Courage to Press on

“Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].”
1 Corinthians 15:58 (AMP)

April Newsletter

April has been such a busy month that it seems almost unbelievable to me that we have come to the end so quickly. It seemed like just yesterday that we wrote our last newsletter. But as I reflected over this month I realised that there is a lot for us to share with you and so much for us to be grateful for.

Newsletter Headlines

  • A First for Everything
  • 12 Years of Love
  • First Spiritual Life Conference
  • Growing Pains and Joys of our Church
  • Testimonies of Grace and Growth
  • Vehicle challenge

A First for Everything

It was such a blessing to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection with Christ Church Lusaka this year. There were quite a few “firsts” to celebrate for all involved. It was the first time that we celebrated Easter with Christ Church Lusaka, the first time for Michael to serve Holy Communion to a congregation and also the first time for Christ Church Lusaka to share together in Holy Communion since being established. We felt so privileged to be a part of this special moment. 

Easter Sunday Service
Renee teaching the kids on Easter Sunday
Holy Communion

12 Years of Love 

On the 9th of April (Easter Sunday), Michael and I celebrated our 12 year wedding anniversary which landed on the day before we left for the SLC retreat. What a special way to celebrate God’s goodness and grace in our lives. 

First SLC with SIM

We headed out to Ibis Gardens near Kabwe immediately after Easter weekend, for SIM-Zambia’s annual Spiritual Life Conference (SLC). The SLC is SIM’s way of cultivating spiritual growth for their missionaries. It is compulsory for all SIM missionaries to attend the SLC every year and this was our first SLC attended. We weren’t sure what to expect but whatever our expectations, it exceeded them by far. 

Tim Kopp was our guest speaker who encouraged us in the Word daily. Though Tim came all the way from America, he is no stranger to Zambia since he had also been a long-term missionary in Zambia. He was born and brought up here as his parents were missionaries in Zambia. Tim served as principal at the Bible college that his dad started in Chizela and also at other Bible colleges in Zambia. It was great to meet and get to know him and his travelling companions Mike and Ken who also have been missionaries in Zambia. Their heart for gospel growth here in Zambia was inspiring.

The SLC was a time of fellowship and fun with the other missionaries of SIM who are serving throughout Zambia. It was really great for us to meet the rest of the SIM-Zambia team and to be encouraged by their testimonies. We laughed, cried, prayed, and sang together as we learnt about the other ministries and the struggles and joys.

It was so uplifting and refreshing to spend time with other missionaries being used of God in different ways. We returned to base feeling encouraged and challenged. 

Tim encouraged us with the Word of God
Worshiping together
Praying for each other
Praying together
Fellowship around the campfire
Playing kickball – It’s like baseball, but with your feet.
Playing volleyball

Growing Pains and Joys of our Church

The ministry with Christ Church Lusaka is growing despite the challenges the church faces due to the lack of a consistent venue. The venue where we were meeting at UNZA is no longer available to us since end of March. We are super grateful to SIM-Zambia who have agreed to temporarily allow us to meet in the office boardroom in the interim – but this is only short-term while we search for another venue for our Sunday gatherings.

There have been times where we felt so discouraged and disheartened. But after some encouraging chats with our church leaders we have come to understand that church growth isn’t measured primarily by what we see on Sundays but rather by the relationships that are developing during the week and the growth in the lives of church members. 

By this measure things are going well and we feel encouraged in the Lord. The two groups doing the Explore course are still meeting on Thursdays and Saturdays and will hopefully be writing the exams at the end of May. It has been a very rewarding time together learning and studying God’s Word through the Explore course. 

We currently have 4 mid-week Bible study groups (growth groups) that are meeting regularly and it has been thrilling to see and hear the testimonies coming from that. We also met together as a church at Pastor Kayumba’s home last week and it was a special time of fellowship, food, and prayer with a large number from the church. 

A Bible study in Kabanana
Visiting the Bible study in Kabanana
Exploring the Bible with church leaders
Sunday worship service in the SIM boardroom
Bible Study in Ngombe

Testimonies of Grace and Growth

In our moments of discouragement, God has given us these rays of sunlight to lift our hearts. A few weeks ago some of our church leaders in training testified how they have seen God at work in their own lives. 

One brother shared how the fruits of the Spirit has been showing in his life and almost came as a surprise when he responded in a way that he felt was contrary to how he would normally want to respond. He was thanking God for that work in his life and he believed that it was because of the growth that he was experiencing through the Explore Course. 

Another brother shared how he had started a Bible study in his home for his family and for others in the community. Some of his neighbours joined and now they are meeting weekly in his home to study the Bible together. 

We feel so encouraged by these testimonies that we wanted to share them with you so that you may also feel encouraged.

Vehicle Challenge

We are still praying for a vehicle for our personal and ministry purposes. We just recently faced a great disappointment when an ideal vehicle (2008 model Toyota Rav4) within our current budget was sold to someone else. It was disappointing because we were committed to buy it and we were just waiting on their response but the next moment it was sold to someone else. We feel sure that the Lord knows our needs despite our disappointment and probably has something better out there for us. It is just difficult when we realise that our time is running out to get a vehicle.

The vehicle we are currently using belongs to another missionary couple who are out of the country and have made it available to us while they are away. However, they will be returning to Zambia in June and will need their vehicle when they arrive.

Michael has been looking at some locally available used vehicles. Hopefully we will find something suitable (and affordable) soon.

If you would like to contribute financially to the cost of a vehicle, you can deposit your gift in the SIM bank account using reference: 55045/Vehicle. You can find bank details on our support page.

Toyota Rav4 1998
Toyota Harrier 2001

Prayer and Praise

  • Thank God for the SLC that was encouraging.
  • Thank God for the testimonies of grace and growth that encouraged us in moments of discouragement this past month.
  • Thank God for our health enabling us to keep on ministering here in Lusaka.
  • Pray that we will find a suitable venue for our church to meet on Sundays.
  • Pray for the Explore courses that are running with the two groups of church leaders on Thursdays and Saturdays.
  • Pray for the growth of the people during the mid-week “growth groups” 
  • Pray for God’s provision of a vehicle for us.

As volunteer missionaries we don’t receive any salary and are entirely reliant on financial gifts from friends and partners who support our work and enable us to fulfil our financial obligations and pay our bills.

1 thought on “Courage to Press on”

  1. Dawie en Susan Viljoen

    Baie dankie julle! Mag die Here julle vooruitloop en ryklik seën, ver bokant julle verwagting!

    Báie liefde
    Oom Dawie en Tannie Susan

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