I cannot believe that it has been an entire year since we arrived on the field! There are times that it seems like we just arrived at the airport! There are also times that it feels like we’ve lived in Port Elizabeth for several years…especially sitting in traffic. (Or language school!)
We are truly blessed to have the opportunity to serve our God here in South Africa! What a privilege to serve Him anywhere; but even more so in this beautiful country with these amazing people!
July was a very exciting month and we watched God do some amazing things! At Neighborhood Bible Time, Ashlee had the opportunity to show two young ladies in the bible how they could trust Christ and be saved! And I preached my first message in Xhosa at Soweto Baptist Church’s VBS!
Remember me mentioning Lubabalo from Missionvale? Well, after a few weeks out of sight, he showed up at church on a Thursday night! Jeremy Hall counseled with him for a couple of hours that night and showed him what the bible teaches about salvation. That following Sunday, Lubabalo made a profession of faith! Please continue to pray for him as he is working and trying to find his own place to live.
Two weeks ago, I had the honor of baptizing Thulasizwe (Lulu) at Soweto Baptist Church. It was my first baptism on the field and a highlight of my month. Lulu is continuing to grow in the Lord as we go through discipleship each week. I truly believe God is going to use this young man in a mighty way!
A few things you all can pray with us about:
- August 20th, Jeremy and Rebekah Hall will be heading to the States for a short furlough. I will be sharing the preaching and filling in in other areas of ministry in his absence. I told him to always expect a FaceTime about 20 minutes before services just so I know what I’m doing!
- Thulasizwe and I are canvasing the Missionvale area, meeting new people, and inviting folks to church on a weekly basis. Please pray that we will be able to grow our bus route to Soweto and have a core group of people in Missionvale to start our church in January!
- We are in our last month of formal language school! There is still much Xhosa left for Ashlee and I to learn, and lots of opportunities to practice! We ask that you continue to pray for us as we put to use on a daily basis what we have been learning!
When it comes to language, food, family (allowing the people to get close to you and your family); if you don’t adapt and become like the people, it is impossible to minister to them. Pastor Austin Gardner always says, “reject the food, you reject the culture; you reject the culture, you reject the people.”
Thank you all for your continued prayers, love, and support for our family!
Your Missionaries to South Africa,
Stephen, Ashlee, Peyton, Eli, and Neyland
The Underwood Family Acts 20:24