Dear Praying Friends,
We hope that you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We were able to spend lots of time together as a family and ministry team. We’ve missed George David greatly, as he has been in the US since November 22 trying to work and earn money for his upcoming school year at Nelson Mandela University. He has loved being with George’s family in upstate NY, and it’s been good for him to make some money and be on his own a bit. But we’re ready to have him back on February 6!
As we look ahead to 2019, we’d like to briefly list some of the upcoming projects we have planned and are praying about for this year. Some of these projects come with lofty goals and financial demands, but we are confident in God’s provision to allow us to do His will. Portions of these projects will be funded through our own funds, as each missionary team family designates a part of their overall budget to ministry. But we want to also share these projects with you because we know that God often aligns your ministry passions with our needs here on the mission field. We’ve already seen God work marvellously and miraculously to help us move forward on a number of things. Some of you were passionate about our building project, and the funds for that came very quickly. Others of you got behind us when we sought to help some fire victims from last year with some basic food needs and later in the year when we helped support Shadreck’s widow, Lumka. Still others of you have helped us meet needs at Sivuyele School for the Deaf or have given generously toward Knysna Hope’s computer skills training program. And still others have contributed to BLI startup costs because it aligned with your desire to see theological education happen along the Garden Route.
As we list some of our upcoming projects, please take all of this in the right spirit. We do not intend to communicate a desperate plea for money. Trust us, if we get into a bind, we’ll let you know – like we did when our vehicle gave out on us two months ago! You helped us so quickly and decisively, we hardly had time to get the plea for help out to you and the bill was covered! The following projects represent what we believe God would have us consider, pray about, and move toward intentionally. If you desire to help financially and are able to do so, great! But primarily we need your prayers – for wisdom, discernment, discipline, and perception to know where to move forward, where to wait, where to stop, and where to change direction.
BLI Scholarship Fund – We do not charge much for our classes at the Biblical Leadership Institute, just a very nominal fee to cover some printing and building-use costs, as well as to give the students a sense of value and investment. But beyond BLI, some of our students will wish to move beyond our program and enrol in larger, accredited programs where the costs will be high. For many of our students, this cannot happen because of the funds needed. To help students move into bachelor’s and master’s programs, we would like to establish a scholarship fund through BLI to distribute small amounts of financial aid to proven, worthy students who show particular ministry promise. The initial goal for 2019 will be $5,000.
Sivuyele School for the Deaf – We are helping this school raise funds for itself, and we are also working with a group of South African volunteers to raise funds from right here in Knysna. And yet, the needs are great, and it would be a wonderful encouragement to the local supporters here if we could supplement what they’re doing. At present, only $75 per month is needed to fully sponsor a student. The school currently has nine students. We’d like to help the local volunteers set up a sponsorship program where we encourage people to take on a full or partial sponsorship of a child. We already have enough interest and support for three of the nine children to be sponsored. If we could find six more full sponsors, the school could function without worry. Please pray for a fundraiser here in Knysna that we are helping with on Feb. 14. It will be a “long table” dinner event, highlighting the deaf school as well as another special needs school in George.
Computer Skills Training – The training courses we’ve had thus far have been wildly successful! The response has been overwhelming, and our teammates in leadership have had to turn people away! One thing that would help us serve more students would be to get different tables to be able to reconfigure the training room to better accommodate students and make them more comfortable as they work. This is not a huge item, but it will take a bit more than we currently have on hand. The total cost for this small upgrade to our training room is $500. Another need is textbooks for the typing class Amy is going to teach. While she hopes to use an online course, she feels textbooks are a necessity due to internet issues in our town. There are some days the wifi doesn’t work which would mean class would have to be cancelled. While she hasn’t chosen which book she will use, $150 should nearly cover the cost for twelve books. Please pray that this ministry continues to maintain maximum interest in our community. Each class day the students hear a gospel message from either George or Herb Hunter, and it is making a real impact in people’s lives!
Knysna Hope Building “Emergency Fund” – Back in February/March, several of you contributed overwhelmingly to allow our team to purchase and renovate our ministry building. We were able to do a complete remodel and even outfit a small kitchen, as well as bring the outside areas up to a reasonable standard. The ongoing costs for the building have been funded from our ministry team as part of our ministry budgets. It’s been working well. However, last month, we had an unexpected problem. Unbeknownst to us, some birds built a little nest in our roof space and our office room was infested with bird lice. Sparing you all the details, it was rather irritating to say the least! The cost to eradicate the birds, fumigate, and close in the roof area was high, and it stressed our month-to-month budget as we didn’t have much in reserve. So, we are hoping to raise about $4,000 over the course of 2019 to set aside in a separate account for sudden or emergency building needs. We don’t anticipate too many emergencies, and we have good insurance for larger issues, but it would be wise and helpful to have a bit on hand for “bird lice” kinds of events!
Church-in-Formation Startup – The church planting part of our ministry is anticipating a milestone on January 13 with our first Sunday service! We are very excited about this and would ask for your fervent prayers that all would go well. This has come together from a Bible study in the home of the Hunter family, and things have developed much sooner than anticipated. We will be meeting in the Hunters’ home for the time being, and a small number of things are needed such as equipment for coffee/tea/refreshment serving, a small number of chairs, and a few tech needs. Costs for these items should be around $2,000.
These projects represent both grand and mundane kinds of things; and as God allows, we’d love to be able to do these and much more! We know that God will provide mightily for them in the days, weeks, months, and year ahead. And we also know that God will bring other opportunities our way in 2019 that we don’t even know about yet. But for now, we present these items to you. Please take each of them to God in prayer. None of the financial needs listed are overwhelmingly urgent, but as God moves amongst our ministry team, amongst our fellow believers here in Knysna, and amongst you, we know He will provide. Jesus commands all of us to not worry about what will happen tomorrow, but to seek God’s kingdom above all else and leave our cares in the mighty hands of His provision (Matt. 6:27-34). Though that’s easier said than done, we are committed to doing just that. Thank you again for your prayers, your help, your concern, and your partnership in serving our blessed Saviour!
George, Amy, George David, Ashley, and Alyssa