Our brothers and sisters who were directly threatened have slept in hiding the last two nights. Last night unknown people were trying to locate them in the village, please continue to uphold them in their time of need.
Urgent prayer request.
Some of our brothers, sisters, and close friends have had to leave their homes due to ongoing trouble. We received the following message tonight from a local brother who has stayed to be able to provide medical aid to others.
Dear brother please pray for our protection this night. The menace is real. I just receive now a message saying that I shouldn't spend the night in my house this night. It's the same for one of my nurses. We are looking where to sleep. For how long this situation? Our hearts are hurt. My brother I don't know where to go. May the will of God be fulfilled. If God sent me here for this, May his will be done. I would like to ask you a favor. Never forget my family. I know God is in control but please take care of mine in case the worse happen.'
They are taking great comfort in the knowledge many people are praying for them.
There has been trouble in the area of Congo where we spend the most time and our brothers and sisters are in need of prayer. A couple that we know were kidnapped from their home in the early hours of Monday morning. Our sister Betty is in hospital being treated for her injuries, but it was confirmed yesterday that her husband Ngoie has been killed. Betty is a committed Christian and in fellowship in the local assembly.
Our brothers and sisters have been expressing their very real fear of further attacks, and are repeatedly asking for prayer.
In November we received permission to start working in two of the refugee camps. We were able to spend time speaking and praying with those who have lost everything, as well as distributing gospel tracts and hygiene packs to as many as we could. We are now supporting local believers to keep that work going, and we are encouraged that the local assembly are able to hold a service within the refugee camp every Sunday. Please pray.
Prayer valued for this group of young people from the local assembly here at Camundambala. We are studying Biblical Principles in dating, engagement and marriage with morning and afternoon sessions for the week. Please pray that Bible truth will impact their lives in a radical way and that we will have the joy of seeing a new generation of young people having the courage to turn away from cultural norms and practices and embrace Gods Word and live sanctified lives.
Please pray for a week of Gospel Outreach at Hope Hall, Bridge of Weir.
Please pray for two weeks of Gospel meetings at Cardy Gospel Hall, Northern Ireland. Stephen Grant is speaking and we are looking to the Lord for His blessing.
Please pray for a week of Gospel Outreach at Cullen Gospel Hall starting on Saturday, in the will of the Lord.
I (Stephen Grant) will be preaching on 'things to come' through the week with a Gospel emphasis.
I finish the 20 school visits in the Overtown area tomorrow. Jimmie Johnston was with me all the way and he is 83 years old. He is still the hub of this work and an inspiration. It is a joy to work with him as he is very organised and keeps in touch with all the schools throughout the year. He organises the schedules for Gordon McCracken and me to visit the schools.
May the Lord bless the thousands of children who have heard Gods word again, through the efforts of the little assembly at Overtown.
The last week has been spent up at the Zambia/Congo border. We are working with believers on the Zambian side to try and provide practical and spiritual support to the large numbers of refugees crossing the border. There are over 6000 in the refugee camp, but the officials there are preparing to have 20,000 by the end of next month. Sadly this is just a transition camp before the people are transferred to an even larger one.
Many have gone through particularly horrific experiences this week, and while our efforts are feeble, we trust that some will be helped by practical kindness and others saved through the word of God. Please remember our friends in Luanza who send this message two days ago, "please pray for us, we are truly living in fear."
This weekend we plan to visit the group of new believers in the village of Congobashi. Numbers have dipped in recent months at Congobashi and we hope that the time of teaching will be an encouragement to them.
Josh and I were called to serve The Lord in DRC at the end of 2015 and after leaving our full time secular employment in March 2016, came out to Katoka Mission, DRC for a three month trip.
Katoka is a long established mission station over 700km from Lubumbashi and less than 40km from the Angolan border. It has an assembly run hospital and several schools in the village, two of which are assembly run. There are endless opportunities here for outreach, especially among children and young people - we usually have over 500 at Sunday School/Bible class each week.
Mary Ratter, originally from Whitley Bay has served the Lord here for 52 years and Sandy Meikle, commended from New Zealand has served here for over 30 years.
While we were in Katoka last year, towards the end of our stay, a man called Jim Smith (who had undertaken building projects in Katoka several times previously) called Mary to enquire if she had another project he could undertake in Katoka in 2017.
She immediately asked us if we'd like him to build us a house - an amazing answer to prayer because we'd been praying for weeks about the possibility of building, but hadn't yet mentioned it to her!
We continued to pray about the matter and God spoke to us very clearly on several occasions, confirming that we were to 'rise up and build'.
So, here we are - back in a Katoka, with Jim, in the throes of building a house. Our trip this time is for 5 months, and we are due to return to the UK on the 1st Feb 2018, DV.
During this trip we hope to finish the 'shell' of the house - i.e the walls and roof and some internal plastering.
Time is somewhat of the essence though as Jim is only here until mid November! 'Phase 2' of the project will hopefully finish the house and will include installing windows, doors, plumbing and electrics. We will also need to finish any required plastering and install the bathroom/toilets/kitchen etc.
We have asked Brass Tacks to be involved in phase 2 and they are currently advertising for volunteers on their website. The timing of phase 2 will depend on the availability of volunteers but is likely to be during the second half of 2018.
There are many difficulties associated with undertaking a construction project in rural DRC, not least the sourcing and delivery of materials but there are many blessings too.
We have been able to employ dozens of local labourers and have a time of prayer with them each morning before commencing work.
Our prayer is that some of the unbelievers among the workers would realise their need of a Saviour and that the project would make an eternal difference to them.
Jimmie Johnston and I are back in schools together tomorrow. It is always a pleasure to visit the schools in the Overtown, Allanton, Stonehouse, Newmains, Wishaw areas in connection with the assembly at Overtown Gospel Hall.
We commence the week of visits in the area at Allanton Primary school with an assembly and p6/7 classes
Update on School classrooms being built at Camundambala.
We have had two men from Brass Tacks here for the last 5 weeks, Phil Kennedy and Paul Dodds. When they got here about a quarter of the floor slab was done, and now 5 weeks later the roof trusses are on. They were joined after 3 weeks by Danny Mathie and Huw Collings who really helped to push the block work on.
We had a team of 15 Angolan young men who worked tirelessly alongside the "Yindele" and we had plenty of fun and fellowship during the construction. We now need skilled workers who can help erect the steel structure or canopy over the school. We thank the Lord for keeping everyone safe and well during the 5 weeks and are thankful for the sacrifices that these men and their loved ones have made to move the project forward so much.
Going to Kilkenny, Ireland tomorrow for a week with the Bible Experience. The assembly have hired a shop in the local shopping centre and are hoping to reach out to many of the general public as well as local schools. Prayer would be much appreciated for this new venture.
At the end of day one at the national ploughing championships we are so thankful for the encouraging day to proclaim a great message. By the grace of God about 7500 bags have been given out along with other Literature and a lot of good conversations with people from all over Ireland. There has been much to rejoice in today.
Please pray for the Gospel at the Blackburn Community centre each night this week, organised by the assembly at Woodside, Aberdeen.
Please pray for the Gospel meetings this week in Fountain Hall, Woodside, Aberdeen.
We have had meetings in Australia this month, where as well as visiting different assemblies in the area, we had the opportunity to have a series of gospel meetings and a series of Bible teaching meetings with the assembly at Gowrie Junction. It was a personal encouragement to see an evident interest and responsiveness to the Word among the believers there.
The believers in Luanza, Congo, have just contacted us to tell us that the village is "living in terror," after more attacks in the area. Our friend Jean-Claude, who is a doctor there, has been working to remove arrows from the backs of those caught up in the trouble. Sadly, Jean-Claude has just had a serious motor bike accident and may need to travel to South Africa for surgery.
We received notification this week that my passport has been stolen from embassy in London where it had been submitted with my visa application. We now need to start the application process all over again and would appreciate your prayers for a better outcome this time round.
SEED SOWERS BIRMINGHAM
The next Seed Sowers Distribution is being held from 22nd-24th September, in Birmingham. We hope to distribute 20,000 Scripture texts across two areas of the city, followed by Gospel meetings.
As well as spending time in Distribution, we have planned three sessions of ministry from Colin Lacey, commencing Friday evening.
Accommodation etc is offered free, looking to the Lord to provide, but we ask those who come to be exercised about how they can help.
If you are able to join us, please go to forwardinhope.com/seedsowers and complete the form, or by phone on 07779034886. If you can't join us, do please make the effort a matter of prayer.
From Paul Jenkinson
The meetings in Catrine have been going well with great support from the local assemblies. Each evening a good number of unsaved have been in attendance.
Last Thursday evening was exciting. After the meeting two ladies made professions, one in her 70s the other in her 40s.
Please pray for them that they will grow and be a witness to their families.
Ian Robertson and I have decided to continue these meetings this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday each evening at 8pm.
Please pray that God will continue to move.
If you live local feel free to come along and support.
We return to Angola tonight and would really appreciate prayer for the work that is before us both spiritually and practically. We arrive at Camundambala on the 10th September D.V. The consequences of Ruth Hadley’s home call will take some time to settle as adjustments are made, but it is the Lord’s work and He will continue to build His Church as He promised.
Shortly after our arrival at Camundambala we are anticipating some workers from Brass Tacks (Paul Dodds, Phil Kennedy) to come and move the building of the new school classrooms forward, also two containers from Medical Missionary News with more supplies for the building project are expected shortly. Later in October we are looking forward to welcoming back Jonathan & Ruth Singleton and Alex Trivonov, then Huw Collings and Danny Mathie are hoping to come and help with the building work too. We are really grateful for those who are prepared to give of their time and come and help the work go forward, and their families who make that sacrifice too. So there is a lot of practical things to oversee as the building work recommences and we would appreciate prayer for visa applications and the safety of all engaged in this work.
As we commence a new phase in the work we believe it is a good opportunity for the School to begin to become more independent from missionary input on a daily basis. Eventually the scaffolding of missionary support has to be removed and the School stand on its own and this is a good opportunity to start this transition. This was something that Ruth discussed with us shortly before she passed away. She had done a tremendous work in the School and she was uniquely equipped to do this with her immense experience in Angola, her knowledge of the culture, her background in teaching, her love of the people, her great ability in both Portuguese and Chokwe and so the list goes on. Replacing her or taking over what she did is not possible, none of us on the field are qualified or competent to do this work. She was a unique and amazing person but the School has had all that input over the years and the Lord in His wisdom and sovereignty has taken her out of Angola into His eternal presence and rest. She has left a good head and deputy and we are confident that they will keep up the good work with their team of teachers. So in the light of this we will continue to support the school logistically and try and meet the needs that they cannot provide with educational supplies and the maintenance of the current vehicle and the repair of one which needs to be put back on the road for the use of the School. We would appreciate prayer that the day to day overseeing of the practical needs of the school doesn’t hinder the School Head, Deputy and staff from developing and taking on responsibilities which they are capable of. I will continue to teach years 5 & 6 using the PBS Bible lesson material and maintain a presence in the School at other times as well but seek to equip and encourage the nationals to move the School onwards.
We are really looking forward to recommencing Bible classes with the Camundambala young people. We have three groups already, on Sunday evening, Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon, and a fourth group wanting to start so locally there is much to encourage. These young people are all at different stages in their walk with the Lord and it involves a lot of pastoral care but these are the future of assembly testimony and we pray that many will go on for the Lord and become pillars in the local assembly.
Since being in the UK many of the young people have been in contact with us using social media technology and it has been good just to be able to maintain contact with them. This has proved important during the results of the recent elections in Angola. The governing party has once again won a big majority and there is widespread distrust of the authorities and the results. This has caused many to become bitter, angry and resentful and we have had to continually point them to Romans 13 and encourage them to keep praying rather than resort to the more radical methods that many of their fellow countrymen wish to do! So please remember the political situation in Angola in prayer.
We would also appreciate prayer for the overseeing of the Emmaus work in Angola. This has been something that Ruth Hadley was responsible for and although we have had a lot to do with the Luanda and Saurimo operations for many years through the work of the Angolan Literature Fund we now have to oversee this work nationwide. Yet another call upon time and energy and one that demands travel if it is to be done properly. We are grateful for the continued support of the Lord’s people for the Literature Fund, without it there would be no literature available for the people.
The print rooms set up by the Angolan Literature Fund although operated by national believers still need supervision as machines develop technical difficulties and this is very trying for all concerned. We would welcome prayer for this aspect of the work as it has a knock on effect in the literature supplies available and is another demand on time.
I am looking forward to recommencing monthly visits to Caiaza for Bible teaching, praying that not only will the few assemblies in that area be encouraged but also be fed with the sincere milk of the Word and be able to grow thereby. I have also monthly visits to Mukonda, two hours from Saurimo, planned starting in October, a good number of assemblies plan to gather once a month for Bible teaching morning and afternoon. Please pray for wisdom and help from the Lord to teach the Word in Chokwe to the many who will gather.
It is a very real concern to us that as we seek to meet the overwhelming social needs that are increasing with the economic crisis in Angola, along with the care of the lepers food program, the School and numerous daily demands that we don’t loose sight of the whole purpose of missionary work, and our being in Angola. The command is still “Preach the Gospel and make disciples, teaching them all things that I have commanded”. It is Debbie who deals with the daily requests and demands that we face living among a people in deep poverty and genuine need, and as a result gives me the time to preach and teach. So please pray for us as together we seek to serve the Lord and maintain the focus of preaching the Gospel and teaching the Scriptures and still reach out in compassion for the needy.
We are thankful to the Lord for the fellowship we have enjoyed with the assembly at Helions Bumpstead over the weeks. My knee operation went well and I am confident it will be fine on the rough uneven ground and deep sand of Angola. We have had some precious times with the family and have memories that we will treasure as we say our good byes once again.
We are looking forward very much to having Alex and Laura with us for Christmas, it will be a special time for us and them as Alex shows Laura where he spent his childhood years. We are hoping to return to the UK briefly in February 2018.
Thank you for standing with us in prayer, we increasingly realize our fragility and dependency on the Lord, events in the last months are a timely reminder that it is His work that we are involved in and it is in His name that once again we go.
Yours through grace,
Brian & Debbie