"For my name will be great among the nations, from the rising of the sun to its setting." Malachi 1:11

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Warren Family Update - June 2009

A "wintery hello" to each of you from all the Warrens here in Tshaneni! As you trade out your jeans for shorts and flip-flops, Winter is beginning to make itself known here in our little corner of Swaziland. Although our winter will be nothing like a North Carolina winter, it is a nice change in temperatures!
Change is truly in the air everywhere ... when July 1st rolls around our region as we know it, CESA ~ Central, Eastern and Southern Africa ~ will no longer exist. Beginning July, the new restructuring of the IMB will be put into place, and you will now come to know our region of the world as "Sub-Saharan Africa Affinity Group". Please join us in continuing to pray for wisdom and guidance for IMB leadership as they implement and lead us through these changes.
Ministry Update

"Whoever speaks let him speak, as it were, the very utterances of God;
whoever serves, let him serve by the strength which God supplies;
so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,
to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever."

1 Peter 4:11

When our family moved to Tshaneni back in mid-January of this year we began praying for direction and guidance as to what and where God would have us focus our efforts. Our team members are each assigned to different areas of Swaziland, all of which are large, with many communities that are rural and spread apart. When Bert began to study the map of our region he found himself consistently being drawn to one particular area. In the Lubombo region, the main industry is the production of sugar cane, and the majority of the Swazi people here work in this industry. We have found that if you are not employed with this industry there is little to no sustainable support. These are the people that are mainly overlooked and forgotten. God began directing our path to His people in this forgotten area, which we now know as Mafacula. It is located at the base of a mountain just beyond the many, many sugar cane fields off of our main road. We began asking you to join us in praying for this area specifically and it's people that we call "the people beyond the sugar cane". As we started to ask and learn more about this area, Bert found only a few people that knew exactly how to get there. One morning as he was with a member of Vuvulane Baptist Church, God led them to someone that knew this area very well. They were taken in and introduced to a local pastor, Masuku. He was saved through reading the Word of God in the Bible his father left to him. As an answer to your prayers, God led Bert to this pastor and their relationship has grown over these last four months. Pastor Masuku shares the desire to reach this/his whole community with the message of Christ. So far, we have seen two revivals and the showing of the Jesus Film in this area all with amazing response. Pastor Masuku has also been able to travel with Bert to several Baptist related functions and training sessions, which has given him the opportunity to connect with other pastors in the area. Just recently, he and his church, Mountain Church, have requested to join the Baptist Convention of Swaziland, seeking to join their brothers and sisters in Christ to evangelize their country. There has been great interest to learn more about the Bible, and Bert has begun teaching weekly classes on Thursdays in this community. Through your prayers, God has also opened doors that we could not open. We have been introduced to several community groups that work directly with the oppressed peoples of HIV/AIDS here, and many have come forward to reveal their sickness and need for help. Please join us as we pray for this new opportunity and that much will be accomplished for the Kingdom of Christ, both spiritually and physically.

We cannot say enough how much your prayers, support and involvement in the ministry here mean to us, and our entire team. Throughout the past several years there has been consistent, dedicated partnerships, prayer and mission teams dedicating their efforts and resources to reach the country of Swaziland for Christ. In our short time here on the field, we have been so blessed to see the fruits of their labor and prayers with much being accomplished for the Kingdom! Some have tilled the land, some sowed the seeds, some watered, some prayed, and some harvested ... all are ESSENTIAL! Harvest time has come to Swaziland, thank you for partnering with the One who brings the Harvest, and join us in giving Him all the Glory!
Family Update

After much prayer, another change has taken place in our lives, and it is that we have now begun homeschooling all three of the children. Before arriving in Swaziland, we felt strongly about having the kids plugged in socially, and giving them the opportunity to experience their new culture and meet friends of their own age through attending a local school. We are so thankful for the opportunity for them to have attended Thembelisha Preparatory School. The teachers and staff welcomed us with open arms, and went above and beyond to make sure the children transitioned well into their school. They have made many friends that I know we will continue to see. Fortunately, we will have the chance to see many of them when we visit church in Simunye. Now that we have "settled in" to our area of ministry, we have a better feel of our job, what it takes to host volunteer teams, and are also seeing new ministry begin to grow. We feel that this change will give us more flexibility with our schedules/ministry, allowing us to be more accommodating to our volunteer teams, AND at the same time giving the children "first hand" experience in more of the ministry while continuing their education here. It seems that our time here is beginning to quickly pass by, and we want to be good stewards of our time and of the support we so graciously receive from the IMB and our churches back home. We have such a peace about this decision, and are excited to see how the Lord is going to work through this change.

We would like to thank you for continuing to remember Lisa's parents in your prayers as her Dad recovers from a recent stroke. There has been a change in his rehab facility. He has now been moved from Bryant T. Aldridge Rehab Center to Autumn Care in Nashville, NC. We are so thankful for the staff at both locations, and their willingness to communicate with us through email. He has settled in well, and is continuing physical, speech and occupation therapy there. A praise for this week is that he was finally able to pass his swallowing test which will allow him to eat food for himself!! This will BOOST his spirits for sure :) Your prayers and love have meant so much as you have walked with us through these past months, and continue to be a blessing to us and her parents.
Praise and Prayer Requests

Praise the Lord that Sarah accepted the Lord has HER personal Savior and followed in believer's baptism on May 24th! Pray that she will grow in the Lord each day, and that she will follow Him all her days!

Pray for direction in future orphan and HIV/AIDS ministry, and also for partnerships with other mission organizations. Pray for direction in trying to find and meet the needs of those suffering and dying from this disease that infects so many here in Swaziland. Pray for wisdom in teaching the church how to care for these patients and their families and that they would have the opportunity to share the message of the Great Physician and that many would have open hearts to receive Him as their personal Savior.

Praise the Lord for the safe arrival of Hunter and Brinkley Johnson (sisters) this week. Pray for the Lord to use each of their talents and gifts to minister to the Swazi people and for their continued strength as they minister with our team through July 8th. Also pray for safe travel as they serve in many different areas of Swaziland.

June 12th, Polly Trice (Monica Allen's mother) arrives in Swaziland to spend several weeks with the Allen's. Pray for safe travel and a wonderful time with her family.

Pray for our next volunteer team from West Virginia, arriving June 13 - 18, as they lead discipleship training at Phuzumoya Baptist. Praise the Lord for this new partnership, and pray for the Lord to bless their time here in Swaziland and for safe travel as they return back to the States next Thursday.

The National Youth Leader’s Retreat on June 26 -27. Pray for this important retreat for all youth leaders of the Swazi Baptist churches. Hunter Johnson will be the main speaker. Pray God will move in a mighty way among the hearts of our youth leaders.

Please continue to pray for Wayne Myers' brother and sister struggling with cancer. Pray that the Lord will draw Terry and JoAnn into His healing embrace. Also continue to remember Wayne and his family in the loss of his youngest brother, Larry.

Continue to pray for Lisa's Dad, Lloyd Claiborne, as he continues to recover from his stroke. Pray for strength and patience has he seeks to regain use of his left side.

Thank you for all your love, support and prayers!

No comments:

Post a Comment