January/February 2023

Dear Praying Friends,

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” This verse is widely misunderstood and misused to promote the prosperity gospel (it’s actually a cult!), which teaches that what God wants for you is to help you achieve YOUR dreams, YOUR wishes, YOUR goals, and YOUR agenda. This deviant teaching has infiltrated the belief systems of all cultures in all places to one extent or another. The correct understanding of this verse is basically the opposite of the popular understanding. The Psalmist is saying that if we are delighting ourselves in the Lord, then His desires become our desires. If we find our true joy, purpose, and fulfillment in Him, then He will implant in us the will and wisdom to genuinely pursue His calling in our lives. So quite literally, he will GIVE US the desires of our heart, with the emphasis being on HIM as the object of our delight and on HIM as the sovereign distributor of the desires we have.

A lot of global attention has been given to the problems facing South Africa. Crime rates are soaring. Political corruption is not only tolerated, but basically celebrated. Inflation is around 21%, and businesses are folding up everywhere. And of course, what has gained the most attention recently is the inability of our power company (Eskom) to keep the lights on. We’re now experiencing approximately 8-10 hours of power outage per day, with assurances that it will increase to 12 hours per day relatively soon. Ah, what joy!

Amid all this, I’ve been asked a few times, “Why are you staying here? At what point does it make sense to just throw in the towel and return to the States?” These questions have been put to me by well-meaning, unbelieving South Africans who are mystified why we would sacrifice the privileges of life in America (so they say) to live where we are. My response to them is simple: “We stay here because God has given us the desire to do so.” Of course, for my unbelieving friends, this sounds a bit crazy, but they know Amy and I are here to do ministry, so they just smile and say, “Well that’s great, we’re glad you’re here.” And from there, the conversation ends quickly. The truth is, they don’t understand, at least not fully, nor can they. Only those who know what it means to be rightly related to God, and only those who genuinely seek to delight themselves in the Lord can fully appreciate the truth of Psalm 37:4 and its explanation given above.

Amy and I continue to pursue delighting in the Lord, seeking His wisdom, discerning His leading, and proclaiming His Word. As we do this, it’s amazing (though not surprising) to see that He deepens our desire to be here. Are there troubles? Of course, but in truth, most of the world experiences these kinds of conditions. Why should we expect to avoid annoyances and difficulties? We persevere in ministry, not because we’re miserably following some drudgery God has chosen to put us through. We persevere because we want to. We enjoy the blessings of serving God here, and we’re delighting in making the name of Jesus known.

In another week or two, we will come back with a more specific update as we have several significant prayer requests and praises to share. But for now, please know that we are grateful to be where we are. We love you all and appreciate your faithfulness to the Lord in praying for us, supporting us, encouraging us, and sustaining us.

Delighting in Him,
George and Amy