Greetings in Christ to everyone! Spring is here – boids choip, spring is sprung, the grass is riz! And I’m loving every minute of it.
The certain sectors of the SA economy are growing but always far behind the 40% plus unemployment rate. This means that an increasing number of young Africans who finish school still cannot find work – which puts a strain on family and church structures.
Worse for us is that the barrel price of oil has increased and the government has added price rise after price rise in dizzying amounts. I am sure that you’ve also had gas price increases, too! Currently the price is R6.12 per liter [$3.30 per gallon (dm)] and there is talk about a decrease of six or seven cents by the end of the month. The second piece of bad news is that the Rand/Dollar exchange rate has gone against us and was down to R6-09 per Dollar last week. [The exchange rate is now R7.0 per dollar (dm)] With fuel going up and less Rand coming in means that we’re being squeezed.
CAPE BIBLE SEMINARY
There are classes every Monday through Thursday at different places in the city. I have had many more requests for classes than I have time for. The Tuesday evening group, hosted by Pastor Ivan, will be taking a breather for a few months during their summer evangelism campaigns in different communities. The teaching they have asked me to provide during the past months has focused specifically on outreach and bringing the lost to Christ. Right now, they are in a high state of excitement and cannot wait to begin their projects. Ten students received their certificate of completion on the first Sunday in May in front of the church – it was a wonderful celebration!
CAPE BIBLE SEMINARY LIBRARIES
The very first CBS Library/Reading Room was officially opened in Belhar (a township about two miles from Ntobie’s house) on May 27th 2006. Ro Danny Petersen and his team have worked so hard to convince the leadership that one was necessary and when granted a space on the upper floor at the rear, to paint, repair and shelve the space. Danny and I selected boxes of Christian books, Bibles and Sunday School materials as well as dictionaries, encyclopedias and school text books to begin the fledgling project. Invitations were sent out to the local schools, churches and social services – over fifty people attended the opening. I was the keynote speaker and had many people come to talk to me about Bible courses and preaching! Bro Danny, the pastor (Bro Jonas) and I cut the ribbon to open the room. It was a tremendous boost, not only for the church, but also for the school kids in the area and an adult literacy program which a retired librarian is teaching.
Another CBS Library/Reading Room will be opened shortly in Hout Bay, about twenty miles south of where we live. Pastor Abie Oliver managed to wrestle the old police station from the local municipality for a nominal rental. He invited me to inspect the premises with him – it badly needed paint and repair but we found a good sized room to serve as the reading room. I’ve taught many CBS courses to the church and they’ve wanted a resource center for a few years. Pat and I helped to clean and repair the place. Bro Abie found shelving somewhere and together with Bro Graham Malgas, who is heading up the CBS library project, they took out several loads of books. (Abie and one of the elders used their cars and loaded them to the rafters – every time they went around a corner, I thought the cars would weave right off the load!) This church is the only one I know of that has a jail cell in their worship area. I guess if you don’t bring your offerings, it could go badly…!
An official opening in Hout Bay will be very soon.
It is our objective to establish ten CBS Library/Reading Rooms in ten years. The brethren in Queenstown have also fixed up a room in their large factory complex and are busy with the shelving and lighting. Ntobie and I are planning to drive another ton of books to them at the end of November and open the facility.
The biggest problem we have in the whole Container Project lies in South Africa, not America. Bob and Roberta Snyder are doing excellent work in collecting, sorting and packing thousands of books. When a container is ready, Northview Christian Church sends a team of workers to load it for shipment.
Our major problem is storage. Bro Mark Abrahams found a temporary place for us earlier this year. It was always understood that we’d have to move the boxes whenever the company required the space. Suddenly, in June, we had to move. On moving day, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong but with the help of our hard-working Congolese brethren, the heavy boxes were moved.
Pastor Samuel Jacobs offered the Elsies River church building. It is owned by a member who has been kind enough to give me a spare set of keys so I can access the books at any time. Due to some internal strife, the owner wants to sell the building outright – the purchase price is $45,000 at the current exchange rate and it is a bargain! It has an annex that is more than enough space for our needs. At this moment, Bro Sam, Graham Malgas and I are talking with the owner directly. I ask for urgent prayer for this situation because if it cannot be purchased at this price, then it will be sold on the open market. (The owner prefers to sell it to Christians.)
Along with the CBS courses, I am continually busy with evangelism, primarily amongst the refugees. Most of them are Christians with much zeal but little knowledge. Bro Kiko Kaumbo from the Congo has been particularly persistent in getting me to preach and teach the Word amongst his people in Eersterivier, about ten miles from our home. They are all very enthusiastic learners, fluent in French – I have French translators to assist.
Old CBS students, Bro John Abrahams and Joe Sebastian, have started a new church in Kalksteenfontein, very close to the train station. I was the keynote speaker for their first service and twenty people accepted the Lord. Their enthusiasm for the lost and knowledge of the Word have ensured a highly successful ministry.
Another new church was begin in Belhar by Bro Lawrence. Instead of a main service in the morning, he decided to move it to the evening – the small building was packed when I spoke. Eleven people came forward to accept Christ.
The Queenstown church continues to grow by leaps and bounds. I cannot keep track of all their baptisms and bringing backsliders into the fold! Most Africans aren’t bean counters and really don’t pay too much attention to numbers – they just concentrate on seeking the lost wherever they may be found.
BAVUMELENI CHILDRENS CENTER
Sister Primose continues to work hard with the children in the township. She rarely has a rest because the street kids come to her at all hours of the day and night. Even young mothers come to her and ask how they can better care for their babies and children.
We are still trying to obtain the plot of land across the street but the municipality is taking their sweet time. Primrose says that when the Lord is ready for us to move at the right time, then no one can stop it!
Tom Dumez from Jenison Christian Church has been in touch with Dave McLaughlin and me regarding a work team to visit the mission. One of the group will be Lydia Neuenschwander who has been eager to come to Africa for many years. I know that their visit will be very taxing and rewarding.
[Note: the Team arrived safely last Saturday night and are working very hard. So far, they’ve painted the asbestos ceiling to seal it, fixed the shower and are now tearing out walls! They will return Thursday, Oct 19th. Please keep them in your prayers!]
Pat’s Mom, Lee Sweeney, became very ill and Pat flew over quickly to take care of her. A month after Pat returned, Lee died in her sleep. Currently, Pat is in South Carolina with our sons and will return Oct 23rd. She is coping well and taking a badly needed break. We want to thank all of you for your prayers and help, particularly the Whites, the McLaughlins and Shirley. We also received condolences from many others for which we are thankful.
I went through a whirlwind of tests and a prostate biopsy. I wasn’t feeling badly or anything but everybody around me seemed to be alarmed at my blood pressure (168/118) – I felt fine! Anyway, after blood tests and a whole bunch of other things, the urolgist discovered an enlarged prostate and did a biopsy, which turned out negative for cancer, etc. Evidently it was a long term inflammation. Right now, I have to take blood pressure medication and Pat has dragged along handfuls of other stuff like vit E, ginko biloba and other things I cannot pronounce. Again, I want to thank everyone for their prayers for me during this stressful period.
There are so many people who work so hard to ensure the success of the S.A. Christian Mission. It isn’t just us on the ground here – we cannot do what we do without the help, prayers, toil and concern by many of you in America. All of you are our partners on the mission field in Africa!
And we are thankful for each and everyone’s effort to help. Shirley does her work quietly in the background and takes care of our personal details, too. Dave and Mattie call to talk, as does Mark Vernik. And I am sure there are many more things happening which I do not know about – things which get done behind the scenes and benefit the African Christians here.
We thank our Father for all His mercies and the blessings of His children, dedicated to the work in this mission field.
Steve and Pat Zimmerman
S.A. Christian Mission, Cape Town