"Training for pastoral ministry is a specialized form of the mandate given to all Christians to make disciples. Three essential parts of that training are godly character, biblical knowledge, and ministry skills . . . In this whole process, it is important to combine the academic portion with experience in ministry..”
- John MacArthur, Pastoral Ministry
From the Mountain Kingdom…
…life is moving along. Last August, Lesotho caught the world’s eye with an attempted coup in the capital city. Twelve days ago, the country held early elections in an attempt to settle the divisions and “let diplomacy resume.” Well, the outcome was essentially a tie, the prime ministry changed hands, and things are basically the same as they were before. Things have gone about peacefully, though, and we pray that the Lord will allow any issues to be settled without violence. He is in control!
Nine days ago, we celebrated our son’s 4th birthday! Where does the time go? It’s interesting to note that he has now lived more of his life in Lesotho than he has in the States. So begins our children’s “third culture” identity. When he meets new people he may introduce himself as “Kyle from Mokhotlong” or “from America” or “a Mosotho” - or “Darth Vader”. He might greet them in English or in Sesotho. He is between two worlds, but this is his home.
For his birthday, we traveled to visit some friends in South Africa who often serve on short-term mission trips to Mokhotlong, so Kyle knows them well. It is always refreshing to spend time with fellow believers who share our heart for missions. Kyle often asks about these friends or their children, so he had a great birthday party together with them. Because Star Wars is his favorite movie series right now, he asked Mama to make him an R2-D2 cake. We chuckle at how it looked, but Kyle loved it and, like all of Abby’s desserts, it was delicious! We found a few sales at the toy store on some Star Wars figures and puzzles, so Kyle’s 4th was a galactic success! Ellee’s birthday is next on our family calendar (May 24th) and we’re trying to explain to Kyle why it won’t be a Star Wars party. Today he suggested, “Well, maybe a butterfly party.” “Oh, that sounds better,” we replied. “With Star Wars balloons,” he hinted.
We are so grateful to God for our children. It is amazing to see how they enhance and expand our ministry to others. I think a lot of people like us - but they LOVE the kids! They really are “like arrows in the hand of a warrior” (Ps 127:4-5). May God give us a quiver full of them!
…is going very well. Our TEE pastors are continuing on in their studies and we’ve recently had about 10 people join the program and form a new TEE group in a village about 1.5 hours away. We have tried to focus only on our Mokhotlong group in this term, so that we can easily turn it over to local leadership when we leave, but we do hope to return for another couple of years to start new groups like this one. They are a small church plant from a Bible church in Mokhotlong and they are hungry for biblical training. Please pray that we will be a blessing to them and that their church will experience much spiritual growth as a result of their TEE studies.
Last week I finished another subterm of my seminary classes and another begins on Monday. I really don’t think I could describe how much I’ve learned through my Liberty studies. The way my academic studies have integrated with our practical experiences in ministry has made this degree incredibly beneficial. I will be busy with classes from now until August and then plan to finish my last five classes during home assignment in 2016. Last month I also received my first coaching license from the US Soccer Federation. I took an online course focused on coaching 5-8 year-old soccer. Twice a week, I take the boys in our neighborhood (ages 5 to 15) over to the football field for a game or some training sessions. Already we can see the doors this is opening for ministry. We now have 20-35 boys who show up to play with us. Their parents greet us as if they’ve known us for years. One boy’s father just signed up for TEE. People who don’t know me from their church probably know me from the field. The local DFA commissioner has called and wants to meet with me. The week I received my license, I was even contacted by the athletic director at the university I graduated from in the States, because they’re looking for a soccer coach. It’s incredible how quickly sports can build bridges for ministry! As more of these coaching courses come available online, I plan to keep advancing my training for football ministry. Please pray that God will bring me local young men who are willing to invest in these boys together!
…is growing again! We learned recently that baby #3 is on his or her way and should be here around late October. This will leave us about two months to get papers from the US Embassy before flying out for our home assignment. It also means our families (and all of you) will be able to meet the newest St.Clair while still a newborn. God is so good to us and His timing is perfect. Our medical insurance covers all the costs of having a baby outside of the USA. This is perfect timing for us! Please pray for good health for mommy and baby alike. May the Lord bless you!
- Jonathan, Abby, Kyle, Ellee, & Baby St.Clair