We can’t send out a newsletter on Thanksgiving Eve without the first order of business being to give thanks and praise to Jehovah Jireh, our God and provider for all of the miraculous things He has done and provided through you and the gifts of your prayers, your purses and your presence. Too often we get lost in the daily struggles that we face but when we take time to stop and see all that the Lord has done we stand in humble, thankful wonder and awe of His grace and mercy. Thank you all for your support of the ministry He has called us to in South Africa, we are partners in this journey and without your support it would not be possible!
Year-End Starts Now!
Wow, we can’t believe it’s been 9 months since our last newsletter, but time flies when when you have 100 kids and 16 staff to care for and disciple! As the school year draws to an end (our last day will be November 30) we are not only busy preparing for the end of year ceremonies and celebrations, we are also busy preparing for the start of the new school year on January 13, 2016!
Please join us in praying that the first classroom block of the new Naledi Christian Academy will be ready for occupancy by then. The brickwork for the ground floor is complete, as pictured above. The concrete slabs for the first floor were recently poured and the brickwork on the first floor started two days ago.
Through our partnership with Mosaic SA everything up to the roof (approximately $180,000) has been funded and paid for. That leaves a total of about $40,000 needed to finish and furnish the 8 classrooms in this wing so they can be available to use in January. Christ has provided exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever think or imagine and we trust that He will continue to do so. Please pray with us for His continued provision, and if you feel led to support the work He is doing in the community though Naledi Christian Academy you can do so by clicking here or the “Donate Now” button on our website, www.TentMakerMinistries.com and designating your gift to the Naledi Christian Academy Building or Capital Purchases/Operating Fund.
If you’d like to view or download a copy of the Naledi Christian Academy school brochure which describes our vision, strategy, approach and the curriculum we are using, as well as the site plans, development road map and budget you can find it here.
As excited as we are about the construction of the school building, it is just a vehicle to allow us to reach the people of the community. Through it and the current 100 children and 16 staff we are serving we estimate that we are able to reach about 700 people directly with the Good News of Christ’s love for them. When the school is complete we will be able to provide a quality Christian education and disciple 400 students and an anticipated 40 staff, reaching nearly 3,000 people in the community. Without the gifts of your prayers, presence, and purses none of it would be possible! We thank God daily for you and your faithful support of what He is doing here, and hope you will be encouraged by the stories that follow.
We were blessed to have Pastor Marty Briney and a supporting cast of 5 from The Oaks Community Church in Dahinda, Illinois come and minister to and with us for a combined total of 6 weeks from September 19 through the end of October. We hosted a Men’s Conference over four nights rom October 5-8 attended by ~35 men in which they learned of God’s plan and purpose for them as Godly men, Godly husbands, and Godly fathers. It was a Spirit-filled conference with many young and old men and local pastors receiving sound Biblical truths. Following the conference we were blessed by stories from the wives of some of the men about how their husbands demeanor and behaviors have changed. Please keep the men of the community in your prayers as they seek a more meaningful, saving relationship with the Lord and savior and strive to be the men, husbands and fathers that Christs intends them to be.
We were also blessed to have a team consisting of individuals from North Carolina, New York, and even a South African now living in Australia visit in August and take 12 of our older primary school students on a 3 day, 2 night field trip to Pilanesberg National Park to enjoy the beauty and wonder of God”s creation. Most of the people we serve will never have an opportunity to see or experience the wonderful places, sights and sounds that are South Africa, and the kids reveled in every moment.
This past month our Grade R (kindergarten) kids and all boarded a big bus and took a ride to visit the Johannesburg Zoo chaperoned by their teachers and several parents.
In addition to the classroom instruction our kids receive we have been blessed by volunteers that come after school to give additional instruction to students interested in learning to play piano or improve their soccer skills. In addition to the skills they are acquiring, the combination of American, Korean and German volunteers that interact with the children on a regular basis is giving the kids a world-view that not many in the area are able to receive.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
God, please help us to listen to our teachers.
God, please help us not to beat each other or swear.
God, please help us to listen and do our work.
God, please help us not to kick each other.
God, please help us to write beautiful.
God, please help us not to laugh at others.
These are prayers that may be said on any given day by any of our Grade One learners. Even though the prayers were spoken by 7-year olds, we as adults, have likely been heard reciting the very same pleas at some point in our lives.
“God help us with this”, “God help us not to do this”, “Please God this,” and “Please God that.” Praying is one of the best ways of drawing closer to God, because we are demonstrating our dependence on Him. We are telling God that we need Him; that without Him, we can do nothing. Through prayer we are also exercising our faith in a God who hears us and can help us, no matter what needs we may have, we can bring it to Him.
But doesn’t prayer sometimes require action on our part, too? Does God not expect us to seek, or look, and then we will find? Does God want us to pour out our needs and requests, only for us to sit back and wait for our desires to be fulfilled? Is God able to answer our prayers? Of course He can – He can provide whatever we need, be it His will – He is God! Sometimes we do have prayer requests that are so beyond our scope that we may have no thought at all of where to begin. But much of what we pray about we have the ability to put action to our prayers. It is still God who is answering our prayers, but He is working through our actions.
If you really believe something, you will live it. If we truly believe God will heal or provide for our different needs, we will be active participants in seeing our prayers answered. God honors our faith and God blesses our faith. And God wants to see our faith put into action.
So as we hear our children pray for God to ‘help them respect their teachers,’ to ‘not beat each other,’ to ‘not swear but use kind words to one another’, and so on, pray for us as we teach these precious ones how to act on those requests. Let us teach them that by depending on God through the love of Jesus Christ and by having faith in Him, they can seek and find their prayers will be answered. God will be blessed if we bring up our little ones to put their faith in action, and yes, that goes for adults, too!
Answered Prayers and Prayer Requests
As excited as we are about the progress being made on the new building for Naledi Christian Academy, there is a real spiritual battle being waged for the minds, hearts and souls of th children and adults we have been trusted to minister to through the school.The last two months have been very difficult praise God, the battle belongs to Him and we know how it ends. We find comfort and safety in that. Please pray with us for the peace and comfort of our staff and volunteers while the battle rages around them and that Christ will be glorified through it all.
Jen Torres, who has been with us since January has been a real answer to prayer. We are thankful for her servant’s heart and service with us and ask that you keep Jen in your prayers as she prepares to return to the United States.
While we are sad to see Jen leave, we give thanks and praise to God for bringing Madelaine Zerwick, a local teacher with a love and passion for Jesus and children, to us to serve in a full-time capacity at Naledi Christian Academy. Please pray for Madelaine’s transition from the public school system and that Christ would do a mighty work in and through her at Naledi.