Dear Praying Friends,
For this update, we’d like to share several specific prayer requests and opportunities for support under the headings of “growth,” “opportunity,” and “need.”
In recent months, God has allowed us to experience both numerical and spiritual growth in our various ministry endeavours. Our church plant, Knysna West Bible Church, is consistently averaging nearly 50 attendees each week! More importantly than the numerical growth, we are seeing people growing in God’s grace, learning truth at deeper and deeper levels, and living life to God’s glory in their day-to-day walk. We are blessed to be able to share in this growth with our church family.
Getting back to our increasing numbers …. we desperately need to find a larger place to meet. We have asked for prayer several times about this, but will you please continue to pray? There are very few opportunities for building rental, building purchase, or even land purchase on our side of town. We want to be ready to act when the right option shows itself, so please pray that God will soon show us what our next steps should be.
In addition to our church growth, we are seeing a record number of boys attending our Friday afternoon Bible Study in the Bongani location. They gladly walk from school after a long week and willfully participate in an hour-long focus on God’s Word and its application to their lives. In recent weeks, the young men are asking excellent questions with understanding and maturity. Please pray that we will find opportunities to go beyond our group gatherings and engage in more one-on-one discipleship.
Amy’s computer skills classes continue to benefit dozens of people in our town. It seems more and more people are interested in this opportunity, and with that interest comes more chances to meet spiritual needs. Please pray that these computer students will recognize their spiritual needs and take advantage of the opportunities we offer. We have very little contact with the students outside of the classes themselves and the Bible lessons provided during their coffee/tea break. And yet, we know that God is able to move in hearts, even when the contact-time is minimal.
Back in August and September of last year, we told you about our team’s latest initiative for ministry training – the Foundations Theological Institute, located in George (about an hour away from Knysna). Along with several teammates, we were making a mad dash to raise funds by the end of September to secure a matching gift of the same amount. This effort was blessed by God, and with help from several of you, we reached that goal – $50,000, with a match of $50,000, added to a previous gift of $50,000, making a grand total of $150,000!
The money raised at that time is now being used for the construction of a dorm-like facility for students (up to 12 men and 12 women) and staff members (a married couple to act as “dorm parents” to the students). Please pray we get the needed permits from the George Municipality so that construction can begin in earnest. This process has been painfully slow thus far! If we’re going to realize our goal of starting in January of 2024, things need to move more quickly than they are at present.
With the first phase of building underway, we are now ready to raise funds for equipping, furnishing, and outfitting the facility. In broad terms, we will need another $50,000 to get this done. Would you please pray with us about this opportunity? The potential to influence the “next generation” for Christ is great, and the Foundations Theological Institute will be an excellent vehicle for this task.
In addition to the growth we’re seeing and the opportunities God has given, we are also experiencing a need in the area of personal support. Since we moved to Knysna in 2017, we have never been under-supported in “real dollars.” On paper, we have consistently been in the 93% to 96% support range, but each year, once all is accounted for, we have always ended up at 100% or beyond. God has provided abundantly! However, late last year, we discovered that we lost a significant portion of our support, accounting for $1,000 per month. We had no warning that this support was dropping, and so 2022 was the first time we ended a calendar year “in the red.” But even still, the deficit was not large, and our reserves easily covered the shortfall.
But going forward, this deficit is not sustainable, so we must work to increase our current support by this needed $1,000 per month. We are hoping to add more supporting churches later this year, and we plan to be in the States from October-December to follow up with prospects. In addition to adding churches, we would like to add individual supporters to our team, and as God moves in people’s hearts to partner with us, we will follow up on these possibilities.
God has already brought increases from two churches currently supporting us, as well as increases from two individual donors. Would you pray with us that we might see the full deficit overcome by the end of 2023? If you currently support us financially, we thank you, and we do not want to burden you further. However, if you are in a position to increase your support, we would be grateful for the consideration. As well, if you have a potential contact for us – individual or church – to whom or wherein we could present our ministry, please let us know. We would be most grateful for the assistance in this way.
As we consider the growth we’re experiencing, the opportunities God has opened before us, and the confidence we have that He will meet our needs, our response can be nothing less than amazement, gratitude, and praise. Thank you, as always, for being a part of this journey with us!
In Christ Alone,
George and Amy