Greetings to everyone in the name of our Lord, Jesus. ‘Tiz the season to be jolly’ was ringing in my ears at the airport waiting for my flight to be called for Cape Town. Well, I don’t think the idea of ‘jolly’ adequately covered my feelings for Christmas! It is a season of joy, Christian fellowship, family and remembrance of Christ!
This furlough seemed to take longer than most. My wife, Sana, remained in South Africa, due to bureaucratic problems, and so I was alone. Mark Vernik, the Chairman of the mission, organized my speaking schedule in he Midwest and Walt Mielke in Florida; Steve and Pam Hamilton found a quiet farmhouse for me and provided their own vehicle so I had wheels; the Neuenschwanders, Snyders and others fitted out the house so I never lacked anything. All these things were essential so I could concentrate of my schedule.
Every Sunday, many Sunday evenings and weekday speaking dates stretched out for nearly five months. The Lord was good to me and I never got sick nor missed even one event. As furlough progressed, I was asked to speak at other non-scheduled churches, groups and interested parties. (The only downtime I had was during the daytime, when Bob Snyder would let me rest! Thanks, Bob!)
Several new contacts welcomed me wholeheartedly: Patrick Gill at Kentwood Christian Church (MI); the senior’s group at Auburn Church of Christ (IN); Church of the Cross staff (SC); a lady’s group at the Hillsdale Presbyterian Church; as well as many individuals. Hopefully, some of these will help with support in the future, which will help ease the budget shortfalls.
By far, it was the response for Bibles which triggered an enormous outpouring of provision. Patrick Gill challenged the congregation at Kentwood to provide 1,500 NIV Study Bibles and every Sunday, these were displayed on the stage. Patricia at Aurora packed over 15 heavy boxes of Bibles and materials for the container. Many people responded by starting a Bible box at their church. More have promised to begin programs, too. Across the board, the need for Bibles have appealed to many Christians to help where and when they can.
At every congregation, I displayed shopping bags decorated by the African children. These were not for sale. All I asked was a donation, which would go straight to the kids – not to the mission nor to me. Over $1700 was given and already, the funds have been transferred to Cape Town. I had to ration them at each church otherwise the bags would’ve been gone within a few weeks.
My thanks to one and all, who generously helped to provide for the children.
Short Term Missions Program
A short term mission’s program is being planned for South Africa in 2016, organized by Dave Foust in Coldwater (MI). For those who are interested to know more or participate, please e-mail Dave direct at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. In addition, there are others who want to plan their own short term projects at different times. Even my cousin, whom I have not seen for over 40 years, has indicated she, too, wants to come out and help!
Despite the hectic schedule and being separated from Sana, everyone was so kind and helpful. I was welcomed wherever I went, ate many dinners, and spoke individually to many men and women who sincerely wanted to do more for the work in South Africa. I can only pray for God’s blessings for their dedication and faithfulness.
There are too many people to thank for their help and fellowship. All I can say is that I was truly blessed by so many Christians who went out of their way to ensure that this furlough was a success. Thank you, one and all, for your assistance, suggestions and care. I never lacked for anything.
S.A. Christian Mission – Cape Town