A Glimpse into Mercy Ministry in South Africa

March 20, 2009

          
I’ve been dialoguing with Josh Mack, a missionary in Pretoria, South Africa (his dad is the author and biblical counselor, Wayne Mack, who is also a missionary in South Africa now. Josh has co-authored a few books with his dad). Josh is pouring himself out in mercy ministry. What he’s facing is heart-breaking, and what he’s doing, by God’s grace, is incredibly encouraging… This is a recent update on his ministry:
     
*The Ministry to Refugees: 

South Africa is literally flooded with refugees from other countries which makes for an amazing opportunity to reach the rest of Africa right from our doorstep. As most of you know we currently have a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo living with us who is going to seminary and looking forward to going back to the D.R.C. in a number of years to serve as a pastor. We also have about 5-10 other refugees who come to our house twice a week for discipleship and fellowship. Then there about 11 individuals and families that we provide monthly food packs for and meet with on a monthly basis with the goal of proclaiming the gospel and helping them connect with a good church. Just this past week I was invited to preach in a church made up of refugees from the D.R.C. which meets in Sunnyside (an area of downtown Pretoria). Exciting stuff. We are also looking and praying about renting office space down in the area in which many of the refugees live to develop a clothing, food pack, library, and discipleship training center. We are actually checking out a space this afternoon. It is right in the center of the action and would give us a great opportunity to create a sort of “fishing pool” for ourselves from which to fish for men to disciple!

Marda is working at creating a non-profit organization we are hoping to call 1hope. 

*The Orphan Ministry:

We are doing house-training of parents and teacher training at Bethesda Children’s Village which is an orphanage close to us (www.bethesdaoutreach.org).
      
We also are going to a village/township called Stinkwater pretty much every Saturday. We have developed a relationship with a local ministry there run by an African lady named Suzanne who feeds and cares for approximately 60 orphans 3 times a week. She only can feed them three times a week because that is all she has the money to feed them. These orphans are either living with their grandmas and aunties or they are living by themselves. (This is happening more and more in Africa – children’s parents are dying, then their aunties are dying, then their other auntie or grandma dies and they just decide to stay in a shack by themselves.) We have been able to provide the orphans with school supplies, some food, we are also holding a Bible club once a month for them at this point, (about a 100 children showed up for our first event!) plus trying to help Suzanne with food, and then also we are attempting to be the go between for her so she can begin getting some grants from the government to continue the ministry there. There is one particular orphan there that we are praying about bringing into our home. He is three, his mother is dying, and she has no relatives which means he will be on his own. My wife came home last week and said, “Please, Josh: can we help this child?” and my girls cheered. That would make four orphans and a pretty full house! We will have to wait and see if that is feasible, but certainly we will look for a way to help his family. This next Saturday we are going up to meet with the mother, pray for her and begin to look how we can help her. 

There are two orphans from the D.R.C. that we are praying God will enable us to help. They are both about 16 now but they fled the war in the D.R.C. by themselves when they were 11. They are living in a room that is not much bigger than a bathroom with two other men, staying in an apartment with about 13-15 adults, trying to go to school, trying to survive on their own. But they need care, they need to see what a real family is. There is a third who is not an orphan but whose mom left him in South Africa and moved to America and told him he has to figure out how to make it on his own as well. We are thinking about having them stay in our home with us but they would need money for bus fare to get to school on a daily basis. We usually have them into our home a couple times a week for a meal and discipleship as well, plus we have one individual who is working alongside us who goes and meets with them for discipleship once a week. 

*Church-Planting/Strengthening:

We have a goal of five in five. What we mean by that is we want to intensively disciple five men from two different areas – Shoshanguve or Mamelodi and Sunnyside over the next five years, helping them see what a good church looks like, what it means to be a Christian, going deep theologically (Africa desperately needs the truth) so that in five years or so those men would be the kind of men that would be a big help in a solid church plant. We already have more than that number of men from Sunnyside, but we are praying for the right men either from Shoshanguve or Mamelodi. We have some real help with the discipleship of men from Shoshanguve or Mamelodi because our church now has two graduates from Christ Seminary (http://www.tmai.org/site/default.asp?sec_id=13) who are serving with us. We’ll see what God accomplishes. 

We were down in Sunnyside this past Sunday at a church for refugees and it was such a joy and sort of sad at the same time. It was a joy because the people were so sincere, because they wanted to hear the truth. It was sad because so much of what they were doing seemed like it was just cliche Christianity, a couple phrases repeated over and over again and I was thinking, man, these people’s lives are way too hard to be satisfied with cliches. They need deep biblical truth if they are going to make it. It is our prayer that God will enable us to develop relationships with people in which we can go deep biblically and we can all come out stronger in our knowledge of the truth and our relationship with Christ as a result. 

Also, we have held Grace School of Ministry at our church this month. Dad’s been busy training 50-60 individuals from all over Africa in Biblical Counseling and Discipleship. He does such a great job with this. The men and women come out just raving about what they are learning. It is such a joy to have a faithful mother and father who are seeking to serve Christ straight to the end!

Please also pray for our buddy Steve who has been staying with us for the past year. He is busy, busy with different Bible studies, etc. One of the Bible studies we are most excited about is up in Shoshanguve where he is working with a pastor – primarily teaching the pastor to read using Scripture itself!

The ministry at our church is going super. I am enjoying preaching through 1 Peter weekly, getting rocked by it myself actually and then also we have a great group of young adults that we are privileged to serve on a weekly basis as well. 

*Financial Support: 

Currently a portion of our monthly salary comes from supporters in the United States and a portion of our salary comes from the church here. With the downturn in the economy creating financial strain here at our church in SA, we have offered the elders to give up our monthly salary from the church if things continue as they are in the church financially. That would mean we may find it necessary to raise more support from the United States in the coming year – right around 1500-2000 U.S. dollars a month. (Depending on the rand-dollar exchange rate!) I think we have about six months to a year in which to do this. Please pray that we would trust God because He certainly isn’t worried about it but loves us more than we ever could imagine or understand! I keep wanting to go Hudson Taylor, George Mueller on things but I can’t quite make the call between faith and wisdom.
    
              
Mind-boggling, isn’t it? And convicting – I’m not thankful enough for what I have, and I need to learn to love like Josh and Marda! Please take a moment to take their ministry before the Lord. He is able – more than able.
                
~Donovan 
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