Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ministry to International Student (U of Stellenbosch).

Dear Friends and Family, 
This Post is an update regarding the Stoms Family in South Africa and it highlights events surrounding the minister to Internationals student at the University of Stellenbosch at Christ Church in Stellenbosch. On Saturday, April 1st, we’ll be hosting a seminar at Christ Church with Richard Weston. Richard has 30 years of experience in pioneering international student ministry in the UK and around the world. He will discuss the role International students can play in God’s plan for the nations and how a local church can welcome International students. We pray this seminar will encourage local churches here to befriend the numerous international students living in Stellenbosch.

We had a great 2 week visit from Pastor Michael Kelly (GLPC, PNW Church-planting network). Pastor Kelly spoke at our ‘Retreat for Internationals’; where we had over 30 people representing 9 different countries from 4 continents. Everyone really worked together to make it a restful and joy-filled time. We hiked, enjoyed African and Korean meals and spent time together. Pastor Kelly presented four powerful messages on loving the church for a lifetime. The lunch for graduating international postgraduate students and their families and friends also went well. While there was some overlap, this was a different group than those at the retreat. This was a time to celebrate with family and friends of those who graduated where we presented gifts and heard another helpful message from Pastor Kelly.
The day after the luncheon the Kelly’s went on to Malawi. I stayed behind for Clara’s 12th birthday which was nice. Then I flew to Malawi where I first stayed in Lilongwe with our friends the Braseltons and met Reverend Edward Tembo, a former student. I preached at his church, Kafita CCAP, to the over 1000 worshipers there who love to sing and are eager to hear Biblical preaching. Then we visited with our friends, Dr. David and Rebecca Morton from Green Lake Church, who work at Nkhoma Hospital which is about an hour outside Lilongwe. This is the same hospital where our daughter Clara was treated for a corneal ulcer when she was 2 months old. Since then the washboard dirt road has been paved and the drive is a lot smoother and faster than back in those days.  

Pastor Kelly and I spent a day teaching the 3rd and 4th year students at JMTI Theological College (CCAP Nkhoma Synod). When these students finish at JMTI they’ll be placed in churches with plenty of people but no pastors. A former student, Rev. Gracious Madimbo, was placed in a rural church with 2000 people immediately after graduating from JMTI.  We also met with the Principle of JMTI and the Academic Dean about setting up a workshop on ‘Narrative Preaching and Biblical Storytelling’ for a future visit.

We had a great reunion with the Morton’s and Rebecca Morton took care of us and David who wasn’t feeling well. The lush green foliage surrounding their house nestled just below Nkhoma Mountain was quite a contrast to the dry Western Cape. After a nice stay in Nkhoma we returned to Lilongwe where we caught our flights back to South Africa. Back in Stellenbosch, Michael and Ian stayed below us in a furnished flat owned by the University. We showed them some of the amazing scenery around Cape Town and then they treated us to a wonderful dinner for my 56th birthday. At the end they were feeling a bit homesick and ready to return to the States and their family. 

Now with this M-Th in Homiletics and Narrative Preaching behind me, I want to get back to doing Biblical Theology through the Bible's own stories. Our goal is to story through the Bible and this is what most of our posts are all about. Special thanks to those who prayed for us; surely your prayers helped the retreat, the graduations, the luncheon, the Malawi trip, the flights, the meetings and messages during the Kelly's visit go so well. 

With Love,
Jay, Laura, Clara, Katherine and Lauren Stoms