“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8.
John was preaching recently on Psalm 62 to JBC students. It’s a wonderful reminder that true security is found in God alone and an encouragement amidst all the ups and downs of life to pray honestly, trusting the God who keeps his people. We pray for you and for ourselves that we would imitate Christ and grow in ever deepening trust in our trustworthy Father.
It has been an encouraging few months in Soweto. The campus opened last year and we are already full for both daytime and evening students. Whilst close study of the Bible was new for most of the students, they are generally making good progress and growing in clarity and confidence in studying the Bible. It is often said that churches here are dominated by the ‘man of God’ (the ‘apostle’ or ‘prophet’ who leads the church) rather than by the word of God, so we pray for pastors committed to preaching the life-giving word of God, rather than seeking human fame.
Sadly, one of our students died during term. One of the obvious differences from the UK is the much lower life expectancy in South Africa, particularly in the townships. It is very common to arrive at college and hear that a close family member of a student has died. There is a real fear of death amongst many in South Africa and so the good news of resurrection life is both powerful and attractive.
We thank God that we have just applied for government accreditation of our courses. We hope it will make it easier for us to take students from other African countries to study here. We are taking the opportunity to review all our courses and add in some new modules as well as rewriting material so that the different courses fit together better. It has resulted in an increased load both for students and staff but we hope that it will result in students being better prepared for bible teaching ministries. At this stage, we don’t know whether accreditation is likely to be granted within weeks, months or years (if at all!) but it has been a useful process for improving our teaching.
John is speaking at a conference in Tanzania from 16-19 May organised by a former JBC student. The student has planted five churches in Dar es Salaam since completing JBC and has started some bible training there. We are praying that in time this might develop into an established group being trained in biblical preaching in Tanzania.
We are thankful for an excellent new children’s church teacher starting to help regularly, although we are still both teaching the children most weeks. Jenny’s group (4-7s) continue to love church and have a clearer understanding of their teaching than many of the older children. There are challenges in teaching the older children, many of whom come from a local care home and have English as a second or third language, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to open the Bible with those who might never hear it otherwise. We are teaching Genesis 1-11 in May-June and then adapting a series on Luke that John wrote for camp in the UK.
We had a wonderfully encouraging visit from UK friends in April with a highlight of 36 hours on safari together. The boys are loving their science, geography and computing homeschooling (sometimes even maths and spelling too!). The boys have had the occasional play date but don’t yet have strong friendships here and we pray on for friends. John has run his first marathon (most of his running club see marathons as short training runs for the very popular South African 90km Comrades race). Jenny is enjoying Pilates and the gym. We are looking forward to a short trip to the UK in June to see family and friends during the mid-year break here.
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