LETTER FROM FRANCOIS
Mat 28:1-7 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. (2) And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. (3) His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: (4) And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. (5) And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. (6) He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. (7) And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
As the world celebrates Christmas, some Thanksgiving, others are just enjoying the time off work or school, the Children of The Most High God celebrates an event, so momentous that the World is not enough to contain it! In fact, Heaven itself celebrates the Glory of God and His only Son Who died for the sins of those who would believe in Him, on the cross! Then He was raised, taken up into Heaven and seated at the right Hand of the Power (God) to make intercession for us, till He shall return on the clouds to His own!
If I seem to be a little bit out of touch with the season we are in, please bare with me.
The World does not care much for most any religion, but it takes a huge offence to the Gospel of the Risen Jesus Christ! Others are not so much bothered by Christmas and the baby Jesus that was born, but that is where they got stuck! They never went beyond a decorated Christmas Tree, gifts on old Xmas eve, and feasting on Christmas and Thanksgiving, to the real reason for Jesus’s birth! To His death on the cross, to His resurrection 3 days later, to His ascension to Heaven, to a surrendered Godly life, and to the promise of His imminent return to His own!
At Rivoni we saw a need in the rural areas, to educate the church more accurately on what the Bible teaches. Too many went to church not knowing what they stand for, and as the saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything!”
This past year the Rivoni team has been working hard at sharing the Gospel and the Truth of God’s Word accurately with close to a thousand students from all walks of life. Many of our older districts are having less 1st and 2nd year students, with the majority having moved on to the 3rd and 4th year training, but we keep advancing and have already started breaking new ground in other places, presenting the 1st Year training to brand new students at those places. Our work at Machaila and Massangena, which you will by now have heard of is continuing steadily and the first class at Machaila (pronounced Mah-Sha-He-Lah, as 4 short syllables) has just ‘graduated’ from their first year of studies on the Old Testament (OT) course.
Our focus are unwavering, on sharing these teachings free of charge, to the churches in the rural areas of southern Mozambique. (Read more about this below in our Vice Director of Rivoni Ministries Mozambique, Brother Nelson’s description of events the last few months.)
We have had multiple challenges, on various fronts, such as, even after the Covid limitations were removed, many churches battled to start up and some students had moved away or even, abandoned training and the weakened exchange rate of the South African rand over the past few months, which means we receive 20-30% less money in our Moz account when we transfer funds, to enable the work in Mozambique. This with rising costs are putting severe pressure on every family household in the mission, and the mission offices, to continue the work and meet budget.
We have had several breakdowns on the road with the Nissan on the suspension, with broken tie rod ends and wheel bearings packing up, tires wearing unevenly, and monthly issues at the border when we travel to renew vehicle permits there. But, by the Grace of God, our small group of supporters have remained faithful in their giving to the work and some even increased their contributions! This has enabled us to continue and fills us with hope!
We bow low at the Feet of our Most High God, and acknowledge Him, for all the Goodness that we received in the midst of much turmoil in the world! For Godly Favour and Grace, we say “Thank You, Abba Father, in Jesus’ Name!”
May God Bless You!
1. IS JESUS ENOUGH FOR YOU?
From Br. Nelson
During this year I have been learning a lot about Jesus in the gospels. His best friend, the apostle John, has taught much about Jesus in the gospel he wrote, and which bears his name.
I saw the following:
First: Jesus is enough, just by Who He is – The eternal God who came into the world and was announced.
Second: Jesus is enough, because Jesus came into the world – To reveal His love, to generate Salvation and to bring Condemnation
Third: Jesus is enough for everyone – Despite your condition, before your heart and for true adoration
But why is all this important? What is it all worth? Why did John write all this?
Let’s take a close look at what he said about it, in the passage from John 20 V30-31:
John 20.30-31- “Jesus performed many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
The point of all this is not that you gain more information or knowledge. Nor that you feel good (or bad) about it all.
I don’t want you to just admire Jesus more or know more stories about Him.
The point of all this is for you to believe that JESUS IS enough for you!
What are the implications of BELIEVING?
a. KNOW GOD – Eternal, Almighty, Kind, Creator, 3x Holy, Perfect, Just, Loving.
b. MAN – Created by God for a relationship, sinful, unjust, separated, unjust, and condemned.
c. JESUS – God-Man came into the world, sinless, died and rose again, will return, Lord
a. Recognize that God exists and is the only God
b. Recognize that you are a sinner John 8:24 – “I told you that you will die in your sins. If you do not believe that I Am, you will indeed die in your sins.”
c. Recognize that Christ died and rose again for our sins
John 1:29 – “The next day John saw Jesus coming and said, ‘Look! It is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'”
a. Surrender your life and trust ONLY IN HIM for your salvation.
b. JESUS IS ENOUGH!
John 3.36 – “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who rejects the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
And that is exactly what Nesta Mulima did, right after hearing about Jesus and His relentless love.
Please read and enjoy her testimony below.
All the Glory to our Almighty God!
2. THE WAYWARD CHILD RETURNS-NESTA’S TESTIMONY
By Br. Nelson
‘’ My name is Nesta Octavio Mulima, I was born in Mabalane, and had the privilege of growing up there, I am a PD (pastor’s daughter), but that didn’t stop me from living a rebellious life before my parents and before God.
I grew up in the church that I belong to today, and was taught to worship the supreme God as a child, but as I was growing up I let myself be dominated by the vices of youth that lead teenagers to perdition and destruction. I felt curious to try what my parents had urged me not to do since I was a child, because I would be wrong with God, my parents as well as myself. With the help of other girls my age. I started to sneak out of the house at night to participate in banquets without my parents’ knowledge and consent, where among several things not acceptable to girls my age, I became pregnant. It was a great shock and disappointment for my parents who expected so much good from me. As a pastor’s daughter, there was an expectation that I would be able to enter into an exemplary civil marriage with a devout young Christian, but instead, there I was with a pregnancy that at first the boy who impregnated me refused to acknowledge! Only after my giving birth, did he want to meet the child, but even then, he did not take me to be his wife, and to this day I remain a single mother. But not even that, taught me a lesson.
After weaning the child, I once again let myself go and got pregnant for the second time. My parents, after so many warnings, disowned me as their daughter, although they did not kick me out of the house. I began to see that I was no longer as dear to them as before. This shook me so deeply that I no longer felt any sense of living. It seemed as if the world had collapsed on me. I thought of fleeing far away. One Sunday, while I was still considering this, a pastor visited our church. He was one of those missionary types. He looked young, and as usual in our churches, he was given the task of preaching and he used the passage from John 3:16-36. He explained about the love that God has for each human being, to the point of coming down from heaven taking human form, so that He could reach us and give us salvation through faith in His only Son, and acceptance through His plan of salvation.
As he concluded his message, he looked straight into my eyes and said, “God loves you, and has greater plans for you, so He sent His Son to reach you before you are lost forever’’. He knew nothing about me, or my plans, much less my situation with my parents. This scared me so much that I began to cry bitterly, asking God’s forgiveness, and I immediately surrendered my life to Jesus.
At the end of the service this man spoke of the Bible course that he was ministering and that it was available to anyone regardless of age, position or social status, and that it was free. I remember that I was the first to sign up for the course in our church, when my father asked about those who wanted to join it. This pleased my father deeply. I thank God for sending that man to tell me of His love for me, just when I needed to hear it the most! My life changed course exactly at that time when I heard: “God loves you”. I realized that He had never abandoned me, but my sins that were revealed through my behaviour, are what separated me from Him. It blinded my mind so that I even saw my parents as treatment of me as unfair! Today I realize how much they love me and that everything they did was try to wake me up from the sleep of sin. Today, besides being a student at the Rivoni Bible School, I am also one of its temporary teachers, and I feel honoured to be able to contribute what God has done for me to others.
My brothers and sisters, whenever you feel discouraged, abandoned, alone, remember that right beside you is a loving God who longs to embrace you and show you the wonders He has in store for you, long before you came into this world. Just cry out: Jesus here I am, I give myself, all of me, to you! Take control of my whole being and be sure, that He will respond positively to your request. May the glory always be given to Him.
3. OUR MOZ OVERVIEW
By Br. Nelson
Overall, in all districts we started with poor participation of students at the beginning of year. This was mainly due to the issues associated with the pandemic problems. Although the government has decreed the reopening of places of worship, many believers, some of which are our students, did not immediately return to their churches and therefore to our classes. This culminated in poor participation but, as time went by, the situation slowly adjusted so that the fear of the pandemic was put behind and we moved forward with great strides towards success. The Lord has been generous to us in general, that even the difficulties faced in the beginning of the year, were not able to hold us back or stop us. We saw the Lord’s hand moving in us, as well as through us.
He was reconciling Himself with his people, using this mission as an instrument to achieve this goal. In every corner where He allowed us to minister, His Word bore fruit. in Chokwe and Ndhindiza we received invites from some pastors who attended the graduation ceremonies or had heard about our classes. Some of them were part of our students themselves, and we were able to start new fields of ministry. The highlights of these invites for outreach were in the districts of Chibuto, and Xikwaxane in Nalaze. Here the number of new students forced our brothers, appointed to minister in these new areas, to divide them into three classes in Xikwaxane and two classes in Chibuto.
To all Rivoni’s supporters, we say thank you for all your support toward us in the field. We wish you all the good and better that the Lord our God has at His disposal, and that He will continue blessing and keeping you alive and healthy for the Glory of His name!
4. MOZAMBIQUE TITBITS
By Br. Nelson
The constant breakdowns of the mission vehicle, which is our only vehicle available for the work, has been a major concern. It is of great value to us, but due to our location and the areas in which we serve, combined with the degradation of access roads, it has become a very big challenge to keep the vehicle healthy for long periods.
This caused us to be stranded in the middle of the road on two recent occasions. First, due to the suspension of the vehicle, and on subsequent occasions we had to constantly visit the auto electrician because of the starter as well as other malfunctions. This culminated in the loss of large amounts of money, at a time when we are under financial duress. We have not been able to fully cover our monthly expenses for 5 months now due to the poor exchange rates and insufficient funds for ad hoc expenses. This paralyzed the process of building Rivoni headquarters’ fence walls midway through the work. But, we believe that this situation will be overcome soon, taking into account that we serve a God who owns all the visible wealth and even the invisible. As His Word says in the book of Luke 1:37 “nothing is impossible for God”.
Jesus is sufficient for us, and I believe that He will supply all our needs in due time, be they in the matter of transportation or finances, just as He has overcome the spiritual ones.
We graduated the students of Nesta, whose beautiful testimony you can read above, at Combomune. After that came Ndhindiza, followed by Br. Adalberto’s students at Mapai. At both ceremonies the students and their churches’ leadership, thanked God for the amazing work that He has done at these places, using the Rivoni teams. This motivates us to praise God f or allowing us to be that useful vessel carrying His Word wherever and whenever.
Lastly we graduated Br Baloi’s LR (The Letters and Revelations books -3rd year Rivoni curriculum) students at Mabalane. As they were from different classes that are small in number, we graduated them in one ceremony at a place called Chipswane. We praise the Lord Almighty that it all went well and the positive results were confirmed by the testimonies of students, gratitude of the churches’ leadership and invitations to minister, that we received.
New District Classes
Since our last report we have had several classes at various places graduating our courses. Following the graduation of some churches’ students in Chokwe and Ndhindiza, we were invited by some church leaders attending, to start classes in their areas. Some pastors were themselves students with us, and therefore had firsthand knowledge of the depth of Spiritual training given to the Rivoni students.
We were able to start new fields of ministry and were surprised in the districts of Chibuto and Xikwaxane in Nalaze by the number of students that enrolled. We were forced to divide them into three classes in Xikwaxane and two classes in Chibuto.
We expected to finish the construction work of the fence wall of the Rivoni Mission headquarters that is in Chinhacanine, as it has been almost a year since we started. Insufficient funds do not allow us to complete this work at present.
During my visit to Ndhindiza I noticed that the house of the district superintendent needs general maintenance which with the funds available is classified as urgent intervention. The house is cracked from top to bottom and the sun can be seen through the gaps left by the cracks in the walls. The same applies to the house at Mapai, although this work can still be delayed for some time in comparison to the Ndhindiza home.
We need a place to lodge Brother Uthui’s family in Massangena as they still do not have an adequate place to stay while ministering the Word there. They are hosted by one of his students, but it worries him that they are placing a burden on that family. It is commendable that the local authorities have already given us a piece of land, but we still need to clean it and also need the material for construction of a new house.
The same applies to Brother Titus. When mistering in Xikwaxane, he stays at the house of the pastor of the church where he is ministering. Not feeling comfortable with this, he has asked for assistance in the form of a camping tent.
As always, we long for your prayer, for the present and future challenges.
5. UPCOMING TRIPS
We envisage at least three trips from Pretoria to Rivoni HQ in Mozambique in 2023 and would love for you to join us on a trip. The first trip is planned to take place in February/ March 2023. The second is planned for June/July 2023 and a third trip in October/November 2023. Duration of trips vary and exact dates are determined later. Please contact Francois if you are interested in joining us on a visit to our staff and students. They truly appreciate our support in visiting and encouraging them!
MAY GOD BLESS YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Thank you for what you give to this mission. To some anonymous contributors, may God who sees in the secret reward you in public. Myself and our staff are indebted to all of you who are giving so faithfully every month to continue this work.
God Bless You!
In the love of Christ,
FRANCOIS AND DORATHEA DU PLESSIS