Work Report for South Africa
There are two churches in South Africa. Johannesburg church was converted from a house purchased in Bedfordview in 1998, which later became a service gathering place and church. Cape Town church, dedicated on January 25, 2015, was converted from a house purchased in early 2014, which later became a chapel. Besides the Johannesburg and Cape Town churches, there are two gathering places in Port Elizabeth and Welkom, and places for family services in other regions. There were initially fixed Sabbath services in Lesotho; however, because most believers moved to South Africa, the region now lacks leadership, so services are only held when visiting workers are there.
Our South African believers spread throughout different provinces, from the northern province of Limpopo to the southern tip of Cape Town. South Africa is divided into nine provinces, plus “a country within a country,” Lesotho, totalling ten regions where our South African believers are distributed. The distribution is as follows: Gauteng province has about 210 believers, Western Cape about 150 believers, Eastern Cape about 75 believers, Northern Cape about 25 believers, Free State about 70 believers, Limpopo about 75 believers, North West about 53 believers, Kwazulu Natal about 60 believers, Mpumalanga about 70 believers and Lesotho about 5 believers. It is estimated that the number of believers in South Africa is close to 800, all Chinese.
The Johannesburg church holds spiritual convocation regularly in January (summer) and July (winter) of every year. Each time the number of participants is about 170 to 190. The Cape Town church also holds a spiritual convocation in January each year, with a total attendance of about 70 to 90 people. In addition to the regular spiritual convocations, during the pastoral visits of International Assembly workers or work group members, they hold training sessions for holy work and seminars to cultivate leading workers and sermon leaders in the hope that they may take on local pastoral work. The pastoral workers arranged in 2016 were as follows:
A total of 19 people received baptism during the two spiritual convocations at the Johannesburg church and many received the Holy Spirit. 170 members partook the cup in the Holy Communion held during the two-day spiritual convocation on January 16 and 17, while 189 members partook the cup during the two-day spiritual convocation on July 16 and 17. 82 members partook the cup during the two-day spiritual convocation on January 23 and 24 in Cape Town and 7 people received baptism. The total number of those baptized in the churches in South Africa was 26.
For many years, we have focused on the Chinese community in preaching the gospel in South Africa. Thank the grace of the Lord Jesus, starting from this year, the evangelical effort has expanded to the locals. Some members have also invited employees at their stores to attend the spiritual convocations. Currently, there are local truthseekers in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Lesotho. May the Lord Jesus open a way so that they can understand the truth and receive salvation as soon as possible so that the gospel can spread out in South Africa through the locals for more to receive salvation.
As a result of the long-term stable development of the churches, in 2016, the South African churches appointed a local brother as a full-time volunteer, hoping that he would take up the pastoral work in South Africa in the future. Currently, he has been involved in assisting some pastoral work. For the future development of holy work, a plan is in place for him to return to his home country every year to go through training for six month for the coming three years. We hope that he will be able to take up the holy work in South Africa in the future.
Safety in South Africa has become increasingly strained. In recent years, the renewal of work visas has become difficult with the decline of the economy. Some believers have returned to China or relocated to other countries. Please pray for the brethren in South Africa and for the church, so that the believers can lead a stable life amidst instability and that the churches may continue to develop under God’s watch. May all glory be unto the true God in heaven. Amen!