I have not written in ages and sincerely apologize for that. It has been an exceptionally busy 6 months since I last wrote so here is an update on how we are doing. By the Lord’s grace all is well and we are strong in the power of His might. We have settled into our home which has been and still is an absolute blessing. We have also had two sets of visitors from South Africa already which has been great and it was awesome seeing them and having some good fellowship together. It was very encouraging!
We had received some really great news a few months ago that Kelly was pregnant and we were obviously super excited that we might become parents. Unfortunately, we learned that after 7/8 weeks the baby had died and that Kelly was miscarrying. The Lord was faithful in this process to help us and comfort our hearts and so we are not too worry, Kelly is well and now we are waiting to see what the Lord Jesus has in store for us going forward. Please keep praying for us as we are very excited that this was even a possibility! What a blessing to have the Creator of the Universe on our side.
Psalm 34:18 – “Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit”
Many may not understand the perspective we have on the miscarriage but it is simply this. That the Lord is the Creator of each and every child and so when the child is not with us that means that the child is with the Lord. This gives us great comfort and I know for sure that we will one day meet face to face. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he reminded them that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:6-8).
Those who have been in America in and around Independence Day which is the 4th of July know that this is a very important holiday for the Americans and a time where they remember the Second Continental Congress which unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, announcing the colonies’ separation from Great Britain. A tradition at Sun Valley Community Church is that the whole church gathers together at our house where we have an amazing view of the San Fernando Valley and we watch fireworks and fellowship around a meal. This is by far the biggest fireworks display I have ever seen in my life and probably will be the biggest ever. The amount of money spent on that evening must be astronomical. Because of the sun only setting at around 21:00 pm in summer the fireworks only really start at 10:00 pm. The problem is that the fireworks carry on well into the morning which made it very difficult to sleep and I’m sure everyone shares the same sentiment. It was great to be with the church family and to understand Independence Day from a South African perspective.
Los Angeles Fair
We were then invited to the Los Angeles fair by our friends John and Debbie Rotunno who are a part of the Gideons International ministry. What they do is they have a Bible distribution stand where they hand out bibles to anyone wanting the word of God for free. It is great to see that there were a few that were receptive to receiving the word of God and obviously there were others who politely declined. Interestingly, the fair is the biggest in California and according to statistics can have up to 1,000,000 visitors from open day to close. The food was really great and we managed to speak to a few people about the Lord Jesus Christ, especially a Catholic lady, who had us busy for over an hour trying to persuade us of Catholicism. I gave her some scriptures to consider and she was really keen to meet us and took my details but never ended up calling me. It was great though to engage with her and to give her a different rendition of church history which she is used to and has obviously learnt from a Catholic perspective.
As most of you know Kelly turned 40 this August! I wanted to surprise her and was able to pull it off without her knowing. The morning of her birthday and by telling one or two folks at church to keep it quiet we set off from Los Angeles en route to a small Danish Town in the Santa Barbara district called Solvang. Now this little town is really cool! Approximately 2 hours North west of Sun Valley It was founded by Danish settlers (Danish for “sunny fields”) in 1911 seeking to escape the midwestern winters.
The food, architecture and vibe is all Danish with some beautiul sorrounds too. It was great to get away and to spend some time with each other after a quick start to the ministry after the pastoral transiiton had taken place. We travelled further north for a day and had lunch at Pismo Beach which is apparently one of the most popular attractions of that coastline. We also drove past the vanden blooming Space Centre and Army base which was very interesting. I told Kelly to turn in as I wanted to see if we can visit and officer kindly told us to turn around and leave the premises. If you want to visit a facility like this in the US as a foreigner you need to apply 10 days before in order to be cleared. This is also one of the launching pads for SpaceX and all their missions.
Then on the reverse, Kelly surprised me for my birthday which was awesome! We went to San Diego which is south of Los Angeles and embarked on what is known as a SEAL Tour. This tour has a vehicle which is both able to travel on land and on water, so we did a tour through some of the landmark settings in San Diego. Now San Diego’s naval base remains one of the largest naval bases on the West Coast, and not only because of its sheer size but because it is equipped with the majority of the Pacific Naval Fleet and remains the base where over 48,000 military-linked personnel work.
After hitting the landmarks we then went into the harbour at San Diego with this vehicle and did a tour through some parts of the harbour. It was really great and I will let the photos do the talking.
Then, the brothers and sisters at the fellowship also arranged a park outing for my birthday which was really unnecessary but really great and we had a good time together. Everyone partook in the softball sporting activities and we shared in a superb meal together.
Sun Valley Community Church
An update on the ministry, we are grateful to report that the Lord Jesus Christ has been very faithful to Kelly and I and everyone at Sun Valley Community Church. A dear brother of ours Leo went to be with the Lord on the 8th of July and we were reminded of our hope upon death in the gospel and in the Lord Jesus Christ. We had a blessed service and time of fellowship to celebrate his graduation.
We recently also had our oldest member of the congregation turn 90. Roger is a great guy and such a stellar example to all of us as he takes care of his wife daily who is battling with dementia and has been for a very long time. We finally managed to sit around the same table and share our testimonies with one another which was extremely encouraging.
We have had many visitors and people joining Sun Valley Community Church and we pray for our area as the beacon of light to those in a lost and dying world. Most reading this blog will understand that Los Angeles is extremely liberal and have lost the fear of God a very long time ago. Anything and everything goes here and our struggle is across the board regarding the corrupted thinking of the people and who God is. There is a drug pandemic which is prevalent in most areas and homelessness is rife. The state has facilities for anyone on the street to be given an opportunity to brush themselves up but on the other hand the state gives each and every person money or drugs with which they just go further down the rabbit hole of addiction. It is amazing how much money is spent on the homeless and unemployed where there is so much opportunity for employment and restoration and repentance through Bible believing churches.
I say this because we need your prayers! Please pray for the ministry, Sun Valley Community Church, the fellowship, and that each one of us stay strong in Christ Jesus. The open evil and obsession with material posessions can influence and drag anyone away from their relationship with God. Praise the Lord many have stayed strong and are serving Jesus Christ. We are slowly but surely getting used to one another as a fellowship and congregation and are very excited that many are bearing fruit worthy of repentance (Matt 3:8). We had our first baptisms which was a blessed time and here are some pics below:
It was also a blessing for me to be invited to preach and share the word at the state convention for the Gideons international Bible ministry in Santa Ana. It was great to fellowship with like minded believers and to hear the many many testimonies from their ministry.
Lastly, we were reminded this week that we have been in Los Angeles for a year. I cannot believe it and time has really gone by very quickly. We have many brothers and sisters who love us and care for us which is great and we are growing together as a body in Christ Jesus. I want to close off with the scripture used above:
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever”.
The apostle Peter reminds us that by hearing, believing, and obeying the word of God will be the only way that an individual can be born again and filled with the Spirit of God. It is only here where an individual will truly understand the salvific truths of God, the necessities of an obedient and holy Christ-like life and where we will be able to comprehend the condition of man before a holy and rightoeus God. Through being born again and filled by the Spirit of God we become a slaves unto unto righteousness and forsake sin as Paul reminds the Romans (Rom 6). We need to consider each and every one of our hearts in light of this biblical truth. Peter says that the word [the gospel and the scriptures] purifies our hearts when we obey it and through that understand the necessity for fervent love among one another and the need for the gospel of Jesus Christ to go out into the world. Remember the Bible says “faith comes by hearing and by hearing the word of God” (Rom 10:17).
I will write a lot sooner as we have a few events coming up over Thanksgiving and December time. Here is the Sun Valley Community Church YouTube page should you want to subscribe and here are some important messages regarding Israel and her current situation, as well as the American and global obsession with Halloween and its problems. We do not want to see any contamination, occultism, and lies entering the church and so each and everyone of us need to be equipped and vigilant [Eph 4:12].
May the Lord bless you all and we send our love in Christ Jesus!
Jeandre and Kelly