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Josh and Marda Mack: Will you pray with us?

Some Good News and Some Bad News

African Bible Training Centre

We have had an amazing start:  

I was just telling Marda the other day I am convinced this course is one of the most important things we have been part of since moving to South Africa.

There is such an interest in learning more about God's Word and such a need as well.

For one thing, many of the people who are busy working and surviving here in the city, want to be pushed to go deeper in their studies of the Scripture, and yet aren't sure they are called to be a pastor or aren't able to go to seminary. By helping them read through their Bible and working through what each book is about and means, their thirst for knowledge and understanding is only growing.

Also, the fact is, there are many others who think they know the Scriptures, but don't know it quite as well as they imagine.

For many years I have been witnessing in downtown Pretoria and as I do so, I am constantly meeting up with individuals who are interested in the Bible, claim to be Christians, but who really have little idea how the Bible works or what the Bible means. Instead, they have about a weeks worth of slogans they have heard and are constantly repeating about it.

This two year course aims to strengthen the church in Africa by helping its members increase in their understanding of the Bible and to equip them to read it on their owns and benefit when they hear it preached. 

It aims to take the person who understands God's Word deeper, to stretch him or her and encourage them, while also helping the beginner get oriented so they can better read their Bibles on a daily basis.

And it is happening.

Besides those from our own church whom I knew would be ready for a course like this and excited about it, I just wasn't sure how many others from outside our church would be interested in making such an intensive commitment, or how many would be willing to stick with it, but God has exceeded our expectations and it has been so exciting to see the eagerness of our students to actually understand the Word of God and to apply it to our lives.

At this point, we have over 50 students who are attending the classes and are already developing a waiting list for the next time we hold the course. Plus, I have been so encouraged by how seriously these students are taking their studies.

I have one older man from Zimbabwe who comes up to me after class almost every week to say thank you. He tells me, my whole family is thankful for this course, because I am taking what I am learning back to them, to tell them what the Bible actually says. He always comes to me with amazement in his face about a new thing he is learning from reading the Bible, and says, now I don't have to wait all week to hear from the preacher, I can learn from God myself as I study what He says.   
 

But recently, we have faced another small "crisis:"


Even though we don't have our own building, we have been able to begin this class because we were able to join with another like-minded church to put it on. I have been friends with the pastor there for a number of years, he actually comes to many of our staff meetings, and we are just really thankful for him and for the work he's involved in. It's been perfect for us as the facility they have been using is in the heart of the city. 

Unfortunately, just this past week their landlord told them they would have to vacate the premises by the end of March. That is right! He didn't even give them a week's notice. Welcome to the way things work in the city. 

This is obviously a huge set back to their church. Please be praying for Sbu and for the ministry as it can take months to find a suitable place to meet and it is seriously expensive. 

But it is also a big set back for ABTC. 

We have to find a place for our class to meet in a week and a half, and we didn't start the class for years, because we didn't have a place to meet! So, we are on our knees. 

Most of the viable possibilities are on the other side of town, in the "suburbs," about thirty minutes away from where we are currently meeting, and while we may have to do something like that as an emergency solution, it's really not anywhere near ideal because there are already some good training opportunities on this side of town and we wanted this class to be more readily available for people in the city, people who struggle to have transport, people who would have a pretty difficult time making this trip because of where they work, where they live and where they are from. 

Will you please pray with us?

This reminds us once again of our need for a facility. As I have told you before, I used to naively think that a facility wasn't that important a factor. It is. We are severely limited in our ability by just not having a place to meet. But unfortunately, purchasing a suitable facility in the downtown area will cost us somewhere in the range of 300,000 U.S. dollars, which is not impossible for God but clearly impossible for us! I know it's a long shot, but if there is anyone who would like to give to this, please just let me know. There are ways to donate. 

And yet, more importantly, we want to ask you to pray.

As always we are thankful for God's sustaining grace and loving prayer partners like you who support us in this ministry. 

I will stop here, but I have lots more to tell you about. (For example, I can't wait to tell you more about the Timothy Haus! It's filling up! Besides Antony from Malawi, we now have another young man staying there temporarily, and another young man from South Africa who is moving in for discipleship. But more,next time!)
 

Grace and peace and every spiritual blessing in Christ! 

 

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