To God all the glory and praise for His grace and provision to be able to continue the work of His Gospel in the Tshipise valley. As the Lord provides, we drive up every second month to this new church that we have planted there a year ago, in order to equip and strengthen the brothers and sisters in the Lord with the Word of God as well as sound teaching in becoming disciples of Christ.
On Friday afternoon the 16th May 2014, my wife Venetia and I and Past Chris Smit and his wife Marinda left Pretoria and arrived late at night at the Tshipise Resort in the far northern part of Limpopo Province. Marinda was very anxious due to all the stories that friends and even pastor Chris told her about the rural area and what she can expect of going to Venda to proclaim the Gospel. Apparently she had all sorts of “visions” of dangerous animals and even the people in the rural area which provided much laughter to our group.
Past Chris opened the training session on Saturday morning and taught about discipleship, the importance of it and that it meant you have to be a servant and not being served.
I followed it up with another teaching on Acts 20: 18 – 24; where Paul said he served the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials – which happened through the plots of the Jews.
Serving God and especially on the level where you go out to proclaim the Gospel to a dying world, or even just being a witness at your local church or work environment or circle of friends, it will contain to some extent these elements of “tears” and “trials”. Even if they are brought about by your own people, as in the case of Paul, it should not stop us from testifying to everyone of repentance toward God and of our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 21).
Being a child of God means we need to be disciples and that means we need to testify about our faith and also our faith experiences in Christ. Our tears and trials and tribulations bring about new testimonies through which our faith is strengthened. We should therefore talk about it and give God all the Glory!
We concluded the training later in the day by handing out new Bibles to all the potential leaders and disciples in Christ.
Afterwards we drove about 30 -40 km’s to meet with another pastor and her husband in a nearby village in Venda. This meeting left our group in tears and in awe of the devoutness and love these two wonderful people have for the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel. They have offered up the bricks that were supposed to complete their own home, to start a new ministry on a barren piece of land. She even sold her second car to be able to pay for the steel beams that would form the basic support structure of the new church. Will this be a big church? Yes, most definitely it will be as big as the vision she has for this area and therefore the church will also be smack between two or more villages to serve more than one community.
When we look in the flesh we do not see any floor, walls or roof at this moment, but when we look through the eyes of faith and when we look upon our God who declares that all things are possible through Him, then we already start to hear the music and the choirs lifting up the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in this place.
Why worry about floors when we are standing on the Rock of our faith! Why worry about a roof if He covers and shields us from any harm? Praise God for He is the Jehovah Jireh – the Lord who provides in all of our needs. I know He will also provide for this church to be completed.
The Sunday morning Pastor Chris continued the teaching at Hope Farm and also reiterated the fact that someone needs to sow the seed, another would water it but God will let it grow. Thereafter we had the privilege to baptize another 6 people in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ for the remission of all their sins. The water was so very COLD but later on Pastor Chris reflected about this one young man who came to the service in his best Sunday clothes and only removed his shoes to be baptized in the muddy waters of a nearby pond. He did not think twice about his clothes as the baptism was much more important for him.
Despite all the tears and trials these people have to face on a daily basis, they are still eager to hear a Word of God and to follow in His footsteps. They lift up their voices and sing in harmony without the luxury of any musical instruments as their own voices and hands are the best instruments they want to use in praising the living God.
We can learn so much from their humbleness and their zeal to really serve the Lord. The Church needs to come back to the basics of serving God again! It is not about you or me or the grand band who plays the best music in the world. It is not about the seats in the auditoriums and the best sound systems. It is not about the “anointed preachers and their prophetic words”. It is ALL about Jesus Christ and what He has done for you and me. It is all about my and your relationship with the King of kings. And when we are in that close relationship, nothing else matters. Then it becomes our privilege to offer to Him all our praises and adoration.
My God each day I still stand in awe of You!
I also would like to thank our sponsors who made this trip possible for us – without you it will not be possible to do so and through your donations and prayers you will also have a part in each and every soul brought into the Kingdom of God.