My name is Stephen Underwood and my family and I are currently serving in South Africa planting churches among the Xhosa people. We are sent out of Newton Baptist Church in Covington, GA, Pastor Tony Howeth and Vision Baptist Missions, Pastor Austin Gardner. We are honored to serve the Lord in any capacity, but even more so honored that He would allow us to live out our dream as foreign missionaries.
We arrived on the field in August of 2016 and have been diligently learning the Xhosa language. During our time thus far, we have worked alongside Missionary Jeremy Hall at Soweto Baptist Church in the city of Port Elizabeth.
In February of this year, God allowed me to start a small home bible study utilizing the home of a young man that I lead to the Lord and have been discipling named Thulasizwe! After the first few weeks of preaching simple gospel messages in Xhosa during our bible study, Thulasizwe’s mom, dad, and uncle all made professions of faith in Jesus Christ!
This lead us to a desire to start a church in this area in which they live called Missionvale! Over the next several weeks, we witnessed God bring many of Thulsizwe’s neighbors and relatives to our bible study, many of which also trusted Christ as their personal Savior. Today, we average about 15 faithful believers that gather to study the word of God each Wednesday afternoon in the home of Thulasizwe!
In March of 2019, we plan on returning to the United States for a short furlough in order to raise additional support for a growing and expanding ministry here in South Africa! Once we return to South Africa, we plan to purchase a piece of property and build a church building in the Missionvale area! We are extremely excited about the possibilities and potential among these folks. One of the greatest blessings of our ministry is that is has given me countless opportunities to teach and train Thulasizwe in the word of God. He is a great example of what 2 Timothy 2:2 lays out for us as he has brought two other young men, Raymond and Masixole, that have both made professions of faith and are faithful to attend services at Soweto Baptist Church. Each week, I meet with these young men to study God’s word and teach them to invest themselves in others.
Tulasizwe doing an offering devotion.
Raymond and Thusizwe at Soweto Baptist Church
I look forward to many more years of ministry among the Xhosa people and believe that these young men will do far greater than I ever could at reaching their own people. I trust that God will continue to raise up more laborers as a direct result of our labor here in Port Elizabeth, and that all of South Africa will be impacted by these men of God.
I would also ask you to pray with us concerning the visa situation here in South Africa. The restrictions and process has become increasingly difficult over the last few years and now Americans are being turned away from ministering here. We have a possibility to apply for and receive permanent residence which would solve our visa issues altogether. Please pray that we will be able to get this done very soon. It is costly, roughly $10,000 for my family of 5 to do the process, but we are trusting God to supply our need in order for us to be able to stay in South Africa to minister to the Xhosa people.
During our furlough, it would be my honor to come by and present our ministry to your church family! If there might be an opportunity to do so and you would like me to schedule a service to attend, please feel free to contact me through my email; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you in advance for your consideration!
Your Missionaries to South Africa,
Stephen, Ashlee, Peyton, Eli, and Neyland
The Underwood Family