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?)
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.
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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