Barbecues, sunshine, and ninety-degree temperatures… at least that is the picture in our mind of January in South Africa. This is the time of year for warm weather and icy desserts, not snow and hot chocolate! So, you can imagine our boys with the glistening snow and the icy temperatures. They did get out to build a snow man but the cold drove them back inside very quickly. We are just not accustomed to wintry weather.
God has created a myriad of types of climate, vegetation, animals…and people. Our God embraces diversity. Makes sense, He not only embraces it but He created it all. I think at times we have in our mind what is normal, like summer in January! Yet, we can miss out on the beauty of God’s creation because we are not accustomed to it. Sometimes what we think “should be” prevents us from embracing what is here and now. I have been challenged in my heart to realize that often I miss out on knowing how God is working in His world because I choose not to meet and hear the stories of people that are different from me. We can know more about the greatness and the glory of God by getting to know His diverse creation. Step out and meet someone new this week, hear their story and share yours. Just as the pleasant surprise of the snow in January for Africans, a new friend may serve as a fresh perspective on our God.
New Church Planting Opportunity for Ayanda
Exciting days for Ayanda…As we have shared, Ayanda and Khulu were finishing up at LIV village, an orphanage outside Durban. We have all been praying that God would open an opportunity for Ayanda to plant a church. God has answered…
There is a group of South Africans and missionaries who have a united vision for church planting and community development in an area near Durban. This vision encompasses a church planting initiative, a pastoral training school, and a clinic. It is called Seven Rivers Outreach. Seven Rivers is a farm whose owners have designated the land to be used for God’s work. On this land, there is a small church plant, Entabeni Baptist Church. They have recruited Ayanda as a Zulu church planter and as of January of 2018, he began serving at Entabeni Baptist Church. This places Ayanda in a team setting where he and Khulu can grow and thrive. Thank you for praying. We are excited to see what God continues to do in and through Ayanda.
Ayanda has initated a Facebook page for Entabeni Baptist Church. In one of his recent posts, he saids, “As we begin 2018 as the church, we decided to start strong and strive to finish strong. Our youth on Friday had good numbers and our Sunday service was excellent as well. We as the church started visiting people in their homes, to pray and love them. Jesus said to Peter "feed my sheep"; our job is to love and feed the sheep of our Lord Jesus Christ. "
Phoenix Fellowship Baptist Church
Please continue to pray for Phoenix Fellowship Church. Ministries continue as they look for God's man for the church. The dear people of Phoenix have been faithful but they are in great need of a leader. Please pray that the church leadership would have wisdom as they seek God's direction.
We have been blessed abundantly more that we could ask or think as we have visited our gospel-centered partners. What a joy to be with our church families, worshiping with you, sharing our stories and hearing yours. Thank you all for your hospitality and kindness. We have not been able to visit everyone but please know that we praise the Lord for each of you. We could not be in South Africa without your prayers and your support. Thank you!
Our plane tickets are booked for March 13th. Please pray with us as we travel. When we arrive in South Africa, we will spend a bit of time with Paul’s brother and friends nearby in Johannesburg and Cape Town and then make our way to Hilton. We look forward to resuming ministries of teaching and mentoring.
Please pray for our housing in Hilton. We relinquished our rental house and put everything in storage when we left for the USA, consequently, we will have to find new housing and settle in again when we return to South Africa. This need reminds us of God's provision last year for a home in the States. Thank you Salem Baptist!
Joshua and Michael are doing well. They have not traveled as much with us this time since they are a bit older and Salem Baptist is just next door. Being a part of the youth group and Sunday school at Salem has been such an encouragement to them and has given them a bit more stability. They are enduring home school, some days even thriving, but they do miss their friends in South Africa as well as all the sports like cricket, rugby and soccer (that game that you play with your foot - football).
Kathryn is still in Charlotte, NC, working as a corporate lawyer. She is enjoying the challenges of her job. Please pray that our children will continue to grow in Christ.
Thank you again for your partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We praise the Lord for each one of you!
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"
Please praise the Lord with us for:
- Wonderful visits with our church families throughout Virginia and North Carolina
- Faithful prayer partners
- Safety as we traveled each weekend
- The opportunity to homeschool and grow as a family
- The mission’s home at Salem Baptist and the team that maintains and prepares it
- The church planting opportunity for Ayanda
Please pray for…
- Ayanda and Khulu as they adjust to their new ministry and home
- Entabeni Baptist Church, that God would bless and many will come to know Christ and grow in Him
- Seven Rivers Mission, that God would give the leadership wisdom as they move forward
- Safety for us as we travel in the States to churches and then fly back to South Africa
- A house for us to live in in Hilton
- Wisdom for future ministries
- A pastor for Phoenix Baptist Church
- Continued growth for all those who have been mentored in leadership at UBI, Mashaka Primary, Sibongumbomvu Primary, Hilton Baptist Church, Northdale, and Phoenix Fellowship Baptist Church
- Married couples who have been meeting with us for counseling. They need God's sustaining grace to re-energize their marriage
- Continued spiritual growth of our family
Blessings in Christ,
Paul, Penny, Kathryn, Joshua, and Michael Hesman
336-618-2541 (until mid March) or (skype number) 336-793-2463