realized that much of the loss of his product was due to birds. He asked one of his farmer laborers to build a scarecrow in the field, which was done. The birds persisted but so did the worker. He enlisted the help of a few friends and they scrounged around the farm for bits of wood, canvas and discarded equipment. The farmer was surprised with their ingenuity and bought paint for them, too.

Over the years, the fields have been decorated with colorful scarecrows, misshapen beasts and amusing vehicle-shaped objects. So much so, that the fields have become their own tourist attraction — foreigners flock to the fences to snap pictures of the wonderful native art!

And, of course, they keep the birds away, too!

NEWSLETTER VOL. #7, 2004

Greetings to one and all in the name of Jesus! It seems that the long the year goes on, the faster it moves. (Is that just me or do you feel the same?)

BAVULEMELI
The Children’s Center struggles as it usually does with food for the feeding program. Part of the problem is its own success – street kids gather from all over as the word of mouth spreads. Primrose and Doreen, who prepare the food they have, will not turn anyone away that is hungry. Even if it means cleaning out their own cupboards, they give what they have.

I’ve been trying to integrate the Cape Bible Seminary lessons into practical ministries for those who regularly attend and study the Word. This has always been the aim of the Christian education programs – without help and effort on the ground, the gospel’s message is pretty hollow. It is difficult to teach people who are hungry about Jesus and God’s love. Of all the classes I have, only one is capable, financially and spiritually, to assist the Children’s Center.

The Durbanville group grew out of an introduction by one woman. Over the past eighteen months, it has split, reformed, split and grown into three seperate groups. The original one is hosted by Bro Andre in his home – most who gather regularly on the Monday night course are fairly well off and have good jobs. None of them had ever visitied an African township, just fifteen minutes away by car. During our prayer times for the group, I regularly prayed for Bavumeleni and the kids. Then, Antoinette, the woman who always sat next to me during the courses (the group gathers around a huge dining room table that seats sisteen or so), asked if she could visit the Center with me one day.

I knew Antoinette was sincere but like many Christians had done previously, I didn’t know if a lone white woman from an Afrikaans background would actually be comfortable. At the appointed time, I met Antoinette and with her where an Afrikaans couple, also part of the Monday group, Ria and her husband, Koosie! We drove out and Primrose immeditely embraced all of them warmly. I let her show them around and explain the work that is done for the kids – the feeding program four days a week, the teaching program before and after the soup, the Sunday services conducted by the kids and her own humble home from which she does everything. On the drive back, they were all very quiet. I think Antoinette was nearly in tears.

I needn’t have been concerned about their reluctance to enter an African township. Koosie immediately organized a few boxes of toiletries, soap and shampoo. Ria cleaned out her cupboards and gave several bags of good clothes. Antoinette badgered one of the most exclusive food chains for donations. (It still thrills me even today to see the poorest of society being fed from the king’s table!) The repsonse from these three, who had never set food in a township before, was overwhelming. All of them confided in me that this is what they had been searching for – the opportunity to channel their talents and resources into a practical ministry. I can only thank the Lord for His mercies and what this means to the children.

PERSONAL
Why does the flu attack during the wrong time? Just when the CBS schedule is the busiest, it seems that illness leaps out from nowhere. Normally, a simple cold or flu puts me out of commission for three days or so – this one stayed with me for three WEEKS! Unfortunately, I had to cancel two speaking dates with new contact churches which I was looking forward to with anticipation. CBS courses are introduced soley by word of mouth and I don’t like to disappoint anyone – when the gospel is taught correctly, it changes lives!

A troubling problem for us has been the exchange rate between the US Dollar and the SA Rand – the Dollar’s value has been weakening and less Rand is exchanged for us to use in the CBS programs. Gasoline prices have also been steadily rising. The result of this might be cutting back on travel. Normally, Queenstown is visited for CBS classes and planning every quarter. Then, also the churches in the Boland are visited regularly, too. I don’t want to cut back, particuarly when Christians look forward to the classes. Please pray for this situation – we need help on this.

The Isuzu bakkie didn’t cooperate either. We’ve been noticing small patches on the driveway in recent weeks so I took it down to the dealership for a service and check-up. I was floored when they called to say that the repairs would cost $2000! The seals and gaskets around the gearbox, train and engine neede replacing – some of them were still okay but since they had the whole thing in pieces, it would be wise to replace all of them, they said. Also, there were worn parts in the diff that should be replaced. I quickly wrote to Shirley Neuenschwander and Dave McLaughlin – I was assured that it was okay to proceed. The pick-up is the only heavy haul vehicle we have here and it is needed to distribute books and Bibles. An anonymous donor helped with the repairs and we thank the Lord for that. The Isuzu is back on the road, friskier and better than ever!

Wayne and Barbara Ferguson will be arriving from Colorado with a team to work on the building at Bavumeleni next month. Please pray for their safety. All are hightly motivated to serve the kids and help with painting, repair and maintance.

We thank everyone for your prayers and assistance in the Lord’s work in South Africa.

Steve and Pat Zimmerman
S.A. Christian Mission, Cape Town

Editor’s Note: I want to personally thank you for your financial support and efforts to provide books and materials for the people we reach. I also want to appeal to you on behalf of the work and Steve. As opportunities abound finances are down from last year. We are planning a return trip home for Steve in 2005. In the meantime his personal expenses have greatly been burden by the financial situation in South Africa. Please pray for God’s provisions as we wait upon Him. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us. Thank you!

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