Thursday, November 1, 2012

Back Home

Pictured above are John and Trish with Cintia and Julius at the Johannesburg Airport before our departure. Our team landed safely following 24 hours of travel from Johannesburg to Atlanta and Atlanta to Phoenix.  We want to thank everyone for your wonderful support via notes and prayer support.  We had a super week working with our brothers and sisters at Hope Baptist Church.  In summary, we were privileged to see at least eleven new believers accept Christ as their Savior.  Numerous first time visitors stated they wanted information on membership in Hope Baptist Church. We are excited about the initial growth and excellent potential that God has for the church and how it impacts Sunnyside, South Africa and beyond.  Please pray for strength and wisdom for Pastor Julius and his key leadership, including Wilfred, Daniel and David, as well as their families.  Pray for understanding and support from their families for the hard work ahead. Pray for the married couples who wish to strengthen their relationship with God by honoring him in their relationships.  Pray for the parents, both married and single, who desire to raise their children according to Godly principles.  And pray for the singles who love God and desire to live a pure lifestyle. Thank you again for this excellent opportunity to represent the Lord and First Southern Baptist of Scottsdale.  May God bless you and our church as we continue to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ!  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Team at Pilanesberg

From left to right, Wilfred, Bill, Julius, Wanda, Mitch, Meredith, David, Trish and John.

Hippos at Pilanesberg

After a busy schedule of missions activity, yesterday we enjoyed an outing to Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve with the leadership team of Hope Baptist Church. We saw a great variety of wildlife, including this family of hippos. We worshipped God's beautiful creation and wondered aloud what He was thinking when creating the wildebeest and warthogs!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Certificate Ceremony

Here is one of the members of Hope Baptist Church receiving her certificate of attendance from Pastor Julius at Saturday's Family Life Conference.

African Attire

Bill and Wanda also enjoyed dressing for the occasion on Africa Day.

Fellowship Center

The campus where Hope Baptist Church is housed has a very large Fellowship Center. Shown are members attending the church fellowship on African Day.

Africa Loves Food Fellowship Too

Just like home, the members of Hope Baptist Church enjoyed a church wide potluck lunch. John was the only one brave enough to try the worms and fried cowhide!

Praise And Worship

Meredith participated with the praise team in leading music for the African Day Worship service. She is shown here with one of the praise team members, Christine, who gave Meredith the beautiful dress she is wearing. This demonstrates the generous hearts of the members of Hope Baptist Church.

Sunday Worship

Mitch delivered keynote messages at the Wednesday Teen Conference, the Friday Evangelism night and the Sunday morning worship service. Several people prayed to accept Christ as their Savior again today, following the eight that did so on Friday night. Seated on the front row in their beautiful blue native dress are Pastor Julius and Cintia.

Sunday African Day Worship

Praise God that over 140 people were in attendance this morning to celebrate Jesus and have fellowship. This was declared African Day where members and the 20 or so first time visitors wore clothing from their native countries. Countries represented included South Africa, Swaziland, Cameroon, Nigeria, Congo, Malawi and Burundi. Mitch delivered a powerful sermon regarding the fields being ripe for the Harvest and our need to see people as God sees them.

Family Life Conference Certificates

Wanda is shown here signing certificates of attendance for the Hope Baptist Church Family Life Conference. Over 70 participants were very excited to receive these certificates, each having their names called out as in a graduation ceremony.

Trish Working with Children

During the Family Life Conference, Trish and Meredith led the children in crafts and a story of Joseph in Egypt. About 15 children were there while their parents participated in sessions on The Five Love Languages and Honoring God in All our Relationships. John and Mitch provided excellent help with the children while Bill and Wanda were in presentations.

Single Women Discussion Group

Meredith and the single women had a breakout group on Saturday discussing honoring God in their relationships. Over 70 people attended the Family Life Conference.

Single Men Discussion Group

At the Family Life Conference on Saturday, John led a discussion group of single men on the topic of sexual purity.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday Night Prayer Service

Praise God that over 65 people attended the Thursday night prayer service, including 7 first time visitors. We shared an evening of singing, Bible teaching and prayer. Pastor Julius shared a message on the Harvest is Plentiful and that during the month of November, there will be great emphasis on seeing a miraculous harvest in Sunnyside! We ended with individual prayers for members of the church who have special needs. Today we will continue prayer walking and prepare for our evangelistic service tonight. Thank you for your notes of encouragement and prayers.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Streets Lined with Jacaranda

Pretoria is known for its boulevards of Jacaranda. This is one the streets behind Hope Baptist Church. The color is dazzling and hard to imagine.

Prayer Walking in Sunnyside

Pastor Julius and team spent Thursday morning passing out flyers and inviting people to our weekend activities. It is apparent that many false religions are spreading rapidly in South Africa and it is critical that we proclaim the true Gospel to the lost. We are looking forward to joint prayer sessions this evening as the cell groups combine once a month.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Celebrating God

Wonderful celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ in Sunnyside!

Teen Rally On Wed Afternoon

Some of the young college students with Meredith and Wanda prior to start of Teen Rally! Pray that God will move among the many in attendance.

An Ideal Facility and Location

Photo of the local church where Hope Baptist Church shares space. This is an ideal location at head of main thoroughfare Sunnyside. We prayer walked this morning and handed out flyers for the week's activities.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Greetings from Pretoria

After a long but successful day of traveling, we have made it to Pretoria. Praise God that all of us plus luggage made it safely. After arriving and checking through customs, we were excited to be met by Julius and two other leaders of Hope Baptist Church. The sun had gone done by the time we rented our passenger van and drove the 45 minutes from Johannesburg to Pretoria. We checked in our rooms and were blessed by Cintia with a wonderful salad and refreshments. The team has already spent an hour discussing our strategy for the week, with special focus on the teenage rally planned for tomorrow afternoon. We will be prayer walking tomorrow morning prior to the youth rally that will take place from 3-5 pm. Thanks again for lifting us up in prayers.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Team in Atlanta

Sharing Happy Birthday cookies with Mitch!

Team At Sky Harbor

John, Trish, Meredith, Wanda and Bill

Made it to Atlanta

Dear Friends and Prayer Partners,
We made it to Atlanta right on time and have already met up with Mitch. Getting ready to board our 15 hour flight to South Africa. Thanks to Pastor, Nancy, Keith, Dave, Mona and Kathi for seeing us off this morning. Looking forward to seeing God move in a mighty way this week!

Our Team from FSBCS Scottsdale, AZ

Team members are John Herr, Mitch McDonald, Bill Bagwell,
Trish Herr, Wanda Bagwell, and Meredith Bagwell

October 2012

Packed and Ready

Our team has had an exciting day preparing for our trip to South Africa.  At our Sunday morning worship service, we were blessed by a wonderful commissioning ceremony.  It was a very emotional and Spirit-filled time for us.

After much prayer and preparation, we will be meeting at the Delta ticket counter Monday morning at 7:45.  Our flights will take us to Atlanta and then Johannesburg, where we arrive Tuesday evening following a 15 hour flight.  

We ask for your prayers for safe travels and rest during our lengthy trip.  Mitch will be joining us in Atlanta following a weeklong mission in Dominica.  Please pray that all our connections and coordination with Mitch goes well.  Also pray that our suitcases with supplies for the Family Life Conference arrive safely.

We look forward to an exciting week of prayer walking in Sunnyside and working at a youth rally on Wednesday evening, a prayer meeting on Thursday evening, an evangelistic service on Friday evening, followed by a Family Life Conference on Saturday morning.  Finally we will enjoy worshiping with the Congregation of Hope Baptist Church on Sunday, with a special emphasis called African Day! 

If time permits, we will send an update tomorrow evening.

May God bless you, our team and our friends at Hope Baptist Church.  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hope Baptist Church is Born!

Hallelujah and amen from Hope Baptist Church in Sunnyside/Pretoria, S. Africa. We pray you are looking forward to your worship time this morning at FSBCS. We are excited to join you by Skype soon and share the many ways God has blessed us today.
The morning was bathed in prayer by our team, and no doubt all of you, before we arrived at the church. Prior to the start of the service a monsoon-like thunderstorm came over the city. The windows of the church were open and throughout the service booming thunder reminded all of us of God's power and majesty at the most opportune moments. The rain refreshed and cooled the area, but no doubt may have caused some to stay away because so many walk to wherever they are going. Worship was spirited and diverse as we had many nations in Africa represented as well as a few Americans. :) We enjoyed worship songs in English and other languages and a powerful message brought by God through Julius. Just one of the many highlights of the service came at the end when Pastor Julius had Clyde cut the ribbon to officially open Hope Baptist Church to the Sunnyside community.
We look forward to sharing more of the details with you soon. For now, we praise Him for unchained gates! May God richly bless our church family because He is ever faithful.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Saturday in Sunnyside!

We eagerly anticipated our final day of scouring the streets of Sunnyside to continue inviting the community to HBC. The team prayed together before splitting up for our first of two 2 1/2 hour sessions among the residents. We enjoyed continuing to build relationships with some we had already met as well as meeting many who were new to us. We stopped for lunch, then went right back out to the community. After we returned to the church we spent some time cleaning up the grounds to be ready for our first service in the morning - SO exciting!
The evening meal was spent at the Vick's home and was followed by a very meaningful prayer time.  We knew that all the work we could do had been done and that everything was in the Lord's hands to be accomplished by Him alone, for His glory alone. We then had an amazingly powerful time of prayer as we laid hands on Julius and ordained him for this work God had called him to in Sunnyside. We returned to our base and spent a little more team time together, closing with prayer.  We know you will be continuing to cover this work with prayer in the next 24 hours and we cannot wait to be joined by Skype tomorrow evening (your morning service) to joyfully share the news of the first worship service of Hope Baptist Church at its new church home in Sunnyside! To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Friday, February 3, 2012


Today we are thanking God for everything so...
Thank God It's Friday... In Sunnyside In South Africa!!!
We have had another full day of sharing invitations to church with the residents of Sunnyside. We continue to break into smaller groups (changing teammates each time) to walk many blocks of neighborhood streets sharing invitations with the people to come to church. We usually spend about 2 1/2 hours walking in the morning and also in the afternoon. We meet many people of all ages, races, incomes, etc. and most continue to be receptive. We have spent enough time in the neighborhoods and on the streets that several of our newfound friends greet us by name when they see us coming. Each team member has begun longing for deeper, more meaningful conversations as God has stretched us out of our comfort zones, and He blesses and encourages us with those divine appointments at just the right times. Tomorrow will be our last day to invite the citizens of Sunnyside to come worship with us on Sunday. Please continue to pray for God to bless us with divine appointments, for the people to remain open and receptive, and for us to operate in His strength. We are SO excited for Sunday and are still believing God to bring many, many people to the first service of Hope Baptist Church, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send out His workers that He may bring in an abundant crop!

Prayer is Mighty!

Prayer has been a huge part of our team - before coming, each day, all day long while we are here, and around-the-clock for you, our church family, as you lift us up. Mona led some of the prayer time at our Prayer Service.

Two Pastors really enjoying each other's company this week

Todd has really enjoyed getting to know Julius and is very impressed with him - we think the feeling is mutual.

Patience for limited Internet Service Please!

Our Internet service is good but not too speedy which limits the size of the posts we are trying to add to the blog. That explains why most pictures have been added separately - SORRY! The last post was supposed to have included 4 photos but unfortunately only the captions came through. We are trying our best to keep you updated but please continue praying as the Holy Spirit leads. We love you all and are anxious to share so much more with you!

Thursday = Inviting People, Prayer Walking, and Prayer Service

Today was a very long, very hot, very good day! We had our best night's rest and began a productive day here. But first we must thank you for praying for our lost bag - it arrived last evening and we have the supplies we packed for the children for Sunday's service - Praise God! We were in Sunnyside all day today walking the streets inviting many people to church on Sunday, prayer-walking when we ran out of brochures for the day, and then attending the first weekly Prayer Service held in the new facility.  The Prayer Services for the people of Sunnyside and the new church launch had previously been held in Julius and Cintia's apartment so this was a great blessing and praise! We are very encouraged by the way the people here are so receptive to being invited. We found ourselves looking forward to today - even knowing it would be a long, hot day because of their open spirits. So we prayed to be even bolder, to shine the love and joy of Christ to them, and not to grow weary in doing this good work, and the Lord powerfully and graciously granted us all these things. We also found ourselves longing to connect on an even deeper level and have more meaningful conversations and right after lunch the Lord also graciously allowed this to happen!

Worship Here banner is up

Todd visits with members of Hope Baptist Church
Julius leading the Prayer Service

We ask for your prayers to keep us strong and healthy as we have two more days to invite many people to worship with us, that those we invite would be compelled by the Holy Spirit to seek Christ and come, that the printer would have more brochures ready for us tomorrow as we have almost exhausted the initial order of 5000, and for Julius to be prepared by the Lord for pastoring this new flock entrusted to him. We love you, thank you, and miss you!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The locked gates to the church facility that look out upon Esselen St. - the busiest street in Sunnyside. Pray for them to be opened wide to a community who needs Christ and many to come inside!

The Union Building. Have you seen Invictus?

The beautiful view of Pretoria from the Union Building.

Isaiah 58:6

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6 NIV84)
This is the lock and chains that lock the gate to the church facility Hope Baptist Church will be using this Sunday, Feb. 5. We ask you to pray along with us that the bondage that was created here by Apartheidism will be broken once and for all.  This church that was once open only to the white man has opened its doors and now welcomes ALL people to come and worship, and most importantly is partnering with Hope Baptist Church to invite anyone that will come to worship Jesus Christ and come to know Him personally as Savior and Lord. We spent the day praying over the city from the Union Building, which is the executive building housing the President, once home to Nelson Mandella. It's an absolutely beautiful park that overlooks the whole city, where we asked the Lord for many things to bring Him glory. We then went down into the heart of Pretoria to Sunnyside, where we spent most of the rest of the afternoon prayer-walking and extending invitations to many people to the church launch service. We were very encouraged that  most people here are open and receptive, unlike what we think the response in the US might be. Clyde commented that if everyone who said they would come comes then we will have a packed house, and Steve joked that we would need 4 services! We are asking God to fill His house! We are all well and doing fine, only experiencing a little jet lag still. We are so grateful for the many faithful pray-ers that are petitioning the Lord on our behalf and especially for the people He loves in S. Africa.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We've arrived!

We've arrived!

We've arrived!

Thank you for your faithful prayers for our safe arrival in Pretoria S. Africa. Our team met at Sky Harbor at 10 a.m. local time for departure just before noon. We made it safely to Atlanta for a quick connection on to Johannesburg. Other than it being a very looooooong flight we had no problems. Already it has been so satisfying to thank the Lord for His answers to your many faithful prayers. Julius, Cintia, Cliff and Bev met us at the airport to help us with our rental van and to get us where we needed to be. We made it here with all our bags but one! Thankfully it is the bag with some food and gift items for the Vicks, and not someone's "necessary" items, so after Mona filed a report we were on our way. You can definitely pray that the bag would be located and delivered. We had a simple yet delicious dinner of salad and potatoes and a wonderful time of first-time fellowship as a team here. Cliff and Julius led us through a brief overview of the week and we are very ready to begin this good work tomorrow - hopefully after a restful night in a real bed! We feel so blessed by the many comments on social network and emails we have received of your faithful prayers on our behalf - praise our amazing Savior!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Commissioning Sunday for South Africa Mission Team 2

Join us on Sunday for the commissioning of the eight FSBCS members that will be heading to Pretoria, South Africa to assist with the launch of the new Hope Baptist Church.