South African Christian Mission

"Our Core Mission: Teach, Train and Equip"

SACM Update #10

The request was simple: a Christian in the United States sent a special study Bible to be given specifically to a “Proverbs #31 Woman”! The intention was to provide a “woman of noble character” with the Bible to assist her in the work the Lord had set aside for her. If you read Prov 31:10-31, the woman that is described has sterling qualities of hard work, compassion and awareness.

Primrose is such a woman. Her husband abandoned her many years ago with three children and when she moved to Cape Town to find work, she noticed street children similarly abandoned by their parents. Primose couldn’t bear to see them sleeping in the streets, being preyed upon by gangs or adults so she started a feeding scheme in her home. Even though she herself didn’t have much, she shared what she had and trusted in the Lord to provide.

Today, the Bavumeleni Children’s Center feeds three hundred children four times a week. Usually, it is a vegetable stew with bread but the kids come from all over the township for a hot meal and a hug. Primrose knows each child and their circumstance. She not only teaches them basic hygiene, manners and language but shares the many stories and lessons she’s learned by heart from the New Testament. On Sunday, the older kids conduct their own worship service under the watchful eye of Primrose!

Steve Zimmerman has been helping the Bavumeleni kids after meeting with Primrose. The children are eager to learn the Bible and Steve has passed along used Sunday School and VBS materials to Primrose and her helper, Doreen. This has already made a significant impact, not only with the kids, but also Primose’s knowledge of the Word.

There are plans to obtain a vacant plot across the street to build a proper center. The municipality owns the land but the processes are very slow. Steve is speaking with the higher echelons to try to speed up the process so that the kids can have a proper place to study, worship and play safely.

NEWSLETTER VOL. #6, 2004

The past weeks have flown by so quickly that I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland — “Late, late, for a very important date!” I hope that summertime isn’t doing the same to you where you are. Greetings to on and all in the Lord’s name.

LAND/SEA CONTAINER
My phone has been ringing with requests for the Bible and books! The word has flown around town like wildfire that the Bibles are finally here – I barely had time to locate certain boxes before the calls flooded through every day. My first distribution was to an AIDS clinic run by a local church in the ganglands about eight miles from our home. All the patients are terminal and bedridden. The Celebration 2000 New Testaments are ideal because many of the patients aren’t that well educated and their English skills aren’t that good. But the joy on the faces of some of the people was touching – they realized that perhaps their last hope in this world was in that New Testament. In coordination with the local church leaders, I am scheduled to speak at a Bible Conference to train and equip the Christians to help those who are dying.

This is the entire objective of the Cape Bible Seminary – to work in conjunction with congregations and teach Christians to meet the needs of their communities. This church has the basic infrastructure and I can motivate and teach those who wish to serve Christ with their talents and abilities. I’ve also distributed Sunday School materials to the teachers of the church, a number of whom teach in the local schools. They are all excited that they have excellent American workbooks and age-related programs to present to the kids. Now, the principal of the local school wants to know if he can have a few boxes of New Testaments, too!

I already know from the preliminary response that the Container load of books and Bibles will change lives!

CAPE BIBLE SEMINARY
There are cycles in Christian teaching. Unlike the Bible colleges in the US that start and end at given times of the year, the Cape Bible Seminary is always on call to meet the needs of the churches. Usually during December and January, most of the African Christians return to their homelands for summer break and many churches wind down their programs. This year, solely via word of mouth, the CBS courses doubled within a month! Two brand new areas have been opened because former students have begun outreach programs and serving Christ where they are.

One group is led by Pastor Jerome Petersen and is located in the middle of the ganglands of Elsies River. As I drive through the township at night, the gangs are huddled around small barrel-fires warming themselves. Drugs are sold in the front of the scruffy mass apartments. Prostitutes hang around the corners near the main road. But in Jerome’s back room, which he converted into a large space in which to worship on Sundays, are twenty or thirty Christians ready to study the Word. Most are under thirty and are hungry for good teaching.

The second group is a small but active Portuguese-speaking church in Parow, about eight miles from our home. On Sunday mornings, the services and Sunday School is done entirely in Portuguese for the congregation’s benefit. The pastor (from Angola, a former Portuguese colony) decided to reach out into the community and began English classes on Sunday evenings. This is a new effort to bring the gospel to the surrounding area. One of my CBS students, Reinaldo, a Brazilian Christian, offered my services to help! The group is quite small, perhaps fifteen or so, but the inaugural service was fairly well attended. I noticed that as I spoke, three or four men were translating for their wives so they wouldn’t miss anything.

PERSONAL
The Rand/Dollar exchange rate is moving strongly against us at the moment and added to that, the gasoline price is rising again. We’ve saved during the good exchanges and have planned for this eventuality – but if it continues into the latter part of this year, things might become very tight.

We ask for your prayers for the new CBS classes and the gasoline. The Lord is really opening many doors of opportunity and the gospel is reaching many.

In Christ,

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

Container – What you can do

Greetings to you all in the name of Christ Jesus:

I’ve been informed by the Snyders that they have almost enough books and materials to fill another container. However, there is still a problem.

We need many more Bibles, Bible commentaries, Bible dictionaries, devotional materials Sunday School materials and VBS materials. You already know what we don’t need: KJV Bibles and hymnals.

Here is what we want you to do:

1. Let your church, Sunday School Classes (including children), women’s circles or study groups, Bible study fellowships, etc., know of the need and how they can all become partners with the SACM to “Share the Word” with the Africans.
2. Put an article in the bulletin, newsletter, etc., regarding the need.
3. Place a box or other collection point for the donations.
4. Check the church library, Sunday School storage and other storage areas for materials that are no longer used. What your church has and doesn’t use can be put to good use by the African Christians who don’t have such materials and have no way to acquire them.
5. Share the Word means good stewardship of what God still owns and has provided to us for a time!

Thank you. We look forward to seeing all of you at the October 30th meeting of the SACM directors and friends.

In Christ, forever,

David McLaughlin