November 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings! Once again we thank you for the love and support we have received over the past month. May God richly bless you just as you have been a blessing to us!

Life in Cape Town is much different from anything else we’ve experienced. The natural beauty of this place never ceases to amaze, as we are surrounded by majestic mountains and sparkling seas. In Fish Hoek, the town where we are staying, you can watch the sun rise over False Bay and set over Kommetjie Beach. Despite the natural beauty does come at a cost, as Katie and Kristina in particular have been suffering from Spring-time allergies.

Life is very much different here as well. We still feel the separation of various people groups despite the passing of more than twenty years since the end of apartheid. But there is a richness to life in a place where people from many different cultural backgrounds come together. We have enjoyed making new friends, and Anna, Sarah, and Katie in particular have had many opportunities to build new relationships.

We are currently staying in our friends’ house and expect to have a place of our own soon. But we will likely not have this sorted out until several weeks after our friends return from the US at the beginning of January. So it looks like we will have to make one more move in January to either the SIM guesthouse or the Bible Institute residences. That will mark our ninth straight month of living out of suitcases. I never want to see another duffel bag again!

Bible Institute of South Africa
It’s hard to believe that I’ve already completed my fourth week as incoming Academic Dean at the Bible Institute of South Africa (BISA) in Kalk Bay, Cape Town. It was so special to find a greeting card signed by many of the students waiting for me on my desk on the first day! The Principal, faculty, staff, and students have all welcomed us warmly and make every effort to make us feel at home. The Bible Institute has been training Christian leaders for more than ninety years. In fact, several graduating classes from the 1960’s recently met at the college to celebrate their fifty year reunion! It is a privilege to serve at such an amazing place.

I’ve already started to dig in to my new role. As Academic Dean I am responsible to oversee the various academic programs. BISA currently has a residential undergraduate program, including a gap year program for recent high school graduates, a distance learning program, and a Christian leadership program for pastors and church leaders. One of the big challenges at the moment is our accreditation status. The residential and distance programs are still accredited by ACTEA, which is recognized worldwide, but we are still working on our accreditation with the government of South Africa. I have spend many hours talking to faculty and staff members in an effort to gain a better understanding of how the Bible Institute functions and how I can be a help. I have already begun working through some changes to various roles and responsibilities, and will be busy over the next few months trying to improve the administrative processes of the various programs.

Anna’s Education
One of biggest concerns for our family at the moment is for Anna’s next term. She is in the second year of general studies in advance of applying to the School of Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland, but some of the remaining courses she needs aren’t offered by distance. She would prefer to stay with us here in South Africa rather than returning to Newfoundland at this point. She was planning to attend the University of Cape Town (UCT) next year, but there have recently been many student protests which have disrupted the university schedule and may even prevent new students from being accepted next year. Since UCT is not a good option at the moment we are searching for other options for her. Even BISA is a possibility but there are issues related to her applying for a study visa and BISA’s accreditation status. Please pray for wisdom as we try to find the best option for her to continue her studies.

Support Update
We remain with an urgent need of $400 per month. We also have a one-time shortfall of about $11,000 which is needed to help with setup costs. Our God has never failed to provide all of our needs. Please pray that the current needs will be met soon.

Prayer Requests
Please join us in prayer for the following needs:

  • For our family as we adjust to the culture and climate of our new home city, Cape Town
  • For the ongoing ministries at BISA, and for wisdom as I begin my ministry there
  • For Kristina’s allergies, which have been quite severe over the past few weeks
  • Wisdom for Anna as she must soon make critical choices concerning her education
  • For Sarah and Katie as they continue to homeschool
  • For John as he considers a job offer, and for John and Rebecca’s marriage plans

Blessings in Christ,

Tim & Kristina Churchill

Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God. – Isaiah 50:10 (NIV)