Archive for Prayer Letter

Twenty Years Later, Not Late

Prater Letter Header

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!

Prater Letter Header

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