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

Becky: “And The Zucchini Grew And Grew”

She assumed Mr. Right would be found at Bible College!

Anything, Anytime, Anywhere
For God


They were a young couple full of hopes and dreams. They were going to be missionaries! They had each heard God’s call individually, before they were married and, of course, after they were married they could hardly wait to go to the foreign country of God’s choice for them.

She accepted Christ as her Savior at the age of six but didn’t really begin to attend church until age thirteen. She grew up in a large family with two older brothers, two younger brothers and two younger sisters.

Between the ages of thirteen and sixteen many things happened in her life to influence her decision to be a missionary. Her family moved from their home in the country to a house next door to a Baptist minister. The minister had just started a new church a year earlier. She also became friends with another neighbor’s daughter who just happened to be related to this Baptist minister. She and her family were invited to visit this church.

It really seemed strange to her at first. She had only attended church a few times in her previous thirteen years but once She visited She kept on going to every meeting: Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and to youth activities. She especially enjoyed what they called Singspirations.

All the young people would go to the Pastor’s home or her friend’s home after the Sunday evening service for iced tea, popcorn and cake. She especially liked the popcorn part. They would sit around and sing choruses and sometimes play table tennis and just hang out. The more she went to church the more she wanted to go. 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