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Msindisi newsletter # 87 – End of year report

December 4, 2011

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

NUMBER:      87       Dec 2011

PO BOX 1481
VRYHEID 3100
KWAZULU NATAL
SOUTH AFRICA

+27 (0) 728311008

Email:  msindisi@gmail.com ,
salv.di@gmail.com

KwaZulu Mission Website: http://www.kwazulumission.com

Personal Website: http://msindisi.googlepages.com

Dear Friends and family,

Here we are at the end of the year and how this year has flown by. It is only when we look back that we see how much has happened. Really, we can only sum it up in one word… Grace, that is God’s grace to us who are undeserving.

For this newsletter we thought we would summarise the past year and see what may be in store for next year. Next August will mark the tenth anniversary of the mission since it started with Caleb and Sophie Massey in 2002. The church that Caleb and Salvi started continues faithfully.

It has been a year of some fruit. God has been good with bringing Tholakele to salvation and seeing her baptised. The church has acquired many visitors from young children who Salvi picks up every week from one of the local communities for church. Phumlani’s wife Thabi also got baptised in obedience to the word this year. Phumlani and Salvi share the teaching. Phumlani has become a very able expositor of the word and is faithful and yet it is easy to see that he has a heart for preaching the gospel. It is like Phumlani takes on a vitality with evangelistic preaching. Last month Phumlani lead his elderly and frail uncle in a prayer for salvation after witnessing to him in a state of mental instability and sleepless nights. After his uncle has stabilised he is still confessing Jesus as his Lord and Saviour and a rejection of traditional Zulu medicine. Phumlani’s uncle is very ill. Please pray that the Lord will keep him faithful to his profession until he goes home. Di has thoroughly enjoyed helping out with the kid’s club throughout the year. The older kids are now interpreting for Di when she is teaching it. Younger children are starting to come up and start the lessons. The age group starts from 3 till 16. Celani has really appreciated the help as she always faithfully runs the club.

It has been a year of visitors. Over the first nine months of the year we have regularly had people visiting from South Africa and abroad. In Feb we had some visitors from African Independent Insurance who brought food stuffs to give to the poor, instruments for the kid’s club, New Testaments to give out and personal gifts to us too. It was a wonderful experience for them to visit Zulu kraals and see people in the contexts of their own homes. Jacob Meads stayed with us for 3 months and left a huge impression with everybody that got to know him. Our friends Clayton and Jessie came to visit from the UK. Clayton has moved to the UK and this year got married to Jessie there. But Clayton is from South Africa and his parents are our very good friends Allen and Sue Wells who run Bezaleel in fostering and adopting 11 children. A young girl Bianca stayed with us for 3 weeks and she was followed by Salvi’s really good friend from the UK called Joe Rumley with his father in law, Rob, who is a pastor in Gauteng.

It has been a year if new friends and partnerships. We thank the Lord so much for Alan Mackenzie and the brethren that meet us in Port Elizabeth. Their Road to Recovery Christian Fellowship took us under their wing this year giving us a legal affiliation in order to stay in South Africa and apply for extension of temporary visitors permit. Alan and Salvi are in continual communication and Alan has been a great source of encouragement. Another source of encouragement has been meeting Mark and Marie Anne Van Niekerk from Stanger and through them meeting Pastor Calvin and the brethren there.

New friendships have lead to ministry and visiting opportunities during the year making it a year of visiting. Early in the year we travelled to Port Elizabeth to visit Alan and the brethren. Several times this year we have visited Calvin and Mark. Last month Salvi did a teaching weekend of three sessions on the building of the Church. The first message was a typological study on Haggai 1, second was a look at the baptism of the Spirit and speaking in tongues, the third session was on the purpose and end of the building of the body. The sessions were received very well and people were blessed, some even received peace for they had been subject to false teaching on the baptism of the Spirit and speaking in tongues. Salvi also visited Zimbabwe this year for a week. It was the first time Salvi and Di had been apart for so long in their whole marriage. But the door is always open to do visit again and to possibly to do some ministry there. We would love Phumlani to visit the brethren there and are sure he would be encouraged in his own ministry through it.

It has been a year of weddings. This year a former member of our cell group got married to one of Salvi’s friends, Phumlani and Thabi got married in May. Clayton and Jessie Wells got married in August in the UK which we saw through Skype and Allen and Sue’s place. Allen went overseas for the wedding but as they have 11 children Sue couldn’t go. So it was wonderful to be able to share the experience with them. Technology is just wonderful. Last month also Tholakele and the father of her children had a civil ceremony
As she wants to follow the Lord she gave her husband an ultimatum that he either does the right thing or leaves. That was a brave thing to do and not accepted in the culture but he is working and providing for the family and has been very open to the gospel. Please pray for him, his name is Thokozani.

It has been a year of social help. Di has continually taken people to the clinic. Through the help of African Independent and the church in Stanger, as well as our very good friends in Australia through Moriel, we have been able to give food, clothes and knitted jumpers to some of the most needy in the community. Di teaches Tholakele to read on a weekly basis so that one day she will be able to read the bible. Such thought puts a smile on Tholakele’s face. We have done several trips to the hospital this year and Salvi helped as undertaker when Tholakele’s brother died. It was through helping out in this way, and an opportunity to witness that she became interested in the gospel and Jabulani led her to accept the Lord. Di also acts as first aid nurse when people have pains or accidents. She doesn’t have much training but keeps simple things at hand and a good book called where there is no doctor. People will come to her for help, especially Phumlani’s family. With Di’s garden and her growing her own veg – Salvi rarely steps into the garden except to pick an onion or spinach if he cooks something- we have been able to give out veggies to some people in the community, especially some of the folks from church.

It has been a year of evangelism. Monthly we have reached out at the Care bear creche. Di usually gives the lesson for the children but last week Salvi preached to the parents at their children’s graduation a hard hitting gospel message and broke his record for the shortest preaching he has ever done, just 15 minutes! The ladies bible study that started in Louwsburg has unfortunately fizzled out as only one woman was interested in continuing. However, Salvi made sure he preached them and explained the gospel. Salvi has also completed the areas of Alpha and KwaBokkie this year which leaves Ngenitsheni to complete for next year. This Salvi has now started to do twice a week. But it was through Salvi’s preaching in KwaBokkie that the children started to attend the church meetings as Salvi picks them up every week and takes them back after the service. Ngenitsheni is a huge area with many homes and subareas. Salvi is about half way through the whole area after which will only leave the areas of Khambi and Cibilili to fill with the preaching of the Gospel. Esihlengeni, Steiland, Eastmine, KwaBokkie and AlphaVillage all having received gospel witness. Hopefully by the end of next year, God willing, we will have finished Ngenitsheni and be well on the way to the completion of all the areas. Tracts go out week after week, always weather permitting which stays with people. Individual witnessing also has taken place. Last week Salvi witnessed to a guy with Diabetes called Bongiseni and his partner about the importance of being born again. They brought up the issue of ancestral traditions which Salvi answered using scripture.

It has been a year of testing. Di’s last visa expired in February and she has reapplied twice now for an extension of her permit. We are awaiting the results as we write. We don’t believe it will be decided till next year as we are bearing Christmas now, but it is nearly a year that Di has been in the country without a permit. Please pray for a favorable result. Di is entitled to stay in the country until a decision is made. Please pray that her application will be approved. Salvi is applying for permanent residence but asking for an exception to be made in his case as someone in his position is not normally allowed to apply for permanent residence. His case is being reviewed as we write but it is taking time. If Salvi gets permanent residence it will not matter if Di’s application is approved or not, she would be able to apply for permanent residence under Salvi. Living here in the rurals in a Zulu place without electricity or water plumbed in is always a challenge. Living in one room with Salvi studying while other jobs need to be completed by Di is also a challenge. Alan Mackenzie visited this year also for a few hours on his way to Durban with his wife Brenda and their daughter Tayla and he commented that a person could get cabin fever living in this house. Together with that there is the eternal battle with constant flies, mud, – Di is constantly aware of snakes in the vicinity, especially after her experience with the Mozambiquean Spitting Cobra a while ago – and cows and chickens nibbling on Di’s flowers. We are constantly reminded to rely on God’s grace and aware that numerous people are holding us up in prayer. People in the area have grown up with all this but as foreigners to this lifestyle it can get to you a little bit and that is when you know you are here because you have been called to, for whatever period of time it is, not because you want to be here.

But there is much to be thankful for. Our truck, an Isuzu Bakkie 2.5 diesel given to us by Allen Wells has regularly been serviced and fixed more than once by Hendrik Els and Craig Boardman from Bethany Baptist Church in Vryheid. They have been a huge help and life saver and really keep the ministry going here as we cover a lot of kms in the week. Our home cell meets from house to house within a 40km radius. So sometimes we use 80 kms just for a home cell. They are really part of the ministry in ways that they don’t realise. We want to thank the Lord for our home cell and the several miracles that we have seen. The Lord has kept us together and knitted us. The home cell is coming up to its third year of running. We have seen much growth in the members and we are now studying Romans. We thank the Lord for His rich provision this year and His grace in keeping us.

So what does the following year hold for us? Many things are in the Lord’s hands but a few things may be in the pipeline. Pastor Calvin and Mark Van Niekerk in Stanger have asked us to come on a quarterly basis for Salvi to do more teaching and also to do some evangelism amongst the Zulu there. We are hoping to go down either every third or quarter of the year but will work it so that it doesn’t disturb our discipling too much. Chris De Wet from Moriel Bloemfontein has also asked us to visit them there and to share the word so that is another possibility. Plus our friend Mujuru from Pretoria, through whom Salvi went to Zimbabwe, is thinking of running short term mission trips to the rural areas of Zimbabwe and is interested in us getting involved in some way. Apart from that Salvi is seeking to finish the area of Ngenitsheni at least and Di has some ideas for helping school children if the Lord grants us the ability to remain here longer and enables her to do so. We really hope that our newsletters and teachings have been a source of encouragement and blessing to you and causes praises to be given to the Lord. If that has been your experience then our newsletters will have fulfilled the purpose for which they were written.

We thank you all for your prays and support, may the lord richly bless you as we labour together in His work.

Shalom

Salvi and Di

P.S Please don’t forget to look at Salvi’s petition concerning ecumenism in the Lausanne consultation for Jewish Evangelism which has been signed by several people including Jacob Prasch and others from Moriel ministries and Jackie Alnor among other people. For more information please visit http://www.lausannecje.wordpress.com and for the petition please visit http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/lcje

ELIJAH AND ELISHA
THE REPROACH OF GOING TO A FALSE GOD
PART 8
2 Kings 1

We are now in 2 Kings and Ahab has died. The lesson with Ahab serves to illustrate a very important point. Even though God may be gracious to us and even though we may humble ourselves before the LORD and accept His Word to us, this is not my security in salvation. We saw that Ahab was, at least outwardly, contrite but this was not long lived, though God delayed the judgment till after his death. But in 1 Kings 22 we see that Ahab was once again hardened against God’s messenger. We cannot rely on the fact that we were born again on such and such a date. The question that befalls us is; are we following the Lord today? That is something that sometimes confuses us. We think that because we were born again five years ago we feel secure concerning our relationship with the LORD. But Romans 1: 17 says that the righteous man shall live by faith. God sends a deceiving spirit to speak through all the false prophets to Ahab and Ahab goes into battle to his own destruction for he is killed. However, since our study is on the consecutive ministries of Elijah and Elisha, we are not going to deal with 1 Kings 22 because neither Elijah nor Elisha appear in it but we are going to fast forward to the short lived reign of Ahab’s son, Ahaziah. We will deal with these 18 verses in three sections. Firstly from verses 1 – 8 we will see Ahaziah’s attempt to consult Baal-zebub, then from verses 9 – 15 we will look at Ahaziah’s attempt to apprehend Elijah and then lastly, from verses 16 – 18 we will see Ahaziah’s end.

1 – 8 AHAZIAH’S ATTEMPT TO CONSULT BAAL-ZEBUB

Ahab was hardened to the LORD’s words but he had knowledge of God and outwardly acknowledged Him. In the end we see that although Ahab’s prophets were false prophets, they were prophets who came in the name of the God of Israel as we see from Zedekiah in 1 Kings 22: 24. The name Ahaziah means Jehovah has seized or Jehovah possesses. Ahab named his son concerning an attribute of the true God. I do not say this to vindicate Ahab in any way or to take away from the detestability of false prophets. The reason I point these things out is because Ahab reigned for 22 years but his son only reigned for 2. Ahab’s judgment was postponed whereas Ahaziah’s judgment was fairly swift. Sometimes it is impossible to determine why God is more patient with some than with others. But I do not think that the reason behind the judgment here is something unknowable. There are some reasons why God acted this way in this situation.

Firstly, God had prophesied it when Ahab humbled himself. Ahab severely sinned and resisted God continually. It came to such a point that God could not just let it go. Judgment had to be given but because Ahab humbled himself God gave grace and held it back for a season. We read in 1 Kings 21: 29 that God would rather bring the evil on Ahab’s house during his son’s reign.

But secondly, and in some ways profoundly, the judgment on Ahaziah was not as swift as we would think from first glance. We see that Ahaziah ruled for 2 years and then God brought judgment. Maybe we would like to see God showing Ahaziah more patience and grace so that he also reigned for 22 years. However, God’s grace to Ahaziah was longer than 2 years. We forget the fact that Ahaziah, being Ahab’s son, would have lived in the royal residences. He was named after an attribute of God. He had no doubt seen the withholding of the rain under Elijah and heard about the ordeal at Mount Carmel where God sent fire down. He had seen all the evidence of God’s existence and His interest in the nation’s affairs but he still rejected the God of his people. When the nation got to this position, judgment was inevitable. The taste of this judgment, aside from the symbolic withholding of the rain that we already looked at during Ahab’s reign, is specified in verse 1. After Ahab died, Moab rebelled. David was Israel’s greatest king and Ahab was Israel’s worst. It is interesting therefore that the victory that King David won in subjugating the Moabites in 2 Samuel 8: 2 was undone in the judgment against Ahab’s house.

At this time, Ahaziah had an accident. Somehow he fell through the window or, lattice in his upper chamber and it must have been a serious injury that he sustained. My dad said that his grandfather had a bad fall in hospital and broke his hip. Having been gassed in WW2 by the Germans he got pneumonia after the accident and died. So it was similar with Ahaziah, he got sick after a severe fall and he was under the threat of dying. He knew the reality of God’s power which had been evidenced in his life time but did he turn to the Lord? Not at all but sent messengers to enquire of Baal-zebub. This was the god of a place called Ekron and the belief was that this god would have the power to ward off flies. In the New Testament we can see that Baal-zebub was regarded as the ruler of the demons. (Mt 12: 24). Thus in effect Ahaziah was turning to Satan for knowledge, the knowledge of whether he was going to die or not. 2 other people in the scriptures followed Satan’s counsel Satan for knowledge and they were Adam and Eve and they were punished and cursed for that. So too would Ahaziah be punished for turning to Satan for knowledge.

God would not allow a leader of Israel to go unchallenged or unpunished when God’s judgment was already looming over his house. The ‘Angel of the LORD’ tells Elijah to go to Ahaziah’s messengers in verse 3. There is no complaint as there was with Jonah. There was no hesitation of fear as in Gideon or excuse given as there was with Moses. There was just simple obedience. There is no explanation of what happened when Elijah met the messengers because we know that Elijah did just exactly what was asked of him. The scripture does not have to prove his obedience because we have already seen his example of obedience and therefore we doubt nothing. And what is the message from God. ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to the god of Ekron?’ Of course there was a God in Israel and He was real. The question is a little sarcastic. You never see the peoples of the world easily letting go of their false gods to serve the true one. I doubt greatly that Iraq and Iran are suddenly going to pronounce themselves as Christian countries and stop the building of Mosques. They serve their false god with devotion but here was a king ruling over the people that belonged to the true God and he turns to a false one. It makes absolutely no sense. But how often we are like Ahaziah. We would rather trust in something else apart from the Lord. As Matthew Henry stated, “A practical and constructive atheism is the cause and malignity of our departures from God. Surely we think there is no God in Israel when we live at large, make flesh our arm, and seek a portion in the things of this world.” In other words, our actions speak stronger than our words. We might have the name Christian, like Ahaziah had the name that he was Yahweh’s possession, but our actions can deny the very truth we claim we believe in.

So the messengers return prematurely to their king. They did not go all the way to Ekron because they had already got the answer from the Lord. These messengers had more integrity than some of us. God has revealed so much to us and how often do churches seek for more else where. The Bible is seen as a dusty old love letter that has lost its appeal and people are seeking other ways to hear from God. The prophet has spoken to them on their way to Ekron in the Holy Scriptures but they still go on to Ekron to seek a word or message through rituals, icons, statues, repeated mantras. The emergent movement is another form of Ekron. As one lady told me, ‘God does nothing without speaking through his servants the prophets.’ And so we accept the visions of so called prophets as authoritative and trustworthy as the Scripture itself. So I told her that she was right and that God has told us through the prophets, words written in Scripture itself. But these messengers had more integrity. When they heard the word of the Lord, they did not push onto Ekron but went back to Ahaziah. They did not need some extra biblical practice in order to know, they had the word of the Lord. This is not to deny the place of prophets in the Church as the scripture plainly says that God gives them to the Church. But that in no way is a replacement for scripture and when we ignore scripture for “a word”, then we are not going to the Lord but instead we are going to Ekron.

Ahaziah asked the messengers why they were back so soon and they told them about the man and the message from the LORD being that Ahaziah was going to die. For some reason the messengers did not know that the man was Elijah but Ahaziah knew and must have had a sneaking suspicion of who the mysterious prophet was. Something must have prompted him to ask about the man’s appearance and we are told that he was a hairy man with a leather girdle round his waist. Does that remind you of anyone similar? John the Baptist wore a hairy camel skin with a leather belt and John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah. But this was no mere identification with Elijah but marked John out. Elijah was marked out by the clothes he wore. The fact that Ahaziah knew who Elijah was just by what he wore shows us that not many people wore those kind of clothes. Concerning John’s clothing we can read Mt 11: 8. John’s hairy clothing was contrasted to the nice, soft clothing that kings wear. And so we see these prophets shunned the temporal pleasures of this life. God’s prophets did not go about in fancy cars and nice clothes. They were distinguishable from the rest of the world and thus Ahaziah could cry out “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”

9 – 15 AHAZIAH’S ATTEMPT TO APPREHEND ELIJAH

What is the king’s reaction to such a message from Elijah? Does he do as his father did when Elijah prophesied against him? Does he humble himself? No, but rather Ahaziah attempts to capture Elijah by force and he sends a captain with 50 men to apprehend him. His heart was harder than his father’s. He was more like the elders of Israel who rather than heed Stephen’s voice, tried to silence it. Or he was like Herod Antipas who imprisoned John the Baptist because he did not like John’s rebuke of his marriage to his sister in law, while her husband was alive. But where was Elijah? He was not hiding away in a cave or running for his life but he went to the top of a hill, which some people say was Mount Carmel but I would have no idea which hill he was on. Elijah had trust in the Lord that he would be kept and preserved in the midst of his enemies. As David knew when he wrote the 23rd psalm, a table is set in the midst of our enemies. We are given the words we need in the hour we need them. It was one Elijah against 51 soldiers but Elijah had the majority because he had God. These soldiers did not fetch Elijah down from the top of the hill, they told him to come down. No whether Elijah’s position was difficult to get to for the soldiers I do not know but what I do know befits the context well. The soldier of the wicked king, in the name of the wicked king, was ordering the man of God to come down. When I was a kid and I had done something really bad like go to hit my mother or something like that, my dad would spank me but he would not chase me in order to do it. My dad would stand straight and tell me to come to him and if he did have to get me then I would have been punished more. It is a matter of authority. We are not going to get you, you must come to us. The seriousness of this situation lies in the fact that they called him a man of God but ordered him in the name of the king. In other words they did not really believe that he was a man of God and they raised the will of the king above the will of God. Elijah’s question was being answered by the response of these soldiers. ‘Is there no God in Israel?’ ‘We don’t believe there is so quit your nonsense and come down!’ How often religious terms are used when people do not even believe in God. A friend of mine, who is a pastor in the UK, says when he hears the Lord’s name used in vain he asks the people if they are having a religious meeting. Other people will say God bless when they do not even believe in Him. The officer had used God’s name in scorn and jest. This is obvious from the way Elijah responds. He does not respond by calling down fire simply because he was rejected but he calls fire out of heaven because a mockery was being made of God. It was a proof that he was a man of God and thus the message of God had to be reverenced. Elijah proved God’s divinity with fire the first time and yet again he proved it with fire. The soldiers were consumed by fire. It will happen once again with the two witnesses as we read in Revelation 11: 5.

Ahaziah does not accept God’s judgment and so he sends another captain with another 50 but this time they apply more pressure to Elijah as they tell him not only to come down but to come quickly. But Elijah’s reply to them is the same as before and fire comes down to consume them. The third captain sent however is different. The third captain does not shout for Elijah to come down but he goes up to him and bows on his knees. He does not command him to come down in the name of the king but he pleads for his men’s lives. How similar this is to the 2 thieves on the cross. They both hurled insults at Jesus (Matthew 27: 44) but there came a moment when one of them realised that Jesus was suffering unjustly and must have felt convicted. At that time in Luke 23: 39 – 43. At one time they both said ‘He is the king, come down, come down from the cross!’ But another time where as the one said ‘If you are the son of God save yourself and us’ the other said ‘please remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. There is something about humility that touches the heart of God and thus God shows grace to this captain and the angel of the Lord tells Elijah to go with this person. Not until God showed him did Elijah go and when God says go, we need to go.

16 – 18 AHAZIAH’S END

For Elijah to go with someone God fearing may have made so much difference. For one, God was ensuring that Elijah was safe. Secondly, for Elijah to go with this man meant that this captain could discharge his duties to the wicked king and not have to face the king’s wrath. But most of all it meant that Elijah had the opportunity to walk up boldly and unhindered to Ahaziah and tell him God’s word to his face. The message is the same and it does not change. God prophecies get repeated time and again. Even if it is not repeated verbally it may be repeated experientially in the lives of those who follow the Lord and towards those who oppose Him. Ahaziah was cut off so young and the sad truth is that if he had done as his father before him did, or as the humble captain, God may have spared him and left the judgment till a later date. But God’s words will always come through. The illness would have prevailed, and Ahaziah would have died because God had said so but the truth is that it could have been delayed.

Ahaziah trusted in Baal-zebub, in witchcraft, in false religion but where does Elijah direct our eyes to? (Verse 16), to the word of God. When we want to inquire of the Lord we must make sure we are in His word, we must read and hear the word with an honest and open heart. If we come humbly and openly then God’s grace will be there for us too.

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One Comment
  1. Sue Wells permalink

    God is so good and I am so thankful for your obedience to Him. May the Lord continue to direct you, may you continue to bear much fruit for His name’s sake and may our Lord continue to strengthen you for the task that lies ahead. The people you are with are blessed to have you and I’m sure Caleb and Sophie are full of joy for the work that continues there. Much love Sue

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