16% and counting! I just heard from my second supporting church yesterday, and I’m thrilled to be in double digits now. Here are some notes you might be interested in:
Departure and Deputation Update
I am planning on leaving in July 2004, and my deputation schedule looks like it will be feasible. At the end of January I will begin a deputation trip to about 10 churches over the next three months (one week per church). A few of them have promised to support me, and several have hinted in that direction.
Who wants to go alone? I would like to have a team in Africa to minister with, and it looks like at least two other men are interested in that field as well. I would appreciate your prayers that God would provide me some godly “fellow laborers” to carry the weight. I’ll keep you posted as things turn up.
I’m preaching at Bethel Baptist in Schaumburg (my sending church) Sunday night, so pray for the Holy Spirit’s power on the message if you receive this before then. May the Lord use us all as we are…
…Tools in His Hands,
PS. If there are any typing errors in the name or e-mail addresses or someone should be added to the list, please let me know.
Greetings from the Deputation Trail!
3rd GRADE PRAYERS WORK
When I returned from my first trip on deputation, I was asked to visit Mrs. Cummins 3rd grade class. To my surprise those kids had been praying for the five requests that I had left with them—the best part was that by the time I returned from the trip, God had given me the first part of three the items they had been praying for. I’m sure others were praying as well. Here are five things on my list.
1. Pray that I would say “No” to temptation. Mark 14:38
2. Pray that I could arrive in Africa by June 18th.
3. Pray that God would give me some team members. Matt. 9:38
4. Pray that God would open hearts in the village of Mashamba. II Thess. 3:1
5. Pray that I would learn the language quickly.
OUT OF BREATH
Over the last 8 weeks I have spoken 53 times in 9 churches. AWANA, teen meetings, men’s prayer breakfasts, combined adult Sunday Schools, Sunday sermons and a host of Christian school opportunities. These venues have kept me studying constantly—I love it!
KEEP THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION CLEAR
My account at Bethel (email@example.com) is going to expire soon, so please move communication over to firstname.lastname@example.org (please no forwards ☺). Also, when you receive these first few letters, could you share them with others? That way, if their address is incorrect I will eventually find out. If you are a pastor, please make this letter available to your people. The money and time saved on mailing letters individually really adds up. One more thing, if you know anyone else who would like to get this e-mail update, please send me a note.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I am presently hovering at 49.8% of my monthly needed support. (I have been rounding it up to 50%.) I am waiting to hear from 4 other churches and my schedule still includes 4 more meetings. So far a June 18th departure date looks good.
Saturday evening I got back from my first trip to Mozambique exploring Gospel potential there. I went with Marius Vogel from Christ Baptist Church and together we saw the most primitive villages I’ve ever been in, the most rugged road on earth, and dozens of people from a village listening to their first sermon of any kind.
For one week we stayed in the village of Machaila where Marius is hoping to move back to in January. It is much more primitive than Mashamba as we didn’t see electricity or even cement for our entire stay in that country. Both of us began the trip hoping mainly to gather data for future ministry. We brought a translator, but weren’t really thinking about doing “ministry” during this trip. I’m glad God planned what we didn’t.
The “road” that we drove was merely two tire tracks that had killed the grass. At times holes and ruts appeared that were 6″-10″ deep bouncing our 4×4 bakkie all over the place. On returning from a certain village on Wednesday our path took us by an area where a large tree was visible. To get a better look, we turned the truck through the brush and saw that logs were arranged as seats on the ground. Marius joked that we had found the “Tribal Parliament” where all the important news of the village is discussed. There was a small path leading away from this tree, and we followed it back to find a cluster of huts with a few people sitting around.
The only man we could find turned out to be the chief and he was very cordial. After asking him, through our translator Derek, all the pertinent questions about population, literacy, and religion, Marius asked me if we should share Christ with him. Before either of us knew what had happened the chief agreed to gather his village so that we could tell them our “news”. He set the time for 8:00 the next morning and told us to meet him at the tree we had dubbed “Parliament”.
When we arrived Thursday morning the seats were nearly filled and a few people sat on the ground. Marius and I sat down in the chairs we brought and then puzzled quietly as to how we should start a service when there’s no opening prayer, music, announcements, or anything else we were accustomed to. With Derek’s help, I preached a theological timeline that started with Creation and went slowly to the Cross.
It didn’t look like anyone was concerned about the time, and of course no one had watches. After an hour of preaching, questions and comments started coming and continued for more than an hour. The chief said that it was good we had brought this teaching to them and they would like to hear more about this story. The man in the photo below sat on the front row and listened throughout–his gaze during the preaching was typical of many others. I did my best to explain how to be born again, but as this was the first time they had ever heard, I’m not sure how deeply they understood. I trust your prayers will continue to work on their behalf.
We experienced a few other opportunities to preach and minister, and every time we experienced the same thing: complete openness. While driving from place to place we passed literally scores of these Tsonga-speaking hut clusters. Please pray that God will give me wisdom and success in reaching these villages for the Gospel. My second request is for laborers, but not just Americans; the nationals over here could do a great job if they were mature and strong in the Lord.
Apart from this trip my days have been spent in language study and helping to get a garden irrigated in Mashamba that would be large enough to feed a number of families. Again, my request for fervent, Spirit-filled prayer is not merely a pious way to end a prayer letter. May the Lord strengthen you to redouble your intercession for the Kingdom of God among the Tsonga speaking peoples.
Louis Trichardt 0920
LIFE IN SA
I hope these past few weeks aren’t symbolic of a trend. My truck has been getting repaired for the last 3 weeks reducing me to a bicycle for transportation and my phone line has sporadically died every few days as well effectively cutting me off from everything except my books and house. However, the mechanic ‘promised’ me that my vehicle would be back tomorrow morning. TIA
MY SMALLEST ENEMIES
Xi, ya, ku, ti, ni, wo, and another two dozen words like them have been silently tormenting as I try to muddle my way through Tsonga grammar. I’ve memorized and been using many nouns and verbs, but these little words are the language’s helping verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and pronouns. At times one of them can perform all of these tasks, and to make the situation more taxing on an English mind, there are no books explaining when to use each one. Your prayers on this matter will be both practical and appreciated.
Pardon, the lack of pictures, but the most important task I’m focused on is study, study, study. Another missionary living in Petersburg, Jerry Wilhite, has been encouraging me to press on with the language. I wasn’t planning on quitting, but it’s refreshing when you get frustrated to hear someone else tell you that you’re on the right path.
MODERN DAY CIRCUIT RIDING
I haven’t been completely stationary while my vehicle has been out. A friend dropped me in the village with a backpack and my bike a few days ago. After preaching to the teens at Mashamba, I stayed overnight until Saturday. That morning I met with some of the kids for a while, had a Bible study in the afternoon and then rode back the 35 miles to my house.
I’ve also had a couple meetings in town which is about 6 miles from my house. I met with a Muslim to have a Bible study and as soon as my truck is fixed we’re going to meet again. Maybe God sent me around the world to see some African Muslims repent instead of Chicago Muslims. Please do not let this matter fall to the ground without prayer.
Please know that your prayers are not wasted, and your correspondence is revitalizing. May the Lord bless you,
Louis Trichardt 0920
3 December 2004
RESTORING THE GARDEN OF EDEN?
Alongside my efforts to speak Tsonga, I have also been helping Godfrey start a garden in Mashamba. The major obstacle to overcome is lack of water, so the photos show our efforts to retrieve the pipe from being stored in the church and position it from the river to the garden’s reservoir. Oh, this was done after we hacked our way through the thorny bush.
The “river” (I use that term very loosely) is about 350 yards from the land we want to seed, and of course, the way is largely uphill. I supplied the piping, and Godfrey is presently searching for a pump. Hopefully by Monday our dry ground won’t be thirsty anymore. Working all day with the boys really helps me pick up phrases, so I trust this garden will bring more than edible fruit.
The curse in the Garden of Eden has a tangible face for me now. (Genesis 3:18) Nearly every plant has thorns—long, sharp, strong thorns. Thorns have sliced my hands, legs, and two went pretty deep into my feet. Also, my truck has taken two. By God’s protection neither my vehicle nor my feet have been seriously hurt.
IT’S HEATING UP
Just a note about the climate, two Sundays ago the temperature passed 100 degrees (Fahr.) during the morning service. Thankfully, the sun has been kinder recently, but 95 is not unusual. I invented some screens for my windows (bugs are EVERYWHERE) and with a fan my house is pretty comfortable, but those with closed windows and no fans are having a rough time. The hottest months are December and January.
I HATE ALCOHOL!
A few houses away from Godfrey a man named Vhlengwe has just opened a tavern. Many of the children and teenagers are now hanging around it, and of course the men and women are wasting what little money they have on liquid sin. To make matters worse, the government gave him electricity so he plays very loud rock music and can stay open through much of the night. I’ve stayed overnight in the village, and it is not uncommon for the music to play until 2:00 am. While I’m ready to pray imprecatory psalms, we’ve contented ourselves for the present with asking God to save him.
Here are some specific ways you can labor together in the Gospel with me.
1. Vhlengwe’s conversion and closed tavern
2. Godly, gifted black men to surrender for ministry
3. My ability to speak Tsonga; I study hard, but I feel like it will never come.
4. I’ve been witnessing in the city. Maybe God has a harvest there for me?
Joyful in Jesus,
Louis Trichardt 0920
PS. In case you lost it, www.uniontelecard.com has $.05-per-minute rates available if you’d like to call.