We had a God-shaped hole in our lives

Cooper Kruize, an AE supporter, reflects on why he partners with AE and meeting Stephen Lungu.

I was a young man in high school searching for something to fill a hole in my life, God through Stephen and his story, showed me that it wasn’t popularity, influence, respect, or a good time that I was searching for, it was forgiveness and wholeness that only Jesus could bring.

In 2008 I was in year 8, a young man, just over a year into high school and although to all my friends and family on the outside I looked happy, I felt like I was far from it. Since immigrating to Australia in 2001 from South Africa, I have always been someone who has lived in the fast lane of life, chasing the next thing. Whether that be the next race, the next “life experience”, the next “well done” from my coaches”, the next friendship, what every it was, when I got it, it wasn’t enough, I needed more, although I didn’t know it. Until my mum took me along to hear Stephen Lungu’s story one night at Turramurra High School.

From the moment Steven got up from his seat in the front row and walked up the stairs on the side of the stage he had my undivided attention. As Stephen begun to share his story I was absorbed, my heart quickly opened-up and aligned with his, it wasn’t that I had the same life experiences as Stephen, in fact it couldn’t be further from it. Although I don’t think I could have articulated it back then, there was one thing that our stories unmistakably had in common – we had a God shaped hole in our lives and we were trying to fill it with things that could not fit, things that could never satisfy. It was through Stephens story my heart knew what it needed to be satisfied, I needed Jesus, I needed him to forgive me and fill me with life, so that I may live life truly to the full. After the event I went up to Stephen who laid hands on me and prayed for me. It was then that I broke down in tears, I don’t know why I was crying, but all I knew is that they were good tears, it was as if I was crying away the chains that I had been a slave to, I felt free.

It wasn’t till a few year later I was re-acquainted to the work that AE was doing all around the world. I was overjoyed to find out that I was not the only life that God had changed through this ministry. Every year through AE over a million people hear the good news that Jesus gives life, eternal life that our hearts desire. Giving to this ministry is the best investment that I have ever made, I can’t wait to meet all my brothers and sisters from Africa one day in heaven and hear how God used AE to bring them to eternal relationship and life with Jesus.

Foxfires Update & Prayer Points

Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity
1 Timothy 4:12

Foxfire teams are the youth arm of African Enterprise’s Evangelistic and Mission activities. Each year, across four countries a small team of young people are chosen and intensively trained and equipped for a lifetime of service.

Last year, due to the pandemic, the mix of learning and hands on activities had to be adapted. However, this in turn led not only to souls saved but a lifelong lesson in trusting that God’s word and His mission is unstoppable.

In Kenya, Foxfires conducted a mission in Kawangare estate within Nairobi, witnessing one on one particularly to street children. Of the 301 people who heard the Gospel, 46 made commitments for salvation. Every Sunday the team minister at the Teen’s church in Nairobi Chapel Karen branch through dancing and preaching The Foxfires have been able to minister to 1751 students with 171 making commitment for salvation.

The team also interacted and prayed with patients in the AE Kenya Soweto Kayole clinic and helped clean the compound.

As the pandemic intensified, the Foxfires studied PTC courses online and developed digital content, including short video clips, for evangelism on social media. Group discussions on topical issues affecting teens began almost every day, providing godly counsel to many. More than 613 young people have been reached via these videos and a platform has been created for teenagers to engage.

In Malawi, Foxfires were trained in how to counsel and help their fellow youths who are facing problems like peer pressure, alcohol & substance abuse. They also practiced drama and dance skills in preparation for school and college outreaches.

The spike of Covid-19 cases during the year disrupted the Foxfire’s youth ministry plans since schools closed down and markets were highly restricted by government’s orders. However, the decrease of COVID-19 cases during the last two months of the year gave them the opportunity to do ‘whistle stop’ outreaches at several schools and marketplaces. A total of 2,249 people were reached and 319 people committed their lives to Christ.

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team donated blood at Malawi Blood Transfusion Services Office in response to shortages, and went to Ntchisi District to distribute Masks and Soap. There they shared the word of God to over two hundred villagers, and eighty adults committed their lives to Christ.

In November, the Foxfire Alumni Initiative was launched to re-unite participants from 13 years of this ministry in Malawi and testimonies of transformation and empowerment bred a thanksgiving heart among the attendees.

In Zimbabwe, Foxfires learned how to participate in Home Based evangelism and help local communities with aid, including helping build a water tank for horticulture fresh farm produce.

In South Africa, the Foxfires conducted school outreaches, reaching 962, with 373 decisions made for Christ. In a village in Kwa Zulu Natal, in the Greater Edendale area, they did an open air outreach. As the Foxfires did their dance and drama, people started to notice and came out to see what was happening. When the word of God was shared, people were given a chance to accept Christ into their lives.

South Africa continues to be the most severely impacted country in Africa by COVID-19, with the strictest lockdowns on the continent. This has delayed the 2021 team from forming, with Pietermaritzburg having been identified as a hotspot area in early January.

We look forward to what God has in store for us this year. We are trusting Him to open doors for us to minister in the midst of the pandemic. We are also praying for protection over our AE team as we set out to do what God has called us to do.

Please pray:

  • Praise God that Foxfire training was able to continue in 2020 with innovative strategies.
  • Pray for Foxfire alumni to continue in faithful gospel proclamation and to ‘pass on the baton’ by training others.
  • That God would achieve infinitely more that we might ask or think through the Foxfires and bring glory to Himself and Jesus in the church through all generations (Ephesians 3:20-21)
  • Pray for the successful establishment of a Fox Fire Youth Empowerment Program in Zambia.
  • For God’s mercy on the people of South Africa, and that they would call out to Him for relief from the pandemic.

Read more about our Foxfires >

Watch a video update about our Foxfires >

Favourable or not

Missions in a COVID-19 world.

Our teams have refused to give up on the Great Commission, despite incredibly challenging circumstances in Africa.

Evangelism is the heartbeat of African Enterprise. We exist to share the eternal hope of the Gospel, and this hasn’t changed. In 2020, AE has developed a home-based evangelism (HBE) approach to share the Good News of Jesus, in spite of COVID restrictions.

The HBE model equips believers to share the Gospel with their families and neighbours, in a structured and effective way. The approach focuses on personal evangelism, on a large scale. Mission volunteers facilitate home gatherings, where a pre-recorded or live Gospel message is shared using television, radio, mobile phone or social media platforms. The Gospel broadcast is followed by a personal testimony and an invitation to follow Christ, extended by the HBE facilitator.

Between mid-April and July 2020, our AE teams trained 2,590 pastors and volunteers in the HBE approach, and have found the approach holds enormous potential for evangelism, as well as discipleship. For example, one church in Lukunga, DRC, was able to share Christ with at least 945 people, in multiple homes, on a single Sunday.

One mission volunteer in Kenya, Nancy, has shared the Gospel with over 300 people since the HBE approach was implemented there in May. When she shared the Gospel with a Facebook acquaintance, the 24-year old Margaret, Nancy had no idea that Margaret was suicidal. Nancy describes:

“I shared the Gospel and she made a commitment for salvation during one of our phone calls. The following day we met and from that time, we have created a relationship that is exceptional. It is wonderful to see the great transformation Christ has brought to this sister. She is now happy in the Lord. Today, as I see her smiling, I often have the sobering thought that, if the Gospel had not come her way, she would possibly not be alive!”

Our brothers and sisters in Africa are passionate for the cause of Christ, and our support means so much as they choose to “preach the word of God” and “be prepared, whether the time is favourable or not” (2 Timothy 4:2).

An update of what you have helped make possible in Africa today.

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed” (Proverbs 19:17).

Through your recent gifts, you have shown God’s love in action amongst communities that are reliant on a hand-up in difficult times. Through you we were able to send emergency funds to each of our teams in Africa as a part of a local community led response to ensure sustainable approach to Covid-19 prevention. These funds were much needed as poverty-stricken communities were in urgent need of food and hygiene supplies as they continue to develop much needed vocational skills to support their families in a healthy way.

Below follows a short update of what you have helped make possible through the work of our various teams to address community needs during this crisis period.

AE DRC have worked hard to give hope through TV engagements, and distributing sanitation stations to 96 communities which included a bucket, soap, sanitiser and reusable facemasks and food hampers.

AE Ethiopia have given out 300 facemasks, food hampers and hygiene and sanitation products to date.

AE Ghana have distributed food to 5,000 families with the assistance of the women’s training project in Akropong, Akuapem and their successful Cassava plantation.

Our Soweto Kayole Clinic at AE Kenya has given medical assistance to 1252 patients so far. The team has also distributed 1345 food hampers and 700 facemasks. In addition to this, the team is working hard to give messages of hope and educating people through TV, radio and social media on COVID awareness and prevention. They have reached 6907 people through media engagements so far.

AE Malawi have distributed 110 facemasks and hygiene and sanitation items to families in need. The team has also donated blood which is such a great gesture during this time of need. They have reached 3000 households through media engagements and continue with training pastors and home based evangelism for their upcoming mission in September.

Initially AE Tanzania had challenges due to government regulations. They have only recently been authorised to start distributing food and other supplies. So far they have provided 3 schools with hand soap and buckets and they have also distributed sanitiser and facemasks to bus and boda (taxi) drivers.

AE Rwanda has been very blessed and very busy, distributing 23 560 food hampers, 1000 facemasks and 3200 hygiene and sanitation items. They have also been able to reach 98 000 people through media engagements.

The Ngezandla Zethu Sewing project run by AE South Africa are currently busy sewing 2500 reusable facemasks for distribution. The AE team have also given out 4956 hampers with food and hygiene and sanitation products. They have distributed 300 facemasks so far and have reached 68 000 people through media engagements.

AE Zambia distributed water buckets, soap and hand sanitiser to a local school and have also given out 300 facemasks in Kaunda Square.

AE Zimbabwe have distributed 150 facemasks and 5000 hygiene and sanitation items. They have also given out food hampers and sanitation items to people with albinism who were in dire need of such provisions.

Thank you for partnering with us to help those in need in Africa and show the love of Jesus in word and deed. Please continue to pray for our teams as they carefully and faithfully serve in their communities in the desperate time of need. Our teams in Africa are so grateful for your love and support.

Marvelling at Mandela

‘…Marvelling at Mandela, and the spirit and humility of the man…’ – Michael Cassidy reflects on one of his meetings with South Africa’s first democratic president.

18th of July, Nelson Mandela’s birthday, is celebrated internationally each year, to honour the legacy of this great leader. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, also affectionately known by his clan name, Madiba, was elected as president in South Africa’s first fully representative democratic election, in 1994.

After 27 years of imprisonment by the apartheid government, with its institutionalised racism, Nelson Mandela chose to lead South Africa’s new coalition government, and the nation, in reconciliation. Declining a second term as president, he then chose to focus on philanthropy rather than politics.

AE founder Michael Cassidy, in his autobiography, ‘Footprints in the African Sand’, gives a fascinating account of South Africa in the 1990’s, and his encounters with Mandela at the time. He recalls his sense of awe at meeting Mr Mandela, and Madiba’s teasing humour as he remarked to Michael: “I have heard good things of AE’s work. But perhaps they only tell me the good things!”

Michael reminisces on another meeting where he was able to give Mr Mandela one of Billy Graham’s books. Madiba, speaking of Billy Graham, remarked, “I was much touched by one of his sermons which I saw on television when I was in Pollsmoor Prison. In fact, you know, when I was on Robben Island I never missed a church service or Bible study and I appreciated very much my regular visits from a Dutch Reformed minister. I wanted to send a gift from me to his wife, and all I had was a guava from my breakfast that morning. So that’s what I gave. But when the wardens realised I was developing a friendship with this minister, they disallowed him from coming to see me. I thought that very sad.”

In 1994, Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as president following a peaceful national election that was deemed an absolute miracle. In 1996, when violence threatened to sabotage South Africa’s provincial elections, Madiba told Michael:

“You know, we politicians can’t fix this thing. That’s why we need you people and the Church to come to our aid and see what you can do.”

In remembering Madiba, we honour his legacy: humility, forgiveness and reconciliation. And the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that makes us ministers of reconciliation too.

Update from AE SOUTH AFRICA on it’s COVID-19 mission response

Since the ‘waging of the ‘war’ against the spread of COVID-19, the directive to wear a face mask has been of primary importance, along with sanitising and washing hands with soap.

It is the clarion call of every world leaders’ address on this pandemic in the bid to curb the infection rate, and the mask has fast become an integral part of our daily apparel.

Amidst the chaos and anxiety, human industry and ingenuity has found expression in producing face masks of a variety of colours and designs, branded for advertising and ‘blinged’ for fashion. Who can question our commitment to stay safe and look good whilst doing it?

Sadly though it remains the most vulnerable who are in desperate want of such an important and basic need.

Ever aware of the plight of the impoverished, and with our supporters help, AESA has endeavoured to address this need since lockdown commenced by distributing handmade face masks together with food parcels.

These masks were made and donated by local supporters and AE SA’s Ngezandla Zethu Sewing Project.

AE SA would like to thank AE Australia for partnering in providing funding for a special project where students of the Ngezandla Zethu Sewing Project will produce and distribute over 2500 face masks, free of charge, to the most needy in our community. All praise be to God!

Our students (pictured) are working hard, and have already produced 460 face masks in just four days!

We are so thankful to our donors and the students of the Sewing Project for their unwavering commitment to assist us in addressing this need. The fight to keep the most vulnerable safe is, however, on-going, and so as we rally together to reach out, we appeal to you for your continued assistance.

God is our shelter and strong tower…stay safe and be blessed!

Please pray:
  • For AE South Africa’s leadership as they lead the country through this difficult time.
  • The well-being, health and discernment of front line medical practitioners as they mobilise for the outbreak
  • That those who have lost family, jobs and security will find hope, refuge and strength in Christ.
  • All team members of AE South Africa as they reach out with the Good News of Jesus through Word and Deed.
  • Give thanks to the Lord for all those who are bringing glory to the name of Jesus through these difficult circumstances.

Written by Gavin John (Communications, AE South Africa)