February was an amazing month in our ministry and in our family! Ashlee and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary! God sure has been good to me over the years and blessed me with an amazing wife! When we were married, I was still serving in the Army, and we did not ever have a wedding ceremony. So for our anniversary, after a little over a year planning, I was able to surprise Ashlee with a wedding! I cannot thank our friends enough for all the help they gave to make this day special for us!
We kicked off the first Wednesday of the month with our inaugural Missionvale bible study where we plan to start a church in the very near future! During our first bible study, we had 9 people attend and had several professions of faith! Over the course of the month, Thulasizwe’s parents and uncle have all made professions of faith in Jesus Christ! Also, as I requested prayer for Raymond last month, he too trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior! We are so thrilled with what God is doing in Missionvale and look forward to many more souls coming to salvation through the ministry there!
As we meet each week, we are going through discipleship lessons and discussing what we believe as Baptists and why. Its been very exciting to hear and answer questions from our folks that have been faithful over the last four weeks.
Right now, we are meeting in the home of Thulasizwe in their living room. One week, we had 17 total people attend from the area and space was tight. This is a good thing! In the coming weeks, we will be looking for properties close by that we might be able to rent, or purchase for a building that will accommodate between 50 – 75 people. Within the next few months we will be looking to raise between $15,000 – $20,000 to be able to purchase a piece of property, and build a church building. I would ask that you would all pray with us and for us during this next phase of ministry!
Each week, before our midweek bible study, I spend some time with Thulasizwe going over the lesson for the evening. During one of these times, he asked me about how to show others that God’s word is true and can be trusted! He also asked how you can know if God wants you to serve in the ministry!! This is an exciting question for me and we spent time looking at the scriptures about how to know God’s will and being obedient to it!
Also, during the month of February, I was privileged to teach some of the men from our home church, Newton Baptist. Over FaceTime, we studied Cross-Cultural Servanthood, our private walk with the Lord, and steps to becoming a missionary on a foreign field! It was a great challenge for me as I prepared for the class and taught these men. I am excited about the future of men surrendering to take the gospel of Christ to the world!
A few things you can pray with us about are:
- Please continue to pray with us for our Missionvale church plant and that God will continue to bless our efforts!
- Continue praying with Ashlee and I as we grow in our language learning and abilities! We cannot get comfortable where we are, we must keep growing!
- Pray for Thulasizwe as he makes decisions about the direction of his life and serving the Lord!
Thank you all for your continued love, prayers, and support of our family!
Your Missionaries to South Africa,
Stephen, Ashlee, Peyton, Eli, and Neyland
The Underwood Family