Zebras at a Waterhole in Okaukejo, Etosha Pan, Namibia . PHOTO : J . Rieck

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

PRAY FOR NAMIBIA : Pray for the Swakopmund Baptist Church

The home of  the Swakopmund Baptist Church
The Landmark Lighthouse of Swakopmund
The town  of Swakopmund is  a quaint  seaside  resort and  popular  holiday destination. It certainly is  our family's favourite place to be  when on leave, particularly in  summer when the temperatures in Windhoek  soar.  The cold Benguella current  ensures that   this desert  town  has a pleasant, moderate  climate all year round.
It pleased the Lord   to  establish a Baptist congregation  here in 1978   under the  ministry of Bob Blevins, a  Southern Baptist Church planter. I remember one of the first pastors thereafter  whose name was Joe Heyes, a retired business man from Zimbabwe. He was a loving pastor, zealous for the Lord. His flock really loved him. Unfortunately he  did not have  a long ministry, for   died very soon of a   heart attack. Pastor Paul Witter in correspondence  with me reminded me that the church had 7 pastors prior to his coming. 
The church ministry only really began to  consolidate under the 13 year pastorate of Paul Witter. Pastor Paul Witter  led the church in  their building program, and a  lovely, functional church building was erected under his ministry. He subsequently accepted a call to  a Baptist Church in South Africa.
The Witter family - a few years ago

The Swakopmund Baptist Church  called  Francois Koch   who had originally been trained by the Brackenhurst Baptist Church in South Africa, and who had been sent out  from  that church to  do church planting in Ethiopia  and later in Somaliland. Circumstances in Somaliland  were of such a nature that  the Koch family needed to leave and return  to South Africa. It was  during this time  that they  received the call to  another dry part of Africa. Francois and Shelly  and their three young  sons Jonathan, Benjamin and Micah  arrived in April 2008.
Francois and Shelly  Koch
The strength of  Pastor Koch's ministry lies  in his  strong  discipleship oriented ministry  which is coupled  to a strong commitment to sound doctrine  and  expository preaching.  He is currently in the process of training men for  elder and deacon ministry. The church also  sponsors an annual Missions conference. The church  is  multicultural  and  every visitor is assured of a warm welcome.
Swakopmund  is not an easy  place to minister in.
The  church experiences a high turnover of  people  due  to work  related  issues. Swakopmund has become the  center of a booming  Uranium mining industry, and  the mining industry is generally known to have a high turnover in staff. The other challenge is  rooted in the relative affluence and the 'holiday' atmosphere of the town. Christians easily become  lulled into spiritual apathy   through  materialism  and  the  tendency  to spend   much time away in the "great outdoors " of the Namibian countryside.
Please pray for this  great work! Please pray for  this  church and their pastor to persevere amidst  many spiritual challenges. Encourage him if you can.
I, for my part  am so thankful that we have  another church of  like minded convictions and passion for the gospel  and the world in Namibia.

1 comment:

Conrad Mbewe said...

It has been a great joy to witness the growth of this church in Swakopmund over the years. I first preached for them before they moved into their present facility. You are right, the years that Paul Witter ministered there with his wife (whose architectural skills must be credited for the functional church building) laid a foundation that can now be built on by Francois. May that church grow from strength to strength and its witness be felt all around!