A blazing hot summer’s here, water restrictions are killing the lawn and America is inundated with snow and floods! Can’t you send some our way?

Greetings to one and all in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

It’s all very well to have classes, teach courses and host a Bible study. Knowledge of the Word is crucial to our spiritual health and vitality in our daily walk. Yet, many Christians learn the Scriptures as an intellectual exercise. During my years teaching in the CBS, I’ve concentrated upon teaching practical Christian ministries at every level within the church communities. Success is sometimes difficult to judge — class numbers are only an indication. But there are incidents of such powerful impact which confirms that the Word can and does change lives.

Rita is a woman in a midlife crisis: she’s been divorced, her sons weren’t spiritually minded and she has always considered herself to be a “Christian” of one sort or another. Rita attends one of the local Dutch Reformed congregations (Christian Reformed in the US) and was entered on their membership role.

A friend, Antoinette, told her about the Cape Bible Seminary class which met every Monday night near her home. At first, she thought it was just another boring Bible study group but one night last year, she came along to see what it was all about. I was teaching a course on “How to Give A Christian Witness” — a very practical workshop style course designed to teach every Christian how to explain the hope that is within them. From then on, Rita became a regular class member. She had many questions, which hadn’t been answered in the normal congregational context, and became more and more fascinated with the study of the Bible. One evening, during the usual coffee and tea served after the class was over, I learned that Rita hadn’t been immersed. (She had been sprinkled and confirmed in the Dutch Reformed church and felt that was sufficient.) Bro Andre, who hosts the CBS classes in his home, and I spoke to her about it when she raised the question — we explained what the Bible said about immersion and she listened carefully. I asked her to seriously pray and think about it but that I’d be ready to baptize her at any time, anywhere.

Two weeks ago, during a visit at Andre’s home, Rita asked him to baptize her into Jesus! She confessed Christ as her Lord, then taken into the swimming pool and immersed. I was at another CBS class in the townships and missed this wonderful event. The next time I saw Rita, her face was filled with joy and she could hardly contain herself. She’d become a child of God. To further encourage Rita, I presented her with an NIV Thompson Chain study Bible that had been sent in the last Land/Sea Container. She could barely hold back the tears. The entire Monday night group celebrated a new life in Christ Jesus. Her sons have seen the change in her heart and are already asking about her it. It is incidents such as these that really give impetus to my ministry of teaching. Rita said that it was the practical impact of the Word that made the difference in her mind — she wanted to be obedient to her Lord.

Plans are going ahead. So far, it appears that I will start in Florida, work my way west, then back to the Midwest. Mark Vernik (mlvernik@mac.com) is working out the schedule. We are setting up dates for the supporting churches as well as including new contacts for support, whether congregations, groups or individuals. If you can help in any way, please e-mail him or call (419-222-1198). This needs to be finalized fairly soon.

Two disturbing factors are greatly influencing the South African Christian Mission’s programs — the weakening dollar and the dramatic rise in oil prices. Since two years ago, the dollar has lost nearly 40% of its value against the local currency, the Rand. This means that we have 40% less resources to bring to bear in the Lord’s work. In addition, the government has been spiking the gasoline prices by 20-40 cents a liter, which severely restricts our movements. Our belts have been tightened to the limit. We need your prayers and help.

Our thanks for all the cards and letters from various people. It is encouraging that you remember us. We thank the Lord for you.

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

NOTE: The schedule dates has begun to fall into place. I appreciate the great flexibility the mission committees, staff and leadership has had during the planning stages. Now that the initial schedule has taken shape we will be able to start full steam ahead with the mid-west portion of the schedule. Feel free to drop me an email to ensure that your congregation isn’t missed during this vital planning stage.

Please be in prayer for the trip, Steve’s safety and the finances for the trip. As you read in the letter the economic situation is stretching the ministry in many ways, especially Steve’s family. One of the greatest things you could do for the ministry is to arrange for Steve to have contact with other people and congregations to meet Steve while here in the US. Every contact for Steve will enable us to expand both the prayer and financial support for Steve’s ministry in South Africa and his unique outreach. Sincerely, Mark Vernik

May 15 – Chancey Road (am) Zephyrhills Christian (pm) in Florida
May 18 – Grove Park Christian (pm)
May 22 – Southside Christian (am)
May 29 – waiting on confirmation
June 5 – Los Alamos, New Mexico
June 8 – Riverside, Denver CO (pm)
June 12 – Central Christian, Washington State (am)
June 19 – First Christian, Chicago IL (am)
June 26 – Rousculp Church, Lima OH