I remember my parents telling me not to grow up too fast. I remember them saying that each year will go by faster and faster. As much as I hate to say it, they sure were right! 2017 flew by and left me with my head spinning!
December was an extremely busy, fun, and exciting month! We started with our 3rd annual teen camp in Jeffries Bay, about 45 minutes west of Port Elizabeth. Nearly 120 teens, workers, and missionaries spent the week preaching, and investing in teens from all 5 of Project South Africa’s team churches!
During camp each day, we held a morning service, a split session between the boys and girls, then and evening split session and service. Throughout the week, seven young people made professions of faith and several others dedicated their life to serve Jesus more! I am very happy with God’s working in the lives of these young people!
After camp, we settled back into our routine for a few days before Christmas! One thing I really love about Christmas in South Africa is that it is not yet as commercialized as it can often be in the U.S. As a matter of fact, they expect to be in church on Christmas day because we are celebrating Christ’s birth. This year, we had our regular Sunday service where I preached Luke 2:10,11; and then again on Monday another service where I preached the same two verses. It was a sweet time of worship and fellowship with our Xhosa family!
On New Year’s Eve, we had our regular Sunday morning service as well; but that evening, our folks decided to have their own watch night service to pray in the New Year! One of the men in our church brought a message and they gathered together that night to pray for our church and community. It’s pretty amazing to me that they didn’t need to be asked by the preacher to come to a special service, but they planned it and hosted it themselves! That shows real growth and desire!
This week, we look forward to having Jeremy Hall and his family return from furlough! It will be good to have them back at Soweto Baptist to continue leading our church through the next steps! Shortly after they return, Mark Coffey and his family will be returning to South Africa as well! I look forward to us all being back together and seeing how God works to start Camp Rhino!
I would ask you to pray with me for the following:
1) The Lord’s direction concerning a future church plant in the Missionvale area.
2) Continued growth in the Xhosa language!
3) We are currently down to one vehicle. My truck’s fuel pump is out and will cost nearly $1000 to recondition. I have already been without it for some time, so I pray that this will finally fix the issues it’s been having!
Thank you all for your continued and unwavering love, prayers, and support for our family as we strive to make Christ known here in South Africa!
Your Missionaries to South Africa,
Stephen, Ashlee, Peyton, Eli, and Neyland
The Underwood Family