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Between detention and discipleship

  • Timon 

Restrictions on movement and social contacts have affected us all in one way or another. Some have welcomed the “peaceful” timeout and benefits of working from home, yet for others it has been a painful “detention” with devastating financial consequences. What is the situation in South Africa and how is it affecting ministry among the AmaZioni?

Measures have been very strict here in South Africa for many weeks. There has been more relaxation over the past few weeks: certain school classes can again be taught publicly, almost all branches of the economy have opened again – except for restaurants and hairdressers. But there are still many normal things that are stated as unlawful, such as a visit onto the beach or travelling to another region of the country. Not only the poor in the population feel the consequences of the measures, many small businesses have to shut down for good. Whether you stick to the restrictions here is therefore often not a question of health, but of survival.

Missions under lockdown?

As in all other parts of the world now, it requires creative ways to reach people for Christ. Contact bans and strict hygiene requirements pose a huge challenge to the many Bible courses being taught among AmaZioni. Along with several other missionaries, we are now in the process of offering certain courses through digital media. This takes a lot of wisdom, because although many AmaZioni live with a smartphone, just as many do not have suitable access to the Internet. Yet it is encouraging to see how AmaZioni leaders still serve their communities with very simple means. A radio broadcast for the AmaZioni is already available in some languages.

For many people in the African context, the issue of sickness is very often associated with spiritual curses. For example, we heard of a woman in the township who suffered from Covid-19 symptoms. The first person she turned to was the local self-proclaimed “prophet”. He told her that the reason for her illness was not some virus, but a curse from the woman next door who supposedly had an affair with her husband. Of course, the Prophet also offered an antidote. Pray that the current circumstances will become an opportunity for the gospel and not a platform for the enemy.

Face to Face contact is curcial in advancing God’s kingdom. A strong easing of the current restrictions on contacts and movement is not on the horizon in the next few months. This means that our missionary colleagues here will have to restrict their ministry to visiting homes and smaller groups. Timon’s language studies are making good progress thanks to a very good offer on the Internet. He has video classes several times a week with an excellent teacher.

Volunteer in sight!

We actually have a prospective volunteer who is willing to come and support us in home schooling David! Thank you for all of your prayers. The only question now is, when South Africa will open its boarders for international travellers and visa applications are accepted. We pray and hope it will happen this year.

Jael and David are very excited that their preschool should open again soon. They had just begun to make new friends before the lockdown. Now they have had to go through social isolation for three months, which has sometimes been a benefit and at other times a struggle for us. All four birthdays of our children fell into the lockdown period! Aaron is discovering more and more words and has recently been learning the first colors. Luisa growing and flourishing as you can see.

Prayer Items:

  • Request: finding creative ways to offer the much wanted Bible courses to the AmaZioni via digital media
  • Thanksgiving: that we’ve been able to continue language learning throughout the lockdown
  • Thanksgiving: that we have a prospective volunteer to help with home schooling
  • Request: that the volunteer is able to reach us despite the “corona circumstances”
  • Request: that our kids would soon be able to deepen their newly found friendships
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