Friday, December 23, 2016

Our Christmas Greetings

Dear family and friends,

During this very special season, we look back across the months of 2016 and remember how blessed we are to have Jesus as our Savior and Friend. We are grateful for every answer to prayer, His bountiful supply of our daily needs, and the eternal hope that He has given us! We are also very thankful for family and friends!

At the Indian Ocean
This has been an extra special year since we have had a steady flow of visitors to our home. In April my (Glenn’s) parents and two of their friends visited. We especially enjoyed a trip to the Indian Ocean with them. In June a dream came true! My brother Wesley and his family spent three weeks with us! We have also hosted interns, leaders from Hope International Missions, and a few other visitors who came for a day or two. In November we hosted Benjamin McDowell (HIM’s PR Director) and an Engage Media Team for two weeks. They came especially to take pictures and video of what God is doing through Hope International Missions in Southern Africa. We are eagerly anticipating the results of this gifted team which will begin airing in March 2017. It has been a busy, productive, and happy year!

The Gault Cousins
On the ministry front, I was asked to become the HIM Africa director beginning in April. This has and is bringing changes to our lives. My focus is to gradually shift from daily ministry in Lesotho to leading HIM’s expansion into other African countries. As with most changes, there is a sense of anticipation of new horizons, new challenges, and new victories to be won mingled with a tinge of sadness as we let go of roles that have become comfortable and fulfilling. We are looking forward to the exciting new opportunities!
A pastors' retreat with President Grant as speaker

Stephanie’s children’s ministry has grown this year. She has especially been focusing on a handful of adolescent girls trying to help them to become true disciples of Christ. Please pray that she can really win them to Christ and help them become strong believers at this crucial juncture in their lives. Homeschooling the girls also keeps her very busy.
(Thanks Josh & Lucas for the great family pix!)

Our two-year-old man, Caleb, is growing in a variety of ways. We certainly realize how different little boys are from little girls! He still has his tender moments when he wants to snuggle, but he also thrives on rough play and loves anything with an engine!

Kristell is seven and in the second grade. This year God blessed her with the opportunity to take violin lessons. She has made a LOT of progress, and we hope she will always enjoy making music.

Kaitlyn, who turned eleven last month, has really matured. She is a big help around the house. Besides sixth grade, piano lessons and music theory keep her busy.

As missionaries in Lesotho, Christmas always involves a conference! Normally the conference is not far away, and we can “break away” at least one day for some family time. This year is quite different, though! Our church leaders decided that this year the conference should focus on some of our congregations that are too far away to travel to Maseru. So in a couple of hours our family is heading to a mountain village for the weekend. The temperature is in the 90’s and very dry, so any thoughts of a white Christmas will either be in our dreams or another dust storm! I’m also sure that turkey and dressing aren’t on the menu, either! Family time will be nil this weekend, so the children are eagerly looking forward to celebrating our family Christmas on Monday.

We would certainly appreciate your prayers as we celebrate Jesus’ birth in a rural village! I am to preach tonight, and am looking forward to bringing a message of Immanuel, God With Us!

Thank you so much for your faithful prayer and financial support. We deeply appreciate your commitment and love!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Lay People: Jesus' Hands and Feet in Lesotho

This past Sunday, I preached at one of HIM's congregations that currently doesn't have a pastor.  Times of pastoral transition are always challenging, but I was blessed to see what God is doing through committed lay people in spite of  these difficulties.

After church, Mrs. Matoka invited me to their house for lunch.  (She always does, bless her heart!)  As I enjoyed a plate of papa (corn meal mush) and moroho (spinach), we talked about what God is doing in their church.  Mr. Mokete told me about some of the people he has been witnessing to.  He was disappointed that they hadn't come to church, but said he would go and visit them later in the afternoon and check in on them.

He was really encouraged about one of his friends who had recently gotten saved.  During the week this friend stops by Mr. Mokete's house to see what he's doing.  If Mr. Mokete is working in his garden, then the friend hurries home and works in his garden.  If Mr. Mokete is helping a neighbor, then his friend looks for one of his neighbors who needs a hand with something.  Sometimes they just sit together and talk about family problems and how to solve them in a Christ-like way.  Mr. Mokete's friend says he's learning how to "how to live salvation."  Here at HIM, we call it becoming a disciple!
Mr. & Mrs. Mokete
Mrs. Matoka told me a little background of the widow lady who had visited the church that day and stayed after the service for special prayer.  Even before the death of her husband, she had had a hard life with many tragedies.  Since his death, things have only gotten worse.  She is taking care of several of her unmarried children and grandchildren, and they are often in great need.  Mrs. Matoka shared how appreciative this lady is when they take her vegetables from their garden and share their staple foods.

Another way Mr. & Mrs. Mokete were able to reach out to this needy widow was when one of her grandchildren died.  They visited as soon as they heard of the death and found that their friend didn't have any money at all to cover funeral or burial expenses.  The whole family was in despair.  How would they give this child a dignified burial, an important part of culture in Lesotho?  Mr. Mokete hurried back to their house and carefully took apart an old cupboard they had.  With his carpentry skills, he used the pieces to make a simple casket.  Mrs. Matoka helped clean up the yard and put a fresh coat of plaster on the house (also culturally important).  Early the next morning there was a simple funeral, and the child was respectfully laid to rest.

Now we are seeing the fruit of their compassion. This widow lady is visiting church and seeking the Lord.  And all this without a pastor!

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 [NKJV])  

And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' (Matthew 25:40 [NKJV]

Monday, December 5, 2016

Prayer & Praise

Dear Friends,
Thank you so much for your prayers this past weekend. It was a busy, happy weekend as we joined Pastor Tankiso Klaas (HIM's national chairman in South Africa) and 'Mapaseka Roberts (one of Steph's first children's ministry converts) for their wedding. Saturday was the actual wedding held at 'Mapaseka's home. Sunday was a celebration at Tankiso's home to welcome the new bride into his family and church. We especially praise the Lord for the crowd of several hundred people who heard the Gospel on Sunday in South Africa. Please pray that God will give this new couple a strong marriage and many souls as they work together in the Kingdom.

We are also praising the Lord for a good report from Uncle Piet Marais' meeting with the General Secretary of the Namibian Bible Society. Please keep praying for the Bible Societies of Southern Africa and pray that more Bibles will be printed in African languages.
Please pray for Matukeng Health Centre and the government of Lesotho. The constant political trumoil over the last few years is affecting the government's ability to keep their contract to fund free health care through our clinic. Please pray for high-level meetings and that the government will re-prioritize funds to promote health care rather than less essential programs.

Glenn, Stephanie, Kaitlyn, Kristell, & Caleb Gault
Hope International MissionsAfrica Director