August 2020 Newsletter

[Jesus said to them,] “Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Mark 2:9-12

Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings in the precious name of Jesus! Another month has passed, yet time continues to blur as the lockdown continues here in South Africa. Despite the restrictions we can testify that God has been faithful to us and continues to provide for our needs. We are thankful for health and strength, as well as for the many other ways that God has sustained and protected us. Thank you to everyone who has continued to pray for us, and also for the many gifts that have been received to support our ministry in South Africa.

One of the side-effects of the lockdown has been the increase in poverty which has forced some people to take desperate measures. Just a few weeks ago we found that someone had broken into the small cottage at the front of our yard. They had climbed onto the top of the cottage and removed some clay roofing tiles, then lowered themselves in and stolen a few things. This caused us to make some upgrades to our security, as well as increase the fervency of our prayers for protection (but we know that God is watching over us and is in control). This incident also reminded me of the paralyzed man whose friends lowered him through the roof of the house where Jesus was staying (Mark 2:1-12). In that story, Jesus first forgave the man and then healed him. In our case, it seems that the person also had a physical need for food or money, as well as a spiritual need for salvation. I have forgiven them and prayed for them, but unfortunately I was able neither to forgive their sins nor meet their physical needs. However, this story should serve as a good reminder as we minister to others, that only God is able to meet people’s needs – we are just his servants.

Ministry Update

Due to the lockdown, Kristina’s ministry with the children at iThemba school remains on hold. However, my ministry at the South African Theological Seminary (SATS) continues uninterrupted, by God’s grace. Enrolment at SATS has continued to grow throughout the lockdown, and my work to upgrade our internal systems continues to bear fruit as we have successfully completed our first full term using our new systems. I continue to spend time helping my post-graduate students progress through their research programmes. In addition, I am continuing to help a few other institutions with their administrative needs and am hoping to get more involved in this area soon. I expect to be able to share an exciting new development with you next month! Please pray for wisdom as I seek to balance my workload over the coming few weeks.

Prayer Requests

  • Praise for God’s protection and provision for physical and spiritual needs over the past month
  • Pray for my ministry at SATS as I continue to work on enhancing the IT systems at SATS, as well as working with SATS students. Pray also for my ministry with other theological institutions in a number of different countries in Africa and elsewhere
  • Pray for Kristina as she waits for her ministry at iThemba school to resume
  • Pray for Sarah and Katie as they are both studying at SATS (and enjoying it!)
  • Pray for God’s blessing on John, Rebecca, and William, as well as on Anna, Hannes, and Mia

Blessings in Christ,

Tim & Kristina Churchill