FROM THE TEAM LEADER
Dear loyal AE supporters,
I don’t think many of us envisaged our transition into 2021 riding this pandemic wave! Most of us would have been dreaming of a summer of sea and sand, but instead beaches were locked down, and the term “hotspot” has been redefined!
Along with this reality comes a host of challenges, disappointment and shelving of plans. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families affected by this scourge, whether through loss, illness, financial distress, or otherwise. We trust that in time, the Lord will “bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” – from Isaiah 61
At AE we are mourning the loss of a giant in the faith, Stephen Lungu, who died on 18 January after succumbing to Covid-19. Please read our tribute to Stephen in the insert below.
Last year our mission to Durban was postponed to this year, because of lockdown, and instead we focussed on assisting the community with food hampers and face-masks. So we look forward to making an impact in Durban this year, although there is still some uncertainty about the scope of the mission, given our current restrictions pertaining to gatherings. We have an old saying at AE that is being tested to the extreme in this time…”blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken!”
We do aim to assist churches in Durban and Pietermaritzburg this year with their efforts to provide Covid relief, and your support is greatly appreciated.
Our 2021 Foxfire Team members arrived safely on 30 January, after having been delayed due to lockdown. We look forward to an enterprising year with these energetic youth workers onboard!
Please note that the AE Centre is open, and we have had a few happy groups conferencing onsite already this year (all health protocols observed). You can contact Sue to book your stay at email@example.com
Next month we are launching our accredited national pastoral training courses. This is an amazing opportunity for ministers who have no formal training as yet, or those wanting to go into ministry. Please contact Gary for enquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will also be sharing next month regarding some exciting developments in our Legacy project.
Finally, we want to thank you for supporting us financially, through the good times and the bad times. With your valued partnership we are able to reach further!
CEO | AE South Africa
A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS – A Tribute to Baba Stephen Lungu
“Preach the word;
be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.”
2 Timothy 4:2
This directive from the apostle Paul was lived out in the ministry and witness of our dear brother Stephen Lungu who was called home to higher service on the 18th of January 2021, after succumbing to his battle against COVID-19.
Stephen’s first encounter with African Enterprise (AE) was in 1982 when Stephen was tasked with being the interpreter for AE Founder Michael Cassidy at the Malawi Keswick Convention. At the time Stephen was serving as an evangelist for the Dorothea Mission in Malawi (an organisation through which he himself had come to Christ). This chance encounter of humble beginnings was the start of an enduring friendship and brotherhood between these powerful servants of the Lord. Such was Stephen’s immediate impact on
Michael that Michael says he “felt constrained to invite him into African Enterprise.”
He joined AE shortly thereafter and, with fiery passion for the preaching of the gospel, served the AE team in Zimbabwe before moving on to pioneer and lead AE Malawi. He was zealous in his ministry which earned him an appointment as one of four Deputy Team Leaders for AE International (AEI); a position he occupied concurrently with his role as AE Malawi Team Leader until 2006.
His dedication and commitment to the work of AE steered his path to become the obvious successor to Michael as International Team Leader (ITL) and CEO of AEI upon the latter’s retirement in 2006. Stephen held this office until 2013 when he handed the baton over to his namesake and successor, the current ITL & CEO of AEI, Dr Stephen Mbogo.
One never retires from the work of the Lord and certainly not for an impassioned servant as Stephen. He joined the AESA Team thereafter serving until June 2018 in the capacities of Head of Missions; Deputy Team Leader and Frontline Evangelist. He then returned to Malawi where he maintained his long-standing relationship with AE as an Associate Evangelist and continued to serve the Dorothea Mission, where his faith journey began, as its International Chairman until his demise.
It was on an extra-ordinary night in Harare, Zimbabwe, 1962 that a down and out street-urchin cum gangster, who was on the brink of committing the most heinous of crimes at an evangelistic gathering, met the Lord God almighty and was convicted and transformed to become a mighty man of God who has since preached the gospel in those very streets of his past thuggery and indeed gone way beyond its confines to countries across the globe and into such astonishing places as the Oxford Union and the Pentagon would you believe!
Stephen’s incredible testimony is captured in his autobiography ‘Out of the Black Shadows’.
The book is available on ‘pre-order’ from our AESA office at a cost of R120.00 (exclusive of delivery) or for R180.00 (with delivery of 7-9 working days).
The shipment is expected in March 2021 so kindly contact Stuart Hind on email@example.com to place your order now and avoid disappointment.
In his tribute to Stephen, Michael says,
“I have known many preachers over the years in African Enterprise, and beyond it, but I don’t think I have ever known a more passionate and endlessly energetic preacher of the Gospel than Stephen. None of us could ever match his energy or his day and night sharing of the gospel, whether from public platforms or in shops and restaurants. To be sure there will be thousands and thousands of people in heaven because of Stephen Lungu. These will range from ordinary citizens and common people to leaders in high places and to teenagers and little children. Young people, and of course older ones, were always heart-warmed by his infectious smile, rollicking laughter, all with his sparkling white teeth shining through!”
We celebrate your life, ministry and witness dear brother. Your legacy lives on in the lives of the multitudes that you helped to come to Christ; the ministry of those whom you trained and mentored; and through the social outreach projects that you helped pioneer.
‘Well done thou good and faithful servant’.
Stephen is survived by his beloved wife Rachel (who, through the grace of God, is making steady progress in her fight against COVID infection); their daughters Agnes, Faith & Ebenezer; and sons James & Samuel.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to this dear family and pray that the Comforter will be their strength at this time of bereavement; and we continue to hold Mama Rachel in prayer for God’s healing.
Communications | AE South Africa
We are so excited to welcome two new staff members who join our team this year.
Allow me to introduce
Mandla Dube (pictured bottom left), our new Foxfire Coordinator, and Tineil Govender (pictured bottom right), who takes up the newly created position of Foxfire Admin Assistant.
A little about our ‘newcomers’.
Mandla loves the Lord and running a close second is his love for tea and soccer. He gets lost in the word of God for perspective on life and his life scripture is Psalm 27:13.
Tineil on the other hand loves reading and is an academic who holds an Honours Degree in Psychology. Her life scripture is Psalm 46:5.
We have six Foxfires joining us for the 2021 program (an equal split of males and females).
The 2021 team’s arrival at AE was delayed until 30th January 2021 due to a spike in COVID-19 infections especially in KZN, with Pietermaritzburg having been identified as a hotspot area in early January.
We look forward to what God has in store for us this year. We are trusting Him to open doors for us to minister in the midst of the pandemic. We are also praying for protection over our AE team as we set out to do what God has called us to do. Ephesians 3 vs 20 – 21, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”.
As part of our outreach initiative we are pleased to announce that in February 2021 we will be launching a program on social media called “Let’s Talk”. The program is to be a weekly series of one-minute videos in which we speak about God’s word and encourage young people to walk in His ways. It is our intention to reach the youth of South Africa through this media format so that more young people will come to acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
Foxfire manager | AE South Africa
Digital Training: YO! Youth Online
We all agree that the gospel is relevant for all people at all times, despite the lockdown restrictions placed on mass gatherings.
African Enterprise had the pleasure of providing two online training sessions with YO! Youth Online – Anglican Youth Leaders. We connected via ‘Zoom’ and Facebook on 20 and 29 November 2020. The first session entitled “Called to Engage Your World” focused on evangelism and highlighted how the power of Apologetics can be used to communicate the gospel in a way that a post-modern, post-truth generation can understand. The second session on leadership, “What is Leadership?” focused on five core competencies needed for effective and impactful servant leadership. Over 300 individuals participated in the Zoom sessions and a further 500 were able to receive practical training strategies via Facebook.
Despite the challenges faced by the 2020 Foxfire team, the team managed to complete three modules of the Explore Program that African Enterprise runs in partnership with George Whitefield College. Special mention goes to Mucalynn Koetzee who received distinctions in all three of her exams. Keziah Balram and Fundiswa Khumalo both received distinctions for their Module 2 exam – Exploring the Life of Jesus. The Explore study programme aims to deepen Christian knowledge of God and His plan for the world, enabling one to serve Him better with a deeper understanding of the Bible and theology. The 2021 program will start on 22 February. If you would like to register or find out more about the program contact our office via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
As I sit here looking over the freshly mowed, lush green lawns of AE, and reflect on the devastating effects that the virus had on our business in 2020, and (let’s be honest, it has followed us into 2021), the desire to throw up our hands in desperation can be overwhelming.
The Lord has given us an opportunity to step off the hamster wheel, and just slow down. He has given us a stark reminder that people are more important than things, and I am personally reminded to be grateful for the fresh air we breathe (every time I take my mask off).
What prompted this meandering thought process was the excitement and anticipation that each of us felt at the prospect of a group’s arrival at the Centre. This was something that we used to take for granted, but no more! Covid has taught us to be grateful for each and every guest, grateful for our very special staff, and grateful that the Lord has called us to serve Him in this way.
So, as we enter 2021, we do so, not with fear and trembling, but with gratitude in our hearts and an excitement to see where He is leading us.
We thank you for your support and ask for your continued prayers.
Centre Manager | AE South Africa
SOCIAL ACTION NEWS
The Ithembalomntwana Pre-School is a community project in which AE continues to play an integral part, from its inception to its ongoing operation. Translated “Ithembalomntwana” means “Hope for the child”.
The pre-school was challenged to comply with all the COVID-19 safety protocols when the national Lockdown regulations allowed for its re-opening in September 2020, after five months of closure.
Standard Operating Procedures laid out by government required the pre-school to ensure inter alia that every learner wears a face-mask; social distancing requirements burdened it with the procurement of additional classroom furniture; hand-washing and sanitization facilities and consumables also needed to be purchased and installed. The pre-school is located in a poverty stricken area where many parents struggle to provide for the basic needs of their respective families.
AE was blessed to be able to respond, coming to the pre-school’s aid by providing ninety face-masks for the learners, forty tables, and a COVID Food Relief voucher to each learner’s family.
AESA representative handing face-masks to the Management Body
Learners and Educators receiving the tables donated by AE
The Management Body and parents of the school were very grateful for the support received from AE, and in turn we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all our donors, supporters and AE support offices for your generosity, which enabled us to reach out to the pre-school and the community during these challenging times.
Communications | AE South Africa
Dear friends, we would like to stand in faith with you for your prayer needs, so we invite you to send prayer requests to email@example.com
BIG THANK YOU to all of our donors and partners!
None of this would be possible without you.
Your prayers, support, and encouragement help us keep the
Good News alive in South Africa and beyond!
May our Lord richly bless you.
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