OUR STORY – Chapter E5




Our furniture was loaded on Wednesday the 7th of December and we left the Dorothea Mission premises soon after the truck had left. Martie drove the VW Fox and had the two cages with birds with her. I drove the heavily laden Nissan 4×4, and also towing the caravan in which the two dogs were caged up. We went as far as the Ultra City near Belfast where we parked the vehicles on the premises and slept in the caravan.

The next morning we got up at four and were underway by five. It was a very enjoyable drive with beautiful scenery as we travelled through Dullstroom, Lydenburg and Mica. Arriving at Phalaborwa at 8.30, we found the truck with our furniture parked in the centre of town where it had a broken down, about one km from our new home. We had to while away time till 5.30 pm before our furniture could be offloaded, so we drove around, criss-crossing the streets to get to know our new home town.

Phalaborwa is actually a beautiful medium-sized town with ample shops stocking all the normal household requisites. It had just recently won the prize for being the cleanest town in the RSA. I located the municipal offices, bought an electricity voucher, then returned home and, with the assistance of a neighbour, managed to charge the prepaid electricity meter and eventually got it to admit that we now had 865 units to be used with discretion. Needless to say, Phalaborwa gave us a “warm” welcome of just below 40°C.

The home we managed to obtain, was actually very comfortable and spacious, built within a complex of approximately twenty houses, and called Bataleur Flats. Ours was no 13, this number possibly being the reason why the rent was slightly lower than what could be expected for that area! It was a three-bedroomed house of which two bedrooms would be used for the ministry. How we thanked the Lord for a very lovely home where Martie would be relatively safe, when I went off to Mozambique on my own, leaving her behind.

I sometimes heard people saying that, on moving into a new home, it took them six months to unpack and get settled. Not so with us: we had to settle in within a week or two so as to be able to attend to the ministry. The first audio recording was scheduled for the 3rd of January. As soon as our furniture was offloaded, we set about ordering our new world. Having moved the heavier pieces of furniture more or less into the right places, I left the unpacking of the boxes mostly to Martie, only helping her to move the heavier ones.

One’s first responsibility is usually to see that the pets are well cared for. To keep our dogs from getting run over by passing vehicles or getting involved with the multitude of similar barking, howling creatures surrounding us, I had to weld extra rods into the full length of the palisade at the rear of our premises.

Having taken care of that, my next priorities were to set up an office, a recording studio and a workshop. We used one bedroom as an office, the second as a studio and the third one as our bedroom. To set up the office was fairly simple, for we had only two desks and a few other items. What took more time, was to open a filing system and put in place all the other paraphernalia that goes with an office, like a telephone, data link, website, etc.

Setting up an audio studio was a different kettle of fish. The two main requirements were that it had to be soundproof and that the internal echo had to be dampened as much as possible. With one loud clap of your hands, you can get a good idea of the extent of internal echo. Since we were only renting the building, and not knowing how long we would be there, we had to come up with very innovative ideas because we had to be careful not to damage the structure and, secondly, we had to use materials that could be removed without much effort for re-use at another location.

So, what we did was to fill the window recess with a couple of layers of soft-board to make the room fairly soundproof. Fortunately we were located in a very quiet area with few noisy vehicles driving by and an occasional small aircraft flying overhead. By closing all the doors and Martie keeping watch over the dogs, the cockatiel and budgies, we experienced just about no disturbance from external sources.

To dampen the echo, we bought a stack of cheap blankets, draped them over the doors of the built-in cupboards and hung them on the walls. The floors were covered with as many carpets as we could lay our hands on. All the pillows and other soft materials we owned, were stored on the bunker bed that was part of our studio’s furniture, but all of these were still insufficient. Since our African radio speakers loved to use the voices the Lord gave them at full volume, the sound still bounced off the hard surfaces of our converted bedroom like a ping-pong ball struck by a cricket bat, resulting in an unacceptably high level of echo. So I built a collapsible desktop cubicle with all its side panels askew to deflect the sound waves and lessen the reverberation effect. Martie upholstered it on the inside with seven layers of carpet underfelt. We then tested the studio and found the quality of the recordings to have improved considerably.

However, with the windows and door tightly shut, ventilation was a nightmare, for we could not even use a fan; it created too much noise. After each recording we had to open the door for a while and ventilate the room properly by means of a powerful fan which we placed in the passage in front of the door opening. When we started recording later on, the Lord made up for the poor structures, by favouring us with a double portion of anointing by his Holy Spirit, so that we had glorious times in that makeshift, bedroom studio.

The third requirement for our ministry, was a workshop where we could build the audio equipment required by the Light Bearers. We used the single garage for this purpose although it was already stuffed to capacity since we had to cram the contents of our previous three garages into it. What we did, was to place two old kitchen tables against one of the walls where we then stacked the plastic boxes with electrical and electronic components. I was to spend many days and weeks in this workshop, soldering together PC boards and components.

With the garage thus occupied, our two vehicles had to be parked in the backyard under a small tree to protect them from the sizzling hot rays of the sun, for Phalaborwa is nearer to that burning celestial body than what scientific calculations reckon it to be!

Circumstances were not ideal, but at least we had reached an Elim where we could encamp for awhile. We were very enthusiastic about our new ministry and praised the Lord for enabling us to get the most important pieces of infrastructure in place by the end of that month, December 2005.

Another encouraging development was that the new border gate into Mozambique had opened just the day before we arrived. God’s timing is always perfect. Phalaborwa was within walking distance of the Kruger National Park’s nearest border and approximately 90 km. from the new border gate called Giriyondo that gave access to Mozambique. From there it was a further distance of 127 km to Chokwe, the centre from where we would mostly operate when reaching out to the remote areas where our Rivonis (Light Bearers) were evangelizing their neighbourhoods.

Probably one of the most important matters we also attended to before taking a Christmas break, was to compile and send out our first Rivoni Ministries newsletter, on 19 December, to a list of people we thought might be interested to pray for us and support us financially. We were so delighted when a number of them returned good wishes for Christmas day and promised their support for this new venture.

One of these was a man called … (let’s call him David). While we were still ministering in the Hatfield Christian Church as shepherds, we had a home cell under our care with him as the leader, so we knew him quite well, although we had not had contact with him during the two years we had been with the Dorothea Mission. A couple of days after Martie and I had come to the firm decision to establish Rivoni Ministries, I was sitting on a chair in the furniture department of a certain departmental store, when he happened to walk by. I got up, greeted him and, since my heart was overflowing with thoughts about our new calling, it just came naturally to share this with him. He did not seem to be all that excited about our new venture, but nevertheless gave me his email address and requested to be kept informed of our progress. The Lord must have spoken to him afterwards and through our newsletters, because he became one of our very first financial supporters and has been supporting us ever since. By now he must have contributed a few hundred thousand Rand to Rivoni Ministries. How wonderful are the ways of God: what He calls into life, He also supports.



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