We are so thankful to all of you for the prayers and support over the past year and for encouraging us through an eventful journey of ups and downs and a lot of “look at God!” moments. With your support, we’ve been able to be a part of some amazing Kingdom work in South Africa in 2020.
The residency team was busy in December and January revamping our program, thinking through our goals, the best ways to provide each element of the program and recruiting and selecting a new group of residents that God brought to us. February and March were packed with bringing new residents though orientation, workshops, and discussions as they built relationships and visited all kinds of different churches and ministries to get a broad view of God’s work in South Africa.
The past few months have certainly looked differently than what we expected when we spent those weeks planning out the year in December, but we have learned a thousand times by now about God’s unstoppable work despite human short-comings and worldly circumstances and we have been amazed by the ways God has moved in the time of COVID.
Because of your continued support, we have been able to remain connected to residents during this time of social distancing. East Mountain continues to support residents through this time of uncertainty and send them data each week to carry on with Bible study, theology, topical discussion sessions, character development activities and mentoring. One resident recently commented during our Bible study, “I’ve never heard of this book but I feel like it was written for me.” These kind of realisations keep us motivated to continue despite inevitable frustrations with wifi and screens.
We believe that the fact that every resident has been engaged in theological education, self-discovery and hands-on ministry during these months of lockdown is truly a God-thing that was beyond our ability to plan or execute. From helping to develop lesson packets for the kids who can’t go back to school yet, to tutoring and watching out for neighbourhood kids, to posting workout ideas, to distributing food, to finding creative solutions for church connection, the residents have been ministering in true “2020” creative and courageous fashion.
While we have enjoyed zoom discussions and stories of God’s work through these ministries, we can't wait to pick up with our in-person program when residents are safe to return on August 22! We hope to finish this year of development with them strongly and faithfully and to send them out well-equipped for works of justice and compassion and conviction in their ministries and communities.
We have also used this time to begin planning for next year’s residency! Although 2021 is a huge unknown, we are welcoming any young adults to join us in this step of faith by applying to the program and beginning conversations about participating next year. If you know of any 18-25 year-olds who may be interested in a year in Stellenbosch studying the Bible, getting involved in local ministries, and learning from life in a diverse community, please send this info along!