October 2020

If you were a ‘fly on the wall’ at Eastside Baptist Church, this is what you’d see each Sunday. At a little before 8am people start arriving for the service. Everyone is wearing masks.

In the foyer, the stewards spray the hands of those arriving and take and record their temperatures. The congregants then move into the main part of the building and choose their seats. Every seat is over a metre away from others and only 50 seats are set out, scattered across the room. The usual handshakes and smiles have now been traded for waves and nods as people informally greet one another.  As the service starts, the congregation sings, although their singing is muffled by the masks they’re wearing. The service ends at about 9.15am and the people head for the door, speaking very little to those they pass.  They get in their cars and leave the car park within five minutes. As they leave, cars are already arriving with a new cohort of 50 people for the 9.30 service. The whole process then starts again. 

What we’ve just described is our ‘new normal’ on a Sunday. Since we last wrote, the church was closed down and all our services went online (Josh managed to squeeze in a Sunday evening series on James before they closed us down!) but now we’re able to meet again. We’re grateful to be face-to-face with other members of the church but a little frustrated that we’re ‘together but still separated’. Please pray for the spiritual health of Eastside during this strange season of our lives.

At one point, Windhoek where we live was locked down from the rest of the country because it had become the epicentre of COVID-19. Things have now eased a little and that lockdown has been lifted. There are now COVID-19 cases across the country but overall, in God’s mercy, the numbers remain low. At the time of writing, there have been 11,626 cases in Namibia and 123 deaths. Although many of the land borders are still closed, the country has opened up again for tourism. There are commercial flights flying into and out of Windhoek. Please pray for our government to make wise decisions as they deal with this ever-changing situation.

The School of the Bible and the Preaching Academy

Josh had hoped to be teaching the School of the Bible and the Preaching Academy face-to-face for the last term of the year, but in the end circumstances dictated that he teach online again. After the enthusiastic response to his book-by-book overview of the New Testament, Josh decided to offer a book-by-book overview of the Old Testament. This has been running from the middle of September and runs to the middle of November. There are 55 people signed up (again, mainly from Namibia, but a number from the UK as well). Josh has really enjoyed working through the Old Testament once more. He’s learning lots of new things as he goes but the writing and recording schedule is busy. One of the features of his course is that he wants to show how each book of the Old Testament points to Christ and the gospel. Pray for persistence and faithfulness. Please pray with us that God’s word would transform people. Pray for a growing excitement as God’s people understand his truth.   

Would you like a short video introduction to each book of the Bible?  Would you like help to know how to prepare a sermon?

Because of the COVID-19 situation, three of Josh’s courses have been recorded on video and put on YouTube. You don’t need to live in Namibia to watch them. By the end of the year there will be (hopefully) over 100 videos to watch. There’s an introduction to the Old Testament, an introduction to the New Testament, help for the preacher in moving from text to sermon and a number of sermons. If you think that any of these might be helpful for you (or you just want to see what Josh has been busy with since March) click here and choose the ‘playlist’ tab to navigate the courses (starting with week one and ending with week 10).

Other news

  • Please pray for Benjamin as he takes two IGCSE subjects in October. His English papers are on 13 and 15 October and his Maths papers are on 19 and 22 October.
  • The planned Grace Preachers Conference (8-10 September) was cancelled. We hope it will go ahead next year.
  • We had hoped to go to the UK for a short home assignment in December. This has now been postponed.
  • Please continue to pray for Benjamin, Erin and Matthew. They’re all back in face-to-face classes although Matthew can only attend two days each week because social distancing means there is a lack of space. Pray for the end of year tests and exams in November.  

Cathy’s comment

Some recipients of Co-Feed food

Some of you have been supporting Co-Feed – thank you so much.  This is a project that I’ve been assisting with that offers support to those who are desperately in need of food. The project was started by a handful of people who wanted to reach out to our communities and support them where we could. After six months of input we’ve helped 70,000 people across Namibia! Never, in our wildest dreams, did we think we could help so many. In October, we’re having a meeting to decide the way forward. There’s still a need for food aid and we’re keen to continue, but we’re also considering the next step.  We’re hoping to be able to help people to become more self-sufficient, as well as offering further food aid. 

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