Eternity is coming!

Arthur Stace is most likely not a name that is familiar to you. He was an Australian whose early life was challenging – he became a ward of the state aged 12, then a teenage alcoholic and school drop-out. By age 15, he was an illiterate with jail time and on track to become a repeat offender. Stace’s life, however, was gloriously changed by the proclamation of God’s word through John Ridley. Ridley’s words – ‘Eternity, Eternity, I wish that I could sound or shout that word to everyone in the streets of Sydney. You’ve got to meet it, where will you spend Eternity?’ – shifted Stace’s focus. Eternity, assured for him by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, took precedence. For the next 35 years, Stace went on to write the word ‘eternity’ half a million times in yellow chalk all over the city of Sydney. While perhaps not the means of proclamation I would choose today, it nonetheless caused millions to stop and think about what will happen after this life. Later known as Mr. Eternity, Stace married, led a productive life and finally entered eternity aged 82!

This story resonates deeply with our work in Heideveld, a community filled with broken young people. The horrors of extreme violence and unbridled drug use are affecting countless thousands of families here. Some of our dearest friends carry enormous burdens that seem to have no end. The police don’t come, ambulances don’t operate effectively, rehabs are full to bursting and criminals are released a few days after their arrest. Yet we are incredibly privileged to see lives changing because of the faithful preaching of God’s word. Our services have visitors almost every week. Our Bible study groups grow as word spreads of the difference they have made in people’s lives.

This term we are digging into Proverbs, and the practical wisdom has been a great encouragement. Some have even asked for ‘homework’ in order to get to know Biblical wisdom better. It is thrilling to see that head knowledge is slowly becoming heart knowledge. People are beginning to apply the message of salvation to their lives and families. Whether they are parenting challenging children, waiting patiently for employment, coping with loss or resisting temptation, God’s word causes an inner transformation that spills outwards. I recall one conversation recently where a member said something to the effect of ‘I can cope with my suffering on earth better now, because I know eternity is coming’. 

St Thomas Youth is a key pillar of our Bible teaching programs. We are thankful to the Lord for saving and raising up Dillon Solomons, our apprentice. Born and raised in Heideveld, Dillon has a fantastic way of relating to teenagers. His love for the Lord is contagious and evident in his commitment to St Thomas, his family and his studies. The first Cutting Edge Youth rally post-Covid saw 25 of our teens travel to another church to hear Ramon Williams (our previous apprentice) teach Jonah. Another highlight was a sleepover at church which featured a campfire in our newly improved church grounds. Pray that our precious young people who profess faith would hold tightly to Christ as they mature and face hardships. Pray too that the Lord would raise up another apprentice from among them, so that more can be trained for full time gospel work. And pray that the message of eternity, so clearly taught at St Thomas Youth, would capture the hearts of those teens who don’t yet profess faith and cause them to repent and believe the gospel.

God’s life-altering truth in the Scriptures is hope for Heideveld. While eternity takes precedence, we believe God in his mercy cares about people’s suffering today. The church is perfectly positioned to reach out to the community and we would love to begin a care and Biblical counselling work at St Thomas, to build on Arise’s new model for work focused on providing psychosocial support to families, adoption support and the training of professionals. With support from the council and several churches, recruitment is our major task. We recognise that we are asking the Lord to provide what is, humanly speaking, a big ask!  We need a pioneer who is comfortable with working on the Cape Flats, with the right type of counselling experience and able to deal with some of the worst traumas of our city. As the advert goes out this month, please be praying that the Lord brings the right person or people to us.

Upcoming events:

28 May: Women’s tea – we have over 80 signed up from three churches on the Cape Flats!

4June: Men’s breakfast

1-3July: Youth camp

There’s been a lot going on at church, but equally so at home. Likhona is Grade 11 (Year 12) this year and testing Debbie’s algebra and computer coding skills! We are so proud of the progress he is making as he moves into the last 18 months of his school years. Ilana has a wonderful piano teacher, a fun teen art group and sung beautifully at the City Hall with her choir earlier this month. Malachi continues to love all things ‘farmer’, and enjoys listening to podcasts and researching topics around this hobby. Timothy lost his first tooth yesterday and loves dragons! We long for a break in the UK and have made plans for June/July. It was a shock to hear that passports are taking so long and we would ask you to pray that Malachi and Timothy’s passports get back to South Africa in time. We applied in February, but are still waiting. 

May you and your family know God’s unchanging and eternal grace where you are, and may it motivate you to share eternity with those around you. With every blessing,

Alun, Debbie, Likhona (17), Ilana (14), Malachi (10) and Timothy (6) x

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Give thanks for...

  • to see lives changing because of the faithful preaching of God’s word.
  • Our services have visitors almost every week.
  • Our Bible study groups grow as word spreads of the difference they have made in people’s lives.
  • People are beginning to apply the message of salvation to their lives and families.
  • for God raising up Dillon Solomons, our apprentice.

Please pray for...

  • God to raise up a pioneer, with the right type of counselling experience, who is comfortable with working on the Cape Flats.
  • that Malachi and Timothy’s passports get back to South Africa in time for our break in June/July.

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