Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you again for your faithfulness in being part of our team. Your prayers and support have sustained us over these past seven weeks since we’ve arrived in Knysna. We have been encouraged through many of your communications; and in them, we’re reminded of how blessed we are that you stand with us. A couple weeks ago, we gave a brief overview of several areas of our initial involvement here in Knysna. For this update, we want to review the three main purposes for our presence here, and describe what we’re currently doing in these areas.
Theological Education: George has had a chance to process and evaluate his trip to Cape Town last month, where he gained multiple perspectives on theological education in South Africa. Though the Garden Route is not as densely populated as other regions in South Africa, and therefore often overlooked by established theological institutions, nearly everyone he met in Cape Town admitted that there is great need for theological education here. Most of the interviewees said that they know of nothing currently being done in the Garden Route by way of formal pastoral and ministry training. A few of them mentioned some informal training happening within a specific local church or two, but nothing beyond that. This is sobering, humbling, and exhilarating all at once! We know there is a great task ahead of us, and we ask you to pray for wisdom, more wisdom, and still more wisdom – as well as strength, discernment, and effectiveness in forging ahead with our plans here. Over the next month, George will be engaging pastors and potential students in the area, getting to know them better and trying to add to his perspective and understanding about the specific needs and possibilities here. Then, in November, he is planning another trip – this time to the Johannesburg area to meet with more people involved in theological education. Just like the trip to Cape Town, he will be seeking to listen and learn. Then, he will take what he has learned from these meetings and begin to put together a plan for a programme here.
Church Planting: This past Wednesday evening, we had the great joy of welcoming the Hunter family to Knysna! They are a fantastic addition to our team, and we are looking forward to ministering alongside them. We have known the Hunters for nearly fifteen years – from when we lived in Canada and throughout our time in PA. Herb is a great friend of George’s, a former student, and in George’s opinion a model of pastoral skill, faithfulness, and effectiveness over the long term. The Hunter family is who our family will be specifically partnering with in the area of church planting. They are renting a home on the same side of the Knysna Lagoon as we are, so we will be working closely together in evangelism and discipleship ministry where we live. Please ask God to bring people into our lives who need His salvation and who will be willing to let us enter their lives for spiritual purposes. Each member of our family is praying this for themselves, as we all are now or will be connecting with different people in our community.
Knysna Hope: In the last update, we outlined some specific areas of involvement for Amy and the children in places where Knysna Hope has had recent focus. These things are still happening (or will be happening), and we are thankful for the chance to all be involved in ministry. Please pray for our efforts, that the light of Jesus Christ will be seen in us in all we do – from listening to children read, to teaching music, to facility cleaning, and more. Pray that these tasks will not be ends in themselves, but will be means to the ends of true discipleship. Please also pray for some specific facility needs with regard to our involvement with the Knysna Deaf School. One such need is the purchase or lease of a twenty foot shipping container that could be turned into office and classroom space. The school has a spot for it, but it needs the funds to procure the container and equip it properly. We are seeking to help with that as able. Another need is for a fence to be installed around their modest playground just outside their classroom space. The playground equipment is not in great repair and is constantly being abused and damaged by others. The Knysna Hope team is trying to locate a contractor and/or material to install a quality fence that will allow their playground to be truly theirs. Again, this comes with a cost, but we are confident God will provide according to His will and resources.
There is much more we could say, but for now we ask you to focus on the prayer requests given above. Should you have questions or interest in one or more of these areas, please reach out to us by responding to this update via e-mail, facebook, or whatever way you choose. We would love to hear from you and share more about what God is doing! You can see more pictures and get other updates by visiting our facebook page, Coon Family to South Africa. In closing, thank you for your faithful partnership with us.
In Service to the King,
The Coon Family