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.