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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 #6 2010

Greetings to everyone in the Lord’s name! Winter has loosened its hold in Cape Town and we are enjoying the summery style breezes. And I’m lovin’ it!

Christian Convention for the African Churches

During the opening days of October, I was asked to speak at a Christian convention for the African churches. The young adult class was particularly interesting – these were eager, young Christian men and women, intent on making a difference in their churches and communities. I taught a class on “How to Give a Christian Witness to a Non-Christian”. It excited them and each one prepared their own short testimony to give it to anyone at any times. In addition, I was also invited to preside at the meditation at the Lord’s Table. The convention was a time of fellowship and teaching.

The Cape Bible Seminary

The Cape Bible Seminary courses are running smoothly each night of the week, except Wednesday and Friday. The Wednesday night group is taking a break – I usually ask each group to do this after a ten-week course is completed. It gives the group time to reflect and discuss the teaching within a church context. And Friday night is my night off, too! A new group, begun by former CBS students, Ria and Koosie, was formed on Tuesday evenings. One of the newcomers is a Dutch Reformed Church pastor so there have been interesting discussions!

One of the Sundays in October was spent with the new home church in Stellenbosch, about 30 minutes drive from our home. This group was formed in December 2009 by Bro Theo Geduld because there was no Church of Christ in the university town. He asked me to conduct CBS classes every Thursday evening, which I have done since April. I had a free Sunday in October and Theo quickly grabbed it. The home church is in Bro Charles’ home and is jammed full! The service is quite informal – no pulpit, no fancy clothes. It is more of a time of fellowship and sharing. This group is growing slowly but surely. Soon, they’ll need a bigger place. Now, they want more “free” Sundays!

A community meeting was called by Pastor Mark Abrahams, an old friend. He and his wife are very active in community counselling and helping local schools with problem children. He invited me to attend and meet several of the leaders and elected officials. I didn’t dress up and was surprised when he asked me to speak. I explained about the various programs of the mission and was swamped afterwards by pastors and officials who were very interested in the Bible for Africa Project. In fact, the week after the community meeting, I had to open up the McLaughlin New Life building every day so that the books could be distributed to all those in need. It didn’t stop there either: those people told other people and now my phone is busy daily. Soon, we’ll run out of Bibles!

With each group or leader who asks for literature, I request a letter, fax or e-mail, outlining their request, together with their contact details. This is so that I can keep track of who gets what and how much – it will further refine the way future containers are loaded and sent to Cape Town. Bob and Roberta Snyder (Quincey, MI) pack the boxes and this will help them to sort what is needed. The little extras that they pack between the boxes, like stuffed toys, crayons and other items, are all reserved for the kids at Bavumeleni Children’s Center in the township. Lorna and Marty are delighted to have all of these toys and things – they’re hoarding them as Christmas gifts for the kids in nearby day care centers, a shelter for disabled children and an AIDS hospice for other youngsters. This will give those kids such a boost!

Personal

Not so good news: the exchange rate between the US Dollar and the SA Rand has really gone against us. It has made our budgets, both for the mission and our personal one, very tight. I might have to cancel a few trips into the interior if things don’t improve soon. Please pray for us.

I want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. The SA Christian Mission Board had their biannual Directors’ Meeting in October and there will be more emerging from that.

May God continue to bless each of you in His service,

Steve Zimmerman
S. A. Christian Mission, Cape Town

zimcko@gmail.com