Archive for Ennis Pepper

Everyone’s Looking – They Notice

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Click here to download prayer letter: July 2014

Dear Pastor,

To keep fit and make contact with people I wouldn’t otherwise see, I started cycling with a group on Saturday mornings. It’s a way to evangelize and it works. Anyone can ride so I meet new people all the time and get to know the regulars riders better. The good thing is many different topics arise during these rides: salvation, the Bible, creation, you name it. Once I was asked about tithing.

I rarely have to do much to get these conversations going other than answer the question “So, what do you do?” My answer always opens the door to whatever question-problem-issue they’re grappling with at the time.

Conversations have been great! Recently, however, something different but very exciting happened.

A rider I’ve seen many times and had interesting conversations with exclaimed out of the blue, “hey, I saw your building going up. Looks nice.” This rider doesn’t live any where near our building so his seeing the building shows how prominent it is.

I also donate blood plasma every two weeks and recently attended a rewards banquet for donors. While sitting at our table of eight, we had the usual “What kind of work do you do” conversation and the building came up.

And what a response! One lady exclaimed, “I wondered who that was. I was going to Google it to find out.” Another couple at the table had noticed also.

The point? This building is a landmark. You can’t miss it. Everyone sees it and we can’t wait to hold services there. Please pray as construction continues.

Serving this side,

Ennis & Becky Pepper
 

New Video Below

The following video shows progress since our March 2014 restart date. Instructions to download and project on screen are below the video.

IF VIDEO DOES NOT APPEAR – CLEAR CACHE AND REFRESH PAGE.
 

Follow these instructions to download video to you computer:

Step One: Copy this YouTube link – http://youtu.be/70BigL-TUII

Step Two: Click this link to go to ClipConverter.

Step Three: Paste the YouTube link in field labeled “Media URL to download” and click “Continue.”

Step Four: Follow the on-screen instructions to download video to your computer.

Step Five: Copy file to a DVD or connect your computer to an in house projection unit for viewing.

Construction Progress Church Plant Durban – Main Building

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Video Of Main Building Construction
Now Available

Below is a video showing the progress on construction for the church build – the main building. You can download the video to a computer and project it on screen.

IF VIDEO DOES NOT APPEAR – CLEAR CACHE AND REFRESH PAGE.
 


 

Follow these instructions to download video to you computer:

Step One: Copy this YouTube link – http://youtu.be/70BigL-TUII

Step Two: Click this link to go to ClipConverter.

Step Three: Paste the YouTube link in field labeled “Media URL to download” and click “Continue.”

Step Four: Follow the on-screen instructions to download video to your computer.

Step Five: Copy file to a DVD or connect your computer to an in house projection unit for viewing.

Restart Date: Early March

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Click Here To Download PDF: February Prayer Letter

Dear Pastor,

Several years ago a young girl attended our church and youth group and made a profession of faith. I later had the privilege of baptizing her and she seemed to be doing well spiritually. As she grew older, however she was influenced by friends to try other churches and even avoid church completely. We prayed.

Our prayers were answered. About five months ago she showed up for church one Sunday and hasn’t missed since. She’s even influenced a few others to be a bit more faithful.

It made me realize once again that the Lord is faithful. He never leaves us nor forsakes us.

Building News

Much has happened since my last letter and it is all good!

I never thought I would enjoy a “building project” but in this case I’m very pleased to get back into the planning stages.

So far we have short listed two contractors and isolated one of those as the most likely candidate. It has involved many discussions and much studying of Front view of auditoriumcontracts. We’re very close to signing. So close we’ve begun clearing the property, getting ready for material deliveries and such.

Our actual restart date is project for early March. Please pray for our building.

Thank you for your faithful support.

Serving this side,

Ennis & Becky Pepper

Getting Over The Slump

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Download PDF October 2013 Prayer Letter

October Prayer letter

Dear Pastor and Fellow Helpers,

Great news! Our plans have been approved and all the drawings and documentation are in hand. We are now free to continue with the construction of our building. I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven, but, of course, I’m glad to be here carrying on with the work.

Here is what we need you to pray for:

  • The money. We have approximately four fifths of what we need to complete the work. We thank the Lord for this but are prayerfully considering ways to fill the gap. One of the things we will do is ask for material donations. Pray for open hearts and surplus supplies.
  • Safety. The next phase involves building retaining walls to hold up steep banks on two different sides. It can be dangerous. Please pray.
  • Timing. We are in the planning stage at the moment and there are many things to consider. Restarting now, before the builders’ December-January break, which can happen no sooner than 15 October, may cost more than it will save. We need wisdom to get the timing right.
  • Outreach. Our building is so prominent people will easily notice the restart of construction. We’ve already gotten the attention of many in the area and that will only increase. We need wisdom to build on this momentum effectively.

Obviously, these are exciting times but I must admit there have been a few “valley” moments getting here. No one likes being in the valley but it does happen occasionally so learning how to find encouragement in the Lord is an essential skill to learn. My encouragement came from looking at the following drawing and reminding myself that God is the One who opened this door.

Church Side View

Thank you for praying and for your faithful support. Without you we couldn’t be here.

Serving this side,
Ennis and Becky Pepper

Twenty Years Later, Not Late

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Click to open and print: August-September

Dear Pastor,

Twenty Years Later

In the early years of our ministry we began holding youth meetings and the first people to attend were the friends our sons made at school. It was great. The new kids were happy to eat “American” snacks and they heard the Gospel readily. Many of them got saved and were involved with the church on various levels. However, as is the case with many South African kids, a large number of them took what is known as a gap year to travel the world when they graduated from high school and for some the gap extended far beyond a year. Jeremy is a good case in point.

He got saved in one of our early youth meetings and was eventually baptized but once he graduated, off to England he went. His plan was to study, get experience, save some money and return to South Africa. All of that happened with one interesting twist. He met and married a very nice young lady, Rachel, who at the time wasn’t a believer. When he returned to South Africa, almost fifteen years later, he came with wife and children in tow. It wasn’t long after his return that he realized he needed to be in church and he and I had a few conversations about that.

Thankfully, he and the family did begin attending services and their kids now “love” Sunday School. The best news, though, is that Rachel is now a believer. Jeremy’s response when she received Christ, “the timing is perfect,” made me realize that her salvation wasn’t late, it was just later. Thanks for praying.

Serving this side,

Ennis & Becky Pepper

I Was Wrong, Again!

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Dear Pastor,

April and May were particularly busy months. On top of our normal routine Becky developed appendicitis in mid April and spent a few days in the hospital having her appendix out. Thankfully there were no complications and her recovery afterward, 6 weeks, went smoothly. She is an amazing lady and once again showed just how strong she is.

Side Note: The hospital Becky was admitted to caters mostly for indigenous tastes, curries and putus, but the food was good and not too spicy. Great hospital too! We are thankful everyday for good medical services.

Unfortunately, following Becky’s recovery from appendicitis we both got a case of the flu. The good part is, neither of us were completely knocked out of our routine but the nose blowing and coughing were quite bad. We gauge the severity of flu by how many boxes of kleenex we use. We’re at 16 boxes now – for four weeks – and still counting. Even though we weren’t bedridden the coughing and blowing made it difficult to talk or pray with people one at a time or even a few at a time. Coughing the Gospel isn’t exactly the best way to share it.

For now the worst is behind us and we are happy to be back to normal, mostly. Next year, Flu injections for sure!

Building Report

In my enthusiasm I visualized getting into the building by Easter this year or shortly thereafter. Hate to admit it but I was wrong. Read more

One Week In The Life – A Look At Our Community

SA crime tape 2012

One question I’m often asked is, “What is it like on the mission field!” My response is always the same.

“I can’t answer that question.”

“Mission Field” includes many different continents, countries, cultures and languages. One description won’t apply to them all.

But I can give you a glimpse of what it is like on this mission field, or at least our small corner. This short letter isn’t long enough to describe every detail of “A Day In The Life” but it provides enough space to focus on one reason we need to be here and why we need you to pray.

Crime! Every kind you can imagine.

South Africa doesn’t have the worst crime rate in the world but that may be because many crimes are never reported and there is plenty of evidence to show that it is pervasive. It’s everywhere. There are no safe areas to hide in. Even gated communities are vulnerable.

To illustrate the point, I have included the headlines from a weekly gazette that covers just our small community. Most of the listed events occurred over a two week period. Sorry for all the bold lettering: Read more

Long Before We Could Afford It God Showed Me The Building To Buy

The front of the building at 169 Umhlanga Rocks Drive.

It Never Occurred To Me
That “Here”
Meant This Very Spot

 

In 1976 I made a survey trip to Durban. It was an exciting time. I had been to Durban before (1970) and connected with a few people but had paid no attention to detail. At the time I wasn’t looking for a place to start a church.

For this second visit, however, things were different. I was seriously making plans to start a church in Durban. I wouldn’t be starting right away but I had the opportunity to visit and thought it would be wise to take it.

I arrived late afternoon the first day and I spent the first night with an acquaintance I had made previously. In the morning I got up, went through the usual morning routine: coffee, devotions, breakfast etc., and headed out. The house was located on the side of a hill, so as I drove out of the driveway I was faced with my first choice: turn left and drive up the hill or turn right and drive down. “Up” is always a good direction so, left it was and up the hill I drove.

I drove about 500 yards before reaching the top of the hill and dead-ending into a main thoroughfare (Umhlanga Rocks Drive) that runs from a northern suburb of Durban to the next major city, Umhlanga Rocks. It’s approximately 12 miles long and provides easy access to many areas between these two cities. It is always very busy and all the buildings along this road are highly visible. I didn’t know these facts at the time but I’m very aware of them today.

I also didn’t know that in 30 years time business developments along that road would become the biggest and fastest developments in the world. God knew this. I didn’t.

However, as I approached the top of the hill and came to a stop, the Lord spoke to my heart as clearly as He ever had. I got the distinct impression that He wanted a church HERE A prominent location on a main raod.and my interpretation of that message was, “I am on the right track.” It was confirmation that I had understood God’s call correctly and it represented another significant moment of His leadership in my life. Looking back, I don’t think I understood His meaning entirely. Read more

Ennis: “The Day My Life Changed”

I didn't know what a sword was.

I Didn’t Know Where Exactly
But I Knew God Wanted Me
Somewhere In Africa

 

The day I became a Christian will forever be etched in my brain. It happened over 40 years ago but I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday.

The family I came from was intermittently religious. At the time we were not attending church but from a young age I can remember going to church most every Sunday. We didn’t do a lot of Bible reading or studying at home, or praying for that matter, but dad was an elder so to church we went regularly. I honestly don’t remember learning much about God from all those trips to church. I even went through confirmation but remember nothing other than the fact that we attended classes each week for three for four weeks. I guess I was pretty dull headed because nothing seeped in or stuck.

At the age of thirteen, however, not too long after confirmation, I was playing in the back garden with my best friend, Lynn. It was a weekday and usually on weekdays Lynn and I roamed the neighborhood after school looking for new adventures. It was the normal thing for kids our age. But, this particular day Lynn was distracted. He didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I couldn’t get him to budge. He almost seemed depressed. I didn’t realize it until later but he was concerned about his own spiritual state.

Richard, Lynn’s older brother, had recently returned from a tour of duty in the armed forces and on his return home had made a profession of faith in Christ. It’s a long story but suffice it to say Richard was telling everyone in the house they too needed to be saved. Richard’s persistent message coupled with God’s moving created a burden on Lynn’s heart he couldn’t ignore.

While sitting in deep thought atop our picnic table, completely out of the blue and completely unexpected by me, Lynn said, “Nancy got saved…”

Nancy was Lynn’s sister. I knew her well but I had no idea what he meant by “saved.” That wasn’t familiar terminology to me. The first thing that came to mind was she had fallen in the creek near her home and someone had fished her out. Don’t know why I had that thought. She could swim well.

But, being the curious sort that I am I asked, “what do you mean saved?” To which he responded very matter-of-factly, “if you’re not saved, when you die, you go to hell.” That remark hit me right between the eyes. The moment he said it, God reached down and gripped my heart with conviction. I couldn’t let go of it.

My immediate response was, “Am I saved?” and Lynn said, “I don’t know.” I asked him how to be saved and his answer again was a blank, “I don’t know how to explain it.”

Not giving up, I asked who could tell me how to be saved and he said his brother, Richard, could.

Naturally, I wanted to know if Richard was home and again the answer was “I don’t know” but Lynn was quite willing to head home and see if Richard was there, so down the street we headed. All the way, I kept thinking to myself:

“I hope it’s not too late for me, I don’t want to go to hell when I die.”

Obviously, I had very little information and was concerned about the answers. I wasn’t aware how much God loved me. Read more