Greetings to one and all in the New Year! We are in the middle of a scorching hot summer while most of America is wrapped in the cold. Perhaps we could arrange a bit of a trade?

The 2004 school year for the Cape Bible Seminary was truly a blessing, both to all those who regularly attended the courses and myself personally. The Lord speaks directly through His Word if a clear channel is maintained through prayer and study. The total enrollment for this year exceeded 200, although the regulars numbered just over half of that.

The bridge between rich and poor was formed when first, one woman, then her friends, became involved in the Bavumeleni Children’s Center — I teach every Monday night at Bro Andre’s home in Sonstraal, a wealthy suburb in the northern part of the city. Antoinette only began attending regularly in April but when she heard about the work we were doing with the African kids, she asked to come along. Since then, she has not only garnered food donations from stores and shops but also has encouraged five more people within the Monday night group to become personally involved. Primrose and Doreen, who run the children’s center, have been blessed with so much food, clothing and other needs through Antoinette and her crew.

The Thursday night group is conducted in a school room in Athlone, part of the city’s ganglands. Bro Denzil leads a small group of younger Christians whose lives has been changed by the regular study of the Scriptures. In April 2005, they plan their own mission trip to Pretoria (1000 miles north) to reach the youth for Christ.

More than anything else, this fulfills the objectives of the Cape Bible Seminary. Teaching isn’t an exercise in communication, education or intellectual understanding — the Word must be revealed to bring the Light into the hearts and minds of Christian men and women in order to meet the needs of others and lead them to the Cross.

The churches and preaching stations in the Queenstown area have really grown in 2004. Ntobie and I visit them every quarter to teach classes and encourage the brethren to continue their works of excellence. Six months ago, as part of the Container Project to distribute teaching materials, Bibles and books, we took a large load of books to begin their fledgling library. The church had set aside a room in an abandoned factory (which they are purchasing and renovating) for this — already, the shelves are up, the books have been unpacked and people are coming.
Next month, Ntobie and I will take another load of boxes to Queenstown to fill out the shelves and strengthen their resolve to each the community through a library. There is no public library in the township and already, people are making use of the books and pupils from the various schools are studying there. (The books cannot be checked out — people sit and read them in the room.)

In addition, the Queenstown brethren have purchased three more church sites, built a small hall on one and laid foundations on another. Their growth rate is the highest in the brotherhood — nearly 200 people were baptized in 2004.

As much as I wish to stay in South Africa and continue the work, this is also the year for furlough. The South African Christian Mission Board, which meets bi-annually, decided that it is better to have a three year field service and return for furlough. It is planned for Pat and I to return in May 2005 for three or four months.

We need your prayers and help during this time. Ideally, we’d like to be based in Michigan from mid-June onwards to reach the supporting churches and groups in the Midwest. We will need accommodation as well as a a vehicle. (If we could housesit for someone on vacation and borrow a car, that would be an answer to prayer.)

There are many new projects and areas of outreach which are opened for us. Many times, I feel that we think too linearly and aren’t open to new opportunities and avenues. This past year has been an eye opener, despite the problems and setbacks. It is our intention to raise more support in order to better help those who are in need and teach them Jesus.

We ask for your prayers as we all serve our Lord.

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

Trip plans are now in the process. Florida is Steve’s first stop as it is a direct flight from South Africa. Currently plans are for Steve to reach the midwest by mid-June. We have received numerous emails to have Steve visit. Once the initial plans are in place the scheduling will begin in earnest for the midwest! Also, I want to encourage everyone to signup for the automated emailing list for updates and news. This will be very helpful to your mission group and individuals interested in the mission. Steve is always a good read! Simply send an empty email to
Mark Vernik