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Matheo's Light Bulb Moment

For the entire first year of Matheo’s ministry, only the children came to church. He felt discouraged, but he continued to visit the villagers and minister to their needs.

Matheo Makuku stood in the empty Adventist church building and lifted his face to the ceiling. “Lord, please show me how to help the members want to come back to church,” he prayed.”

Matheo had just started working as a Global Mission pioneer in Grootlaagte, a small settlement in Botswana. Only a few years before, a congregation had worshipped in the church each Sabbath. But when the pioneer who started the church passed away, the members stopped coming.

When Matheo moved to Grootlaagte, he went from home to home, visiting and helping his neighbors. He was delighted to see so many children in the village, but when he tried to be friendly, they ran away and hid.

“These kids made me work hard to win their trust!” Matheo says with a chuckle. “But soon we were playing games together, and I was teaching them songs about Jesus.” Matheo invited the children to Sabbath School, and they came. But not a single adult came with them.

Matheo determined to do his best to help the children grow to love Jesus. He started a Pathfinder club, and 20 children joined. “We think of ourselves as a mission group,” he says. “The kids invite their friends to church, and we go to people’s homes to sing and pray with them.”

For the entire first year of Matheo’s ministry, only the children came to church. He felt discouraged, but he continued to visit the villagers and minister to their needs.

Then one day when Matheo was praying about how to reach the adults, he had an idea. “I realized that the wooden benches in the church must be uncomfortable because they provided no back support,” he says. “So I used some of my stipend and bought metal chairs for the church. And some adults started coming!”

The congregation began to grow, and people wanted to be baptized. But there was no baptistery at the church. Neither the members nor Matheo knew how to build one, but they prayed for guidance and went to work. Soon they baptized seven members in their new baptisry, including several Pathfinders.

“I’ve seen major changes in these young people,” says Matheo. “They’ve become more loving and take better care of themselves. And they’re passing their exams at school now because they want to do their best.”

When the members saw that Matheo cared about improving the church, they began cleaning up around the building. “This gave me an opportunity to talk to them about health,” says Matheo. “Drinking and smoking are a big problem here, and many people suffer disease. I told them that their bodies are also God’s house and that He wants them to take care of themselves.”

Since Matheo came to Grootlaagte, many of the former members have returned to church, new members have been baptized, and others are preparing for baptism. The congregation has become excited about sharing God’s love with their community.

Matheo feels that God has given him a special opportunity to serve in Grootlaagte. “I’m working with people whom many consider the lowest class of people in Africa,” he says. “Please pray that God will help me to love them the way He does and that they will grow to love God.”

Matheo wants to thank you for your donations and prayers. “I know my church family is praying,” he says, “because the more they pray, the more I see doors open here.”

Your support of Global Mission has helped reopen the doors of Grootlaagte’s little church.

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