‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit come on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the Earth.’ Acts 1:9
Next term at Johannesburg Bible College, I will be teaching a course on the book of Acts, so I have been reading it in preparation. One of the things that I have loved about working at Christ Church Hillbrow is the sense of history. The building is one of the oldest in the area and the church is over 100 years old. But of course, with those words Jesus reminds us that whether out church is 100 years or a week, we are all part of something older and much bigger. The Holy Spirit has been empowering God's people to take the gospel to the ends of the earth from the very beginning. Though God’s people face opposition, and there is often compromise, by his Spirit God works that his gospel may go to his world. I am part of that as I seek to minister in Hillbrow and in Johannesburg and you are as you play you part wherever the Lord has placed you.
Six months in, it still feels somewhat strange being the associate minister at Christ Church Hillbrow, but I think that we are all getting used to it. There have been so many highlights in the last few months.
One of the most encouraging times was Easter. We joined with two other churches in Gauteng to put on an Easter Convention. We went to a church in the north of Johannesburg on Good Friday and then they came to Hillbrow on Easter Saturday. Godfrey, Farai (the minister of C4 Church in Bryanston) and Martin Morrison, our bishop, shared God’s word over the weekend. It was such a joy to meet together and be reminded about and encouraged in what God has done for us through Christ.
We are particularly praying that this partnership between churches in our area will grow. I am very thankful for the unity in the gospel that God is bringing in the area and would ask you to pray that it will continue. Please pray that God would provide resources for the ministry, not just in Hillbrow but for all our partners in the area. We are very thankful for another church nearby who have partnered with us and have been contributing financially to the ministry at CCH. Again, pray that will continue and grow.
Along with the conference, we have also had a number of baptisms and confirmations. I helped prepare the parents who were getting their children baptised, and working with those who were being confirmed, by going through the gospel with them. It was a joy to see people commit themselves to Christ and to bringing up children in the Lord. Please pray for those who were baptised and confirmed, that the Lord would continue to work in them.
On a sadder front, on the same day as our conference we received news of the sudden death of a woman who had been coming to our church for a few months. Since her death I have spent quite a lot of time with her fiancé, who is not a Christian. It does seem that God is working there so do pray for him, that he would know Christ and live for him.
JBC has been incredibly busy but wonderfully encouraging. I have been teaching Monday to Wednesday on the morning course and in the evenings in Soweto. My main teaching has been the Handling God’s Word course, which gives our students basic tools to help them understand any passage in the Bible. This year the students seem to get on really well. It’s been great to teach more of the courses and help the students practice their skills more thoroughly. And although marking was frustrating it was great to grade students work and see how they were beginning to grasp some of the skills.
This term I also taught the second half of the church services module which was great fun. It has been wonderful to help our students think how we can structure services to pastor people. We have had lively discussion and thoughtful engagement with the material.
Next term, I will be writing a doctrine course for the third year, continue teaching HGW and be teaching a course on the book of Acts. I will have a little more time because I won’t be teaching on Tuesdays, which will be good, but do pray that I would be productive.
As I said in my last letter, I am still considering what I might do in the future. Please pray for wisdom that if I do decide to return home then the right opportunity would arise.
Thank you as always for your prayers and your partnership,
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