Lüderitz, a small harbour town in South Western Namibia is found one of the least hospitable coasts in the world . In 1487 the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Diaz on his voyage around Africa had erected a stone cross here, naming the Bay Angra Pequena. In the 1800’s a whaling , seal hunting , fishing and guano harvesting industry was started here. The town was founded in 1883 when Adolf Lüderitz acquired this land from Nama chief Joseph Fredericks II to start a trading post.
In 1909 after the discovery of diamonds in the vicinity of Lüderitz, it became a prosperous town, and in 1912 it had already 1,100 inhabitants. After the diamond rush had subsided the town once again became a quiet little fishing village. The population census in 2011 indicates that 13 700 people are now living here.
In 1990 Pastor Charles Whitson, a Southern Baptist Missionary (see obituary elsewhere in my blog) founded the Lüderitz Baptist Church, before retiring home to the USA in 1992. The work was unfortunately insufficiently grounded in sound doctrine and it was soon was taken over by Pentecostals after Pastor Whitson’s departure. When Pastor Laban Mwashekele, a Reformed Baptist Pastor visited the town in the late 1990’s a new group of people, hungry for the Word of God asked him to start a new evangelical and reformed work. Pastor Mwashekele whose relationship with Southern Baptist missionaries at that time had unfortunately soured, did not want to build on another man’s foundations, and so the Benguella Baptist Fellowship was born. At times Pastor Bob Davey, a Reformed Baptist Pastor from Looe, Cornwall in the UK had come in the early 2000’s to assist in evangelistic labours.
|The Church and the pastors corrugated iron home|
The church fellowship has had a steady turnover of members since then. This is due to the nature of the fishing enterprise which now constitutes the main area of employment in this town. Fishing is seasonal and therefore people come and go. This has made it somewhat difficult to stabilize this congregation.
The church fellowship is presently under the oversight of Monte Christo Baptist Church in Windhoek. The Eastside Baptist Church currently supports Pastor Tony Mbundu who has been sent there by Monte Christo Baptist Church to provide pastoral leadership in this community. A building programme has commenced a few years ago, and very slow progress is being made towards making the building habitable. Antioch Bible Church in Johannesburg, South Africa (Pastor Tim Cantrell) have contributed to the the floor of the church.
Lüderitz has a very harsh climate. The wind blows very strongly on most days, and a sturdy building is needed to house the congregation. The community is generally very poor, able to contribute little to the ministry and Tony who was recently married to Kauna. They are presently living in a corrugated iron shelter, adjacent to the church building.
Last year a team of members from Eastside Baptist Church had travelled to Lüderitz with the purpose of encouraging Tony in the work and to bring needed supplies for the ministry. My wife Marcelle, my children Martin and Kezia and I have just visited Tony and Kauna Mbundu in April 2013 with the purpose of seeing what our church can do further to help them in their ministry and to build a home that will shelter them from the elements.
|Marcelle, Tony, Kauna, Joachim inside the church building|
Will you please pray with us for this town and this work which is so very isolated from all major centres (800 kilometres from Windhoek). Pray that the Lord would add to the church. Pray that the Lord would be pleased to give faithful co labourers to Tony. Pray that we may find the finances to build a home in which Tony and Kauna Mbundu can live in dignity.
(2 Corinthians 1:10-11)