Dear family and friends,
During March and April our normal routine was temporarily reshuffled to make room for the Nations course and the World Outreach 80th celebration.
The Nations course is a six week training program designed by World Harvest Institute and adopted by World Outreach International (WOI) as their primary training course specifically to prepare new missionaries to enter into cross cultural ministry. Many existing missionaries also found that this course benefitted them. WOI now requires all personnel to complete the course. And that is how I (Gavin) found myself exchanging my role of teacher for that of a student. The course was held in Midrand where we attended classes in the mornings and completed reading assignments in the afternoons and evenings.
Halfway through the Nations course we spent a week in Pretoria together with WOI missionaries from around the world to celebrate 80 years of ministry. This time was filled with field reports, encouraging speakers and prophecy. The prophetic word I received was a clear encouragement to equip men and women (individuals or groups) for ministry. This confirms other leading we have previously received.
I had begun the Nations course with an expectation in my heart, believing that I would hear from God concerning the future of our ministry. Of the twenty subjects we covered, I especially looked forward to topics such as: Anthropology, Animism and Mission, and Signs and Wonders Cross-culturally, but to my surprise I found that I was really interested in the very last lesson, Leadership Selection and Development. The simple definitions of ministry and leadership were engraved in my heart: ministry is to meet the needs of people, while leadership is to equip people for ministry. Our challenge now is to start spending more time equipping others to teach and disciple, which will inevitably lead to a multiplication in ministry.
In the meantime, the ministry has by no means stood still. I completed two God’s Vision God’s Mission courses just before the Nations course started. At the same time Estie presented a course for the children and Thomas has been busy with a course for the youth. Jaco has also been running a couple of GVGM courses in Centurion and has been asked to teach the course at a large church in the area as well. News from Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo is that, after Pastor Nzika presented a GVGM course, 34 couples asked to join the ministry. The church leaders in DRC are also busy preparing a team to take GVGM into Northern Angola next year.
From 21 June – 2 July I will be taking a group of five Bible students from Living Word Bible School in Pretoria to Lubumbashi in DRC. Four other people will also join this outreach. For many of the students this will be their first cross-cultural mission trip and for some even the first time out of South Africa. Shortly after our return, we will depart to Stellenbosch (see family news) where we will present one or two short courses between 6 -15 July. If anyone in the Stellenbosch or Cape Town area is interested in a shortened GVGM course, please contact us as soon as possible.
The demand for the ten part God’s Vision God’s Mission DVD sets has been growing gradually, with sets being ordered from various parts of South Africa and being sent out to the ends of the earth. It is so encouraging to hear how God is using the material to bless people we may never even meet!
We are in the process of planning a round trip to DRC, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi. Our purpose will not only be to teach GVGM, but more especially to encourage the existing GVGM teachers and to train and equip new teachers. I will leave with a small team on 9 August and spend two to three weeks in each country before returning to South Africa in October.