Thursday, October 29, 2009

Update Continued

I am continuing to enjoy leading our women’s Bible Study. We are currently studying working through the book, ‘Reaching the Ear of God’. Last week we spoke on how God has met our needs so abundantly. As they responded to that, they began to speak of the many in our church who are struggling. We have many women in our church who are supporting whole families on about $400 a month. One woman shared with me recently her concerns over her family in Zimbabwe who are starving because of lack of food. In response, they began to develop a plan of how they could better minister to them in practical ways. It is so encouraging to see them begin to take action to reach out and tangibly minister mercy to the poor within our own congregation.

We are also in the midst of planning for our Women’s Retreat. Sybrand and I identified several women who could potentially be trained to help in the leading of our Women’s Ministry and asked them to help me plan for the retreat. It was so encouraging yesterday to meet with them and hear their ideas for the retreat and how we can accomplish our goals. I am praying that this group will be the start of a Women’s Committee that can help disciple and minister to the women at our church.

A highlight for me has been the Sunday School class I have begun for the domestic workers who come to church. The sincere, simple faith of these women has been a real encouragement. They ask good questions every week are beginning to open up and share their own personal struggles. Several of these women have commented that they truly understand the gospel for the first time. They also have said that they are beginning to understand the Bible for the first time and have asked to learn how to study it for themselves. In response, we have begun a series with them on ‘How to Study the Bible’.

One of our prayers in starting this group was that we would begin to see the women more fully integrated into the life of the church. We are beginning to see God answer that prayer. Some of them have started coming to Sunday evening church and to the Wednesday prayer meeting which is very unique in a South African church setting. They also keep less to themselves. Please pray that this would continue.

As a side note, it has been so fun to get to know these women. The woman to my right in the picture name is Johanna. I was recently talking to her and found out that when she got married about 25 years ago, her husband had to pay 4 cows for her and what would have amounted to about $1200. Two of the cows were used to feed the guest at the wedding and the other two were used to help sustain the family. Johanna’s husband died after 12 years of marriage leaving her with three children to raise and care for. She shared with me that they are slow mentally and have been unable to find work even though they are looking for it. Yet in the midst of it, she expresses a deep love for and trust in the Lord.

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