South Africa Ministry Update
Thank God for taking care of our churches in South Africa! Since the mid-1990s, our believers from Taiwan and Fujian have been working and living in South Africa, hence they also brought the gospel to this country. In the beginning, they only had family service to sustain their faith, but did not keep the Sabbath. In these 23 years under God’s care, brothers and sisters in this country have seen much guidance and care from God; with limited resources, through hardships and vicissitudes, they finally established a True Jesus Church in South Africa. From a church in the early days that was unable to keep the Sabbath to the current church that is able to hold two Spiritual Convocations in Autumn and Spring every year (in Johannesburg and Cape Town, respectively), it is indeed the grace of God. They also began to see the importance of keeping the Sabbath as it is a commandment.
In January 2018, the new South African Ministry Committee was established (3 people) and officially completed the handover from the old to new committee. Currently, there are 2 churches in South Africa, in Johannesburg and Cape Town. There are also 4 worship points, and the attendance at the services in the Port Elizabeth location is the highest.
From July 28, 2018, the Johannesburg Church began having regular Sabbath services at 11 am, and worship service mainly consisted of Bible reading, prayers, and hymn singing. Since January 2019, they also started having sermons on the Sabbath.
Cape Town Church
This church was dedicated on January 25, 2015. There are more than 100 believers and about 50-60 people attending church service regularly. Cape Town Church held a spiritual convocation in January 2017. About 60-70 people attended this event. Five were baptized and 59 received the cup. Thank God! There was a Caucasian local who received baptism. He was acquainted with one of our believers. Our believer took him to the church for a period of time. When our workers visited Cape Town, they preached to him about the true salvation. He accepted the truth with full joy. He was baptized by faith under the name of the Lord. After baptism, he is now very zealous in helping with church work and assisting believers with some difficult problems. In 2018, some believers returned to China, and the number of members attending service decreased to 30-45.
Port Elizabeth Worship Place
After 2017, some believers returned to China and moved to the vicinity of Johannesburg to do business. The number attending service has decreased. Currently, there are about 15 believers, and there is church service every week.
Welkom Worship Place
Since 2015, Sabbath service has been held at Bro. Kao’s store every third week of the month. There are about 10 believers.
In August 2016, the worship place was moved to Zhuang Zhifeng’s home for church service. Sabbath services are held every third week of the month, led by the workers assigned by Johannesburg Church. The attendance at services is between 10-15.
Limpopo Worship Place and Nelspruit Worship Place
Since January 2018, both places have Friday night services and Sabbath afternoon services at 5 pm. There are about 10 believers.
Our churches in South Africa employed a local brother as a full-time voluntary worker since 2006. He has been training in China for two years. We hope that after the training he can carry on the pastoral works in South Africa so the church can continually and steadily grow for the long term.
In recent years, the security situation in South Africa has deteriorated. Robberies and murders have occurred weekly and it is hard to stay safe there. The economy has declined, which greatly influences members who run businesses. Coupled with the difficulty in renewing their work permits and processing their visa applications, some of the believers closed their shops, some returned to China, and some migrated to other countries. The membership dropped from 800 last year to about 700 this year. Please pray for the churches and the brethren in South Africa, so that our members can settle their lives in this unsafe environment and the churches can be kept by God. May all the glory be to our God in heaven. Amen!