Friday, August 14, 2015

Celebrating God's Faithfulness!

Dear Friends and Family,
·         We’ve been reflecting on our recent trip to Malawi and celebrating God’s faithfulness.
Our 16 day trip to Malawi went so well we extended it to 23 days. After two years away we returned to take care of household business, to minister and to reconnect with friends.  It was great to preach at Kafita CCAP and Kapita CCAP, two large Churches pastored by former students. Pastor Edward Tembo told his church that when in Malawi I shouldn’t ask if I can come to Kafita to preach but I should say, ‘I’m coming to Kafita to preach’. I can only imagine the struggles of a 5000+ church with only one trained minister, but it’s encouraging that that church is led by a man who is trusting Jesus. This goes for Reverends Saka and Kayienda, former students, who are also leading large
Maula Prison Outreach. 
congregations in Lilongwe.  
A highlight of our trip was telling Biblical stories to the inmates at Maula Prison where we used to minister for over ten years. It was also great to hold another football (soccer) match where at halftime we preached the gospel to the whole prison. It was great to see what the Lord has being doing at Maula through Charles Masukwa, a former student. Charles coordinates with various organizations to improve the rehabilitation services at the prison. Since we left Malawi, a sick bay with actual beds has been built and now there is a medical clinic with a pharmacy and clinical officers. The school at the prison has improved and now there is a room with sewing machines where inmates can learn tailoring skills. God has made these prayers a reality.    
·         Reflecting on God’s faithfulness has encouraged us to look forward to God’s future faithfulness.
Story Group for Internationals. 
Being robbed three times when we arrived in South Africa and having our things stored in Malawi made transition to South Africa difficult. While crime is an ongoing challenge in South Africa having moved and sold our things in Malawi has helped our transition.  Having said ‘goodbye’ to our Malawian home we’re back in South Africa working with ‘international students’. It’s a good fit for us because most of these students are from Africa, and English is the language students from Botswana, Ghana or even Korea share. These students share the challenge of transitioning from one culture to another.  Moreover, we’re not giving out titles, degrees, school fees or anything else that can creates a dependency on a western missions. We’re simply telling Biblical stories, facilitating discussions and showing hospitality.
Christ Church Stellenbosch, our local church here, has been very gracious to us. Our girls enjoy the churches children’s programs and appreciate going to the same church weekly. I have had the opportunity to lead their service and preach several times. We want to promote a possible mission trip for our church here to go to Malawi, and could do some Biblical storytelling workshops.
o   We’re thankful for how God has answered your prayers on our behalf.
We travelled to Malawi and back safely, free from malaria any other ailments. We moved and sold most of our things. We were also able to preach some narrative sermons and teach Biblical Theology through stories in Malawi. God has been slowing growing our story group in faith and in numbers of people. Also, we were able to purchase a dependable used Honda Jazz, a civic like 5 door wagon. It’s good for the tight roads and smaller parking spaces here but big enough for our family and we really needed something.
o   We’re looking forward to how God will answer prayer in the future.
We would like to find housing more suited to showing hospitality to students that is affordable and close to the University. We’re still praying that our girls will make good friends as they did in Malawi and in the states. Also we pray that we will continue to settle in and be more focused on the work God has for us in South Africa.  
Zikomo Kwambiri (thanks very much),
Jay, Laura, Clara, Katherine and Lauren Stoms

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