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March Banner Article: An Open Door in South Africa by Dr. Len Pine

Posted on Mar 5, 2018

“For a great and effective (lit. energetic) door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” I Corinthians 16:9

Paul’s words at the close of his letter to the Corinthian church perfectly sum up our own situation here at PMU these days. We make our plans, as Paul did, and the Lord closes and opens doors as He sees fit. With some of our fields being properly shifted to local leadership, and US personnel returning to the States, you might get the impression that PMU no longer has much to do. Not so, however! The world is before us, and it will take energetic effort to go through the doors that are opening to us. We have sought the Lord’s guidance and are eager to move forward. The fact is, there is more work to be done now than ever. This coming April, I will head to South Africa to explore one of God’s opening doors.

South Africa is a nation full of beautiful landscapes: vast plains, rugged shores, stunning mountains, and impressive cities. A rich land, it is the repository of 10% of the world’s gold supply, 66% of platinum, 50% of chromium, and is the fourth largest supplier of diamonds in the world. It is also a nation full of strife: racial, political, civil, and most of all, spiritual. Murder, injustice, and corruption stain the heritage of Dutch Reformed Christianity that was planted there years ago, as Marxist ideology wages war against that heritage in the name of equality. Its once peaceful prosperity is being shredded by the wickedness of its population, starting at the very highest offices of the land. Indeed, “there are many adversaries.”

But the light of the gospel still shines brightly there in places. One of those is in the city of Vereeniging, south and a little east of Johannesburg. There, an Afrikaner named Gideon Grobler has labored for many years on his own, counseling biblically in local schools among the children and their families. He has also been endeavoring to start a church. He has done so with no outside support and very little income. Recently, Pastor Gideon sought affiliation with Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church in Greeneville, TN, our newest Bible Presbyterian congregation, in order to have some level of accountability and encouragement. (The pastor there, Rev. Carl van der Merwe, was born and raised in South Africa himself, hence the connection.) That church asked PMU to investigate the possibility of receiving Rev. Grobler as a missionary, which we agreed to do.

At the same time, another Afrikaner laboring in the States, Rev. Louis Cloete, contacted us. Pastor Louis comes to us from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and was in transition between ministries, and wondered if we might be interested in supporting a counseling and teaching ministry in South Africa! The Lord’s providence is amazing. Pastor Louis is also interested in church planting, and he and Gideon even know one another. And so the door swung wide open.

So from April 18-28, accompanied by Dr. Kevin Backus, I will meet there with Gideon and Louis (who will be there for a modular teaching stint at a Reformed Bible college in the area) to explore the possibility of establishing a PMU mission station there with these brothers. We’ll also be meeting with the faculty and administrations of two different Reformed Bible colleges in the Johannesburg/Pretoria area, to see how our efforts might be able to coordinate with theirs for mutual benefit. And it will be a tremendous opportunity to get to know these two brothers in situ as we gather data and rough out potential plans of action to be presented to the Missions Council at the Annual Meeting in August.

Your prayers will be appreciated for travel mercies, safety in the country, and wisdom. And then, keep praying for the members of the PMU Missions Council as they view the open door. May God give us the energy to go through it and do the work as He wills.

Dr. Len Pine

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