April/May 2021

Dear Praying Friends,

We want to begin with a sincere thanks to those who have responded to our appeal for support toward the Biblical Leadership Institute Scholarship Fund. We have received enough funds to begin our assistance to our first recipient, Ben Odhiambo. Ben is very grateful, and he is excited to engage further in his studies. We will be keeping you updated with his progress along the way. If you are interested in contributing to this fund, please let us know by replying to this email. We are happy to provide more details and explanations of this process, but we’d like to do so on a more personal basis.

For this update, we want to list a series of recent blessings – to the praise of God’s glorious grace!

First, on the family front, we are thrilled to have Ashley with us for the majority of her summer break. She has been working very hard at LBC and is now getting a much-deserved break. While here, she is furthering her plans for moving back to South Africa next year and getting married. She’s having a lot of fun with Amy and Alyssa trying on bridal gowns. Of course, her fiancé, Louis, is enjoying the time with Ash as well! She has secured two part-time jobs back at LBC once she returns, so we are thankful for the Lord’s provision.

Second, on the ministry front, there are several praiseworthy items to note.

Amy’s computer classes for the Launch Workplace Readiness ministry of Knysna Hope have gone extremely well during this last 12-week term with almost forty students taking a course. The next term began this week with every class being full and totaling sixty-nine students! This ministry continues to provide opportunities to share the Gospel and offer other ministry aid to dozens of people week after week. We are so grateful for this entrance into peoples’ lives.

We have just begun classes for our George location of the Biblical Leadership Institute. Our first class was held on May 22, and we had a great turnout! Please pray for our new students, that they will remain steadfast in their desire for theological training.

Our church plant, Knysna West Bible Church, continues to grow, especially more recently since most of the Covid restrictions have been lifted. We have had over 40 people attend in three of the past five weeks. While this is fantastic, it has shown us that we really need a larger place to meet for our church services. Forty people in a house is a bit much! Please pray with us that God will provide a clear answer for the way forward.

Third, we received word last week that our visa renewals were complete and ready for pickup on June 2! This is a huge answer to prayer, as this allows us to remain in South Africa for another three years, with freedom to travel back and forth to the US without fear of penalty. Since September 8 of last year, our visas were technically expired, but we have received multiple extensions while our applications for renewal were delayed, delayed, and delayed some more due to Covid related issues. So while we have been here legally for all this time, we wanted to get the proper paperwork and not have to worry about visas for another two years. Unfortunately, at our appointment today we were told Alyssa’s visa application was rejected. It was an oversight on the part of Home Affairs, and the appeal process will begin next week. Our immigration attorney has assured us that this rejection should be reversed easily, though it will take time and another payment for processing. We will be heading to the US mid-September for George David’s wedding so would you please pray the appeal gets pushed through and processed quickly? It is necessary for Alyssa to have a valid visa to exit the country legally so she is allowed to return to finish her school year. We know God knows the details so we trust Him to work it out.

In all these notes of praise, we realize that God alone deserves the glory. This is His work, and His alone. He doesn’t need us, but for some reason, He chooses to use us in this incredible place! We continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to serve. And we continue to be humbled by your faithful prayer and support, given so consistently and generously over the years.

Praising Him,
The Coon Family