OUR STORY – Chapter E14

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In lighter mood: mountain biking. During all the years we had been living and operating in Mozambique I never stopped cycling. I had my mountain bike with me and some afternoons after work, I would mount it and cycle for some 12 to 20 km. Over weekends I would do between 30 and 60 km which was quite hard work because of the thick sand. I also fell a number of times but was never hurt. On relocating to Nelspruit, I took my bicycle along and enjoyed reconnoitring that hilly country. On a weekend early in September I saw an opportunity to enter for a mountain bike rally to be held between White River and Nelspruit. The distance was 25km. The terrain: uphill, downhill, through water, over rocks, speeding down winding little tracks with dense bush on both sides. Being very unfit, this was suicide.

After just seven kilometres my strength was totally spent and I determined to see a psychiatrist, should I ever get out of the bush alive, to determine why I tended to take such rash decisions. Well there was no sweep vehicle to pick up the stragglers and so I just prayed and carried on and on and on, crossing narrow rotten timber bridges, sometimes all alone. At last, there was Martie next to the track, welcoming me back to base.

Now here is the cherry on the cake: I was awarded a medal for gaining the third place in the category for Grand Masters, 60 years and over. But alas, the damper on my joy: when sharing my ecstasy with relatives, one of my daughters-in-law brushed my achievement aside, saying that there must have been just three entries in that category. What filial loyalty! That is why Martie and I rather fill our hearts with Scriptures like Neh 8:11 “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Even missionaries need some fun.

At the end of each period of service, we should do as our Lord did: pause for a few moments of reflection. When He created the heavens and the earth, at the end of each day, He stepped back, had a good look at what He had brought about and concluded that it was good, very good. Reviewing the year 2010, we too were grateful for what God and others had done for the Mission and its members.

First of all, there was God’s ongoing work of grace in our hearts. Let me speak for myself. There were times when I was conscious of a hardness that had crept into my spirit, an unwillingness to bend and to yield. At such times I would seek restlessly for a way into the Holiest of All, into the deep, deep presence of God, but could not find the door. Then, after days of thirst, suddenly the Spirit of the Lord would draw me into His inner chamber and saturate my soul with the sweet humility of His Son. The veil would part and my spirit would become deeply conscious of the presence of my Creator. Tears would flow unhindered and I would know that life was all about Him. Cares and responsibilities would just fade away. I would yearn to leave this world and be in His presence forever. Oh, the tenderness of the love that flows from His Being. Oh, the grace of the Spirit to minister to us deep within our innermost beings. This was my experience and the experience of many of my co-workers.

Secondly, I paused, perceived and gave praise for what the Lord had done in the hearts of the wives of our co-workers. When God wants a married couple to leave their home, security and perhaps also their friends and go to some distant place in the course of their ministry, He would normally, first of all, speak to the husband who in turn has to convey the message to his wife – as with Abraham. To respond to that soft, whispering Voice, is quite a challenge to the husband, how much more so to the spouse that has to receive God’s guidance through her husband, a human being like herself and imperfect in so many ways. Is not the faith of our wives often greater than ours? Submission does not come naturally to the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve alike. Therefore, praise be to God Who had supported our wives in such a mighty way that they had not only been willing to follow our leadership, but had strongly supported us when we were weak and ready to give up on God’s calling.

Thirdly, I stood still and praised the Lord for our supporters that had poured funds, practical assistance and prayers of intercession into the ministry. These inputs had been our life-blood month by month, keeping us clothed and fed, providing roofs over our heads and keeping the wheels of our vehicles rolling to enable us to reach the unreached multitudes with the Message of Hope. Since the beginning of that year, an amount of R370 400.00 was deposited in our Mission account. Sometimes we were concerned that some of our supporters might be giving more than what they could afford, because of their love for us and for the ministry.

Towards the end of the year, Martie and I panicked when we had to dig deep into our own pockets to buy a Ford pickup for the Mission, and soon afterwards had to supplement the Mission’s income for that month in order to be able to pay out the allowances. However, once we had laid our financial sacrifice on the altar, we experienced the peace of God and sensed that the reason for the shortfall was not that God was unable to raise the funds from other sources, but that He wanted to test our hearts. He wanted to see whether we would cling to our blessings or would gladly return them to Him. He was testing our love for Him and for the people we were serving out there. The following month, the Lord responded by once more opening the windows of heaven and pouring into our coffers an abundance of funds so that we were able to pay the allowances and other expenditure, not only for November, but also in advance for December when all of us would be taking our annual vacation.

Fourthly, we paused to perceive the spiritual trophies won. Since the first of January, 160 students received certificates for completing their courses, either on the Old Testament or on the Gospels and the Book of Acts, and there were still three groups waiting to be examined before the end of November. These were not just decisions made during an evangelistic outreach, but proof of their commitment to the Lord. They had shown their sincerity by walking long distances every week to attend the discipleship classes, studying and memorizing the Word and applying its teaching to their lives. They had submitted to the will of God, they had been soundly born-again and their lives were bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. They had turned their backs on ancestral worship. We were assured that they would not turn back for they were now rooted in Christ.

There were also many other blessings for which we could offer up praise to the Lord, such as:

    • The restoration of the house at Chicualacuala and for enabling Americo and Lucy to move in and commence with their discipleship ministry for that district.
    • The building of the house at Mapai and for Adalberto and Juvencia who would likewise be moving in early the following week to disciple their allotted district.
    • The registration of the Mission as a non-profit religious organisation, allowing it to operate independently to achieve its goal.
    • Nelson and Tina who had taken over as district superintendents at our Headquarters at Chinhacanine. Nelson was doing exceptionally well in the office as secretary and treasurer and would, within the next few months, be able to function independently.
    • The flat the Lord had provided for us at Nelspruit, which was a haven of peace where we had sufficient space to attend to the Mission’s matters when in South Africa (Before that, we had to set up office in our caravan and tow it back and forth all the time.)
    • The renewing of our temporary residence permits to work in Mozambique.
    • The acquisition of a Fadade motorbike to be used at Chinhacanine.
    • The Ford Courier pickup which we bought at short notice.
    • Trading in of the Pajero for the Nissan double cab.
    • Healthy bodies and joyful spirits. I cycled 40 to 60km early every Sunday morning when we were at Chinhacanine and during a visit to Nelspruit, Martie and I participated in a 10km walk/run. We did it in 95 minutes and came second last, but there were others behind us – on the sweep vehicle. What a joy it was to be amongst the young people and be part of the fun. The winner made it in just under 30 min! (If we heard correctly).
    • Commencement of the construction of Nelson and Tina’s home at Chinhacanine. It was being built of “ant proof” wooden poles, covered with chicken wire and then plastered with cement on both sides. The end product would have the appearance of a brick walled house.

Now let me say something about our holiday. The Lord laid it on our hearts to dig deeply into our savings account and take two of our grandchildren who had not yet had much opportunity of travelling the country, on a very special trip to let them experience His love and provision through us as grandparents.

Mart en ek saam met ons twee kleinkinders, Francois en Monique deur die Knysna Hekke en uit op die oop see op ‘n kragtige, opwindende boot.

How do two 66-70 year olds and two 15-16 year olds share a holiday, enjoy one another’s company and have great fun? By God’s enabling grace. The Lord actually wants His children to have real fun at times. He enjoys it through us. I would not be surprised if He calls His angels to His side to peer through heaven’s window saying: “Just look at that. Just see how the sons and daughters of men are enjoying what I provided for them!”

The following are just a few examples of the experiences we shared with Francois (aged 15) and Monique (aged 16):

    • Visiting relatives on their sheep farm in the Philippolis district adjoining the Orange River. Their thoroughbred horses stole Monique’s heart. 
    • Exploring the Cango caves. The Lord not only displays His glory in the starry heavens above, but also in the crystals of stalactites and stalagmites He meticulously constructed drop by drop way down below the surface of the earth. The children crawled through the “Tunnel of Love” the “Letterbox” and the “Chimney” in which (as you may recall) a certain lady once got stuck for several hours and threatened to sue the authorities for loss of dignity. “Oupie” and “Oumie” however, followed the guide along the more conservative route.
    • A camel ride at a resort near Oudtshoorn.
    • Camping at Plettenberg Bay in the For-Ever Resort: swimming in the sea, playing tennis, rowing on the lagoon. Both Francois and Monique were good athletes and kept up their training program. Some of the campers encouraged them by offering them cups of water as they went round and round the “track” in the caravan park.
    • A 9.3km hike along the coast in the Kranzhoek Valley. Time and again we had to climb the hill, then back onto the beach covered with cobblestones. Martie’s and my strength were taxed to the limit. We limped back the last three kilometres. The majesty and beauty of nature, however, was indescribable and well worth the effort and pain.
    • A speedboat ride. This was a brand new boat powered by two 250hp Yamaha motors. While inside the harbour, we asked the skipper to push it to its limit and, wow, looking ahead, we could at times hardly open our eyes for it was doing “doughnuts” across the water at just over 100 mph. Then came the real exhilaration as we went through the Knysna Heads, then jumped the waves out in the choppy open sea. On returning, we had to circle a couple of times before finding the right opportunity to enter into the harbour through the turbulent water.
    • Exploring the Castle at Cape Town. Looking back more than 300 years into history and seeing the pictures and works of men that had been, but no longer were, we realised the fickleness of man and the necessity of calling all men to get right with God before passing on to their eternal destination.
    • Catching sharks at Langebaan (size “Not applicable”)
    • The Two Oceans Aquarium at Cape Town and Francois and Monique having their photos taken “inside the Shark Tank.”
    • Up onto Table Mountain by cableway, then hiking right across to the other side of the mountain with our younger son, Jaco, his wife Debbie and their sons Iwan and Janko.
    • Another boat trip, this time in the Hout Bay area on the boat “Drumbeat,” viewing the black, shiny, slippery seals on Seal Island and “The Ship Wreck”.
    • Exploring Bird Island at Lamberts Bay on the West Coast. The thousands of Cape Gannets (Malgasse) living and breeding in freedom, fishing the seas and caring for themselves without any human hand to teach and assist them, was a lesson to us human beings that so often distrust the Lord our Provider.
    • Visiting Clanwilliam where Francois and Monique’s great-great-great-grandfather and -mother lived. We visited a couple of houses dating back to the previous century, but were not quite sure which one had belonged to our ancestors.
    • Hearts meeting around the Word of God. During the entire vacation, the four of us were meeting together and studying the life of Jacob from a Christian family perspective. Many questions came up such as:
    • Was it right for Dinah as a teenage girl to set off to explore the heathen city of Shechem all on her own?” (Gen 31)
    • How much liberty should parents allow their teenage children in order that they may develop, yet be protected from harm?”
    • The consequences that one member of a family’s misbehaviour has for the other members,” etc.
    • We were blessed, challenged and enriched by the insight and input of these two young people. On our last day at Lambert’s bay, they were so interested in discussing the topic on hand, that I had to remind them that we would have to cut it short for it was our last opportunity to swim in the sea, before returning home.

‘n Besoek aan die akwarium.

Oud en jonk saam om die Woord van God. So plant ons die Koninkryk van God voort, geslag na geslag!

After almost a month, we returned them unharmed to their parents. Our hearts were filled with joy that we could serve the Lord and our grandchildren in this way and we were assured that He would use this input to make the two of them grow up to bring glory to His blessed Name.



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