Discipleship Class Begins in Ethembeni

We are very excited that God has opened the door for teaching His word in the village of Ethembeni!

The Road to Ethembeni

The Road to Ethembeni

To refresh your memory, the idea for starting this class began with a visit to a hospital. Last year, a local amaZioni leader, Pastor Lankethi, asked me to go with him to visit his nephew at the hospital. After sharing the good news about Jesus with him there, it seemed that others in the ward were interested too, so we shared the gospel with them all. As a result, one person there wanted to put his faith in Christ. His name was Mr. Pete and he was from the village of Ethembeni. A few weeks later, Mr. Pete called us wanting us to visit his cousin who was very ill. We went and explained the gospel to this frail young lady. After listening, she wanted to put her faith in Christ too. Sadly, she did pass away soon after. During a visit to her family we explained the gospel and a few more people responded by putting their in faith in Christ. At that time, Pastor Lankethi and I began the process of trying to start a discipleship class there in Ethembeni.

Pastor Lankethi and Jon Teaching

Pastor Lankethi and Jon Teaching

We knew an amaZioni pastor who lives there, named Mr. Roji. Pastor Roji attends one of the Zion Evangelical Bible Schools. With his help, we started to contact a council of leaders in the village. Although the class didn’t start as soon as we planned, it was all in the Lord’s timing. A few months ago, we received news that Mr. Pete had passed away. During a visit to his family we shared the gospel again and one lady responded by putting her faith in Christ. As a word of comfort, we explained how meeting Mr. Pete had opened the door for us to be starting a discipleship class in their village.

Pastor Roji Outside Our "This We Believe" Class

Pastor Roji Outside Our “This We Believe” Class

The class is now in its fifth week. So far, Jon has taught about the history of the amaZioni churches, the inspiration and authority of the Bible, the Biblical teaching of God (his attributes and the fact that He is one God who exists in the three persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), a lesson focusing on Jesus – the eternal Son of God, and most recently, a lesson focusing just on the Holy Spirit. We still have many more lessons to go so please pray that God will use Jon to explain the Bible well and invite people to turn from their sins and to put their faith in Jesus.

Ethembeni "This We Believe" Class

Ethembeni “This We Believe” Class

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Easter Weekend 2013

As missionaries to the amaZioni, the Easter weekend presents us with a wonderful ministry opportunity because it is very common for different amaZioni church branches to come together for the whole weekend.  The first opportunity we had took place on Friday, when Luaan and I were able to visit a church in a village called Lloyd.  Luaan was able to explain the gospel here. Pastor September, a leader of this church, went through the This We Believe discipleship class a few years ago which was taught by Luaan.  It was great spending much of the day with them on Friday. 

Then, on Saturday we had the opportunity to visit a church that was started by a Zion Evangelical Bible School (ZEBS) graduate.  This church meets in a township called Ezibeleni. On our way to this location, we stopped for a while just outside a small town called Cathcart.  We visited a Pastor named Mr. Mponde, who is teaching ZEBS classes in the Cape Town area, but travelled up to this part of the country to visit a church branch.  After a short meeting we continued on our way to Ezibeleni.  After arriving, I was able to share a message from Mathew 24 about being ready for Christ’s return.  We also played a portion of the Jesus film.  As we were eating a meal, the ZEBS graduate was telling us of his appreciation for his Bible training at ZEBS.  This was very encouraging. 

After spending time with the church in Ezibeleni we then went off to visit a church in a village near a town called Kieskammahook.  A leader here named Tata Voor Voor seems to be someone who really fears the Lord and is always seeking Biblical teaching.  After showing a portion of the Jesus film, Luaan and I were both able to encourage them with the word of God.  Though the road in the village was extremely muddy due to much rain, we eventually made it back onto the main road.  It actually rained for much of the weekend, which caused us to have to cancel a planned church visit for Sunday.  Thank you for your on-going prayers. 

Showing the Jesus Film in Kieskammahook

Showing the Jesus Film in Kieskammahook

To close this Easter update, let us dwell richly on these words of Jesus:

“I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

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Kicking Off 2013!

We are so thankful to be starting another year here, ministering among the amaZioni in South Africa. We thank the Lord for those among the amaZioni people who are hungry to listen to the word of God. Continue to pray for them that they will grow firmly like the seeds that fell on the good soil that Jesus described in his parable which yielded a crop, “some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty” (Matthew 13:8).

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ZEMA Missionary Conference

Earlier this month, we attended the Annual ZEMA Missionary Conference just north of Durban. We were grateful for safe travels during the 10 hour drive. It was nice seeing and catching up with other ZEMA missionaries that are spread across southern Africa ministering to the amaZioni. Hearing how God is at work among the amaZioni through all the missionaries and those helping them is a wonderful way to start the year. We also were blessed to celebrate our 5 year anniversary while in Durban.

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Excited For A New Year

Looking ahead to this year, I (Jon) am excited to be teaching now at the Bible Schools. It is a challenge but a very good one. It will really help me with better learning the Xhosa language as I prepare and give the lessons. Pray for me, that the Lord will help me to be an effective teacher of the Bible, and one who really cares for those who attend.Along with meeting all the demands of being a mom, Lauren is doing a great job helping with all kinds of things organizationally. Just recently she helped organized a new record keeping system that will really help with printing certificates and diplomas. This type of work is such an important part of the ministry. Pray for her, that the pregnancy continues to go well. Liesl is enjoying life and is looking forward to being a big sister.

Also, it is so great to have the Goosen’s back from their furlough. It is a blessing being able to work with them, and to learn from their expertise in this ministry.  Pray for them that they will have a great start back on the field.

Thank you again for your partnership. We hope it brings you great encouragement to hear about a little of what the Lord is doing here through this ministry.

Click here to view our 2013 February Prayer Calendar

Zion Evangelical Bible School Graduation 2012

I recently asked a 2012 ZEBS graduate, Pastor Moses Vellem, to share with me his testimony and how the Zion Evangelical Bible Schools (ZEBS) has been helpful to him.  Below is what he wrote for me in English even though it is not his first language.  Now that he has graduated, he is planning to do an Advanced Ministry Studies course through Dumisani Theological Institute.  Pray for him as he studies, that God would continue to help him grow in his understanding of the Bible.

Pastor Moses Vellem

Pastor Moses Vellem

I am Moses Vellem, a pastor of a Zion Church. I am a born again Christian.  I accepted Jesus as my Savior in 1995 at Johannesburg.  I was in a religious family and my father was a bishop in our church.  I was elected to be a pastor in 1996 (April). I never got any formal training for that work and I was assisted by my father in certain things.  When he passed away in 1997 it was very difficult because the congregation expected me to do the pastoral work.  I did some correspondence courses in some Bible Schools including the one in Cape Town and that did not work.

In 2009 (January) Pastor Goosen came to Queenstown with ZEBS and I attended.  The first thing that was emphasized was the importance of the Word of God.  Everything with me changed for the better because of the in depth education I got from the teachers at ZEBS.  Today I am more equipped on how to conduct myself as a child of God, how to run a church, how to preach and a lot of things that I lacked before.  Above all I love Jesus more than myself and the Holy Spirit continues to help me grow in the Word of God through ZEBS.  I am doing the fourth year now and with God’s help I would like to continue learning more about God and doing His work.

I thank God for bringing Pastor Goosen and his staff to us.  They have changed our lives as the leaders and students in our Zion churches.  God is wonderful.

M.M. Vellem (Bishop)

Graduation Pictures

(Click to Enlarge)

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A Great Day of Ministry

Qamata Bible School Class

October 14 was a great day.  Along with having a Bible School meeting, we were invited to attend a night service held by Tata Sweni, an amaZioni pastor who graduated from Zion Evangelical Bible School, ZEBS, last year.  The Bible school was held in the area called Qamata, which is about a two and a half hour drive from King William’s Town.  It is the most rural ZEBS class in the Eastern Cape. 

Pastor Lankethi and Pastor Tobani

 We held classes in a ronta (a circular house with a thatched roof), located on a hill top.  The class went very well.  Along with Pastor Lankethi and Pastor Tobani (ZEBS teachers), a young man being trained in ministry, Mr. Sindisa, came along to learn about the school.  

Outside Qamata Bible School

Outside Our Classroom

After class, we proceeded to drop off two students, Pastor and Mrs. Zinakile, at their home.  They invited us to come in for tea and we gladly accepted.  As a gift, Pastor Zinakile wanted to give us a chicken to take with us.  What was funny was that it was my birthday that day, so he unknowingly gave me a birthday present. 

amaZioni All-Night Service

After this we headed toward the venue for the amaZioni all-night service.  Since several other amaZioni churches were planning to be in attendance, Pastor Zinakile invited us to share the Word of God and explain about the Bible Schools.  It did indeed turn out to be a great opportunity.  I was able to share a sermon in Xhosa, Pastor Thobani shared about the schools and Mr. Sindisa found several opportunities to share the gospel with young people there outside of the building. 

amaZioni All-Night Service

amaZioni All-Night Service

Thank you for your ongoing prayers.  They are effective and greatly appreciated.

Click Here to View Our 2012 November Prayer Calendar