September 15, 2009

Updates on Requests....already!

First, Steve just phoned me from Johannesburg and surgery is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, our time. He will go to the hospital (Linksfield Hospital) around 12pm, our time, and then spend the night for observation. I know he is so ready for this kidney stone to be removed. The doctor says the cysts found are insignificant and does not see them as a problem at all. Praise the Lord! Not sure if Steve will be coming home Thursday or Friday. All depends on when he is released and if he is on medication and cannot drive home yet. Thanks for all your prayers!

Second, Barbara Myers also just phoned me and the movers just arrived at their house. The movers are packing up everything now and then meeting the Myers in Tshaneni at 8:00am to unload their stuff in their new house. Pray everything goes smoothly and no problems with the mover's trucks (reason for delay with movers today) until all their stuff is safely in their new house. The Myers will not have much internet service until they start their stateside time in a couple weeks. I know they appreciate all your prayers as well.

Third, Lisa Warren sent an email to me this afternoon to let us know that Sarah Warren's MRI results show that there is NO tumor...praise the Lord!

Allen's African Adventures - September 2009

"I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be."
Philippians 3:12 (New Living Translation)

Thank you for praying for the National Youth Camp last month. We had about 175 youth from our Baptist churches all over Swaziland. The theme was "God Chooses Me!" based Eph. 1:4-5. The speakers did a fantastic job and the national youth committee led the camp in unity and focus together. All in all, we know that many chose to return to their first love, Jesus Christ, and pray for all the youth as they press on in their personal walks with the Lord. The National Youth Committee met in Mbabane this past weekend to evaluate youth camp, turning over of new old to new committee members, and sharing new ideas and vision for the coming year. The NYC desires to host at least three leadership retreats for our youth leaders in the coming year for further training and learning more about our Heavenly Father. Pray for direction, unity and logistical planning for these upcoming leadership retreats as well as planning for national youth camp 2010. Attached are a couple photos from youth camp. One is the national youth committee (a few former reps included) and one of a morning teaching time.

Lesibovu, the new outreach group that was started back in February, has had three Sunday afternoon services. It is better for the people to meet in the afternoon vs. morning at this time. We had been allowed to use the community building for Bible studies each Saturday afternoon until last month. Steve had talked to the community elders way back and permission was granted. However, the Zionist group in the area is not happy about an evangelical group coming in to share with "their" people. They are quite surprised that we keep coming each week and now are doing Sunday services at least once a month. We are meeting under the trees, which is no problem on most days but the rainy season is starting. Pray we are able to find a building or home to meet in for Bible studies and services. The enemy is NOT winning as we have seen over 60 people pray to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This past Sunday, we had their FIRST baptism service and it was an exciting time for everyone. We had eight people follow the Lord in believer's baptism. We know that many more are desiring baptism but was curious about the whole process. In a Zionist baptism, folks are dunked repeatedly and not just one time. We sense that several people were hesitant and probably a bit scared, too, to choose something going against their cultural beliefs. Pray for the ones that have accepted Jesus in recent months that they would grow each day following Him. Pray for the folks that followed in baptism this past Sunday as they share with their families and communities how Jesus has changed their lives. Pray, too, for leaders to rise within this new group for training to lead this new group as they grow into a church. Attached are a few photos of the recent baptism service.

Pray for Steve and I as we are prayerfully seeking the Lord about a new work area in the Hhohho region. We plan to do a prayer drive in the next month or so. Pray for God to guide us and for open doors and receptive hearts as we pray and talk with Swazis in different rural areas.

Pray for several churches that are currently trying to obtain plots for building new churches or shifting existing churches. Hawane Baptist is STILL waiting to have their plot of land marked by the community council. They will get ready to start building their church very soon. Victory Baptist and Ntsintsa Baptist were recently approved for new plots for their churches and both have begun building their new churches. Victory plans to move a bit closer to the main road and use most of the existing church materials. Ntsintsa Baptist has met in a Red Cross building since it was started in the 1990's and desires to have their own church. Mphembekati Baptist has to move their existing church due to being too close to a school. Peniel Baptist recently lost their church meeting place so they are seeking a new one temporarily until they can begin building their own structure.

Pray for Wayne and Barbara Myers as they are moving this week to their new home and ministry in Swaziland. They are moving to Tshaneni from Nhlangano, where they have lived since 1994. Pray for the move to go well and the movers to arrive on time and accomplish everything quickly. It is about a 2.5 hours distance between where they had been living and now going to be. It is in the same region that they assist but on the other side of Swaziland. Pray for this new work area and for great relationships to be established with nationals. Wayne and Barbara are also preparing for their upcoming stateside time starting September 23 - end of the year. They will be in Kentucky and the southeast part of the USA for time with family and sharing in churches. They are still in need of borrowing a vehicle for their time in the USA. Please pray they are able to find one this week!

Please continue to pray for the Warren family as they are adjusting to being back in the USA. Pray for direction on employment and ministry opportunities for Bert and Lisa as well as for the kids (Jessie, Matthew and Sarah) as they are back in school again. Pray for Lisa's parents as they adjust to living in the Warren's house and for her father's improvement and rehabilitation after his stroke this past April. During kindergarten assessment Sarah’s pediatrician notice a weakness in her right eye. She was referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist and was prescribed eyeglasses as well as a “pirate” patch. She underwent a MRI on Friday and the family is waiting to hear the results today (Tuesday). She has a follow-up appointment on the 12th of October. Please pray for God’s will in this situation and that He will be glorified.

When we were home in the USA for our last stateside time, Monica's home church helped us come up with a way to remember to pray for the Swazi people. Will you join us in praying for them daily?

Pray for the Swazi people:
S-salvation please pray for the salvation of the people of Swaziland.
W-workers please pray God will provide workers (leaders) to lead Swazi Baptist churches.
A-AIDS please pray the Swazi people will understand how to stop the spread of AIDS.
Z- Zionism pray the Swazis will turn from Zionism (African Traditional Religion) to follow Christ.
I-increase pray the number of Swazi Baptist churches will increase.

Thank you for all the prayers for Steve recently concerning his latest kidney stone attack. Steve is on his way to Johannesburg today (Tuesday) to see his urologist and more than likely, he is looking at having surgery this week to have it removed. He has not been in constant pain the last three weeks though so that is a huge praise. He did have a CT scan done recently and it was discovered that he has four more kidney stones "waiting" to come some day as well as cysts on his left kidney stone and liver. Pray for the doctors to have wisdom in everything this week and for Steve to have complete healing to his body. He has still been pressing on with ministry and life in general but know he is not quite himself. The kids and I stayed in Swaziland this time so pray as we are apart from one another. We will keep everyone updated as we are able to do so.

On September 29 - October 16, Lacie and I will be taking a short holiday to West Palm Beach, Florida, to visit with family and be there for Monica's cousin's (Tarrah and Jesse) wedding on October 10. Lacie is going to be one of their flower girls. She is way excited! Steve and Nathan will be staying in Swaziland as Steve already took part of his holiday time this year with his trip to Israel. Pray for all of us as we are separated from one another. Friends will be helping Steve with Nathan while I am gone. Plus, he is a great daddy anyway! :) Pray for safe travels for Lacie and I to the USA and back to Africa and special times with family and friends.

Pray for our family to have strength and wisdom as we balance family and ministry each day. Pray for our walks with the Lord to grow more and more and specifically direction for our family as we lead/teach Lacie and Nathan to love the Lord Jesus with all their hearts. Since the weekly church services are conducted in siSwati it is difficult for the children as they don't understand what is being said. Pray that we would continue to find ways to make weekly worship at home positive and meaningful for the children, especially Lacie.

During the third school term, we need to get Lacie's name on a list for grade 1 at one of the two private schools in our area. We hope to visit both schools in the month of September to make the final decision. Although Lacie is only starting kindergarten in January 2010, we will be gone for our Stateside for six months next year. We need to have Lacie on a list for school before the school year ends this year. We are leaning towards one school but we want her to be in the right school environment that will be best for Lacie.

As of now, the plan for our USA time next year is that we will be leaving South Africa around March 26 or 27, 2010, and landing in Charlotte, North Carolina. We have to be at a conference at home office April 5-10 in Richmond, VA. We will be in North Carolina for the first three months and Florida the last three months. We will return to the mission field around September 26 or 27, 2010, for another three years or so at this point. If anyone has contacts on a way we can borrow a vehicle for either our three months in North Carolina or three months in Florida or the whole six months, let us know. Also, Florida family and friends, we are also looking for a place to stay (house sit or rent) for our time in the West Palm Beach area as there really is not enough room for our whole family with anyone for quite that long. Probably will be in Florida around mid-late June - end of September. Pray for all the logistical planning and speaking schedule to be finalized in the coming months.

National Youth Camp 2009 - morning session

National Youth Committee 2009-2010 (couple former members, too!)

Steve and Sandile baptizing at Lesibovu

Lesibovu starting church services

Two adorable kids hanging in the rural area!