Dear Wake Chapel Family
We have put our furniture in storage, emptied our home in South Africa, said our goodbyes, took our flights back to the States and arrived in the USA late Wednesday evening. We are presently in Virginia with Penny's parents. This morning we had a breakfast of sausage gravy and homemade biscuits, quite a treat after three years of missing true southern cooking!
We were busy finalizing ministry responsibilities in South Africa. This has been a daunting but productive task. By God’s grace, we are constantly developing leadership, first empowering with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then equipping with skills. Our focus is gospel centered empowerment; we trust the Lord to bring about commitment and resilience in those we have mentored. We plant, water, and God ultimately gives the increase!
As always, God does His work. One example of this is at Mashaka Primary School. Every year, for the past three years, Penny has taught the resurrection story to all the children in the school and then has a little Easter treat for them. This year, two of the teachers took it upon themselves to organize an Easter play where the children reenacted the resurrection story. In addition, during the last day’s assembly, one of the teachers read the Easter story to all the children. The teachers understand their call to share Christ in every way possible as they fulfill their call of excellence in the vocation of teaching. God is good.
Paul has also completed teaching introductory theology courses in Northdale, a disadvantaged Indian area, where the churches are hungry for God’s word. Paul has relished this time of teaching and mentoring. His teaching is under the umbrella of numerous churches and led by a dear friend, Pastor Daniel Govender. God has provided additional teachers to assist Pastor Daniel this year. One of the students Paul has taught will be teaching one of the introductory courses this term. Again, we see God’s provision and His constant work in the lives of His people.
Muzi Dube and Ayanda Kakaza, are two special men that Paul has invested in for a few years. Both have attended the Union Bible Institute studying theology and are now involved in ministry. Both are very busy men but when we needed help in moving house, they were at our doorstep, servants ready to help. How encouraging to see these young men giving up days to help Paul sort, pack and move. Please Pray for Muzi Dube and Ayanda Kakaza as they continue to serve our Lord in South Africa.
Our Wednesday evening young adult Life Group has shifted throughout the past two years... this dynamic occurred primarily through God's moving in the lives of these young adults. One couple is now serving at an orphanage, one young man is in the States studying theology, another couple is in Kenya serving God there, and three young German girls have returned back to Germany to study. It is exciting to be a part of equipping these young men and women and then see God lead them to new spaces for ministry. Our God is faithful!
The ministry at Sibongumbomvu Combined School was a concern. There were volunteers who assisted with tutoring of the children two days a week. These volunteers are from our church, Hilton Baptist Church. For the past year and a half, the goal was to help the children with their English skills and through this medium, share Jesus through Bible stories, prayer, and interacting with the students. The children have grown in their English as well as their understanding of the gospel. Penny was concerned that the volunteers would not be faithful when she left, again we underestimated God and His people. Not only have the volunteers been consistent in tutoring each week but there are new tutors volunteering now. God is amazing!
Phoenix Baptist Fellowship
White table cloths, beautiful table settings, candles,...this was the way the church was prepared for Easter Sunday at Phoenix Baptist Fellowship Church in Durban. The church planter of the Phoenix Fellowship, Dale Marshfield, was visiting from the States during this weekend and preached. His presence and sermon were an encouragement to all. We had an amazing service which included a rendition of a beautiful hymn sung in an Indian language, Tamil. On Good Friday, we were a part of a combined service focusing on the death of Christ. The power of resurrection Sunday finds its significance in Jesus death to defeat death itself. The cross and the resurrection can never be separated; together they display the awesome holiness, love, and justice of God.
Paul preached his last sermon a few of weeks ago at Phoenix Baptist Fellowship. It was on Philippians 2: 5-11, focusing on having the mind of Christ, the mind of a servant. The dear folk at Phoenix are growing in Christ and we see evidence of the Lord shaping them to have the mind of Christ ... a servant's heart. One example of this is a couple, Satz and Angie Naidoo, who allowed us to stay with them during our two week transition from South Africa to the USA. We experienced such generous hospitality in their home. What a blessing they have been to us!
The Phoenix Baptist Church does not have a full time pastor though they have a few prospects. Please pray for wisdom for the leadership as well as God’s provision for the right man. Pray for the people of Phoenix Baptist that they would continue to be faithful during this transition. Pray for the community surrounding the church that God's people will communicate Christ and many will come to faith. Pray for the completion of the building. They have a lovely building but there are things that need to be done. Thanks to a generous friend of our ministry, electricity has been completed in the building. God provides.
Back to the States
We arrived this week in the USA to begin our nine month furlough. We look forward to seeing as many of you as is possible during our time back. We are beginning to set our calendar for the next nine months. Please let us know if you would like for us to come and share about this past term in South Africa. We look forward to seeing you again and hearing how God has been at work in your lives! We will be staying at one of the mission homes of our sending church, Salem Baptist Church, located in Winston Salem, NC.
We praise the Lord for Salem and the ministries they represent all over the world. We also give thanks for their care for their missionaries through this ministry of missionary homes. Thank you Salem Baptist!!
We do need a car to use during our time of furlough. If you know of a car that we can use during this time, please let us know!
The boys are doing well. They are older and the goodbyes a bit more difficult. They became settled in Hilton and made many friends; so to leave, even for a season, is difficult. We also had to find a home for our border collie Duke. God provided a lovely home at a dairy farm with lots of kids, dogs, cats, and of course, cows. .. a bit of heaven for a border collie. Duke is happy but our hearts are heavy. So pray for Joshua and Michael as they readjust to life and living in the States. Starting our furlough with a weekend at their grandparents has been wonderful and encouraged them (and us) greatly.
We arrived in the States at a very special occasion. Kathryn graduated with her Juris Doctor degree from UNC Chapel Hill. She is now busy preparing to take the North Carolina Bar exam. Please pray for her as she studies. We are proud of her. We praise the Lord for his goodness to Kathryn. God is amazing!
Please praise the Lord for…
- God’s work in the life of the people we have mentored
- Kathryn’s graduation from UNC Chapel Hill
- Provision of more volunteers at Sibongumbomvu Combined School
- Teachers at Mashaka who are communicating the gospel
- The opportunity to minister at the Phoenix Baptist Church
- The many people who helped during the packing up of our home
- Safe travels to the USA
- The provision of a home for our border collie, Duke
Please pray for…
- A pastor for Phoenix Baptist Church
- Muzi Dube and Ayanda Kakaza and their families as they serve the Lord in ministry
- For a car for us to use during our nine-month furlough.
- Continued growth for all those who have been mentored in leadership at UBI, Mashaka Primary, Sibongumbomvu Primary, in Northdale, and at the Phoenix Baptist Church
- Married couples who have been meeting with us for counseling. They need God's sustaining grace to re-energize their marriage.
Blessings in Christ,
Paul, Penny, Kathryn, Joshua, and Michael Hesman
421 South Broad Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101