Dear Praying Friends,
Psalm 126:3 says, “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!” We cannot think of a better refrain to celebrate the 6-year anniversary of our arrival here in Knysna. We echo this glorious exclamation as we have witnessed the marvelous work of God in our lives and ministry. In countless situations and circumstances, we have experienced His grace, His provision, and His blessing. For this update, we’d like to review what God has done over these past six years.
The seeds of Knysna West Bible Church were sown in a midweek Bible study at the Hunter’s home in January 2018. Today, we continue to meet in the Hunter’s home, now with gatherings on Sundays and Thursdays. We have seen our small group of about a dozen people grow into 50+ on a typical Sunday. But far more important than numerical growth, we have seen people come to Christ, discipled, counseled, and challenged in their faith. We have experienced highs and lows with many. We anticipate further growth, in breadth and depth, with our congregants; and we look forward to what God will do and how He will provide in the days ahead.
The Biblical Leadership Institute was merely an “idea” when we first moved here in 2017. This idea was pondered, researched, and developed until the Institute was born in March 2018. Since then, we have seen dozens participate in our various programs, taught in three locations (Knysna, Sedgefield, and George) along the Garden Route. We have celebrated with a small handful of students who have completed our course offerings, and we continue to work with those “in process,” slowly earning credit as they are able. Most of our attendees, while not earning formal credit, are finding their understanding of sound doctrine deepen and their heart for ministry grow.
The various ministries and community service initiatives of Knysna Hope, already well underway when we arrived in 2017, have continued to grow, change, expire (in some cases), and expand from then until now. We have seen our ministry to the Sivuyele School for the Deaf begin, grow, and end on a positive note, all within the past 5 years. This ministry was a great blessing that challenged and humbled us in unexpected ways. The ministry and services of Launch Workplace Readiness, Amy’s primary area of focus within Knysna Hope, continue to progress as more and more students are trained in basic and advanced computer skills. Through the Bible lessons offered during these classes, we have seen several students make professions of faith, reaffirm their commitment to Christ, seek counseling, and in some cases, confront sinful choices and behaviors that have hindered their spiritual growth.
Over the past 6 years, we have not only seen significant ministry development and opportunity; we have also enjoyed massive changes in our family! When we first moved here, George David had just finished high school; Ashley was moving into her senior year of high school, and Alyssa was heading to Grade 9. Now, George David and Ashley are finished with university, married, and working jobs in their fields of training. Alyssa is now starting her second year of university and gaining more and more independence (to George’s dismay!) with each passing day. We are so grateful to God for bringing Sarah (George David’s wife) and Louis (Ashley’s husband) into our family. If you would have told us that within a mere 6 years our family would be as it is now, we would have said you were crazy! What an amazing time of life we’re in!
We have also seen God’s gracious provision in helping us raise support before we arrived here until now. While our financial support has waxed and waned over time, we have always had enough to see our needs met, and oftentimes more than that to help us bless others. When we consider all those who have given, consistently and faithfully, from before we left the US until the present day, we are astounded! Many of you reading this update have been part of that support, and we sincerely appreciate all the love you’ve shown and the sacrifices you’ve made.
Transitioning to what lies ahead, we are looking forward to our first “proper” furlough trip, as we’ll be in the States from October 2 until January 10. Up until now, we have only been in the US for a maximum of five weeks on any given trip. Most of our visits have been centered on family events (graduations, weddings, etc.), though we have often mixed in report-back meetings with supporting churches. For our upcoming journey (15 weeks), we anticipate visiting all our existing supporting churches as well as at least four “new” churches to bolster our support. We’ll be busy, spending the weekdays connecting with individual supporters, friends, and family over the course of our travels. We’ll provide more details of our itinerary as the time gets closer. For now, please pray that God will bless our upcoming time in the States and that His providence will go before us in our efforts to raise awareness of and support for our ongoing ministry in South Africa.
We look forward to seeing many of you soon (in missionary terminology), to be able to express our gratitude in person, and to report in more detail on the amazing things God has done, as well as share our burdens for His work going forward. In many ways, we still feel as if we’ve just begun our work here in Knysna, and as the Lord wills, we will press ahead to participate in the wonderful things He will do in and through us in the future.
In Christ Alone,
George and Amy