It’s a real privilege to be able to greet you as we serve God together.
Not something to be taken lightly.
I begin by reporting that The Lord has triumphed yet again. For a few weeks we had been prevented from ministering at Breakthrough. There were two main reasons for this, one being apathy from the manager and the other related to the resignation of a brother from WOF by the name of Fred Favard and his behind the scene support.
Please allow me to say something about Fred. His influence has touched us all.
Fred had been one of the top brass when, a number of years back, Working on Fire was still a private company. He is a tough, rugged, well skilled man and an outstanding Christian to boot, not standing back for anyone. It was Fred who seven years ago opened the door for us to minister at Working on Fire and since then played a big role in making sure things went smoothly. Sadly, due to internal politics Fred has been forced out of WOF. Things came to a head when he received instructions from WOF head office here in Nelspruit, to increase his training staff as a big increase in the numbers of those undergoing leadership training would soon be arriving. This he did, but there were no new arrivals!!! Even as outsiders we have become accustomed to the WOF managerial mix-ups that continue to emanate from that “seat of wisdom”. Fred then received a counter instruction, viz. that he was to fire the extra instructors, meaning that they, who had been brought in from other areas, would now be jobless. This he refused to do, regarding the Head Offices demand as totally unfair. They needed to mop up their own mess. His refusal was based on not only what was right, but his heart for the African. He refused to act as hatchet executioner and cover up man covering for the incompetence of Government bungling. Further it would irreparably blot his testimony. In the end it came down to an ultimatum, “Do as we say or you are out”. Fred said, “O.K. Then I’m out”. But the Lord has triumphed. Fred responded to a job offer yes, offer, from Indonesia and now controls all forestry in that entire country. His work here is done. I heard from him. He and his family are happily settled and have found a great church in which to fellowship and begin a new chapter in the Lord which I am pretty sure will duplicate what he has done here.
Then, we had opposition from a Muslim who is chairman of the WOF board. He had been leaning on the manager at Breakthrough – (management and instructors are black) to discontinue the meetings. This man is a Christian when with Christians and a Moslem when with Moslems (I think the descriptive term for this is a “mugrump bird”…sitting with mug on one side of the fence and rump on the other) so, for a few weeks meetings were suspended. But the instructors at Breakthrough are very strong Christians and they made it very plain that they wanted the meetings to continue. Their words to us were, “We’ll sort him out” and while I don’t have details, sort him out they did, as we have been able to resume meetings with great blessing. That particular manager has since been removed, so no more problems there. I think you will agree. The Lord triumphed yet again.
As I write I am reminded of a favorite old Isaac Watts hymn. The words, particularly those of the first verse, stir me.
Jesus shall reign where’re the sun
Doth his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till sun shall rise and set no more.
Our God has a big hand. Those who dare try to interfere with the gospel will get slapped and if I might be allowed an opinion,….the harder the better! I frequently think of Pastor Frank, who in his message on prayer said words to the effect, “Prayer is a means our sovereign God uses to release His will into the world “. So let us not cease to pray into all circumstances, “Thy will be done”.
Meetings at the Academy have been uninterrupted and are running wonderfully well. We had one group of 92 for four weeks. Twenty two responded to Christ and we had a lot of personal interaction.
While there two weeks ago, I experienced, what was to my mind, a miracle in timing. I had been teaching from our Bible Studies and suddenly felt I should end. Literally FIVE seconds later and without warning huge drops of rain, which sounded like hail, hit the roof. Within ten seconds it was bucketing down. The noise on the tin roof was deafening and only after 15 minutes did the rain ease up. In fact when I left the facility it was still raining and the night was ominously black. Leaves and small rocks were strewn across part of the route home. As the rain began I had a quite smile and a little word with the Lord. “Good thing I stopped hey Lord”. Perhaps it was my imagination but I sensed him giving me just the hint of a smile back accompanied by, “Yes. And a good thing you listened”. I didn’t feel either commendation or rebuke, but I came away determined to be better listener to the Lord. Samuel obeyed the sage advice of old Eli when he said, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening!” Not just business as usual. It was the secret that underpinned his life. He was a good listener. So may it be with us all.
We had 221 trainees at the Academy on Tuesday, the largest group ever!! Just wonderful! And what a fantastic opportunity to see lives changed for God. I couldn’t resist dusting Nicodemus off and using the evergreen words of Jesus, “You MUST be born again’. A large percentage are Xhosa and come from the Eastern Cape where circumcision is “the must” before you can be called “a man”. There were 38 deaths last year at “circumcision schools” and that in the Eastern Cape alone, but Government continues to turn a blind eye. We are told, “It’s the African way”. Not wise in the eyes of Government to upset chiefs, customs and traditions and lose votes at the polls by bringing it all to an end. The girls also go through abuse when becoming “women”. In some areas of the Eastern Cape men simply hijack young girls against their will and make them their wives. And that is that. Nothing is ever done. “It’s our right to have these girls. It’s our custom. It’s our tradition!!” …..Unbelievable!!! I always ask, even though a group will always comprise of people from different areas, “Where are you from?” It’s good to know. Then we trust the Holy Spirit to cut through the trash so the light of the glorious gospel of Christ can shine in, and praise God friends, He does. What a mighty God we serve! He triumphs over all evil and heals all our diseases which we testify to just two nights ago.
My pray for Woodbridge would be that you keep listening and doing. Thank you for your loving support. Please convey my love and greetings once more to Pastors Frank and Cynda.
Your friend and brother,