The Divito Family’s Future and APC

Hello Friend,

Last month, my prayer update included a report on my recent trip to South Africa to help manage and teach in five conferences throughout the KwaZulu-Natal province. In God’s providence, a lot has developed over the past month that I wanted to share with you. But let me begin with two things which became clear while I was in Africa.

First, I saw how absolutely vital African Pastors’ Conferences is in southern Africa. In the few weeks that I was there, I was able to bring the gospel of Christ and His Word to over 200 pastors and Bible teachers. With so much confusion and biblical ignorance, I rejoiced in seeing the truths of God’s Word  visibly discovered and embraced by so many church leaders. I am totally convinced that biblical leadership development is essential to the health of global churches and our missions work today. And APC is making a critical difference for Christ’s kingdom in Africa!

Second, I saw first-hand the increasing struggles that APC faces as the challenges have mounted. They have now been operating for several months without a conference manager, and I am still possibly a year or more away from the support level my family needs to move to South Africa. As much as I want to serve with them there, I wondered if it was wise for the ministry to continue waiting for me.

As a result, the South African Director and I began discussing if it was time to restructure APC to allow it to more effectively serve Christ and His kingdom. And after much prayer and counsel, the directors of APC have decided to change the leadership structure of the ministry. Instead of me serving as the conference manager, they will split the responsibilities so that an African conference manager can help organize and administrate the conferences while assistance in teaching and mentoring will be handled by experienced pastors committing to come on strategic short-term mission trips. So my family is no longer planning to serve as missionaries in South Africa.

While I have desired to help APC by serving the ministry full-time in South Africa, I am excited about the promise of this restructuring and the future it should bring with the blessing of our Lord. My goal has never simply been for our family to move to Africa; it has been to help equip African pastors to rightly handle the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15). And I believe that this restructured approach will help APC to accomplish this critical ministry. Not only am I supportive of this change—I am hoping to remain involved in APC by becoming their newest director (along with Irving Steggles, Erroll Hulse, Conrad Mbewe, and Thomas Winn) if the Lord wills!

As you can tell, during this transition we continue to need your prayers! Irving Steggles, our South African Director, is currently busy finding a man in Africa full of the Spirit and of wisdom to serve as manager. APC’s restructuring will only be successful if he can find the right man to manage these conferences along with having the support necessary to allow this manager to serve. So please pray for the Lord to bless Irving and the APC directors in this process.

Additionally, my family would appreciate your prayers. Pray that Christ will help us as we reassess our future. We are trusting in His wise providence and provision while we see what He has in store for us next.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the future of my family and APC further, then please feel free to let me know. So many of you have been diligently praying for us, supporting us, and encouraging us through this past year. We are thankful for each of you! Please join with us as we look forward to seeing biblical reformation in Africa continue and pray that the Lord will allow us to continue serving Him there in some small way in the years ahead.

Because of His grace,
John Divito

My January Trip to South Africa

Would you like to receive future prayer updates by e-mail? Sign-up now!

Hello Friend,

My ministry in South Africa went by like a whirlwind! What a blessing it was to serve this month with African Pastors’ Conferences. Over three weeks, I spoke four times each at five pastors’ conferences in the KwaZulu-Natal province:

  • January 5-6, Estcourt
  • January 7-8, Amanzimtoti
  • January 11-12, Hillcrest
  • January 15-16, Newcastle
  • January 18-19, Standerton

Together with Christopher Mnguni, Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Daveyton South Africa, we preached on the theme “Christ Building His Church in Africa Today.” Our Savior richly blessed our two-day conferences with delegates who were eager to study God’s Word as we proclaimed His truth to them.

One of the most memorable moments occurred as I was speaking at a conference with a lot of Zionists. The Zionists are a largely syncretistic group who combine Christianity with ancestor worship. I was able to preach the gospel to them along with my black South African partner as we taught on Christ’s church. And when I got to my message on church government and spoke on the two offices of the church, it was like they were hearing 1 Timothy 3 for the first time! They were comparing the pastors they knew to what Scripture says pastors are called to be, and they were audibly astonished at the differences. Then when I went to 1 Peter 5, they were amazed at the kind of the ministry which Christ calls pastors to. My translator asked for my lecture notes when I was done. I praise God for the privilege of opening His Word among so many pastors and Bible teachers!

Two things became clear to me while I was in South Africa. First, this ministry is absolutely critical for the health of Christ’s church in Africa. I was told by one of the local conference organizers that it would be the first time ever that most of those attending would hear expositional preaching. Second, the mounting challenges have caused increased hardship for African Pastors’ Conferences. As a result, South African Director Irving Steggles and I had an extended strategic meeting before I returned to the US.

With this in mind, please pray for us as we have a number of critical decisions to make over the next few weeks. While the Lord blessed Irving and I with a oneness of mind and heart regarding our next steps, we need God to continue guiding us in wisdom through His Spirit. Our hope is that APC will be a much stronger ministry heading forward.

Thank you again for your many prayers while I was in South Africa. I definitely felt the difference of your encouragement and support. May God bring biblical reformation to Africa!

Because of His grace,
John Divito

An Exciting Opportunity and a Challenging Development

Would you like to receive future prayer updates by e-mail? Sign-up now!

As this year draws to a close, our family is very thankful for your ongoing prayers and encouragement. We have enjoyed worshiping with many like-minded churches, meeting so many new brothers and sisters in Christ, and sharing with many others about what God is doing in Africa. Christ has truly blessed us this year!

And looking ahead to next year, we are excited to see what the Lord has in store for us. John was recently asked to join the team going on the January conference run to the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa with the theme “Christ Building His Church in Africa Today.”

So on January 1st, he will be flying to Africa to co-teach at five conferences with a South African pastor. With this in mind, please pray for John as he has a few weeks to prepare four messages: What is Christ’s Church?, How Does Christ Build His Church?, The Church as Living Stones, and the Government of the Church. Additionally, please pray for our family since John will be away next month. While Jennifer always does a wonderful job taking care of our children, it is obviously harder for her to do so with John out of the country for a few weeks. But we are excited about this opportunity to equip African pastors and look forward to sharing more with you once John returns!

At the same time, our family has run into another hurdle as we prepare to move to South Africa. African Pastors’ Conferences recently lost one of their major donors, which has led them into financial hardship. With this in mind, they are not able to provide us with the rent for a place to live or a monthly stipend for John to serve as the APC conference manager. As a result, our monthly financial need increases from $5,200 to $7,100, and the percentage of monthly commitments decreases to 30%.

When you add this to John’s recent resignation as administrator of Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary to serve with APC, we are entering into quite a challenging situation. If we do not see a rapid rise in our monthly financial support by the end of January, then John will have to seek full-time employment to provide for our family. APC’s struggles also increase the longer they continue their ministry without a conference manager.

Brothers and sisters, we need your prayers more than ever! Please pray that the Lord will build the support team that our family needs to move to South Africa so that John can serve as the Conference Manager for APC. Pray that the Holy Spirit will give the directors of APC wisdom as they work through this significant hardship. And pray that our family will grow closer to Christ as we learn more fully to depend on Him.

Furthermore, if you are able to join our financial support team to equip African pastors, then please prayerfully consider doing so by the end of the year. Monthly commitments and one-time gifts can be made online, or you can use your bank’s bill pay service to set up regular payments to Faith Global Missions. As always, if you have any questions or would like to discuss supporting us further, please feel free to let me know.

We do not see the mounting challenges we face as a discouragement, but as an opportunity to trust in Christ and to see Him at work. We are grateful for all of your prayers and support as we seek to bring biblical reformation to Africa!

Because of His grace,
John Divito

Blessings and Challenges for the Divito Family

Would you like to receive future prayer updates by e-mail? Sign-up now!

My family is grateful for all of your continued prayers for us as we prepare to serve Christ as missionaries in South Africa. We have been staying busy traveling and introducing our African ministry to churches, pastors, and brothers and sisters in Christ. Over the past couple of months, I have preached or presented at six churches and been involved in three conferences. I have added a few thousand miles to our vehicles and enjoyed meeting so many who are excited to hear about the opportunity to equip African pastors. For many of you, this is the first prayer update that you have received, since we have officially hit the milestone of 230 prayer partners! We rejoice in God’s kindness to us as we seek to glorify Him.

Additionally, we are thankful to announce that Jennifer and I have been accepted as missionaries to serve through Faith Global Missions (FGM). While Heritage Baptist Church is our sending church, we look forward to FGM helping us with the logistics of entering the mission field. Again, we see God blessing our family by connecting us to a wonderful support team to assist us in our ministry.

At the same time, we have faced a few challenges. First, FGM has been helping us to reassess our financial budget as missionaries. In doing so, we have found a few areas where we had not budgeted sufficient funds. We now see the need to raise our monthly support goal by approximately $800 a month. And while we have received many generous gifts as well as a number of monthly support commitments, we estimate our current support levels at about 35% of needed monthly commitments and 20% of our start-up expenses. Second, the process of obtaining a South African visa has become quite difficult, and FGM has said that it could take up to four months. All of this leads us to conclude that we will not be ready to move to South Africa by the beginning of December as we had been planning.

But this places our family in a difficult situation. Hoping to begin serving as missionaries before the end of this year, we had previously made some decisions in which I now find myself needing to find temporary employment to provide for my family as well as a short-term place for us to live. As a result, we feel our need for your prayers more than ever!

Is Christ sovereignly in control? Absolutely! So we do not consider these challenges a setback, but an opportunity to draw close to Christ as we depend on Him and His timing. At the same time, we feel the difficulty which African Pastors’ Conferences faces, since they are currently carrying out conferences without someone to manage them. With this in mind, will you regularly bring our family and APC before the throne of grace for wisdom from the Spirit in our time of need?

Lord willing, we are hoping to add a number of churches and individuals to our support team over the next few months which will bring us much closer to moving to South Africa. If you or someone you know would be interested in learning more about helping to bring biblical reformation to southern Africa, then please let me know. Above all, our desire is to glorify Christ through equipping African pastors to rightly handle the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).

Because of His grace,
John Divito

Latest from the Divito Family

Would you like to receive future prayer updates by e-mail? Sign-up now!

July has been a deeply encouraging time for me and my family. From worshiping with our brothers and sisters in Christ at other churches to renewing and applying for all of our passports, we have stayed busy.

At the same time, I was reminded why my family is moving to South Africa after reading a recent article by Brian Considine, “The Urgent Need for Trained Pastors and the Great Commission.” He writes:

“We must recapture a missions emphasis on well-trained pastors who are able to think, live, preach and lead biblically, especially if our aim is to ‘finish the task’ and complete the Great Commission….

“According to a Gordon Conwell mid-2015 study, there is a structural imbalance of congregations (4.3 million) to ordained clergy and pastors (1.4 million). This does not include the many bi-vocational and un-ordained pastors. How then can churches flourish, experience both growth and health if many churches are without a pastor, and only a small percentage of pastors are trained to lead their congregations effectively?

“The urgent need today, and perhaps one of the most important missions strategy for the 21st Century, is for more trained pastors. Who better to mobilize the workers and pray-ers for the coming harvest? Who better to prepare and send workers to a nearby ‘unreached’ regions? Who else is charged with the spiritual shepherding of the people of God?”

This is why African Pastors’ Conferences exists, and I can’t wait to begin serving as their next Conference Manager, where I will be involved in equipping pastors throughout southern Africa!
While my family prepares to move to Africa, the July APC conferences took place in Zambia. I want to share with you an encouraging report about these conferences from the current Conference Manager:

“By God’s grace, the 2015 Zambian run of African Pastors’ Conferences went well yet again. While the Reformed Baptist movement is strong in Zambia, so is the influence of Prosperity Gospel. Most of the delegates were pastors from Prosperity Gospel churches. We were honored to have Dr. Cary Kimbrell from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Laurel, MS as our guest speaker. APC conducted two conferences on the run—one in the Copper Belt city of Ndola and another in the capital, Lusaka. Hundreds of delegates were expected but turnout was lower in Ndola than anticipated due to three other conferences going on in the city at the same time. This will be rectified in next year’s planning. Despite the lower than expected numbers, the delegates were hungry for books. APC broke sales records on the run with many hundreds of good Reformed books distributed. We are looking forward to being back in Zambia next year and already planning for 2016!”

However, this report reminds us of one of our greatest challenges—our time frame. APC’s current Conference Manager completes his missionary service at the end of August, which leads the ministry to need someone else to handle these responsibilities. Unlike other missionaries whose international ministry does not begin until they raise support and move to their new home, I will be serving with an existing ministry which has regular conference commitments. Thankfully, the Lord has provided some temporary time relief by providing a Zambian, Grave Singogo, to serve from September through November. Still, this means that my family needs to move to South Africa by the beginning of December so that the 2016 conferences can be carried on without any problems.

With this in mind, my family has taken steps for such a rapid move. My employment with Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary will conclude in October, and we will need to move out of our rental home by the end of October as well. My family has also registered for pre-field orientation with Mission Training International, which will take place in Colorado from October 26th through November 21st. We have taken all of these steps while trusting that Christ will provide our needed financial support by the end of October. So please pray that many churches and individuals over the next few months will Join the 33! and partner with us in equipping African pastors in the word of truth.

We have made a lot of progress in a short amount of time, having reached over 40% of the monthly financial commitments needed to begin serving with African Pastors’ Conferences. And I have several more opportunities to preach God’s Word and to present on African Pastors’ Conferences. Here are the upcoming opportunities which have been scheduled so far:

Please pray that Christ will bless these opportunities as I share more about His kingdom work throughout southern Africa. May we see the fruit of more prayer partners and financial supporters joining with my family for the glory of God and the gospel of grace spreading throughout Africa!

Because of His grace,
John Divito

A Busy and Encouraging June

Would you like to receive future prayer updates by e-mail? Sign-up now!

The burden of my heart continues to increase for our African brothers and sisters in Christ. Thinking through the challenges they face, it strikes me how much we in America and the Western world take for granted. Think about it this way…. Imagine being a pastor of a local church when you come across some new teaching from God’s Word that you have never heard before. What would you do?

I might begin with some internet research. Depending on what I learn, I may contact a ministry focused on researching and biblically responding to questionable and false doctrine. Or I might see if any helpful books or other materials are available at a Christian bookstore. If needed, I could drive to a seminary where I could conduct additional research and even discuss my questions with evangelical scholars. As you can tell, I would have a good support system available to help assist me in faithfully shepherding my church.

Now let’s consider a similar situation with a pastor in Africa. Many of them do not have reliable internet access. There are very few ministries or seminaries available to help. Christian bookstores are much less common, and even if there are books available they are often too expensive to buy. Most African pastors have not even been exposed to biblical expository preaching or learned how to rightly handle the word of truth. With unequipped pastors, how healthy do you think their churches are, and how likely are they to reach the lost by faithfully proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ?

This is why African Pastors’ Conferences is such a critical ministry! And by serving as their Conference Manager, I will oversee more than 40 conferences a year throughout southern Africa. From working with local organizers in carrying out conferences to serving as one of the speakers training pastors, I am excited to see how God will use my ministry in Africa for His glory.

With this in mind, since African Pastors’ Conferences is already busy in carrying out conferences, our goal is to move to South Africa by the end of November. But this means that we have a lot to get done in the next several months! We need to raise awareness and support, apply for passports and visas, sell most of the things we own, go to pre-field orientation, along with many other aspects of preparation. So your regular prayers for us during this time are absolutely essential!

At the same time, my family has already felt the fruit of your prayers. We have made a lot of progress in building our monthly support team, having already reached over 30% in monthly commitments. And while we have a long way to go, we rejoice in the encouragements we have received from churches and friends.

The Lord has also blessed me with several opportunities to preach God’s Word and to present on African Pastors’ Conferences. Here are the next four opportunities that my family has scheduled so far this summer:

Would you please pray that Christ will bless my ministry as I open His Word and share with these churches more about His kingdom work throughout southern Africa? And if you know of any churches who would be interested in having my family visit, please let me know.

We are so grateful for you. And we look forward to seeing what God has in store for our family this summer. Thank you again for your prayers!

Because of His grace,
John Divito

An Exciting Update

Would you like to receive future prayer updates by e-mail? Sign-up now!

As I prepare to enter the mission field in southern Africa as the Conference Manager for African Pastors’ Conferences, I am so thankful for the ways in which God continues to use this crucial ministry for His glory and the good of His people. I recently received this wonderful report on the latest run of conferences: “APC‘s most recent trip to Zimbabwe, as in the past, was richly blessed of the Lord. We traveled to three cities – Bulawayo, Kwekwe, and Harare and continued on the current theme of ‘Being Right with God and Becoming More Like Christ.’ Our speaker was Kenyan Reformed Baptist Pastor Murungi Igweta of Trinity Baptist in Nairobi. Between the three conferences, we reached right at 200 pastors. Though the financial situation is very difficult and getting worse, the spiritual hunger of the pastors was seen in their purchase of books. Though they don’t have much, the delegates at the Bulawayo conference smashed our previous sales record for a single conference. We had wonderful feedback at all three conferences. Perhaps the best thing we heard, however, was from one delegate who said, ‘I will now have to read my Bible completely differently. I will have to tell my people how to be right with God!'”

Praise God! And as you can see the from the picture of the delegates of the Harare conference, APC is fulfilling a strategic role in equipping pastors and Bible teachers to more faithfully serve their churches and reach the lost with the Gospel.

It is this conviction which fuels my desire to help leadAPC forward. With this in mind, I have been busy developing material to raise awareness and support with the assistance of several dear friends. And I am pleased to announce that we now have a web site for people to learn more about my family and our ministry with Feel free to visit this site for more information or to share this site with others.

You can also make a one-time donation or a monthly commitment online, using either your checking account or a credit card. As I mentioned in my first prayer update, we estimate needing approximately $50,000 for start-up costs (pre-field orientation, airfare, vehicle, equipment, etc.) and about $48,000 for ongoing annual expenses. While this may sound like a lot, we believe that our monthly need can be met. Even $25 or $50 a month can make a huge difference! We look forward to seeing over the next several months who will partner with us in advancing God’s truth in Africa.

So please pray that Christ will bless our efforts to let churches and individuals know more about African Pastors’ Conferences. Pray that we will develop a dedicated support team to regularly pray for our ministry and to provide for my family’s financial needs. And pray that the time African Pastors’ Conferences will be without a Conference Manager will be minimized. May the truth of God’s Word be faithfully proclaimed throughout southern Africa!

Because of His grace,
John Divito

My First Prayer Update

Would you like to receive future prayer updates by e-mail? Sign-up now!

APCDivito2015Welcome to my first prayer newsletter update for African Pastors’ Conferences (APC)! Let me begin by thanking you for your willingness to pray for my family as we prepare to move to South Africa so that I can serve APC as their next Conference Manager.

As I reflect upon how critical African Pastors’ Conferences is throughout southern Africa, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s letter to Titus. After proclaiming the gospel together on the island of Crete, Paul continues to travel as a pioneer missionary. But he leaves Titus in Crete to complete their work. This is because missions work includes establishing churches with mature leadership. To stay healthy, the young churches in Crete needed mature pastors committed to the Word of God. Otherwise, they would fall prey to false teachers who will deceive and upset these churches.

Unfortunately, all too often in Africa today we find false teachers, pastors who are not equipped or under-equipped, and a multitude of other challenges. APC seeks to equip pastors with a clear understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ to help pastors understand and recognize false teachers. As one Ghanaian scholar comments in the Africa Bible Commentary: “Today, in our African context, common heresies include the teaching that all humans will be saved, the elevation of African traditional religion as equivalent to Old Testament faith, ancestor worship, and the mixing of African traditional religion and Christianity.” May we counter such error by training leaders to rightly handle the Word of Truth!

In order to begin serving Christ in Africa, I will need to raise awareness and support. With this in mind, please pray as we develop the material required to let people know more about this exciting opportunity. From producing a prayer card to brochures, from a web site to mail-outs, we have a lot of work ahead of us. But this is all essential groundwork that we need to develop so that we can move forward.

Along with the needs above, please pray with us that we can quickly raise the support we need. We estimate needing $50,000 for start-up costs (pre-field orientation, airfare, vehicle, equipment, etc.) and $48,000 for ongoing annual expenses. While this may sound like a lot, we believe that our monthly need can be met. Even $25 or $50 a month can make a huge difference! We look forward to seeing over the next several months who will partner with us in advancing God’s truth in Africa.

Finally, please let me know if your church or other churches in your area would be willing to have me come visit and speak. I am beginning to schedule opportunities to let brothers and sisters in Christ know more about African Pastors’ Conferences and would love to hear from pastors and churches who are interested in learning more about the need in Africa.

As we embark upon this time of transition for our family, we are grateful for your commitment to pray for us. May Christ be glorified through our ministry for the furtherance of His gospel in Africa!