This week, Pastor John hands over the TAGD keyboard to Pastor Brent Whitefield, Northpoint’s Pastor of Missions and Outreach.
Report from Botswana
Hello Church Family,I had the great privilege of spending the last week in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana. Alex Ivascu, a member of our outreach team, accompanied me on the journey. While wilting in the 100-degree heat of the south African desert, we had the opportunity to observe the ministry of Pastor Lamaz Kariuki and the Gaborone Community Chapel (GCC). It was wonderful to hear the testimonies of the members of this fledging congregation, several of them new believers. There are many factors working against the advancement of the gospel in Botswana; but God is building his church in a land which is literally and figuratively dry, and our body is playing a role in this.
Members of Northpoint will be going to Botswana this summer to help GCC in their efforts to reach college students at the University of Botswana. I know that many of you have been helping us to support this ministry financially and in prayer. I can assure you that the people of GCC are grateful for your help and see this relationship as a genuine partnership in the work of the gospel. I would like to encourage everyone to continue to give and pray. Here are some specific things that you can be praying for:
Pray that GCC will get all of the approvals that they require to be registered in Botswana as a church. The prevalence of religious scam-artists from places like Nigeria, who prey on the people for their own gain, has made the Botswanan government understandably cautious about licensing new churches. Pray that they will see that GCC is a blessing to the people of Gaborone that seeks to give rather than to take. Pray that the spirit of God will give people the discernment to understand the difference between religious snake-oil salesmen and authentic gospel leaders.
Pray that God will raise up native leaders for GCC. The goal is to have an indigenously-led, self-supporting church on its own feet over the next couple of years. To this end, some of the new believers will need to mature quickly.
Pray for Lamaz and his wife Maki as they continue to adjust to a very different culture and language, while expecting their first child.
Pray that GCC will help lead a movement of theologically-sound churches in Botswana. Many churches there are syncretistic, incorporating African traditional religious practices that are incompatible with Christian discipleship.
Pray for the people of Botswana, that they will turn to Christ and away for destructive hedonism. No moral value appears to be assigned to sex, which is treated as a recreational activity, to be indulged in without discrimination or concern for consequences. Among the results are a high divorce rate, an orphan crisis, and 20% of the adult population carrying the HIV virus. Secularism is also a problem. Botswana has not been spared the fate of other countries that have seen their standard of living rapidly rise over the last generation. In less than fifty years, Botswana has gone from being one of Africa’s poorest countries to one of its richest. As people have become wealthier, they have largely turned away from God.
As you pray, might you be open to joining us on our trip this summer? More specific information will be disseminated in the next two weeks. Botswana is one of those places of which it may be truly said: “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.” As you pray, might God be calling you to be a laborer, even for a week or two, in that harvest field?