Joshua and Marda Mack Family Update
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A fanatically loyal love

I’ve never cared enough about sports to be considered a fanatic by any stretch of the imagination.

But I've known people who did.
We used to have people who lived down the road from us who hung up flags for their favorite teams all over their living room. I’ve known people who have bought green cars and pasted Philadelphia Eagle stickers all over because of their devotion to their team. I’ve even seen grown men get emotional when they see their team lose.

The way I've thought about that kind of “fanatically loyal love” changed after listening to a former Westminster professor, Edmund Clowney use it as an illustration of the the Hebrew word “hesed.”

We might think that when the Bible talks about hesed, that kind of “fanatically loyal love" that it would be describing man’s devotion to God. After all, it makes sense for us to be that committed to God.

But, Dr. Clowney said, and I love this, by far the majority of times this word is used, it’s used to describe God’s complete devotion, you might say his “fanatical” (in the best sense of the word) loyalty to His people. 

It’s humbling to think of God as being that committed to us as believers. It’s amazing to think of Him as being filled with zeal for us. In fact, it would almost seem impossible to believe…except for the cross.

The cross proves its true.

To quote the apostle Paul, 

“He who did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things…”

African Bible Training Centre
We are excited about a great start to our second year of the African Bible Training Centre. Besides some really sweet encouragements from the students, I've just grown so much personally through walking my way through the entire Bible verse by verse to create the syllabus. Please be praying as I feel like I am writing my own personal study Bible. I love it! But, it's definitely a big task. And also, if you can pray for us, in that, having seen the benefits of this course, we are going to be working hard this year on doing the administration and putting the structures in place so that we can continue to move forward with this project in the years to come. 
Ladies Ministry
It was such a blessing to start off the 2016 year with a LHC Ladies Day. Over 30 women gathered together as we enjoyed talking about being women who are on a mission for the Lord and living our days out in light of that! We are so thankful for each of these ladies and we pray for a year where each of us will grow in the knowledge of Him!!!
We are so grateful that Marda's parents were able to visit us. What a privilege to have them stay with us for a month! And, the fun just kept going as we sent our daughter Cambria back with them to enjoy a month with her American grandparents. With us having nine children, it's a treat for her to spend this time with her grandparents getting 'spoiled' and treated for a while a little like an only child!
One of our biggest passions is mentoring young men for the ministry in the context of the local church. We were excited this past year as Nick graduated 'cum laude' from seminary and won an an award related to pastoral ministries. He is now serving as a pastoral resident with us as we seek to help him thrive in pastoral ministry. We also want to help him continue his formal education as well. He's currently beginning something called an 'Honors' in Biblical Studies through the University of Potchefstrom as we're hoping to help him continue on to pursue a Master's degree so that he can be as effective and useful to the church and cause of Christ as possible.  
I often say God must know I need a lot of help because He seems to send me such incredible partners to work alongside. We have been so thankful for Andre and Karlien over the years and I've been especially watch Andre's passion grow for serving Christ's church. He's currently studying at the Bible Institute of South Africa, helping lead 1Hope, discipling men in the church, coordinating our diaconal efforts at the church, and also beginning to thrive in the opportunities he's been given to teach and preach. 
If you would like to help support us financially there are several different opportunities to give:
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Happy Valentine's Day!
It was fun to hear how some of the couples from the church went out on a Valentine's day date!
Everything seems to slow down to almost a stand still here in December. It used to drive me a little crazy when we first moved here!  But, we've learned to roll with it and took advantage of the opportunity this year to take a short holiday with the family and some friends.
The Muphamuzi Baby Home
After waiting on the Lord for His perfect timing we are so happy to welcome our Director of Interns to MBH - Sarah Ray!! Coming to us all the way from Little Rock, Arkansas.
She has jumped right into ministry here not just at MBH, but also at LHC discipling several ladies and teaching the teen group girls each Friday. We are blessed!!!
We also were very happy to welcome our first intern of 2016, Emily Kirk. She is a sweet example of a steady sweet serving heart that really loves her Savior!!!
After months of being a boys baby home, we were so thankful to welcome this sweet baby girl!
Kids Ministry
Our Sunday School program has started with a bang this year. Please be praying for these children. We have about 20 children in our 0-3 year old class and about 20 children in our 4-5 year old class. We are grateful for the ladies of LHC who rotate each week to teach and care for these little ones.  
The School Year Begins
The children were happy to go back to school in January. Bayley made the swim team. Marda's heart usually flutters as she watches her because she looks so little as she swims against the older kids.
Church Building Update
As many of you know, we've been praying and looking and hoping for a more permanent place for our church to meet for a long time now. We're thankful because some of you have even generously partnered with us in this endeavor. (We have something like 500,000 rand already!) But, we've also been praying that the members of our church would feel a burden to sacrifice towards this project. You know how something can seem so overwhelming that you are discouraged before you even begin? We've done extensive research and determined that we need to raise around 4 million rand to even begin looking at property and that amount can sound to some like an impossible amount. This year however, God's graced us with a number of men from the church who are rising to the occasion to lead the church in sacrificial giving. They have been meeting on a weekly basis to pray and plan, and last year presented the church with a call to action! I can't tell you how happy I was to see these six men stand before our church and challenge them to trust God and to give generously what they have. Even if we aren't able to raise the funds, I was just so grateful to God to see their hearts and to watch the church's excitement to take part!
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