Dear Praying Friends,
September has been a wonderfully busy month, since most of our normal ministry activities have resumed as they had been before our nationwide lockdown began. We say “wonderfully busy” because we have never been more grateful for the regular, full routine of our week-to-week activities. It has been nice to get back to the things we most love to do and the things we know God has called us to do. For this month’s update, we would like to share the latest developments in each of our major ministry involvements.
First, today is the final day of our Knysna Hope Food Relief efforts in conjunction with Knysna Rotary. This marks the 23rd consecutive week of grocery deliveries to benefit up to 18 soup kitchens across various enclaves in Knysna. What a remarkable journey this has been! Thanks to all of you who have prayed, supported, and encouraged us through this extended period of hands-on community service. While the funds have finally come to an end, the impact goes on and will, Lord willing, last well beyond the present crisis! To God alone be the glory!!
Second, we are delighted that the Biblical Leadership Institute is back to a normal, every-other-Saturday schedule in our central location in Sedgefield. Our students have returned with a renewed hunger for theological training. They have been working diligently on a course in Marriage and Family Counseling (taught by Herb Hunter), as well as a course in Biblical Preaching (taught by Troy Gahman). Please pray for them as they are getting back into their routine of rigorous academic study after nearly 4 months off! We have also continued with several “introductory seminars” in our new location in the city of George. We are praying that these seminars will help us build a foundation to begin offering “for credit” courses beginning in 2021. And finally, we have returned just once thus far to our group of students in our Knysna location with a continuation of a course on Theological Foundations for Ministry. Please pray for this group as many have lost their jobs under lockdown conditions without much hope (for now) of returning to work.
Third, we were thrilled to return to in-person services at Knysna West Bible Church on Sunday, September 6. While we were thankful for the availability of Zoom and YouTube to keep us connected while apart, there is nothing like being together, in person, to fulfill the Lord’s expectations for His church. We have also resumed our Thursday evening Bible study, and that has been attended particularly well. In an age where many are straying away from the ministry of the Word, we praise God for those committed to Christ and growth in Him. Please pray with us as we are still looking for a place to meet. We are continuing to press up against capacity limits at the Hunter’s house, and we are asking God to give us direction concerning where to meet going forward.
Fourth, LAUNCH Workplace Readiness has resumed computer skills training classes, and Amy has jumped back into this ministry with both feet. Her schedule moved from very little to frantic in a short period of time! She is happy to be back at it, and most students have been able to return after the 6-month layoff. Please pray that the resumption of classes will be effective and safe. Also, please pray for one of her students who has recently expressed interest in meeting with George to discuss how to have a real relationship with Jesus Christ. George has met with this student once, and he seems close to giving his life to the Lord! Please pray he does soon!
Fifth, we are also happy to report that the Sivuyele School for the Deaf has resumed classes full time. They had returned to meeting in some capacity back in July, but in September they have resumed a more normal schedule. Many of you know that one of the students, back in June, was viciously attacked by dogs and almost killed. We did not share much about this previously, because we wanted to protect the identity of the boy and his family. We were devastated at what happened to him, and we asked those we shared this with to pray earnestly for his life to be spared. God has been gracious in this situation, and even though he lost his right arm, the doctors at the Red Cross Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town were able to spare his right leg and repair many other places of injury. The community here in the greater Knysna area has stepped up to help this family in a mighty way! Newspapers have picked up his story, as have national news outlets. Local advocacy groups have also volunteered to fight for this little guy and his family. We had a chance to visit him just a couple weeks back, and he recognized us and gave us a brief smile. There is now media available on his story with permission to share. However, we still want to be careful with how we handle this. So, if you would like to see a local newspaper article or view a brief video on the situation, please let us know privately, and we will follow up with you accordingly.
As we get back to our “wonderfully busy” routine, we are reminded of Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” We keep going, with all the ups and downs, confidently assured of God’s plan to provide a harvest of the seed we have sown. We know we will reap, in God’s time; and we are blessed to even see some reaping already. But there is much more to do, must more to sow, and much more to expect from our great God. Thank you for your part in our ministry!
By His Grace Alone,
The Coon Family