Dear partners in the gospel,
I want to share some information with you for your prayers and support. As you may know, I am 79 years old and I am thanking God for the opportunity He has given me to teach biblical counseling to several hundred students in Africa, South Africa in particular, since 2005. Part of my desire and prayer life, at this time, is directed toward identifying and preparing some men who can carry the training work I am doing after the Lord takes me home or before I am no longer physically able to carry the heavy work schedule that I now am keeping.
For your information, we have just finished our two-year course of SMTI training in November and will begin (DV) a new two-year training program in February. During the last two-year program we had a number of students who demonstrated that they were growing and developing in their knowledge of and commitment to solid and excellent biblical counseling/discipleship.
One of these outstanding students is a man by the name of Patrick Nemabubuni. Patrick is a native black South African who listened carefully and seemed to understand all that was taught in class and devoted himself to completing all the homework that was assigned for outside of class studies. From my interaction with him and the quality of the homework assignments he turned in, I am inclined to think that with good mentoring, he can be developed and equipped to be a leader in the practice and teaching of biblical counseling in Africa in the next few years.
Because of the potential I see in and for Patrick, my personal desire would be to see Patrick go to The Master’s College during their summer institute program and take the courses that are required for him to complete his MABC work. I have already written to Dr. John Street, chairman of the TMC biblical counseling program, about Patrick, and he assured me that he would do whatever he can to make Patrick’s and my desire a reality.
To bring this to pass, Patrick will have to complete an application to the Master’s College MABC department. If accepted he would have to discover what courses he would have to take in their summer institute program. Then having done that he would have to do the homework that is required prior to actually taking those courses, secure airplane tickets for his trip to and from The Master’s College, travel to The Master’s College for the courses, acquire lodging for the period of time he will be there, attend the classes and then return to South Africa where he would have a prescribed period of time to write the dissertation that would complete the MABC requirements. And also prepare him for doing more of the teaching in our SMTI program.
Now, so far I’ve given you a description of what Patrick would have to do to prepare himself to join with our son-in-law, Sybrand DeSwardt, and our son Joshua Mack in teaching effective and knowledgeable biblical counseling at Strengthening Ministries Training Institute and in other parts of southern Africa. What I’ve given you is a description of what both Patrick and I would like to see happen. What I’ve given you is a description of what we believe would be good for the church in southern Africa, but frankly, my dear friends, we know that whether this actually comes to pass is completely dependent on the will of our Sovereign, loving and gracious God.
Our thoughts are that having Patrick complete his biblical counseling training at The Master’s College would be for God’s honor and glory and for the good of the church in southern Africa. If what we would like to see happen for Patrick and for the continuance of SMTI is not part of His sovereign will, we really don’t want it to happen.
And that’s where those of you who are reading this letter enter the picture. We can’t bring any of what we described to pass, and we don’t want that to happen unless it is part of God’s Sovereign will. But we also believe that one of the ways we will know that fulfilling what we have previously described is part of His Sovereign will is if God raises up people who will help us to acquire the funds that Patrick will need to go to the USA, take the TMC courses and then return to South Africa being more completely equipped to teach and practice true shepherding and discipling/counseling.
What this means is that, if any of what we have previously written comes to pass, we need your prayers and financial support. Before we came to Africa in 2005, we were told that there was no place in Africa where people could receive the kind of biblical counseling training that The Master’s College provided. That was one of the things that entered into our thinking as we were making a decision about whether we should come. Well, we came and for the last nine years we have had the privilege of teaching hundreds of students.
When we came I was 70, and now on my next birthday I will be 80. In the last year my wife and I have experienced some serious health problems that have caused me to wonder how long I will physically be able to teach as much and as long as I have been teaching. What this means is that if the biblical equipping work we have been doing is to continue, we must have more men who have received a well-rounded and thorough training in biblical counseling and can communicate that biblical and practical knowledge to others. We already have some who have received extensive training in biblical counseling and are therefore capable of giving that kind of training to others. However, these men are already involved in other kinds of ministry and are therefore limited in terms of how much they can be involved in the training we are providing. So, we believe our need is to equip others by helping them to receive more extensive training that will enable them to continue the work it has been our privilege to make available. The man Patrick, whom I have previously described, is one of those men who very well could be God’s answer to our prayers.
Patrick wants to be more fully trained, and we join with him in desiring that for him and thus for the continuing ministry of Strengthening Ministries Training Institute. But to fulfill his and our desire we need the financial help of other Christians. He does not have the resources to make his coming to TMC possible, nor do we. So we must turn to others and plead for their help. To be specific, we need money for his tuition at TMC, the plane tickets, and accommodation when he comes over to the USA. Patrick and I and others here in southern Africa are trusting the Lord that if this is His will, He will move on the hearts of His people who have some resources and will use them for the purposes I have outlined in this letter.
If you are interested in helping us in the ministry of building His church through the training/equipping ministry in which we have and still are involved, you may express your willingness to be partners in this ministry by devoting yourself to prayer on behalf of the work we are doing. And if you want to be even more deeply involved, you may express that desire by making a contribution, big or small, to the SMTI fund that Providence Church, 2146 Buford Highway of Duluth, Georgia (30097) has established for us. You may do this as a way of helping us to assist Patrick and as a way of assisting us to continue the SMTI ministry in which we are already involved. If you want more information about the SMTI ministry go to www.lynnwoodbaptistchurch.co.za and then click on the sidebar listed as SMTI. If you want to contribute through Providence Church to our SMTI ministry you may send your donation to Providence Church, 2146 Buford Highway, Duluth, GA 30097, United States, identify that your contribution is for the South Africa SMTI fund. The phone number at Providence Church is (770) 497-1309.
If you want to know more about the Patrick mentioned in this letter please read his resume (PDF).
Strengthening Ministries Training Institute
ACBC USA Member of the Academy
ACBC Africa Director
Pastor/elder in Lynnwood Baptist Church in Pretoria, South Africa