Ministry with local churches
From time to time Mukhanyo has the opportunity to be a blessing to the community in ways beyond the ongoing instruction at the several campuses.
On Saturday 27 April, a group of churches launched a new organisation called “Rainbow Churches”. These churches are located about 40 km from our KwaMhlanga campus. Their aim is to unite Christian churches in the matters they agree upon and be of help and support to one another. The local association has more than thirty affiliated churches.
Mukhanyo was invited to assist with the official launch of the Rainbow Churches Association. We were honoured to be part of this celebration, especially since these churches are led by the son of one of the original founding members of the Masakhane Churches Board, which was involved with Mukhanyo from its inception twenty-five years ago.
Several Mukhanyo staff participated in the formalities. Jacques Malan, a Senior Lecturer at Mukhanyo’s KwaMhlanga campus, gave a message from the Bible. Then Rev Isaac Maleke, our Head of Student Support, led the launching ceremony in which representatives of local churches and Christian organisations pledged their support. Christian literature was also distributed.
It was a blessing for Mukhanyo to be part of this well-organised event and our presence was much appreciated by those present. Mukhanyo is especially grateful for the opportunity to support this network of local churches.
We thank the Lord that the Council for Higher Education (CHE) approved our new BTh and Honours programmes. The Higher Education Qualifications Committee of the CHE communicated on 25 April their final approval of the prior to commencement conditions for these programmes which we submitted long ago in 2014.
There is still some work to be done, but we can start teaching the Honours programme immediately and the new BTh probably in January.
Thanks for your prayers in this regard, and let’s keep praying as there are still several other matters – including the final approval of our new higher certificates – that we are still waiting for from the CHE.
Great news #2: 14 000 books arrive
All hands on deck! On 13 April a consignment of no fewer than 14 000 theology books arrived in a container from America and were offloaded at the KwaMhlanga campus.
The books have been donated by various publishers in the USA and are intended for Mukhanyo’s sites, not only in KwaMhlanga, but also for Johannesburg and Pretoria. If possible some books will also be donated to other theological study centres and distance learning centres.
All staff and students who were available on this memorable day had to roll up their sleeves to help offload the boxes. They now have to be catalogued according to the Dewey system and distributed across the several locations.
It will be an enormous task for Mukhanyo’s new librarian, Nurse Nkosi, who joined Mukhanyo at the beginning of the year. She has been very busy in the past few months to bring everything in the library up to date and hopes to be able to start working on the new books in a month’s time.
At present Mukhanyo’s library already has some 12 000 titles and needs upgrading and extending. Now that the Johannesburg campus is functioning well and growing, an extension of their library also has become an urgent matter.
We once again thank the Lord for enabling this important step forward for Mukhanyo, and especially for using the publishers and donors as instruments in His hands to make this possible.
Looking at the history of Mukhanyo over several decades, one realises how the Lord has continually provided for Mukhanyo’s needs and enabled the work of training church leaders and ministry workers. May it once again energize everybody involved at Mukhanyo to continue the work according to His will!
For many years now South Sudan has been a war zone, first for independence from North Sudan, which was achieved in 2015, and now civil wars between tribes. There are a significant number of Reformed Churches, but they are in serious need of pastors.
However, through a sponsorship of a Presbyterian Church in North America, two young men from South Sudan recently arrived at Mukhanyo this year to start their BTh studies!
They have hair-raising stories to tell. As a child, Stephan Benykwack fled with his family through North Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and ended in the Netherlands where the family became members of the Christian Reformed Church. But his father was homesick and they returned to South Sudan. After hearing of Mukhanyo, his pastor decided he should study here.
Deng Garang also had to flee the war, from North Sudan to the Uganda border in the south. He was converted after a Reformed youth conference. He started evangelizing and soon realised that he needed to know far more about the Bible.
The two arrived at the end of January and are staying in Mukhanyo’s hostel in KwaMhlanga. They are coping well with their studies and the English language (their home language is Arabic), and they are working hard.
Please pray that the Lord will bless them and enable them to complete their studies so that they are equipped with a sound biblical and theological knowledge to spread the Word once they return to South Sudan.
Over and above the two South Sudanese students, Mukhanyo’s full-time theological students include two from Zimbabwe and one each from Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Swaziland.
Planning and implementing
To plan is one thing. To implement is quite another. Looking back on 2017 and forward to 2018, Mukhanyo has been doing both. Many things are in place or will shortly be in place to accommodate a significant increase in the number of students, and this number has already been steadily increasing over the years.
The 2018 academic year promises to be at least as busy as 2017, if one looks at all that has already taken place or will happen within the next few months. Some of these activities include:
This is all in addition to all the accredited qualifications in theological education.
FOCUS: Personal Evangelism
A large number of new short courses are in the planning stage. One of these is Personal Evangelism. Most of the content will be presented as seminars on 7 and 21 July. A flyer with details will be available soon, after which registrations can be made.
Staff's Pledge 2018
After a number of discussions and meetings, Mukhanyo’s staff together finalized and signed a culture pledge which reads as follows (abbreviated):
This culture pledge has been built on Mukhanyo’s statement of faith which includes the historic Reformed confessions and as well as the five solas: Sola Scriptura, Sola Christus, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, and Soli Deo Gloria.
Counselling the Christian way
Search the Scriptures and you will find a wealth of examples how the people of God did counselling, for example Moses, David, Elihu, Paul and of course Jesus.
At a one-day workshop, visiting Rev. William den Hollander, minister-emeritus of the Bethel Canadian Reformed Church of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, explored the Bible and distinguished between counsel and advice rendered by office bearers (elders, ministers) and the counsel that members give each other to help, comfort, encourage, guide, admonish and rebuke each other.
God-fearing men and women who are honest, sincere, sensitive and available to their fellow-members can be a great blessing and benefit to them. What a blessing it is to have an intimate friend, confidant and trustworthy brother or sister who can be there for you when you most need them!
He also looked more closely at techniques of Biblical counselling, scrutinizing especially the good counsel by Elihu to Job and his friends, and the loving, gentle, wise and understanding counselling displayed by the Lord Jesus in different settings. Rev den Hollander examined what would be the best and Biblical way of developing an effective approach to counselling, sensitive to the counsellee's feelings, thoughts and conduct.
There is a variety of types of counselling and the diverse situations in congregational life in which we can serve our fellow-members with good, Biblical, and effective counselling for the mutual up-building of one another.
During Rev. Den Hollander’s three months in South Africa, he and his wife came across many people who spoke highly of the work done at Mukhanyo and its blessings and fruits for the benefit and up-building of the churches of Christ here. He said it was one of the highlights of his and his wife’s time in South Africa – to have been introduced to what he called this highly reputable seminary and training centre! His workshop at Mukhanyo has also been one of the highlights for the students, who have gained much from his insights!
Registration is still open for the annual Bible College Conference on 19-21 June 2018, and interest this year is very strong. The theme this year is “Theological Education for God’s Mission in Africa.” All the speakers have years of experience within Bible education ministries in Africa.
Event details and registration info can be found here. Please pray with us for another wonderful year of fellowship and mutual learning. Register soon to reserve your place.
Family Conference: 29 June- 4 July
The annual Evangelical & Reformed Conference will be from 29 June to 4 July, once again at the Skogheim venue. The theme this year will be “Rejoicing in our salvation.” For more detail, go to www.erc.za.org.
Speakers include: Joshua Bolaji from the Welkom Baptist Church, who will deliver the opening address. Gerard Hemmings from the Amyand Park Chapel in London, who will speak on “delighting in Christ and rejoicing in the great truths of the gospel.” And Mark Chanski, from Michigan USA, who will speak on spiritual encouragement.