This month we wanted everyone to hear from our newest team member, Steph Beck, as she prepares to return to South Africa this week! Take a minute to read how God has been moving in Steph's life over the last few weeks:
In preparation for Easter I have been reading through the book of Exodus in the past few weeks. How timely it has been for me; God has taught me so much through it. I found out my visa application was rejected during this time and immediately sought the Lord. He spoke to me through several scriptures…
-Exodus 10: 1-2-- God hardened Pharoah’s heart and the heart of his officials. He could have softened their hearts, but God wanted the people to see His miracles signs and KNOW that He is God. - Exodus 14:14 -- The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
After reading these, I felt a renewed confidence. God is in charge. He is moving and working in ways I may never know or see. I choose to believe that He is working miracles in our visa appeals…that people will know Him because of what He does in this. He is fighting for us, and we need only be still.
I wonder how important the Exodus out of Egypt was for God’s people to trust Him, to know that He will provide. I love how God led the people out of Egypt: by a pillar of cloud during the day and pillar of fire at night (Exodus 13:21). He split the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-22), provided manna and quail (Exodus 16) and water from a rock (Exodus 17). The people questioned God, but he kept providing.
I have wondered if this is a season of Exodus for myself (and maybe others). A time where God is challenging me to see what He is doing, to trust in His provision. A time to grow in Him. To prepare me for the Promised Land that he is bringing. “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.” Exodus 23:20. God is already doing SO much through Abba’s Pride, and He has a huge future as well - a Promised Land flowing with milk and honey, a future impact on generations. I am excited to be a part of all God has in store. So I am choosing to remain faithful in the Exodus, believing for the parting of the Red Sea of visa appeals….and the Promised Land that is coming.
- Steph Beck
"I don't know where God wants me to serve, but I cannot just sit at home."
One of the most fulfilling aspects of the building project in Mmotla at More Loving and Learning Care Centre is that this truly has been a community effort. Not only has the local community been involved, but many of the men working on the building are from the neighboring community of Winterveld. In fact, our partnership with Pastor George and Faith Restoration church in Winterveld is how Lonnie originally met Steven who is working as the construction manager on the project. It has been such a blessing to see this community of believers working together and serving each other to further influence their communities for Christ. Now that the project is nearing completion, we thought we would take a few minutes to get to know Steven a little better and hear more about how God has led him to this point.
Steven grew up as one of 6 siblings and did not begin formal education until he was 11 years old. Because he had so much ground to make up, he was placed several grades lower than his peers. He completed a few years of primary school before dropping out at age 19. At this point he was in seventh grade. While playing soccer one day, he was recruited to play for a team. The coach also offered him a job if he agreed to play on the soccer team. Because of the size of his family, Steven felt a responsibility to help provide for his family – specifically so that his younger siblings could receive better educational opportunities than he had.
Over the next 6-8 years, Steven worked for a garage door installation company, a chemical plant, as part of the taxi business, and eventually for the labor movement. He found that he got bored after a few years so he would move on to the next job. However, in all of these experiences, he was promoted quickly and regularly and gained an immense amount of experience managing people. In fact, at the chemical plant, he was promoted from his job as a cleaner to a shift supervisor within only a year of beginning the job.
Eventually he returned to his very first work experience and started his own garage door company. The company did extremely well for a while but eventually things collapsed. At this point, Steven said he developed a terrible gambling addiction and lost everything except his family. On the verge of a breakdown, he gave his life to the Lord. Since that time he has made an effort to serve God however he can. Steven and his wife, Mildred, have been married 33 years, and have 5 daughters and 4 grandchildren.
Although this is Steven's first construction job, we are so thankful for him and how hard he has worked to make this dream become a reality. God has gifted him with wonderful leadership abilities and a kind servant's heart.
While Steven has acted as construction manager for the project, he has had several hardworking men completing the building. Thomas started doing construction in 2011 and completed studies in architecture and drawing at a technical school before completing a year of college. He has extensive knowledge of building and particularly enjoys doing the plaster. He has been assisted by his younger brother, Sam, as well as Jabu and Vusi.
In late February, Jimmy Newton from Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, arrived in Pretoria to serve for 90 days with Abba’s Pride. He served for 6 weeks last year and felt the Lord’s call to come back again this year for two separate 90-day trips; he’ll leave in late May with plans to return again in August. Jimmy is praying about a long-term stay which would involve going through the process to obtain a 4-year visa. Each day he is picking up and delivering donated and purchased food to under-resourced rural churches which operate preschools, afterschool, and community outreach programs. In total, these programs serve about 19,000 meals each month. As time allows, Jimmy has also been helping on the construction at More Loving and Learning Care Centre.
Jimmy says he feels blessed each day to see the generosity of area businesses who donate the food, and the appreciation of the pastors, teachers, and school staff he meets, but mostly it’s the children’s smiles and the opportunity to do God’s work. He asks for prayer for discernment seeking the Lord’s call for a longer stay in South Africa to serve with Abba’s Pride.
Over the past few years, Guild has become a foundational component of our teacher training program. Originally, it was a monthly meeting where teachers from our partnering centers attended and received hands-on training to implement in their centers. This year we've decided to hold Guild on a quarterly basis and then conduct on-site training in the months in between. We've also partnered with our friends at Take Action Ministry to open Guild to their teachers as well. For our first meeting of the year, we had 17 teachers in attendance. We were extremely blessed with a donation that provided language learning buckets for us to disperse to the centers. These buckets included everything from activity books to posters to letter and number cards. We used these as the foundation for the day's instruction and the teachers were overjoyed to be able to take the resources back to their classrooms. Perhaps the best part is that these resources are in the teachers' home languages!
Our assistant teacher trainer, Pamela, helped lead a significant portion of the training. Here's what she had to say about this month's Guild training:
"The Guild was worthwhile as it illustrated the practical part of teaching how to write vowels, letters of the alphabet, and how to sound them out in Setswana and English. We also discussed counting 0-9 and fine motor skills such as how to hold a pen or scissors. The teachers participated in activities such as writing in the sand, tracing letters and numbers, and matching letters with pictures. All of these are foundations of writing. Teachers were also encouraged to label the learners' tables, chairs, washing rags, washing basins, books, and clothing with their names as they will start noticing and identifying the first letters of their names wherever they go. The teachers enjoyed the Guild and are looking forward to implementing what they have learned."
We also want to give a special thank you to Bethesda Outreach Center for graciously allowing us to use their facilities to host Guild this year!
Serve South Africa 2018
We are so excited to have Liahna Woodard joining us for Serve South Africa 2018! God is already doing some amazing things in her life and we can't wait to see how He further impacts her during her time here. Liahna is a student at Regent University and has a great heart for missions. Please be praying for her and her family as she prepares for her time here.
What a Powerful Name It Is! The Name of Jesus!
We have experienced the power of Jesus’ name in the last month. Many of you have prayed with us and for us. We can’t begin to tell you how important and powerful it is when you pray for us.
Here are some answers to prayer: