"Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:11-12
Missionary work involves constant spiritual warfare. However, sometimes the intensity of it can take one by surprise. There were so many, severe, financial restrictions on our Mission that the Chairman of the Board asked me whether it was possible to cancel the upcoming Mission to Mpumalanga. For many different reasons, I knew that that could not be considered. The engagements had been confirmed for over a year. Then I chipped two teeth and needed some serious dental work and suffered a back injury. I had a record number of articles and other writing projects to complete before I began this series of Missions, which would have me out of town for over 6 weeks.
With only a few days between the Mission to Mpumalanga and a month-long speaking tour throughout the USA, I needed to be working continuously from early morning to late evening for weeks to be able to meet all the deadlines and leave suitably prepared for the intensive time of Leadership training and ministry in Mpumalanga.
Prepositioned Spiritual Ammunition
Pallets of Bibles and books were shipped up to our Missionary in Limpopo, David, to drive through to Mpumalanga. Taryn, the Co-ordinator of Christian Action, John, who normally runs our Audio-visual ministry and is also a trainee field worker, and I, met up with David and we drove through to the KwaSizabantu Mission station in Mpumalanga.
The KSB Mission in Schulzendal is on a large lake which has a significant population of crocodiles. They are close to the border of the Kingdom of Swaziland. Most of their congregation are Swazis. As at every other KwaSizabantu Mission, the base is an example of Christian work ethic, ingenuity, dedicated Discipleship and Evangelistic zeal. Aside from a large and productive farm and Mill, which serves the community, the KSB Mission has a school which caters for K through to 12 in immaculate facilities.
Incredibly, though, I learned that, as at other independent schools around the country, they had also been subjected to inspections by states officials, who one would have thought would have been more productively engaged in trying to get the state schools to adhere to some basic standards. Considering the chronic overcrowding in state schools, the lack of facilities, entire provinces which failed to receive their textbooks, and all the crime and lawlessness that seem to plague the state schools, it is incredible that they continue to go through the farce of inspecting the well-run independent Church and Mission schools!
After a great time of fellowship, worship and ministry at Schulzendal, we drove off for evening services in Barberton. While David took the evening service at the Back to the Bible Training College, John, Taryn and I conducted a Missions service at Aquila.
Back to the Bible Training College
The bell rings early every morning at BBTC. The chapel is packed every morning for devotions, 7am. In all of my travels and ministry in 36 countries, on 4 continents, I have never come across a college which maintains such a high priority on prayer, personal and group devotions, systematic Bible Study, going through every Book of the Bible in a three-year programme, with such Evangelistic zeal and Missionary vision.
Balanced and Biblical
Every weekend, students are mobilised for ministry in the local community. Outreaches and Missions are scheduled for the holidays. There is a balanced focus on ministry to body, mind and spirit. The BBTC weekly programme includes physical work, farm work, sports, daily personal devotion and intensive study. The daily group devotions include students and staff members sharing prayer requests, praise items of answered prayer, Scripture verses, and fervent worship. For 13 years, General Shai Mulder and his wife, Dr. Elreza Mulder have led this college in such an exemplary way that I believe other colleges can learn from their balanced, Biblical, practical, Missionary vision and effective strategy for mobilising pastors, Evangelists and Missionaries to win Africa for Christ.
Great Commission Training
BBTC has a standing arrangement with me to provide intensive Missiology training for a week each year. This year they had 124 students from 24 countries represented. While I was giving lectures on Missions History and Strategy, the other members of the Frontline team were conducting assemblies and workshops at local Christian schools. Each day was packed full as we dealt with The Greatness of the Great Commission, Missions in the Bible, What Does it Take to Succeed in Missions?, Practical Discipleship, Missionary Strategy in the Book of Acts, Gospel Preaching in Acts, Understanding Animism, Reclaiming Surrendered Ground, The Need for Discernment, The Heart of the Gospel, The Challenge of Islam, Comparing the Bible with the Quran, Jesus Vs. Muhammad, Challenging Muslims, Examples of Excellence from Missionary History, Recognising God's Voice, The Life and Legacy of David Livingstone, The Fire of God, and Field Focuses on Egypt, Zimbabwe and Sudan.
Stretching Minds and Muscles
During film showings in the evening, there were vigorous discussions. Sometimes discussion times could go on for over an hour after a presentation. Every one of the students, and even the Principal of the college, Dr. Mulder, participated in the gruelling P.T. As we always say at our Great Commission Courses: We aim to stretch minds and muscles!
Thursday night, the team was up till midnight, marking all the students Exam papers. On the final day, our worship service was most special. At BBTC it is clear that the Bible is central and foundational to everything. That is not only in the curriculum, the schedule and the daily routine, but also in the artwork in the chapel and the layout of the Mission base where a large white cross dominates the valley. At night it is lit up and can be seen from a great distance, symbolic of the Christian witness and Missionary vision, which radiates out from this strategic Leadership Training institution.
However, I was disturbed to hear of the ongoing harassment by the Department of Higher Education and Training, the South Africa Revenue Service and SAQA, the Qualifications Authority. These government departments continue to harass this independent Christian Bible College, demanding a large amount of time and expense to register.
Religious Freedom at Stake
It does not seem reasonable to me that any state has the right to interfere in an independent Christian college. They are not seeking government accreditation, but are being told that they are required to have government permission to operate! This seems to be a pattern, as all over the country, in different areas, we hear of both schools and colleges being stifled and harassed by a bewildering array of legislative requirements and time and money-wasting exercises. It is hard to believe that the average citizen is even aware of this, let alone would support this encroachment on religious freedom.
Christian Colleges Need Our Prayers and Support
For a Faith Mission, which is effectively providing heavily subsidised, almost free, Bible and practical training to students from all over Africa, it seems most unreasonable to expect them to pay the large amounts being required, per student, to government departments which are not in any way contributing to the running of the college. Please continue to pray for and support independent Christian colleges such as Back to the Bible Training College.
Biblical Worldview Seminar
Immediately following the conclusion of the Great Commission programme at BBTC, the Frontline Mission team drove to Nelspruit where Calvary Assembly had organised a Biblical Worldview Seminar for us to speak at. Calvary Assembly has one of the longest running Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) schools in the country. They have also had their own long-running battles with education authorities, but continue to provide Christ-centred, Bible-based education. I presented A World War of Worldviews, Worldviews in Conflict, Resisting Babylon and the Beast, The Battle for the Mind in the News Media and Biblical Solutions to Crime and Corruption.
Mission to the Malls
David, John and Taryn presented an Evangelism Workshop and How to Protect your Family from Pornography Workshop. This was followed by Way of the Master and Evangelism Explosion Training and outreach in the local shopping malls where we had the opportunity to distribute Gospel literature and engage in one-on-one personal Evangelism.
On Sunday, I preached on The Fire of God and in the evening service, David gave a Report Back on Zimbabwe, John on Zambia and myself on Mozambique, Angola, Nigeria and Sudan. Early the next morning, David drove Taryn to the airport to return to Cape Town and dropped me off at the Africa School of Missions with boxes of textbooks, Manuals and literature for the students and staff. David and John then headed off for their Mission to Zambia.
From the Friday morning at BBTC, I had already begun feeling somewhat feverish and had put it down to the late nights and intense schedule. But by the beginning of the BWS in Nelspruit, I became aware that actually my chipped tooth, which had recently being crowned, had developed an abscess growing under it. I could recognise the symptoms because during a Mission to Nigeria, some years ago, I developed an abscess under one of my teeth and it was some weeks before I was able to receive medical attention for that.
Muslim Evangelism Workshop
However, I had to ignore the pain and focus on the Muslim Evangelism Training, which I was scheduled to begin first thing on Monday. I began with the Arab Spring - Christian Winter, The Challenge of Islam, Understanding the Essentials of Islam, The Qur'an Vs the Bible, Jesus Vs Muhammad and presented a Country Focus on Egypt. At the first opportunity in the afternoon, I headed to the nearby town to obtain antibiotics and painkillers.
Africa School of Missions
Africa School of Missions is an interdenominational Missionary centre dedicated to preparing men and women for Christian missions throughout the world. Over the years, I have visited ASM, since its beginning in 1985. The motto of Africa School of Missions is: Equipping a New Generation of World Changers. Currently ASM graduates are serving the Lord in 56 countries, as far afield as China, Russia, India, Cambodia, throughout the Middle East and Africa.
Answers to Prayer
Last year I reported how the Mission had been under siege from gangs of thieves and that some of the foreign visitors at a neighbouring ministry dealing with AIDS orphans and hospices had been attacked by armed robbers. By God's grace, I can report that this reign of terror has ended. Since one of the attackers was shot at the end of last year, there have been no further incidents! Although the staff and students stay vigilant, the college and neighbouring farms have been crime free this whole year. Armed citizens save lives!
Spitting Cobras and Vervet Monkeys
However, being at a remote Mission, surrounded by spectacular mountain views, close to the Kruger National Park, ASM does have some wildlife challenges. The Dean of Students has, so far this year, captured and safely relocated 14 Mozambiquan Spitting Cobras from the campus. The library has a delightful sign at the entrance, requesting guests to keep the door closed to prevent snakes from entering! Visitors are also encouraged to keep their windows closed as troops of Vervet monkeys have regularly rampaged through the campus, going through any open window available in order to ransack fruit and other food out of homes. Some of the parents are concerned that one of their children will try and pick up a snake. They therefore begin at an early age to teach their children of the dangers of these fascinating slithering creatures.
Understanding Islam - Evangelising Muslims
In order to be able to present lectures, I was continually sipping water and sucking on throat lozenges. Ear, nose and throat specialists remind us that an infection in the throat definitely affects the ears and nose. I was running out of decongestants and struggled through Tuesday to present Slavery - What You Have Never Been Told and The Crusades, Colonialism and Jihad. This was followed with The Islamisation of Europe, Resisting Islamisation, Leading Muslims to Christ, Guidelines for Evangelising Muslims, Women in Islam, What the Reformers Taught About Islam, The Sources of Islam, The End of Islam and How to Challenge Muslims. We also had films on Islam and Sudan, and on Thursday afternoon, exams. At the Friday chapel, I spoke on Can Jesus Trust You?
By the time I returned to Cape Town, I had conducted 60 meetings and was free of pain as the abscess had disappeared. Thank you for your prayers! Altogether the Frontline Mission team had conducted 98 meetings at 3 churches, 3 Missions bases, 3 schools, 2 colleges and a Biblical Worldview Seminar during the Mission to Mpumalanga.
Missions to Burundi, Zambia and America
I now have just a couple of days to catch up on things before heading off for an intensive Mission to America. Please pray for our Mission teams in Burundi and Zambia.
Africa Overland Mission
Our Frontline Missionaries, Michael and Renee, have now completed 6 months of the Africa Overland Mission, ministering throughout 9 countries! Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, the Congo and Burundi. They have already travelled over 22,000km and conducted over 380 meetings, services, outreaches and seminars.
While our Mission teams are in the field, our Mission is running a six-week Way of the Master Evangelism Training course and outreaches in Cape Town. Please pray for the upcoming Providential History Festival in Omaha, Nebraska, the Reformation FIRE Conference in Sacramento, the Reformation FIRE Conference on 30 October in Franschhoek, the Life Chain on 6 October and the Livingstone 200 Missions Conference (13-18 November) in Zambia.
We are very grateful for your prayers and support. May God abundantly bless and reward you for your faithfulness.
May the Lord continue to be your joy and strength.
Yours for the fulfilment of the Great Commission
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Your support is needed and much appreciated. Our banking details are:
(For South African supporters)
Acc. Name: Frontline Fellowship
First National Bank – Rondebosch
Branch code: 201509
Acc. No: 5017 0589 260
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(For overseas supporters)
Acc. Name: Frontline Fellowship
First National Bank – Rondebosch
Branch code: ZA201509
Acc. No: 5017 0589 260
Swift No: FIRNZAJJ
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"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8
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