Synergy Leadership
"To Know Christ and Make Him Known"

Mentoring servant-leaders to love God's worth, live out God's Word in community, and to liberate God's world through the ministry of the local church.

Synergy Leadership, Port Elizabeth, Republic of South Africa

Paul and Penny Hesman

I left South Africa in 1984 to enrol at Piedmont Bible College Piedmont Baptist Colelgeto prepare for the ministry. Penny and I met while we were students at the college. We were married in June 1987. Penny and I graduated in 1988. I graduated with a Bachelor of Theology degree and Penny with a Bachelor of Religious Education degree. We are extremely grateful to the faculty of the college for their sacrifice and labour of love.

I completed a pastoral internship with Pastor Burland Margesson in the spring of 1988. I was ordained to the ministry by Salem Baptist Church, Winston-Salem in 1988 under the supervision of Pastor Burland Margesson.

In May 1988, I was called to pastor Central Baptist Church in Eden, North Carolina. For the next seven years Penny and I were intensely involved in serving the Lord and ministering to the community of believers. We were stretched spiritually over these years as the Lord taught us to depend upon Him for strength, wisdom, and the ability to minister. We were involved in every aspect of ministry in the local church. I preached, counseled, taught Sunday School, led the music, directed the Youth Program, conducted door-to-door evangelism, and discipled new believers. Penny was my co-labourer in many of these ministries. These were seven wonderful years of serving our Lord and building up the household of faith.

During this time, Penny returned to school and obtained a Bachelor of Science (1990) degree in Elementary Education from Winston Salem State University and a Master of Education (1995) degree in Reading from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I also graduated with a Master of Education (1991) degree in Speech Communication from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 1993, our daughter Kathryn, was born. We thank God for giving us this gift of life. We have and continue to nurture her in the Lord. In 1998, while we were in South Africa, she accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as her Saviour. Praise the Lord!

In 1995, Penny and I were impressed by the Lord that it was time to redirect the focus of our ministry from the pastorate to missionary service. Penny had committed herself to missionary service at a youth camp when she was 12 years old. I had also committed myself to returning to South Africa as a missionary. This conviction was solidified over the years at Piedmont Bible College, the pastorate, and graduate school. However, I knew that to minister effectively and be involved in the theological education of nationals in South Africa, I needed to pursue a graduate degree in Theology. I resigned the pastorate in May 1995 and we relocated to Dallas, Texas to pursue a degree at Dallas Theological Seminary.

While at DTS the Lord again confirmed to us that He was calling us to minister in South Africa. The Lord provided a position for me teaching Speech Communication at North Lake College while I attended seminary. After three years of grueling study, I graduated in May 1998 with a Master of Theology degree majoring in New Testament Literature and Exegesis.

After graduation, our family went on a two-month missions trip to South Africa. The purpose of this trip was three-fold: first, we wanted to minister to the people of South Africa; second, we wanted to evaluate firsthand several potential mission boards to determine which one the Lord was leading us to; and third, to confirm in our hearts that the Lord was leading us to South Africa. We were able to minister in a variety of capacities in South Africa. I preached in White, Indian, Black, and Coloured Churches. I also handed out tracts. Penny and I shared our testimonies several times. We helped in a Vacation Bible School. We were greatly moved by the spiritual needs of the South African people. "But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd" (Matt 9:36).

We returned to the States in August 1998 after spending a fruitful summer ministering in South Africa. Penny applied and received a teaching position in the Henry County School District, Virginia. In fact, she was hired to teach at the same school as she had previous to our departure for Dallas. I obtained a position teaching speech at ECPI College of Technology in Greensboro, NC. We joined Penny's home church, the Collinsville Baptist Church, and became involved in the ministries of the church.

In July 1999 we were appointed by the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) as missionaries to South Africa. Within two years the Lord had provided all of our support from churches in Virginia and North Carolina.

We praise the Lord for Pastor Howard Wilburn and the family of believers at Salem Baptist Church, Winston Salem, North Carolina. Not only are they our sending church but they have undergirded us with prayer and financial support. It was a pleasure to host a teen missions trip from Salem in 2007.

The Hesmans have been involved in a church planting ministry. Together with Henry and Janet Houk, Dennis and Violet Nkosi, they established the Ekukhanyeni Baptist Church in Clermont and the Crossroads Community of Christ in Montclair.

Penny is involved in mentoring public school teachers in the township and rural schools. Her focus is a Gospel centered programme that helps teachers improve their skills in teaching Englishreading.

Paul taught at the Baptist Bible College of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa from 2002 to 2010. More recently, he taught at the Union Bible Institute from 2012 to 2015.  Currently, he is teaching at the Evangelical Seminary of Southern Africa (ESSA) in Pietermartizburg.

Their daughter, Kathryn (23), is a law student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. They have two more children: Joshua (13) and Michael (10) who attend Laddsworth Primary School.

  Joshua, Kathryn, and Michael   The Family