October – November 2013
Dear Prayer Partners,
Tara and I are back home after a fruitful trip and time of ministry in South Africa. As we left for Durban on October 9, 2013, Tara and I were joined by Premji, one of South India’s leading Praise & Worship artists. The purpose of our trip was two-fold:
1. To take the message of Freedom by conducting marriage and family seminars at three different Churches that had invited us to speak to Indian couples in South Africa
2. To promote “Steps Home” in South Africa within the South African Indian community by championing the cause of “Save the Girl Child” and raising funds for the completion of our Steps Home.
With a grateful heart, I am pleased to report that our ministry was well received. This was the first time I have conducted seminars by myself. It was wonderful to see how God used us as a couple to minister to our Indian people in Durban.
Some Facts About Durban:
· Durban has the largest population of Indians living outside of India. They were originally brought by the British to work in the sugar cane fields 150 years ago. close to 1.2 million Indians settled in Durban.
· The South African Indian people have a great affinity for Indians coming to visit and to minister to them. They are very warm & friendly. This was evident in the hospitality extended to us.
· Even though they have lived in South Africa for many years and over many generations, their culture is deeply rooted in the Indian culture.
· The Indians in South Africa have a real desire and passion to worship the Lord and have nurtured strong familial bonds.
This was our fourth visit to Durban. Our hosts were Pastor Rufus Yellapa of the Firm Foundation Church and Bro. Vincent Naicker, the owner of a leading Christian book store. These two families took such good care of us by hosting and taking care of our accommodation.
We reached Durban on October 11th. On the 13th, Pastor Rufus had arranged for a Steps Benefit Concert. The city was buzzing with news about the concert that was publicized through news papers, local media and word of mouth. The concert gave us the opportunity to share about Steps Home and highlight the plight of girl children in India.
We had close to 500 people attending the ticketed show. Premji’s ministry through song and worship was well received. This was Premji’s first visit to South Africa. The response to the “Save a Girl Child” concert was incredible, with South Africa-Indians showing interest to adopt baby girls from India. However, this is not easy and requires a lot of thought and prayer.
On the morning of the 14th, we kick started our marriage seminar at Pastor Rufus’ church. I had the privilege of speaking on “The Stewardship of Family” and setting the tone for the rest of the week. My message was based on Dr. Neil T. Anderson’s book, “The Christ Centered Marriage.” This church has been through our basic seminar on “Resolving Personal & Spiritual Conflicts,” almost three years ago with Dr. Hal Baumchen and it was well received. The Firm Foundation Church has now had periodic exposure to our message of what it means to be Free in Christ and to continually stand firm.
Sunday evening, our ministry was launched at the church as a special initiative called “Marriage on the Rock Ministry.” Once again, I had the opportunity to address the congregation. This marriage ministry was initiated by Pastor Rufus and his wife with a goal to help strengthen and disciple marriages. We had close to 100 couples in attendance and it ended with dinner. There were couples from all walks of life and also from other local area churches.
Over the next three days, Monday to Wednesday, I conducted six sessions. Despite my nervousness and anxiety, the attendance at my sessions each evening increased. These were some of the testimonies that couples had to share about the seminars:
My family and I enjoyed your ministry on the family and it really was very enlightening and practical. You are an excellent communicator and have traits of John Maxwell. May God richly bless you and your family?”
- Gregory Chetty
“We were tremendously blessed with the Word of God here at Firm Foundation Community Church. Your words of encouragement and the way you taught us on marriage, was awesome….. You have left us with great wisdom from the Word of God.”
- Trini & Reshma
“I want to use this opportunity and say thank you and let you know that your teaching was of a great blessing to me. Most of all, it was the creativity seminar that gave me great joy, to know all of us go through struggles, pain downwardness, but we are up spiritually through it all. Suffice to say that your delivery of the word on the particular ref. ''MARRIAGE ON THE ROCK'' has helped me to re-order my life's priorities. I realized that life's assignment is a task that must be done for God's honor and glory. This seminar is a companion I cannot do without.”
- Mannie Chetty
I also had the privilege of doing another marriage seminar at another Indian Church for two days. It was a smaller church. The people were a warm and friendly lot. However, this was a different experience. For the first time I was at a church where the members were exposed to a teachings similar to ours.
On the second day the Pastor made the couples dress up in their Sunday-best and had them take pictures and also made each of them exchange vows. This was of course, followed by a grand dinner.
On Sunday, October 20th, Premji got to share during the morning service at Firm Foundation. Premji is not only a gifted musician but also a powerful speaker. He sang and ministered God’s word. At the end, I had requested Pastor Rufus to allow the three of us a brief moment to thank his congregation for hosting us at their church for the week.
Towards the end of the service Pastor Rufus brought 17 children from his congregation to the stage, with each child holding a large banner with the pictures of the 17 children from the Steps Home. He made the message of “Save A Girl Child” relevant to his congregation by having the 17 children from his church represent each of a “Steps” child from our home.
It was a wonderful and powerful experience as the pastor continued sharing the mission and vision of Steps Home and the grim statistics about the girl children in India. Finally, the pastor came up with another banner along with the assistant pastor and the elders with a life size check for $5000 towards the Steps Home. We were blessed and touched that our Indian brothers and sisters in South Africa who have come forward to help our girls at Steps.
Another highlight for Tara and I was the visit to a church planted by Pastor Rufus among the Zulu people. Boy! Do they know how to worship & sing to the Lord. Singing is part of them. It brought back many wonderful memories for Tara who grew up in Zambia many years ago.
Tara & I are back in Chennai and have settled back into our routines. It was nice to reunite with the children and our team here. The next two months will be hectic with Christmas coming.
A prayer request: After eighteen years the owners of our office space have decided to sell their property and have requested us to move by the end of this month. The mandatory six-month-deposit on the next rental property and the total advance and moving expenses is $4800.00. During this month of Thanksgiving please prayerfully help us make this move.
We deeply appreciate each one of you who support us in prayer, financial giving and friendship. We are keenly aware of the massive combined effort involved that makes it possible for us to serve God through Freedom in Christ. Thank you for being a integral part of our team
Isaac and Tara Manogarom