June 2020

What a difference a few months have made! We hope that you’re all keeping safe and well.

As we look back at our last prayer letter, those words seem to belong to a different age. Since March we’ve been under various stages of lockdown. Josh’s first term courses ended abruptly at week seven, rather than week 10. The children moved quite quickly to online schooling from home. Eastside Baptist Church moved to services with numbers limited to 50 people and then (for most of the time) online services using YouTube.

These have been challenging times, but also (surprisingly) fruitful times. One of the great advantages for us as a missionary family is that we have become as connected to you (our friends, family and partner churches) as you are to each other. Normally, we feel the 5,000 miles or so that stretches between us but this period has actually created new opportunities for us to be connected with you in the UK. We’ve had the time and opportunity to enjoy Skype and Zoom meetings with a number of you. We’ve sent videos that have featured in your online services. We’ve been ‘zoomed in’ for your church services. Josh has even been able to preach for UK churches in a way that would not be possible under normal circumstances.

We’ll be pleased when things get back to some sense of normality, but we’re so grateful for the things that have been possible during this ‘strange time’. Please give thanks to God for these opportunities.

The School of the Bible

One of the first things that happened for Josh is that he had to get used to teaching the Bible to a camera. We turned out guest flat into a very basic recording studio so that Josh could record sermons and course material. The School of the Bible went online at the beginning of May - a book by book overview of the New Testament. We were amazed by the interest - 140 people signed up (mainly from Namibia, but from other African countries and the UK too). We’re aware that we’re reaching people we’d never normally reach, possibly from churches where the Bible is not taught faithfully. Please pray with us for ‘a spiritual harvest’, that God’s people would be changed by his word.

The Preaching Academy

The Preaching Academy also went online at the beginning of May. 27 people have signed up for a ‘step by step guide to preparing a sermon’ (a 10 week course). Please pray for Josh as he continues to record material for this course. It’s a time-consuming effort. Pray that preachers would be better equipped to teach the Bible faithfully.

Testimony from PA participant

‘I have listened to last week’s lesson twice. May I say that even if at the end I am not able to preach, I believe I will be a more transformed person. I am blessed…’

Other news

Give thanks with us that the number of cases of COVID-19 in Namibia have been so few - just 23 (at the time of writing) and no deaths. The health system here would be unable to cope with large numbers of sick people and the virus would sweep through our informal settlements where social-distancing is almost impossible. Praise God for his mercy.

The economic situation here, however, is precarious. We’ve already struggled for a number of years with drought. Closing our borders has meant no tourists (a large part of our national income). Many companies are under severe financial pressure. Please pray for our government to have wisdom in dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Also pray for church leaders here. Closed churches have created significant challenges, especially for people who don’t have access to the ‘online world’. As of the beginning of June, the lockdown in most of the country has been further eased. This means that churches can start to meet again in groups up to 50 people, but great wisdom is required. Please pray.

Thank you to those who offered help and prayed about Erin’s need for an IGCSE history teacher. She’s now working on a regular basis with a wonderful teacher from the UK. It’s going well and we believe this is God’s provision. Please give thanks with us.

Continue to pray for Benjamin as he works toward his IGCSE Maths and English in November, in addition to his other Grade 10 subjects.

It’s now unclear whether the planned Grace Preachers Conference (8-10 September) will go ahead or not. Pray for wisdom. 

Cathy’s comment

Lockdown in Namibia has led to many jobs losses and because there’s no social security system people are anxious about how to feed their families. A project was started that I’ve been able to assist with, offering support to those who are desperately in need. I co-ordinate the WhatsApp group that enables people to apply for help or offer assistance. I also purchase, sort and pack food and cleaning items for weekend distribution. There are 8,000 families asking for help, so far.

Thank you to those of you who’ve given so generously and sacrificially to support this project. It really has made a difference! Pray for me as I interact with both volunteers and those in need - that I’ll have opportunities to share my faith with them.

Our rainy season is over and we received good rain in many parts of the country. Praise God for the rain.

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