Report on Visit to the Moriel Mission in South Africa – Sept 2003
By Calvin Smith
Principal, The Midlands Bible College and Divinity School
Moriel Missions Adviser
Since my visit last year to Moriel”s South Africa mission (headed by Brother Dave Royle), God has greatly blessed the ministry there. Extensive valuable and exciting work has been carried out, and much more is planned for the future.
As Moriel”s missions adviser, this year I was again asked to visit, advise, teach and to appraise the progress of the recommendations I made during my last visit (aimed at facilitating the accreditation of the Moriel Mission College). Dave and his team kept me busy lecturing, advising the local board on academic issues, and visiting the mission station in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the new location for the Ebyown orphan project.
There is real momentum here. Dave is an energetic leader who has clear vision and the single-mindedness to carry out this work to reach many for Christ. The work also has a strong social element, reaching out to orphans (an essential aspect of Christianity, Ja. 1:27) in a country decimated by the AIDS crisis. It is exciting to see the progress to date and the plans for the future. I was brought up on the mission field, and have been involved with missions all my life in one form or another, but I am excited by the incredible growth potential for this work, and I would strongly urge everyone who is able to get behind, pray and support Dave and his team.
Below I have provided some specific information on each of the different works in South Africa.
Ebyown (Endicott, near Springs)
Praise God! This project has moved on so far in just one year. The aim of Ebyown is to provide a home for children orphaned through AIDS, a place where they can be housed with a family and receive love and care in a Christian environment. Through the kindness of God’s people an excellent property has been purchased since my last trip, with a large piece of land, a very large house, and several outhouses and other buildings. The house can be used straight away (without the need for major adjustments), but to maximize the potential of this ministry, to help as many orphans as possible, the outhouses need to be converted into living accommodation, at a cost of some ‚ £5000 each. Please pray and seek how God would have you give to help house and provide love and care for these children in a Christian setting.
Kwa-Zulu Mission Station
This, too, has come along so much since last year. At that time, I was taken to visit an old cattle station and auction house in the mountains, which had just been made available to Dave and Moriel, who had not yet taken it over. The place was in a bad state of repair, and the land overgrown. But the three young missionaries on Dave’s team have worked very hard and the place has been totally transformed. There is now a clinic, a regular Bible study, and an evangelistic outreach to the Zulus of the neighbouring kraals (small hamlets). Short-term missionaries are now beginning to visit and work there, and plans are underway to bring in a Zulu pastor to work with the team and open a church as there is no other Christian witness.
Located among various Zulu kraals, and reaching out to a people who are virtually ruled and enslaved by their sangoma (witch doctors), in many ways this station really is on the cutting edge of mission. When Christ preached and instituted the Kingdom of God (Mk. 1:15), it was marked by forgiveness of sin, healing, the inclusion of marginalized people (eg. Matthew the tax-collector, lepers, and the woman with an issue of blood), and also the breaking of Satan’s power and demonism (Lk. 11:20). Though the Kingdom that Christ preached and instituted finds its ultimate and final realization eschatologically (cf Mt. 13:47-50), nonetheless, its introduction and partial realization in Jesus’ day marked the beginning of the end of Satan’s power and freed people from his hold. The Zulu people also desperately need to encounter Jesus and see the bondage of spiritual oppression broken, which is why the Kwa-Zulu mission is so important. Please remember it in your prayers. Moreover. if you are able to offer any practical skills and visit as a short-term missionary, contact Dave Royle.
Moriel Mission College (MMC)
As a Bible college principal, together with my educational background and work with Cambridge (and more recently, University of Wales), the main reason for my visit last year to South Africa was to provide academic advice on how to move the College work forward. During this trip, it was satisfying to see how, during that time, the Board have worked through these issues and have carried out many of the immediate tasks required to enhance the College’s reputation, curriculum and prospects for accreditation. This is an ongoing process, but one which is facilitated by a group of people who have worked hard. This year we have built upon this good work. Moreover, Midlands Bible College and Divinity School. Wolverhampton, UK (where I am the Principal) and MMC have decided to work much more closely together: we will continue to provide assistance, advice and support in order to develop MMC further and also to facilitate accreditation, while MMC will provide an administrative liaison for our own African students taking our University of Wales accredited undergraduate course in Hermeneutics. The aim is to build on our respective strengths, allowing prospective students interested in Hermeneutics and Biblical Studies to study with the Midlands Bible College and Divinity School, while we promote MMC’s missions course.
Because a great deal of vital preliminary vital work has now been carried out, MMC is pressing on with its South African accreditation. Subsequently, Dave Royle and Mike Glensor (Board member and MMC’s liaison with SAQA, the South African Qualifications Authority) have asked me to return and carry out an academic audit of MMC on a yearly basis which, together with its links with the Midlands Bible College and Divinity School, will greatly assist the continued accreditation process.
Some good things are happening here. The church is a mix of black and white Christians, in a society where such things are still relatively new. Moreover, Dave has brought in a black South African, Bernard, to assist him (this also helps to free Dave up to pursue his busy schedule overseeing the mission as a whole). Bernard demonstrates a strong desire to learn and study God’s word in order to become a more effective servant. Please pray for him. Some new people have joined the fellowship recently who have become fed-up of some of the erroneous teachings doing the rounds in South Africa.
Some Important Needs
Aside from several issues already mentioned above, please pray about the following: –
- A minibus, desperately needed for the Ebyown project, and especially to transport the orphans around. #2500 or so would purchase a decent, second-hand vehicle for use there. This is a vital need. Please pray about it.
- Funding for additional accommodation at the Kwa-Zulu mission, for Salvador, the young evangelist there. His current living quarters are far from adequate, and ‚ £1000 is needed to provide him with better facilities.
- Pray for the Board over there, that God gives them continued wisdom in every vital decision they make in order to advance this ministry.
- Finally, pray for Dave and his family, as well as the other young missionaries there. Yes, things are going very well for the ministry and Dave and Lynn are tremendously excited. But as one brought up on the mission field, I know how missions can take its toll on a family, the intensity of the work, the children’s education, missing family and home, the daily worry of finances, and so on. Please pray for them that God will continue to meet their needs and to encourage them.
|Calvin L. Smith, Ph.D.
Principal and Tutor of Theology
King’s Evangelical Divinity School
Faculty Page: www.kingsdivinity.org/about/faculty-calvin-smith
Editor, Evangelical Review of Society and Politics