What a privilege it was to present the otLIVE Live Event to the ministry team of Straatwerk, a ministry based in Cape Town.
Straatwerk has a specific burden to share the love of Christ with those who are cast out by society and to those who are broken.
The Straatwerk ministry team in action with the otLIVE hand signs
Please pray for this team – a dedicated and diverse group of women, who continue to reach out to others. May what they have learned through otLIVE, about the God of the Old Testament, strengthen them as they bring His message of hope to others.
What a privilege it was to present the otLIVE Live Event to the volunteers and workers of Straatwerk, a ministry based in Cape Town. Straatwerk has a specific burden to share the love of Christ with those who are cast out by society and to those who are broken. Part of their ministry is discipling ladies who have come to Christ out of prostitution.
According to a member of the Straatwerk ministry team:
“I had seen otLIVE elsewhere and realized of how much benefit it would be as we minister to the ladies who have come to Christ. Many of the ladies we disciple have come out of prostitution and have a background of abuse. The story of the Old Testament reminds us all that there is hope after sin. God still loves people, and still uses people, despite their sin. God still used King David after he had sinned, repented and turned back to God. And what an encouragement to remember the story of Rahab. The Old Testament story remind us each that we are of value in God’s eyes and that God notices us. We all need this message and we need to pass it on to the ladies we minister to and disciple.”
Please pray for the Straatwerk ministry team – a dedicated and diverse group of women, who continue to reach out.
May what they have learned through otLIVE, about the God of the Old Testament, strengthen them as they bring His message of hope to others.
“Just before the Lockdown we had the privilege of doing otLIVE at three different schools in the inner city of Johannesburg”.
This is the report of Mr Welcome Ndlovu and Mr Seabird Siziba from Smart Choices South Africa – who presented otLIVE in the schools in partnership with Walk Thru the Bible Southern Africa and Beacon of Hope. Mr Ndlovu and Mr Siziba were both Trained at a Walk Thru the Bible otLIVE Instructor Training Event in Johannesburg at the end of 2019.
“We were able to teach the big picture of the Old Testament to over 1526 children during this time – which included both primary and high school learners. 20% of these children accepted Christ as their Saviour. We know this because of the response cards they complete. We will also have the opportunity to follow up with these children and the children approach us freely afterwards with questions.”
“The children have really loved otLIVE.
They love following the story and the hand signs – which are easy to understand. otLIVE captures their attention. It really creates an interest and enthusiasm for the Bible. When we first tell them that we are going to cover the whole of the Old Testament in this short time, they don’t believe us, but they receive the message very well. One of the special highlights is teaching the Passover principle, which really impacts the kids.
But for now, while we are in Lockdown, we are longing to get back to the schools. We are missing the children…
Now, it is very difficult, very few children have returned to schools – and the situation is stressful with distancing and catching up curriculum. The children, teachers and families all face many challenges. Please pray that the Lord will soon open the door for our work in the schools to resume again. We have so many plans and are learning how to do better all the time.”
otLIVE is a fun and interactive way to understand the big picture of God’s story in the Old Testament. Have you thought of doing otLIVE at your school or church?
For more information, please click here or contact the Walk thru the Bible office.
Pastor Matthews Vilakazi is a man with a vision and a man on a mission:
“I want to be a light to people.
I want to encourage them. I want to be able to share and teach even more.”
And not even the tough restrictions imposed by South Africa’s strict Covid 19 Lockdown have deterred him.
Pastor of Mount of Olives Ministries based in Duduza, he also ministers in KwaThema and Tsakane on Johannesburg’s East Rand. He is a busy man, who balances his time between pastoring and teaching his congregation and working in steel work and maintenance. Pastor Vilakazi is one of the pastors who was equipped at Walk Thru the Bible’s Pastor Circle events.
Launched in 2019, Pastor’s Circle is a new initiative from Walk Thru the Bible Southern Africa which encourages Bible teaching by providing easy-to-use sermons and tools for pastors, as well as a network of support. The aim of Pastor’s Circle is to support the local church – recognizing that pastors face immense challenges that often include time constraints, and sometimes a lack of resources and training.
Prior to Lockdown, Pastor Vilakazi had already been doing live teaching of the Pastor’s Circle sermon series: Choices that Change Your Life Forever (based on Crucible and the life of David) and the sermon series Finding Purpose When Life Doesn’t Make Sense (based on Detour and the life of Joseph). He had already, prior to the Lockdown, reached over 647 people with this material, doing live teaching for at least 10 different groups.
“But I believe God was preparing me to continue teaching this material using technology – even before the government imposed its restrictions.”
Previously as I was teaching the various groups, I got into the habit of recording my teaching. That way, the messages could be used at our church plants in other areas like Tembisa and KwaZulu Natal. And I could also send the message to anyone in my home church who had missed the live teaching.
Now since the Lockdown was imposed and we were unable to meet together in person, I have organized with various groups, that I send them recorded teachings and sermons using WhatsApp. So, I have been able to teach the new sermon series Finding Purpose When Life Doesn’t Make Sense to eleven groups, a total of 798 people, since the Lockdown started.”
The groups that he sends the sermons to are carefully compiled. Some of these are Bible Study groups that he had previously established. Others are groups of people that he has specifically targeted within his community and taught before. Still others are made up people who hear about the sermons, and then ask to also receive them.
“Many times, I will meet someone and after interacting with them for a while, and once they hear what I am doing, they want to be included to receive the sermons. I have also received requests from people I didn’t know before, saying they have heard about these teachings and asking me to send them these sermons and teaching.
After listening to the sermons, the group participants also message me in response. Or otherwise, I contact them to follow up. We have also been able to ‘meet’ afterwards on Facebook to discuss with the people what they have been learning.
I have had so many encouraging messages back in response to these sermons. There are so many people who feel that life doesn’t make sense right now. These teachings based on Detour bring hope and are so relevant. People in my community are facing many challenges with job losses and food security. Everything is worse during this Covid 19 Crisis and people are dejected.
Detour reminds us that just like with Joseph, when things don’t always appear to make sense, God has not forgotten us and is still at work. He will use the challenges and difficulties we go through for His Glory. Just three weeks ago, I heard the testimony of a pastor who for the last two years had given up on Jesus and was demotivated. But now, because of these teachings on Detour, he is starting to develop a positiveness again.
These same sermons have also appealed to non-believers. They tell me: “This teaching brings knowledge and light. All along I had been living without purpose.”
“My wife, Matilda, is together with me in this ministry and she has also been able to teach the sermons on Finding Purpose When Life Doesn’t Make Sense to her ‘Sisters for Life’ Woman’s groups – which reach out to women in our community.”
“These same sermons on Detour have also spoken to me personally…”
“You know, you cannot give what you do not have. Once I have received what is good, I have a passion to pass it on and bring encouragement to others. And these sermons from Walk Thru the Bible’s Pastor’s Circle are good!
I grew up in the church and my father was a leader. From a young age, I was always interested and prepared to learn from others. And now I am learning from Pastor’s Circle.
What I really appreciate about Pastor’s Circle is the ready and easy-to-use sermons. This material brings light and is so easy to follow. The sermons have really helped me as a pastor with my preparation and study. The sermons have good order and structure and fill me up with more ideas. Every time I preach these sermons, I myself advance and learn more.
I will continue to bring God’s Word to people. Walk Thru the Bible’s Pastor’s Circle is helping with this.”
For more information on Pastor’s Circle please click here
otLIVE in a village outside Nhkotakota, Malawi
In the words of one of our Malawian translators ‘it was a funny journey of crossing big rivers over narrow bridges, pot holes and slippery roads’ to reach the village outside Nhkotakota – which was where we were to present the otLIVE seminar. A village once described as far as from everywhere and near to nothing.
Our host was Pastor Mwandu from Bliss Ministries – a small church which operates out of a dilapidated clinic building. Pastor Mwandu is a man with a big heart – for the elderly, for raising up leaders, for his community and for the Word of God.
Our trio, of a Walk Thru the Bible instructor from South Africa and two Chichewan co-teachers, were humbled by the ceremonial greetings and also by the expectation of the people who began to fill the room. The seminar was held in one of the village school class rooms and the people made themselves comfortable on the carpet that had been sown from old flour bags.
The pastor had invited the whole village, as well as the headmen of surrounding villages – and it was soon clear that this was a significant event in the life of the village. The people were excited to understand the Old Testament and how the books of the Bible fit together. There were old men and women, children and also the village chiefs doing the hand signs and enjoying themselves.
The village headmen and others expressed their enthusiasm:
“We’re leaders but we have never come across such a technique of illustrating the Bible.”
“May the Lord be with you. May this also be the beginning of our literacy. Please lift us up so that we can see the light.”
Even at the end of the seminar, the people were energized and could have kept going for much longer. We are grateful that the Lord’s work, however, is ongoing. In the week after the seminar, the pastor was faithful in following up all of the attendees.
In the words of Pastor Mwandu from Bliss Ministries:
“You planted seeds and I have started watering. Ten members have been added to our church – among them a chief from another village – who was previously of another faith. The greatest testimony is that these people have not only joined Bliss ministries, but have received Jesus Christ as their personal saviour. God has used the otLIVE seminar to anchor Bliss Ministries. May the Almighty God tremendously bless Walk Thru the Bible.”
What a blessing, during October 2019, to have trained new otLIVE instructors who have ministry and influence in Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa!
Please pray with us for the impact of otLIVE in our region. May many come to know and love the Lord and His Word – as otLIVE is taught in Southern Africa.
Below is a glimpse into the ministries and testimonies of some of these new instructors:
Leonard Ntinda from Destiny Discovery Ministries in Namibia
“otLIVE really turned my life around. After these 3 days of training, I now have a better understanding of the big picture of the Bible than I did after completing my Masters in Theology. I have many years of Bible training: otLIVE is not better than the training I had before, it’s the best!
I see so much potential for otLIVE. Our ministry ‘Destiny Discovery Ministry All by Faith Church’ has a focus on church planting in the unreached villages of Namibia and Angola. And by ‘unreached’ I mean that there is no church in the village. My aim is to go where people don’t go – and many of these areas are reachable only by bicycle or motor bike.
So far we have planted 26 churches in villages in Namibia and 6 in villages in Angola – and by that I mean that we have trained and sent pastors to those churches where there are at least 100 people. There are also many other smaller ‘cell’ churches – who as of yet do not have a trained pastor.
otLIVE will be an excellent tool to help in the training of these pastors whose home language is Oshiwambo. These pastors will then go back to teach the people of the village. It gives a clear, easier and quicker way to understand the Bible – that will work for old and young alike. otLIVE will help to clearly teach the story of the Bible. Our devotions and study of the Bible will completely change; and church will improve as well. This material is such a help!
My vision is to see a church, a pre-school and a borehole in every village. Some people travel 10km to fetch water. But where there is a borehole, people will gather and there we can teach them the Word of God. Many children don’t go to school as some villages have no schools. So we are establishing pre-schools and teaching them to read.”
We also have plans to reach villages in Zambia and Zimbabwe – and have just recently sent a team to villages outside Bulawayo.
Anastacio Mutisse – Gaza Province in Mozambique
“I am currently pastoring two churches that I have planted. One is in the village of Xai-Xai and other is in Zimilene. In Xai-Xai, we rejoice that we finally have a church building structure that we are slowly building out of local clay bricks. The church in Zimilene really grew out of ministering to the sick people in the area.
Personally, I haven’t really been an Old Testament reader, but now I am motivated. I have never taught on the Old Testament before. otLIVE will be a wonderful way to start! My vision is to build up 40 Old Testament sermons to preach – based on the hand signs. I am also regularly invited to different churches and I will have the opportunity to teach otLIVE to them.
I also have a secular job as a pastor and am a father of five children. One of my biggest struggles is teaching the Word of God to my own children. I come home late and tired. But I am going to use otLIVE strategically with my own kids and practice the hand signs together with them in the mornings.
Mozambique often feels like a lost island in Africa. The official language is Portuguese, but we also speak Shangaan. Most of the material and ministries are in English. There is a desperate need for Portuguese material. I am so excited about using otLIVE.”
[insert photo of Anastacio] [insert photos of his churches]
(We praise the Lord that otLIVE is already translated into Portuguese.)
John Heita Pastor from Foursquare Church in Namibia
“OtLIVE has ignited in me a new passion to go back and read my Bible – especially the Old Testament – and it will also impact my leaders. I will start with my family and practice in my home. Then I will train my church and Sunday School leaders and invite other pastors.
I come from Ohangwena, which is in the far north of Namibia, close to the Angolan border – even there we have the opportunity to influence many different cultures. There is such a need for otLIVE – even in the villages and surrounding towns. The majority of people are not interested in the Old Testament and they don’t understand the whole story of what God wants to say to His people. As a result, people abuse Scripture and use it out of context. But I do believe that people are getting hungrier for the Word at this time.”
Team from Beacon of Hope
Also attending the otLIVE training, were a team from Beacon of Hope, an organization working in AIDS prevention education in schools in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and South Africa. Beacon of Hope will be conducting a trial of otLIVE in some schools.
As the team members commented:
~ otLIVE helps with understanding the plans, mercy and love that Almighty God has for each one of us. What a lively and passionate way to share the Old Testament and to understand the Gospel from the Old Testament story.
~ otLIVE really ignites passion for God’s Word and encourages you to read the Scriptures daily.
“I teach at Asikhule Bible School in the Midands of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Many of my students are local pastors from the area. There is such a need for otLIVE. We all need to understand the big picture of the Bible – which is so important in avoiding the tendency to take verses out of context. I also love the otLIVE hand signs – they really make the material sink into your heart and mind – and you start to own what you are learning! I so appreciated the care and energy that went into this training.”
Kevin Julius from Johannesburg Bible College, South Africa
“If you really want to grow in relationship and understanding of God – and also help others to understand the Bible and grow in Christ – then otLIVE is a must! After doing otLIVE, I am deeply encouraged to read the Bible more and draw closer to God. It really gives you a deeper passion for God’s Word.
otLIVE will be a blessing to the students I teach, the church I pastor and the churches within my network – as together we learn the big picture of God’s redemptive story. I look forward to teaching otLIVE. It will appeal to anyone regardless of age. The hand signs are fun and creative and really make it ‘stick’.”
For more information on attending an otLIVE event please click here
To find out about being trained as an otLIVE instructor click here