Greetings in Christ! We returned from furlough in December and the day we left Chicago, it was 27 F. But now, our summer’s nearly gone and I want to go with it!
Fuel prices continue to rise, not only in South Africa but also in America, too! We’re always ahead of the States and the government still sets the retail prices of fuel. There isn’t any competition because the law forbids it. This is worrying because it limits our ability to travel into the interior to those churches and groups who need teaching the most.
The exchange rate of Dollar/Rand has been fluctuating wildly sometimes within a 20% margin. I have to watch the daily rate like a hawk to ensure that we can make the best use of the funds. It isn’t always easy but so far, we have been able to keep pace.
Unemployment is still very high, perhaps as much as 50% despite the government stats. Also, the published rates of inflation are completely false — the 8% quoted doesn’t take into account fuels, interest rates or house prices. It looks good on paper but is completely inaccurate.
Sana and I returned just before Christmas. We were worn out and thankfully, we had a few weeks together before the Cape Bible Seminary classes resumed in January. Most churches and groups would only start again in the New Year. Marty Wallace had been living in our home, caring for the plants and animals, keeping everything running. We have Marty to thank for his hard work.
We were able to visit new groups — Bronson (MI), Cincinnati (OH), Lakeland (FL) and Bramford (CT) — as well as visit at most of our supporting congregations, except Los Alamos (NM) and Fayette City (PA). Without exception, each group responded positively. (Perhaps someone could follow up on the new groups to see if we can raise additional support.)
CAPE BIBLE SEMINARY
The first classes resumed in January and by the end of February, everyone was back on board. Thompson Ntobie (now 86) continued with his groups in Guguletu, Langa and Nyanga and also managed to visit Queenstown twice. (I had left him travelling funds before we left on furlough.)
Another new contact has been made locally. It is a diverse group of people who are dissatisfied with the teaching in their denominational situations. The reputation of CBS has spread far and wide. They want to know the Truth.
A former CBS student, Bro Colin, introduced me to Pastor Pierre from Benin. Like many West African countries, he speaks French but his English is excellent. Colin has been in contact with him and when he learned that Bibles and teaching materials were needed, Colin brought Pierre to meet me. We spent an afternoon discussing the Lord’s work in Benin. Pastor Pierre has no resources at all. He has a Bible and travels in order to teach the Word and establish churches. Pierre was in tears when I presented him with the last two Study Bibles and Dave McLaughlin’s laptop. He is sending a report from Benin shortly and wants to report to the Cape Bible Seminary regularly. It is astounding that CBS has such an outreach — Congo, Ghana, Benin and Cameroon. Places I have never been!
I have been able to visit Rodney in prison several times and he has missed our small CBS sessions on a Sunday morning. I passed along a few more Bibles for his study group in the yard — four of his fellow students have been transferred to other prisons or released on parole. They all still write to Rodney, asking for outlines and notes! The new men are just as eager and ready to hear the Word.
The “Thought for the Day” resumed in January after a four month break. So many wrote to ask when it would start again and the responses have been overwhelming, especially for the African pastors and elders who have relied on them for their teaching materials. I’ve learned that I cannot interrupt it even for furlough!
MCLAUGHLIN NEW LIFE CENTER
The first priority upon our return was clearing and cleaning the warehouse. About 100 boxes still had to be sorted and the floor readied for the next container load. Sana worked right alongside and hauled just as many boxes as I did.
Once the word leaked out that we had returned, the phone calls began. Several churches came quickly and, despite a bit of rationing, the remainder of the Bibles, NTs and teaching materials were gone. When the new container arrives, I will ensure that most everyone will be blessed with the Word.
Bro Mike, formerly of One Source Ministries, visited me to explain that he has moved locations and is now working with schools. He saw the boxes of library books, reference materials and National Geographic magazines. Within a day, he organized two trucks to haul most of the boxes to a central place where three schools were situated. The Ingwe Care Team visited the day after the books were taken and each school principal and teachers were overjoyed to greet us. All the the three schools will now have libraries for the kids where none existed before! Mike is working with them and others in the area — he is able to speak at assemblies and spread the Good News of the gospel to the kids.
The McLaughlin New Life Center is situated on the farm, “Anathoth”, about 20 minutes from our home. It is a Christian retreat center, designed to provide Christians a place of quiet and tranquility. I am one of the four Trustees and involved in the sustainability of the center. There have been major changes recently, which I will report verbally. Together with the Trustees, new plans are being formulated. The future of “Anathoth” could be such a rich blessing if managed and operated efficiently.
Bob and Roberta Snyder have been magnificent in collecting, packing and storing the donated materials. He has reported that the container is nearly full and ready to be shipped. One donor has ensured that the funds are available for the freight costs, which is such a blessing. The man is none other than Marty Wallace. Our thanks goes to Marty for his help and desire to serve the Lord.
So much has happened in recent months. Lorna, Rachel, Marty and Reinaldo have serviced day care centers, the AIDS orphanage and other projects to help children. A small section of the McLaughlin New Life Center is used to store and sort the materials used for their outreach programs. Rachel is planning a King’s Banquet for the farm workers in the Bottleray area — these are people who work daily on the farms and will never have a banquet planned in their honor. All food, equipment and help will be donated or volunteered.
One of the companies which has donated many things last year, also offered a company car for sale to Ingwe Care first. Marty Wallace was in line for it and we were interested, too. It was a director’s car, a babied Audi 2.0 liter sedan. While Marty was making up his mind, another company offered another Audi 2.0 liter diesel and I was able to take advantage of a generous discount! We borrowed on our home mortgage (the cheapest interest available) and asked for donors to help with $50/month for sixty months so we could handle the increased payments. We want to thank all those who have agreed to help. Already, the fuel savings have been substantial and I was able to visit places I hadn’t for awhile! This car will help tremendously.
Of course, we are concerned about funds and funding. With the increase costs and inflation, it has certainly strained the budget.
Sana and I want to thank so many of you for your generosity, dedication and helpfulness. Furlough would not have been as successful without your kindness. We ask God’s blessings for each of you.
Steve and Sana Zimmerman
S.A. Christian Mission, Cape Town