Our primary task as missionaries is to establish local churches able to self-govern, self-propagate, and self-support.
Our first church plant began in the village of Mbhokota in 2009, where all of the members of Trinity Baptist Church have joined as a result of dogged evangelism and discipleship. We have found that tracts or once-off Bible studies often do not work because they are not comprehensive.
We typically evangelize through a series of Bible studies in Jesus’ parables and the book of Romans. Though Tsonga has two Bible translations, many of the more substantial theological words like justification, adoption, and holiness have been assigned vocabulary that is difficult to understand. Explaining the gospel takes patience.
For many years our church worshipped in abandoned buildings and garages because our philosophy was to abstain from using foreign funds for building projects. If the primary goal is an indigenous church, why pump the infant assembly with unsustainable Western resources? Sometimes helping brings hurt, assistance causes ache, and donations breed difficulty.
The people had a mind to work. After two years of assiduous labor, we finished the construction of the building. Most of those who dug the footings, laid the brick, framed the windows, and installed the roof had never done so before. The project infused within the people a sense of ownership, pride, and concern.
We love to study whole books of the Bible. All of the preaching is in Tsonga. Thus far we have studied through Genesis, Mark, Acts, Romans, Ephesians, Galatians, the Beatitudes, Psalms, Proverbs. Solane, is one of our faithful church members who is taking over some of the preaching duties.
Our goal is to transfer the leadership to a mature man gifted in preaching and pastoring, parenting and planning, praying and pleading. But godly men are difficult to find in these parts. Many leave to find work in the big city.
Those who stay are inundated with a culture that does not prize the role of husband and father at home. But God is raising up a few men in our assembly that know their Bibles and love Jesus more than all the world.
In the meantime, we are laboring to plant additional churches in the villages of River Plaats and N’waxinyamani.