South African Christian Mission

"Our Core Mission: Teach, Train and Equip"

EXPECTATIONS

Over the past few months, I have had so much to reflect upon. The biggest interruption was the passing of my friend, co-worker and translation, Thompson Ntobie. We had so many plans in the hopper and were working hard on every one of them. A few good young Christian men have stepped forward in the gap and the work is continuing.

During this process of change and re-evaluation, I have realized a few steps that needed to be taken:

1. Focus on the road ahead with the projects that show results.

2. Leave behind things that aren’t working or are marginal.

3. Incorporating minor programs into a larger framework.

The mission is spread too thin. Ntobie and I worked together but had different areas and projects. The co-workers who have stepped into the gap, need focus and consolidation of their efforts.

MAIN  GOALS

There are two main areas which have shown and are showing dramatic results:  the Cape Bible Seminary courses and classes and the Bibles for Africa project.

For the past 30 years, the CBS has been highly successful in teaching, training and equipping ordinary Christians for practical Christian ministries. Every church or group has grown consistently and new congregations formed in different areas when newly trained pastors and teachers have expanded their outreach programs. During the closing months of 2012, I spoke at four locations where I’d never been before with dramatic results:  when the gospel was preached, the entire congregation came forward to commit themselves to Christ’s service! There were many baptisms and people who’d been absent, sometimes for years, returned. All four of these little town churches were now English speaking — language has become less of an issue than before. (Which means that the time and effort spent on translation work is lessening.)

Within the past few months, invitations to teach in other African counties have been issued. Benin, Ghana, Nigeria (all in northwestern Africa) and Malawi (adjacent to Zimbabwe)! These are serious pastors who desperately need the practical teaching of the gospel for Christians who want to serve. The Cape Bible Seminary’s outreach is far beyond the borders of South Africa — its reputation has spread thousands of miles north!

Newsletter #7 2010

McLaughlin New Life Center – BIBLES NEEDED!

We are out of Bibles and New Testaments of every kind and description. The pallet is empty of the boxes where they used to be. Every visitor first asks for Bibles. Now I must send them away empty handed. The Word of God is the most sought after book in the Center even though the Sunday School and VBS materials, commentaries and other Christian literature are invaluable to the churches for teaching.

Good news just came in – a donation has been promised to send out the next 20′ Container! This is an answer to prayer because we are quickly running out of eveything! We would welcome any donations of Bibles, New Testaments, etc, especially if anyone knows a publisher who is willing to donate old stock, remaindered stock or new Bibles. Please contact Mark Vernik (567-825-1198) or Bob Snyder (517-639-3221). Our need for the Word is great!

Everyone who wishes to collect books from the Center must write a letter, send a fax or e-mail, listing their needs. One group, led by Harold and Mario, made a connection with a Christian police Captain and told him of our Bibles for Africa project. Captain Niemand is so keen and wants to work closely with us to ensure that the Bibles and books go to the right people. He nearly cried when he saw the two boxes of Bibles that Harold brought to him!

There are many stories like this I could share but it is obvious that this work reaches far beyond my line of sight. Pastors are teaching better, Sunday School teachers have good materials for the kids and students have commentaries and other Christian books to learn and pass along. The excitement and joy is palpable. I really believe that if a Container could be shipped every quarter, the Lord’s work would expand significantly and more people would come to know Jesus. Our prayers are for donations to ship a Container and Bibles and other books to fill it. Please add this to your prayer lists!

Cape Bible Seminary

The classes are winding down for December. Usually, the factories and schools close for the summer break, usually 5 weeks, and people go away on vacation. Three of the CBS classes have already been curtailed – each class had a small Christmas party in celebration. The Stellenbosch group had one last Thursday evening. Each Christian shared their feelings and thoughts about this year of 2010. I hadn’t realized just how much the group appreciated the teaching. This is a small but growing church, determined to make an impact in the community.

Thompson Ntobie just returned from Queenstown after visiting the region. One church is building a church hall on their own and have raised the walls to roof height. Another group has applied for and been given a piece of land in the township to build, too. The church in Swellendam (approx 2 hrs from Cape Town along the southern coastal area) is also busy with an active church building program. The work is expanding and groups are taking responsibility for their own growth. This is the objective of the Cape Bible Seminary: to teach, train and equip Christians for service. It is paying off and the results are there!

Visitor

My sister, Sara, flew into Cape Town International Airport in the wee hours of Saturday morning. She was a little tired but happy to return to her city of birth after three decades of absence. We’ve been taking Sara round to the usual tourist spots in and around the city, as well as CBS classes and Sunday worship services. She is shocked to see how much has changed! (Sara will leave on Friday, December 17th, 2010.)

Personal

I had an urgent phone call early one morning a few weeks ago: one of Kent’s best friends had tried to commit suicide. I’ve known Kent’s friend for many years – he and his wife were visitors in my home and I even prayed a blessing for their two children. It was a shock to learn that such a young man would want to take his own life, especially when he had a wife and two kids.

I visited him in the hospital a few times and later at a clinic for depression. He responded well to our conversations and his first request was for a Bible. I was able to give him one of the last ones I had. He recovered and was sent home with medication. Two weeks ago, his wife called and asked if both of them could be baptized at our home! I was able to talk to them about their commitment to Jesus and once they understood, I immersed them into Christ! Their families were here to witness their change of heart and life – this has already generated many questions, too. The couple still needs counseling and prayer.

South Africa

The bad news is that gasoline had risen three times in the past three months without pause. Added to that the Dollar/Rand situation has gone against us, too, which makes our ability to travel and teach a little more limited. (Gasoline is the largest single expense for the mission.) I’ve had to cancel two trips because of lack of funds. We need your prayers and help. Many churches and groups plan way ahead of time to host us so they can heard the Word taught effectively. I am just as disappointed as they are when I cannot go to them.

My youngest son, Brice, and his wife, Louise, are expecting their second son in March 2011! They announced this a few months ago only to the family. Now that they are sure that everything is going well, Brice and Louise have announced it to everyone! I am so happy for them with the new life that God gives!

I want to thank all of you for your prayers, support and concern for the Lord’s work here. The programs and projects of the mission are finally gleaning the results we have prayed for all these years. It is exciting to work alongside dedicated African men and women who have the vision and the ability to make a difference.

And, from all of us, to all of you, Happy Christmas in Jesus!!

Steve Zimmerman

S.A. Christian Mission, Cape Town

Newsletter #4 2008

Newsletter #4 2008
The Container sitting at the retreat center, Anathoth.

The Container sitting at the retreat center, Anathoth.

Greetings to all in the name of our Lord! Cape Town is experiencing a wonderful winter – rain, rain, rain! We are thankful for this heavenly blessing and hope that the water restrictions will be lifted this year.

CONTAINER

After a lot of planning and packing, the Land/Sea Container was finally shipped. It arrived safely and was hauled to “Anathoth”, the Christian retreat center not far away. Originally, it was supposed to be set down in a space prepared for it on a bed of stone and bricks. But the truck hauling it could only unload the container sideways and so we had to make hasty arrangements.

Right away, as it was opened, there was a blessing. A young Christian man had arrived at “Anathoth” because he felt drawn there and he was surprised to see an entire container load of Bibles, books and teaching materials! After I inspected the first row of boxes, I hauled an old briefcase from the top layer, opened it and found it was stuffed with Bibles. I handed to the young man, who had helped with the boxes, and said this was his blessing from America. You could not wipe the smile from his face!

Already, many boxes of Bibles and Sunday School/VBS materials have been distributed. Every day, I get calls from churches and individuals who want God’s Word. Also, there was a donation of used computers, which I have been formatting and giving to families who don’t have one. Also, I don’t know who put in two boxes of French books but the Congolese refugees were beside themselves to have things in their own language! (My sincere thanks to the unknown donor – you have really gladdened their hearts!)

The Container will be temporary storage until a storage facility can be constructed at “Anathoth”. Then, the train from America to South Africa will be complete and the containers can be sent expeditiously.

My thanks to all those who packed, repacked, stored, sorted, hauled and labored so hard to ensure this container came. So many lives have been blessed because of your hard work!

CAPE  BIBLE  SEMINARY

Pastor David Swartz was ordained at a small church in Mitchell’s Plain this month. Dave was a regular student at the Cape Bible Seminary courses and decided to start a church in his area. It was tough work at first but he rented a small classroom and went from door to door in the area. I went to teach in this fledgling congregation a few times and it has really grown. Dave invited me to his ordination to give a keynote address.

Also, Pastor Kleber from Brazil was welcomed as a pastor in the Portuguese speaking church in Goodwood. He has been through very difficult times but in all, has remained faithful to the Lord. The congregation accepted him back as their pastor and the church continues to grow under his leadership. Pastor Kleber has been to a few CBS classes and I had taught in the church for several months a few years ago. It is good to see such spiritual strength and courage.

TRANSLATORS

Thompson Ntobie continues to use his new office and equipment to translate many lessons and outlines for the Cape Bible Seminary. At 85, he works hard all the time and it is difficult to get him to take a break. Simon Mainze, who used to assist Thompson, is still in hospital after a brutal attack that left him in a coma for a few months. We visited him there but his condition is serious. While his body has healed, he still has a huge memory loss. The doctors say that they are not confident of a full recovery. Simon needs your prayers.

FURLOUGH

It’s been three years. Now, the time for furlough is here. Once again, Mark Vernik (Lima, OH) is arranging speaking dates and times for me. I really don’t know how he does it so well and efficiently without tearing his hair out. I arrived in Chicago on Sept 5th 2008 and spoke first in Aurora (IL) and then Chicago that weekend. The church in Jenison (near Grand Rapids) provided a place for me to stay as a base as I travel around. What a joy it has been to visit with so many of you support the work in South Africa.  It has been a real pleasure visiting the United States but am also eager to return to the work.

PRAYER LIST

Please pray for this coming furlough and that God’s Truth be proclaimed. Please continue in prayer for Dave McLaughlin and his cancer treatment.

Please pray for my mother, Jean Zimmerman, and her health. She is 90.

For all your prayers and concerns for the Lord’s work, many thanks. May God continue to bless each of you as you serve Him.

Steve and Pat Zimmerman

S.A. Christian Mission, Cape Town

 
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