In 1992, Dorothy Grieve became the Regional Director for the Zulu Emmaus in South Africa. At that time there were around 300 active students. Since then, the work has built up, peaking in 2003 when there were over 5,000 active students. For various reasons the number of active students has dropped to approximately 2,200 at the current time. In all, about 185,500 Bible courses have been sent out to students over the years.
The majority of students are prisoners. Amazingly, courses have been sent to 97 prisons all over the country but currently we have contact with prisoners in only 32 prisons. A small number of people outside the prisons also study the scriptures using these courses. There are twelve courses that the students can study in Zulu. When they complete all twelve, they are given the gift of a Zulu Bible along with a reading plan.
While Dorothy coordinates this work and does the bulk of the administrative work, she has a team of helpers who give support in terms of marking the completed test papers and writing letters in response to questions the students ask. In February, our helper for over 30 years was called home to her reward in heaven. This left a huge gap, as Eslina did all our letters in Zulu, and we were cast upon the Lord to provide a replacement. As a result, Mr Benedict Mbatha, a local evangelist, and Mrs Sylvia Mthembu have stepped into the breach.
They both have a good knowledge of the scriptures and are well qualified to deal with the questions that some of the students ask. It is not uncommon for students, particularly prisoners, to write telling us that they have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Occasionally they will even go so far as to say that they wish some of their family members would be sent to prison so that they would also find the Lord!
For some years now, we have been concerned that the work needs to be taken on by younger believers who have a vision to develop it even further and have been praying to this end. The imminent sale of the property in which we live, where we have adequate office and storage facilities, added impetus to the question of how the work would continue. The Lord has graciously answered prayer in this regard. Consequently, Mr Philip Moodley will be taking over as Regional Director of the Zulu Emmaus Bible Correspondence work, supported by his wife Karen and the Chatsworth Assembly in Durban where they are in fellowship. Philip has recently been commended to the Lord’s work by the assembly.
We would value prayer for the transition of this work. It will be necessary for a certain amount of training to be done and the process of handing everything over will take at least three months. This will involve quite a bit of travelling as we gradually move the stock from Murchison to Durban, a distance of around 100 km and at the same time train Philip in the routine of the administration. In particular, we need to pray that suitable helpers will be found who will be capable of answering, in Zulu, the questions posed by the students. We know that Philip and Karen would value prayer as they take on this huge responsibility.