LIMPOPO PROVINCE- SOUTH AFRICA
Botswana Border Mystery – “In His Presence” @ Het Slot Lodge – Masks Back On! – More Hippo Encounters – Eagle Psychology – River Talk – Spring Is In The Air! – African Thunder Storms – Online Service – Secret of Happiness
Selecting Board Members – Our Animal Blog – Dawid’s Birthday
BOTSWANA BORDER MYSTERY
We waited with great anticipation to cross the border into Botswana but, the authorities gave no any indication at any time when it would happen. I searched the internet for answers, talked to border personnel, enquired from our contacts in Botswana but we become none the wiser.
Covid 19 had gotten everyone into a tailspin – a waiting game with no real end in sight. Endurance and patience were two virtues we needed during this time.
The end of September would be a turning point for us. Either we would point our 4 wheel drive vehicle south to reach the Western Cape via Lesotho, or north to Botswana, or perhaps even Malawi. Again we were certain in our uncertainty which way to go, but that’s ok. Right now the whole world lives in uncertainty. This uncertain lifestyle has many perks for us. For one, we have long ago already learned the priceless value of trusting God, no matter what.
There was a glimmer of light. Everyone speculated that the Botswana border might open 15 September. That would mean Dawid’s birthday will could celebrated on the 30th in Botswana at Parr’s Halt farm – something to look forward to!
No matter where we are in the world with missions it is important to me to make this day special for him as best as I can. We both love Botswana and at this stage just being there at Parr’s Halt farm for his birthday would be a great reward for us both and I knew celebrating with the people in Botswana would bring us great joy. Dawid sacrificed so much already, friendships, his soccer career ext so this one day I want to put increased brightness into his life and celebrate it properly. However we had no idea if this was going to happen or not.
All we knew for sure was that we needed to go to Botswana to sort out a legal land matter.
In the meantime we kept our heads down, preached online, worked hard, got our admin in order and developed multi media products for which we otherwise would never have found the time for.
The latest book I finished earlier this month is the one below. It is rather an apt title as we might have to embark on a mission soon – to ‘faith the impossible’ to get into Botswana. We have learned the best way to grow faith is when we face the impossible.
“IN HIS PRESENCE” AT HET SLOT LODGE
The first days of September we were still happily staying at Het slot lodge / game ranch, a gem tucked away near Steenbokpan in the Limpopo Province in South Africa. https://hetslot.co.za/
It was a perfect place for us to be quiet in His presence and far removed from the stresses of life. The thought of Covid hardly entered our minds. The only other people on the farm were the management team Suzette and Pieter and the owners son Jan Harm and his lovely wife Deane who came to visit. We enjoyed their company, great food and a delightful game drive. Their warm hospitality melted our hearts.
We (picture below) stood next to a Baobab tree. Baobab trees grow huge in their life time and they have typical fat tree trunks. Trunk diameters have been recorded up to 36 ft. The purpose of the width of these trees is that they can hold huge amounts of water. They are therefore very useful for humans and the eco system. The fruit of the Kremetart ( Afrikaans name) is considered a superfood and is very high in Vitamin C.
I was fortunate to bond with the tame nyala raised by Suzette. I am so grateful for God’s beautiful creatures.
If you have never seen different coloured springbuck – Het Slot is the place to visit to observe and enjoy up close all the variety of different coloured springbuck. I am standing behind a Marula tree hoping that I would not scare them away by my presence.
MASKS BACK ON!
The time had come to pack up and put our masks back on. We left Het Slot for Stockpoort Lodge via Lephalale ( Ellisras) to do our bi-monthly grocery shopping.
In the past, when my Dad was still alive we travelled from Pretoria to Botswana on many occasions via Ellisras (now called Lephalale) where he had lunch with me …
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My Dad always stopped at Wimpy for us to have lunch before crossing the border. My usual order was grilled chicken breast and salad because in those days I cared a lot about keeping my weight down. Now less so. Dawid did not like Wimpy at first but I am sentimental and because of my Dad’s visits with me to Wimpy, I like to go to Wimpy in Lephalale, even though Wimpy had moved to another location. I am glad to say Dawid has come to love Wimpy burgers now too and he agrees they serve excellent coffee. If you consider Wimpy too plebeian, try their coffee, ha – ha and a different attitude! Plebeian is not a word that features in the Kingdom of God.
One thing! I cannot imagine my Dad with a mask on, and I am happy he missed this stint with the coronavirus.
Check the plastic gloves in the pic below. Do I look like a serial killer ?? — or am I just a little paranoid about all the hand sanitiser that they spray on me in the shops.
Jesus Christ continually set the example for humanity about the importance of humility, that we should esteem others highly … no matter who they are. Pride and arrogance are sadly rife even in Christian communities and people think – because of their high worldly standing that they are better than others. Some people tend to look down their noses at certain people which they deem inferior. Instead we should be looking up to people, always, not matter who they are.
The Bible makes it crystal clear that EVERY person on the planet is of great worth to Him and we should have the same attitude.
The cross for eternity exposed the
equal and priceless value
of every human being born on this planet. John3:16
We further note the value of people in Christ in Colossians 3:11 “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
On our way to Stockpoort lodge we saw the familiar skyline of the Makwate hill situated in Botswana in a distance. ( Picture below) The astounding thing is that we have never noticed the hill at Makwate from the South Africa side before, whereas this year we had seen it frequently. We took it as a sign that we will get land in Botswana and somehow that the Makwate Hill will have something to do with it.
Stockpoort lodge, where we are about to stay again, is 5 minutes from the SA Botswana border post. Travelling from there on a dirt road into Botswana you will find Makwate 13 kilometers from there.
Makwate is a sleepy African village on the borderline of the Tuli Block. The village is hugging the Makwate hillside – and it is there that we are dreaming of building a mission base in future.
This is part of the reason why we were here, to hopefully hop across the border to attend to this matter. We want to meet with the Sefare landboard for the purpose of securing a piece of land in Botswana.
POUNDING THE BANKS OF THE RIVER AGAIN
Back at Stockpoort Lodge one of the first things we did was go on one of our favorite river walks. I couldn’t get enough of these walks. The natural environment is pristine and spectacular. Hearing the laid back cooing sound of turtle doves harmonising with the chirping of other birds lulled us easily into a peaceful state of mind.
We found that living in the bush in close proximity to its creatures one does not need a TV for entertainment. There is plenty of drama and excitement in nature if you intentionally immerse yourself into this wild kingdom.
RIVER TALK 1
Dawid and I have so often talked about many spiritual subjects on our walks and below is an impromptu moment where he turned the camera on and I shared an experience.
MORE HIPPO ENCOUNTERS
Hippos regularly moved up and down the river and we occasionally saw them. Twice I went for a walk on my own – and had memorable encounters with the hippos.
The one time I saw two hippos fully emerged from the water. They were grazing on the other side of the river. Their big behinds were facing me, most of the time and they were so focused on grass chomping that they were oblivious of my presence. I watched them from behind the safety of trees on the South African side. I wished Dawid was there because usually when we saw something of interest together it caused great excitement and much to talk about for a while. Another time I was alone again and with no intention I found myself in a dramatic encounter…
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I neared the side of the river. It dropped straight down at this point, about a meter or more into the water – so I was sure there would be no lurking croc or hippo waiting for me. The side was too high and too straight up for any beast to lunge out and attack me. I stood there looking left, right up and down the river, and then my eyes moved closer to the left. To my great surprise, or rather shock, I locked eyes with a hippo. He was close, very close. I don’t want to lie, but maybe the hippo was about 4 meters away from me – but … safely tucked under very low hanging branches that stretched almost horizontally over the river. The hippo was kind of stuck, and had no way of reaching me. I didn’t know who looked the most scared, the hippo or me, but I knew the hippo realised I had the upper hand. If I had a weapon I could have done him great harm. His eyes looked like a naughty dog caught in the act. I watched the hippo for a few moments and walked away with a sigh of relief and happy that none of us were harmed in the encounter. I know of instances where local people showed no mercy and killed these beasts, perhaps for food. I could not wait to tell Dawid about this and I knew he would be disappointed that he did not come along on the walk.
My earliest memories of hippos were when I did a video production in the Waterberg region near Bela Bela, for a friend of mine who did a golf and game project with Ernie Els.
Late afternoon I would sit in a game drive vehicle filming hippos in a dam. They used to watch me intently and offered the occasional dramatic yawn which was very film worthy.
I have heard since then that there is nothing charming about the yawning of a hippopotamus, and that they were actually giving me warning signals. I was so enchanted with the scene then. Jaws were flung wide open against the backdrop of circling water that simmered bright in the late afternoon sun. It had me spellbound and off course an adrenalin rush kept me watching these enormous beasts in all their glory, probably for far too long.
What I know now is that Hippos are considered the most dangerous animals in the world and kill the most people out of all wild animals. If you think you can outrun a hippo then you are making a big mistake. Their colossal bodies can run like a horse and their max speed is 48 km per hour. So if you offend them, and you are in their way you are in big trouble. They are aggressive and unpredictable.
A hippopotamus has a rightful place in this world. They apparently consume around 40kg of grass a night and their dung provides important nutrients to the aquatic eco system of any river. Fortunately they are not an endangered species, but are considered vulnerable for various reasons. May these intriguing and powerful creatures never disappear from our waterways.
There are a few nature pictures I used from google that resembles best what I experienced – a cell phone is not capable in all conditions to take the best shots.
Our very first day walking the river we heard the cry of fish eagles. Our favorite sound. Up in the sky numerous eagles were soaring effortlessly on the currents of the wind. The iconic cry of these powerful birds always lifted my spirit in an unearthly way. They call me up higher and higher to fulfil my true purpose and destiny in this life.
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setsforgiMy Eagle Psychologist
Once I had a significant spiritual dream about an eagle.
Dawid was still in primary school at the time when I had this dream, and the outcome of the dream profoundly impacted my life – in a good way.
I had dreamt of an enormous eagle that sat on the ground and couldn’t fly. 4 Heavy stones inside the eagle kept the big bird on the ground.
Waking up I knew the eagle I dreamt about was symbolic, and that the eagle was me. I was being weighed down by something, preventing me from soaring into my true purpose and potential in life.
I had no idea what it was, what kept me down and I walked around for 2 years trying to rationally work out what was holding me back – and what had often made me sad in life.
One day I went for a prayer walk in the mountains surrounding Stellenbosch and the penny just dropped. I KNEW what it was. I had heard God’s gentle whisper to me.
He said; “I want to take you into the promised land, but I can’t. Suffering has programmed your mind for more suffering. ”The voice invited me; “Change the way you think, and you will soar like an eagle.”
I immediately knew this had nothing to do with my intelligence or skillset, but my way of thinking that kept me down, how I have come to view myself and life itself amidst all the heartaches that I experienced.
One of the toxic mindsets that I have developed was “Everybody else can. But I can’t” From there I made a toxic conclusion; “There must be something wrong with me.”
I later discovered that I had sub-consciously punished myself for things that I have done wrong in the past. This is so wrong from a Gospel point of view as Christ has forgiven me and declared me innocent. but I struggled to believe it.
It is an inside job.
The profound revelation that if I wanted to make changes in my life that I had to change the way I think made me realise that our happiness is a 90 % inside job. There is a battle going on in our mind which we have to conquer daily.
It set me on a course of discovery to find out how our inner being functions so I could optimise my thinking to serve, and not sabotage me. I wanted my thinking to align with God’s thoughts and His will for my life. No longer did I want a wandering mind, un-disciplined thoughts, guilt and emotions to control me, but rather I wanted to learn to control my thoughts with TRUTH which is inspired and purposeful thinking.
I now know that a mindset is a type of inner coding, a subconscious belief system that gets formed over time through repeated thinking. It happens as we try to figure out how the world works since we were born.
One cannot always trust how we ‘see and interpret’ the world because our perspective and knowledge is limited. We have to realise that our judgement of ourselves, people and situations may be incorrect because of limited knowing.
The other peculiar thing I found is that my conscious mind were positive, but my sub conscious mind were fear based and and ran the show creating new realities for me. This caused dissonance in my soul which was unhealthy and destructive .
Our belief system about many things in life is our subconscious mind that runs on autopilot, which is an automatic response to life’s stimulus. This sub-conscious programming is our own unique mentality. It is our mindset which is also called our attitude.
Our thought system sets us up for success, or failure in life and everything in between.
Joyce Meyer puts it so aptly ” If you keep on thinking what you are thinking you will keep on getting what you are getting”
We cannot live a positive life with negative thinking and we cannot afford to think thoughts that are not God’s thoughts. After all we are made in His image and therefore we should think like Him.
The truth is we attract to us what we repeatedly focus on, think and believe wether it be fear, or love and faith based thinking.
Fortunately our inner being, our beliefs can be changed. We can renew and reprogram our minds and hearts at will with the right intentional effort and spiritual guidance. The Bible is clear about this in Romans 12:2 where it says ” …be transformed by the renewal of your mind …”
We have to learn to discern our thoughts – where they come from and make sure that they line up with the Word of God. Corinthians 10:5 says we have to take captive our low life thinking, our “illusions’ our little theories about life – unto the obedience of Christ Jesus. This is an on going journey as we have to constantly remind ourselves to think, talk and behave like Him in this world.
Meditation on the Word of God is one powerful way to permanently erase and replace negative strongholds of the mind.
Benefit of Dreams
I value the benefit of dreams – in some cases they act as a powerful catalyst giving us a better understanding of our struggles in deeper levels of consciousness. The point of such dreams is to rectify false beliefs and illusions that hurt us. I believe the Holy Spirit uses our dreams as a tool to speak to us and guide us towards healing and empowerment.
Besides what I have gained psychologically from my eagle dream there is so much to learn from these iconic birds. Below are some of the insights that I have gained since becoming familiar with eagles.
- Eagles have incredible eyesight, 4 times stronger than humans. Their precise and strong vision and focus is what I desire spiritually.
- Eagles don’t struggle and strive when they are flying up high. They rarely flap their broad wings knowing that it would make them tired. They conserve energy by relying on the unseen rising air currents to gain and keep their altitudes – and we should rely on the Holy Spirit to take us effortlessly into the heavens. The Holy Spirit is like the wind. We cannot see the wind but we can see a flower waving in a breeze.
- Eagles fly the highest of any bird and far above earthly storms, even hurricanes. We should do the same, renew our strength and soar with God above the storms in life.
Those who HOPE in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary
they will walk and not be faint.
ISAIAH 40: 31.
- Eagles are fearless and majestic. When they take on an enemy like a deadly snake the eagle swiftly lifts the snake up in the sky where it becomes powerless. That’s why when we live in the presence of God in the heavenly realm of Glory the enemy becomes powerless in our lives.
- One outstanding quality of eagles is that they pick one partner for life to mate with and they nurture their young very well. When we can do so as a society – bringing up our children in a safe and loving, secure environment and feeding them nutritious spiritual food and shared noble values we will have a great society to live in.
- We can trust God for renewing our youth like the eagle’s. I like this truth!
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all His benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
SPRING IS IN THE AIR
We could see for the first time signs that springtime has arrived. Blossoms were appearing on trees and outside my window I watched a spectacular Bloukop koggelmander (Afrikaans name) crawling up and down a tree trunk. He is called a Blue-headed lizard in english. His brilliant blue colour and bobbing head signalled that he was the proud and happy victor in a territorial battle for females!
The rain had finally come and we were not disappointed. The earth was ready for rain and sucked up every drop of water that fell from the sky. Nature looked dramatic with swollen blue grey clouds that met with deep earthy colors.
During heavy rains like this I always wonder what the animals are doing to protect themselves. Where are the monkeys hiding when the rain is pelting down hard and the sky lights up in a frightening display of power? I always say special prayers for them and especially for my favorite monkey called Aapstert alias Chopstix. I was so glad I could treat him again on my return and he immediately responded to my call. I will be sad to leave Chopstix behind and will entrust him to God’s safekeeping.
When the storm was over I put on my highly “fashionable” croc sandals and colorful Malawi pants to walk on our usual path next to the river. It was risky as I could easily get stuck in the mud and whatever else! I did get muddy on the walk but I was delighted in the wonderful fresh and sparkly atmosphere after the rain. It was as if the bush had taken a deep breath of fresh living air.
On the weekend we went for a 2 hr walk around Stockpoort farm and I saw a rare site, a blou kransvoel speading its beautiful wings and taking flight over the Limpopo river.
Twice a month we held zoom online church services reaching believers in different parts of the world. We held a private online session with our Phillipino church at Hippo Knitting factory in Maseru to encourage and strengthen them during this time. We also held zoom sessions to pray and intercede with our prayer partners.
“The last two topics I preached on was; How to: Faith the Impossible” and “How to: Love Extravagantly with Perfect Love.” Dawid delivered a very inspiring sermon on the power of Wisdom. It is my delight as a mother to watch my son absorb and live the love, faith and wisdom of God.
SECRET OF HAPPINESS
Ecclesiastes 12: 13 AMPC
This book in the Bible was written by King Solomon considered the wisest man that ever lived. He tells us exactly how to solve our world’s problems.
The “fearing God” he is talking about is not a worldly fear that is destructive, but a reverential, worshiping and trusting fear. It helps us gain a proper perspective of who He is.
When we have a worshipping heart – our focus on His extravagant love and extreme power keeps us away from problems that beset humans on every side. Trusting God is the best antidote to depression, worry and anxiety.
Below is an excerpt from my AMPC Bible.
SELECTING BOARD MEMBERS
Our ministry is registered as an NPC (Non Profit Company) and a board is required to help guide our ministry forward. I personally felt an increasing urgency to select a board because I believe in the proverb that says,”There is wisdom in a multitudes of councillors.” Besides the advice that a board can give us, I long for the friendship and camaraderie that can evolve out of such a group of people with shared values, ideas and passion. So, we decided to get up very early one morning at 3 am to do a prayer walk wanting to know from God who He suggests we should have on our board …
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A dreamlike early morning walk.
It was brilliant to wake up so early in the morning and after a hot cup of tea I was ready for our prayer walk. Stepping outside I was overwhelmed by the starlit sky pregnant with the promises of God’s goodness towards us. The heavenly’s talk non-stop to everyone who dares to listen. I felt vulnerable looking up at the wonders of the powerfully lit sky who offers us a tiny glimpse of our expanding universe and the omnipotent power of our creative God.
Dawid and I had both put on warm clothing and we started our walk on the tar road that runs between Lephalale and the border crossing. ( A bush walk would have been too perilous in the dark!) I got nostalgic walking on this road and I asked myself – how many times did my father cross countries driving on this spot going to either of his homes in SA or Botswana. Countless times in 50 years.
Since my father passed away we did not visit Botswana for a long time. 3 Years ago I decided that we needed to pay Botswana a visit again – especially in the light of doing missions and in anticipation of what God may want to do through us in Botswana.
I was surprised to hear from the border commander at the Stockpoort border post that he remembered my father. He told me my how my Dad used to come to the border post years ago to call me from their office. I was in tears hearing this. I knew this was true. Besides reminiscing about my father with him I enjoyed the familiarity of the border post. It brought back fond memories of my father and our times in Botswana. My father’s abode on the Botswana side was literally 3 kilometer’s from this border post.
Now my father would not have believed what we were doing. Dawid and I were walking at 3 AM on this road praying. We earnestly did so in tongues trusting for God’s advise – as to who should walk with us on this great journey of being about our Heavenly Father’s business.
We were so happy that the people we eventually approached, to be on our board said yes! 4 Pastors and 2 business people representing European, African and Asian cultures. They are all people whom we delight spending time with. Much gratitude.
Every month I post an article in our animal blog that was published in JOY! Magazine. https://lofunlimited.org/animal-blog/ Please support us and read these articles. I believe it is vital for Christians to respond correctly to God’s creation.
RIVER TALK 2
Cultivating your inner paradise!
The title that Dawid gave for the short video clip below is very attractive. Listen to his inspired talk on explaining “How to live from the Spirit.”
DAWID TURNED 28 in SA !
By the end of the month we realised that the 15th had come and gone and the border did not open. It had become obvious that we will not celebrate Dawid’s birthday in Botswana.
His birthday is on the 30th and in true covid 19 style we celebrated in a very small way with a cake at the lodge where we stayed.
By now we had started making enquiries as to how we could get permission from the Botswana government to enter the country. We knew it would be an uphill road. Family of ours, Botswana citizens had to work via a lawyer to enter Botswana and quarantine for 14 days at their cost at a specified location.
Dawid and I had previously thought that if we don’t go into Botswana by the end of the month that we would up and leave for another destination. Now we wonder. What if the border post did open soon and we had left? It would be a tragedy. So we decided to hang on a little while longer.
STOCKPOORT BORDER LODGE – HETSLOT LODGE -LIMPOPO PROVINCE SA
Leaving Stockpoort – Outside the Box – Our Planet
Ministry – Hetslot Lodge & Game Farm
Since the covid crisis we lived a fairly isolated life on the border of South Africa and Botswana and we enjoyed visiting Lephalale, (previously called Ellisras) a town an hour away to do our shopping. In the picture below we are enjoying breakfast at a little restaurant, a luxury denied before due to the Covid 19 restrictions.
When bulldozers started clearing the land around us for a wedding to take place at the lodge – we knew it was time to move again. A peaceful environment is essential for us. Our time in the secret place is sacred, and productivity to do creative media work depends on it. The bulldozer is of significant meaning to me as I had a dream about one looking exactly like the one below in the picture – that my father drove from Stockpoort border post onto the bridge that crosses the Limpopo river. The meaning of this I cannot disclose yet.
“God has always blessed us to stay at the most exceptional places during the last 8 years since we were commissioned as traveling missionaries. As per usual we were not concerned where He would take us next. Oswald Chambers wrote in his book “My utmost for His Highest” that living by faith is an ‘uncertain’ lifestyle and that one waits with breathless expectation for the next move of God.
This is exactly how it is and we have learned that we can implicitly trust God when we obey the prompting of His Holy Spirit.
Romans 7:6 AMPC .”.. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life].
LIFE OUTSIDE THE BOX
A ROLLING STONE
“My Mama is a rolling stone, wherever she lays her hat is her home.” This lyrical line rings true. Our nomadic lifestyle is not everybody’s cup of tea, and we understand that. We also understand that many people will not understand, what we are doing and why, but that is also okay. There is a grace in what we do because it is God’s will for our lives. I would rather be in God’s will inside a war zone building His Kingdom than to live in a way that looks right to man, but be outside His will.
RELATIONSHIP WITH DAWID
One day we went for a long walk on the tar road leading away from the Stockpoort border post and back. I was reminded how God has kept us safe on our journey that He has chosen for us despite many controversies that surrounded us.
This particular day we had a lot of fun and were dancing around and praying for long stretches on the road. We were dreaming and wondering how the rest of the year was going to pan out. Every now and then we were cracking up with hysterical laughter about the most ridiculous things. At one point we were in such hysterics that we could not calm down. It was a lot of fun being together as best friends on this great adventure. I was reminded that two are better than one, the joy of the Lord is our strength and that laughter is good medicine for our souls.
We are mother and son first, ministry partners next and last but not least, best friends. It is fantastic to share life with someone whom you implicitly trust, never fights with, and with whom you never have to walk on eggs worrying about what you do, or say that would upset the other person.
God has graciously woven us firmly together in ministry, but it has not always been easy. People questioned our mother son unit from the start. They doubted my integrity and motives as a mother and that was painful. It has been very hard on Dawid too. We don’t blame people for whatever they think. We know we are not mainstream, we never have been and never will be.
We were given clear direction from God to stay on track, no matter people’s opinions. We have learned this lesson over and over to stay focused on His goals to build His Kingdom, and to build our lives on the rock of Jesus Christ and not on shifting sand.
I would encourage more families to stay and work together. God is building cross-generational teams and it is a powerful thing. The world is becoming an increasingly problematic place to function in. The trust, joy and strength gained from family love and the synergy gained from working together act as a buffer against the many challenges we will face in the future.
A GOLDEN DISC
Sundown in the African bushveld is always spectacular. The horizon get’s painted in deep fiery colours varying from red, orange, pink and blue. It is the time of day when we love to go for long walks, and one day when the fiery sky had already turned dark Dawid exclaimed “Mom look!” I turned in the direction he pointed – and riveted we watched this gigantic and brightly lit golden disk rising on a familiar path. It was a spectacular moon sighting, like so many others in Africa – and I could imagine all the animals in the veld sitting upright, equally alert watching with reverence the great moon in the sky.
Since I have been writing articles for JOY! magazine the fate of the animal Kingdom – at the mercy of humans lies heavy on my heart. There are so many injustices in the world that the priority of animal welfare is at the bottom of the “to do” list for many people. But, sin is sin and I see many atrocities perpetrated against animals. I pray for the conscience of man to improve and to become sensitive to the plight of all sentient beings.
Psalm 36: 6 NLT “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.”
Since May when we stayed at the Stockpoort Bush Camp overlooking the Limpopo River I fell in love with this river and all it represents. For some people the river may look ordinary, but not for me. The moving water, the banks of the river with its huge overhanging trees, the abundant wildlife, and the veldt beyond – all is wrapped in so many special memories of family and friends – and especially my Dad. I see and feel him everywhere. Fortunately from the South African side the river is far more accessible due to a dirt road that has been carved all along the riverbank. It makes a huge difference being able to access the river at any point.
OIL SPILL IN MAURITIUS
Mauritius is the place where I was called into full time ministry and I hold the island dear in my heart. This month sadly a Japanese tanker caused a deadly oil spill in Mauritius. Being one of the most beautiful places on the planet it is unimaginable to think what damage this black thick oil has done to the island’s marine and beach life.
According to the press the ship spilled more than 1,000 tons of its cargo and 4,000 tons of fuel in the waters of Mahebourg Lagoon, one of the island’s most pristine coastal areas. Around 200 miles of the coast was polluted by the oil slick. It killed millions of different sea and beach creatures and an estimated 20,000 birds, as well as contaminating oyster beds in the area.
Local people are desperately trying to clear the oil. A sad and sickening state of affairs. This is so unfair to the innocent recipients of this disaster.
Covid 19 has dramatically changed our modus operandi. We are making the very best of this special time. Much planning and administrative chores get’s done for which we never had time for before – and we venture into new ways of building the Kingdom. Even this story blog has changed. Previously it was more news based covering our missions that we did in different countries.
With Covid 19 restrictions we decided to stay put, not to venture out but rather use this special time to grow in different ways. Even how I write about what we are doing is different, and I get a chance to reflect on different topics and issues important to us.
GREAT FINACIAL NEWS
We were super excited to receive finances from two donors to finish the church building project (below) of Pastor Brave Chimbudzie. We had cash to spare and bought a computer for Pastor Shemstone Zimba. He needs it to run the multimedia Bible School that we are starting in the Sani district on Lake Malawi.
We are grateful for our partnership with Heaven & Earth Church in Hermanus who are supplying the Malawians with the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry material. We also look forward to our pastoral couple Stoffel and Linda Fourie’s visit to Malawi with us, hopefully next year. In future we plan to bring along mission teams to assist with empowerment in the area.
MULTI MEDIA PRODUCTION
Using our preaching notes and videos we are in the process of developing a teaching series called the “Smartie Collection”. It consists of 5 books and videos to help a person get established in their new found faith. The topics; Word, Prayer, Wisdom, Faith & Love. The book on Wisdom is on its way.
We are very grateful for our intercessory teams that are regularly praying for us. We hold a monthly zoom meeting when we pray for specific needs.
Our online Zoom service with our Phillipino friends is well underway. We hold 2 services a month on a Sunday morning and meet 2 Friday evenings for general teachings and prayer support.
CHURCH IN HERMANUS
Our Pastor Linda Fourie delivered an anointed message in Hermanus and we are grateful for technology that enables us to join in services with the rest of our home church.
Since 2018 we have been in a process to acquire inheritance land in Botswana in a village called Makwate. The purpose is to build a mission base from which we can serve different countries. The progress is slow, but we were delighted when our good friend Kaas Versfeld acted in our absence to finalize an important step in the process. Below is a picture taken when we were at site previously.
THE MOVE TO HETSLOT LODGE
It was time to leave and I asked the owner of Stockpoort lodge Alta Steenkamp about another lodge and game farm that she owns – if it was possible for us to stay there for a short while. She agreed and we were overjoyed.
Hetslot Lodge is near Steenbokpan, a charming “one horse town” that lies in the Waterberg municupality district. The Waterberg (Thaba Meetse) is the first region in the northern part of South Africa to be named as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The whole of the Waterberg region is bushveld and a wonderful place for nature to flourish.
Industry has their eyes on the Lephalale and Steenbokpan area to create and energy hub that produces coal mines. For the sake of the environment I hope this will not come true!
Picture below – on the road again, and we have just passed Steenbokpan.
We arrived at Hetslot Lodge and received a warm welcome from the management. Having settled in I became aware of a tame nyala buck on the property ( picture below) and I was immediately captivated.
The nyala is a spiral-horned and medium-sized antelope, between a bushbuck and a kudu. It is quite a shy animal and it is named nyala, or “shifty one”, in the South African language IsiZulu. Fully grown they are one of the most beautiful antelope there are.
The manager of the lodge Suzette du Plessis introduced us to another tame animal, the cutest bushbaby named Tippy whom they had rescued. In the picture below you see Tippy and her litter of bushbabies. They live in Suzette’s house on top of a cupboard and being nocturnal they go out at night to roam free in the big trees surrounding the house. I shared the picture of Tippy with JOY! magazine and it featured alongside an article that I wrote recently.
Hetslot Lodge pictured below is well worth a visit. It offers a tranquil breakaway from the big cities in Gauteng. https://hetslot.co.za/
We were spoiled with excellent accommodation. The beauty of the place and the friendliness of the people took us by surprise and we knew we were going to have a wonderful stay here.
The atmosphere was peacefulall the time and idyllic with Springbuck grazing outside on the lawn. There was a little black springbuck born when we were there.
The tame nyala came to visit us at night where we stayed.
Despite the fact that we were in a holiday environment we never let up pursuing the best we can, with much passion the developing of the ministry. We want to bring honor to Jesus with everything we do.
While at Hetslot Lodge we held an online Friday evening service with our Fillipino friends in Maseru. 3 Missionaries joined us to support the group with prayer and prophecy. “Thank you Rosemary Benn Chemaly and Elsie Goosen from Hermanus, and Mariana Peterson from Langebaan, West Coast SA for your contribution and coming online with us. You made a huge difference and we can’t wait for you to join us again.” These precious ladies were so touched ministering to our Fillipino friends that they told us afterwards that they were in tears.
BAOBAB TREES AT THE LODGE
There are a number of Baobab trees on the farm. They are gigantic and appear to be upside-down in the ground with their roots reaching up in the sky. The lifespan of the baobab trees is between 300 – 500 years – and there are one in the Limpopo province as old as 3 000 years.
I the picture below I am enjoying the warmth and great strength of the trunk of a Baobab tree. Many people refer to the Baobab as the tree of life.
The Baobab tree plays a significant role in a children’s story that I wrote called “Trackeroo and the Crew” One of the main scenes in the story happens inside a baobab tree somewhere in Africa where King Leo the Lamb’s Kingdom is. From there a rescue mission is launched to save the earthlings from a killer bug that attacks the earthlings. (Sounds like Covid 19!) The rescue team Trackeroo and the Crew receives a lot of resistance and sabotage from the Whicked Wheed and his evil cronies and the outcome of the story… is for you to find out! https://trackeroocrew.wixsite.com/trackerooandthecrew
The story of our stay at Hetslot Lodge will continue next month.
STOCKPOORT BORDER LODGE- 2ND MONTH
Life at the Lodge – Certainty in Uncertainty – Historical Month
Carpe Diem Virtual Reality New Reality – Church Unlimited Launched! – Malawi Progress – Monthly Routine / JOY! article – Care for Children – Intercession
LIFE AT THE LODGE
Night Time at Limpopo River
Night skies are spectacular in this part of the world. Some of the nights the moon and stars hide behind clouds. Other nights the deep night shows off a star studded sky so brilliant, awesome and pulsating with life that it takes your breath away.
One particular night was very special. We saw the cloudy Milky Way’s galactic circle hung vividly across night sky.
It reminded me of the Psalmist who wrote in Ps 8:3-5 “ When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place— what is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honour.…”
Humans can only see a very small speck of stars in the Milky Way galaxy and with an estimated 100 billion plus galaxies in the universe the size of man seems ridiculously small and insignificant.
We have stayed at Stockpoort lodge since last month and are very happy here. If it wasn’t for Covid 19 we would have never been able to afford to stay in the lodges like we do. We are very grateful to the owners Thys and Alta Horn for their hospitality and generosity. This affords us the opportunity to develop our ministry in peace and quiet in a beautiful environment. We are also in a place where we are ever ready to cross the border into Botswana, which is an overriding desire right now.
We start and end our work days with long walks of prayer and discussion along the river bank. The river environment is pristine and flourishing on both sides of Botswana and South Africa. We are grateful to see parts of the world untouched by human development.
We never tire of the river especially when it is flowing strong like this year and teeming with wild life. Our favourite past time is to see if we can spot hippos in the water or crocodiles sunbathing on the side. We often see them, which causes great excitement. But, one can never lose respect for these giant beasts – and when they show their dislike in your presence it is better to retreat.
It is a great privilege to spend so much time in nature – and God forbid that the Limpopo River with its abundant vegetation, magnificent trees and wildlife will ever change due to the interference of man or governments.
Covid 19 Family Gathering
The other day family of ours Ben, Elmie and children who owns the farm opposite on the Botswana side, came to visit. We stood on either side of the river – and had to shout at one another to be heard. At least no masks were required! Ben said if my father was still alive he would have thought it hilarious seeing us ‘socialising’ like this on the river. But this is what Covid 19 does, it makes you do unusual things!
Getting to Know the Chef
We are hunkered down by Covid 19 with Lodewyk the chef at Stockpoort. Food naturally became the big part of our conversation every day. We teamed up with him to make food and it was a special and insightful experience. When Lodewyk prepared food for us with love it was super delicious. We learned how to make his special lasagna, the best I have ever tasted. Dawid learned how to make pizza.
The Story of Aapstert.
Vervet monkeys are plentiful in Africa and where we stay there are many. These monkeys often come into conflict with their human neighbours. I feel very sorry for them. Hunger drives them to search for food and it endangers their lives. Many people consider them a pest.
Below is “Aapstert”, whom I also called “Chopstix” running for his life with his prize in his mouth.
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To me the vervet monkeys are very cute and amusing. One day I started mimicking the behaviour of one monkey that was sitting in a tree nearby. I could see the astonishment on his face as I copied every move that he made. It was as if he was thinking; “What the heck is this human doing?
I know feeding monkeys is a taboo and for a very good reason. So I selected a tree away from the lodge in the bush where I left little treats of cut fruit in the bark of a tree. I called it their Christmas tree. It was my treat to know they are getting a little surprize each day.
Then one day I saw a monkey with a lame arm and felt pity for him. I started serving whole fruits to him and he got to know me when I called him. I named him “Aapstert” and sometimes called him “Chopstix” – with reference to his two long front arms. Slowly trust formed between us. I will never forget watching his face when he ate his first avocado. It was pure bliss. Every day I called him, he would come. I pray that he will be safe when I leave. Fortunately they are very scared of humans and they run for their lives when they see a human approaching.
BEING CERTAIN IN UNCERTAINTY
At the end of next month it will be 8 years since I answered the ministry call of a travelling missionary.” Dawid joined me a while later after he attended Mission School in the Philippines. When I made this decision I was staying in Mauritius – searching for direction for my life. The verse in Matthew 4:23 kept cropping up; “Jesus travelled through the region ….” and it set me off on an adventure of a lifetime, no questions asked.
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Mauritius was the first place that I started to preach. I was so desperate to preach that if nobody asked me to preach – that I was going to make it happen by myself, which I did! I preached in a local church and more invitations followed.
When I obeyed the call I knew that things will be vastly different in my life, and not so easy. I had no way of knowing what to expect, except that I had this desire to surrender and obey the Lord no matter what.
When things got really unpleasant for me after the first year back in South Africa I heard the Lord saying. “The only thing that you will be certain about is – that you are going to be uncertain.” Wow that was some comfort! In a way it was comforting because He had said it to me, and I knew I could trust Him.
It is therefore with a slight bit of amusement, and perhaps unfairly so that I watch people struggle with the uncertainty of Covid 19. For me being certain in my uncertainty has become a lifestyle and Dawid and I have become at ease and at peace with it.
Soon we will leave Stockpoort Lodge and I have no idea where we will be going next. All I know is that God is faithful and once you answer His call, He works out ahead, what will happen next.
God told me that after 7 years of travelling that He will give us a base. We are now nearing the end of 8 years end of August. Happy and waiting right here on the river!!!
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We are accustomed to travelling so I don’t know if I even want to really settle down. I wonder to myself sometimes, will I get bored staying in just one place? I have no clue what it feels like anymore.
There are things that I miss, being able to lock my belongings safely in one place when we travel. I long for my own clothing cupboard! I long to have my own dog, cat or both. The latter of course is difficult to have when you travel, so I need a supernatural solution!
God has been so faithful to us that I have no doubt wherever we stay, or wherever we go, it will be in His perfect plan.
Right now our vision is for a mission base that we want to develop in Botswana and we are working on that. Our aim is to settle in a little village called Makwate on the borderline of the Tuli – Block as indicated in the arrow below, or somewhere near there. We are trusting God for a place in the Cape as well, or wherever God wants to give us a base.
CARPE DIEM – VIRTUAL REALITY NEW REALITY
Covid 19 has thrown the door wide open for new ministry opportunities. We can hardly find the time to do all the things that we want to do. We have so many exciting projects that we are developing. Online ministry has become a reality since we did our first live broadcast from the Chan’s family living room in Ladybrand . Social media, What’sapp and Zoom technology’s combined enable us to serve different parts of the world in an easy and effective way while not physically there.
Dawid ministered via zoom to the University of Johannesburg students for their winter leadership camp.
CHURCH UNLIMITED LAUNCHED
This is great news! We have launched Church Unlimited our new Online Church. This is a vision God gave us last year and it has come into fulfilment. Right now the group is small but God said,”Do not despise the day of small beginnings.”
We ministered to our Phillipino church based in Maseru with their family in the Philippines from a restaurant at Stockpoort Lodge. How amazing is it that we connect families together in the same worship service who are living in different parts of the world – Lesotho and Philippines. Doing this make us excited. Zoom technology provides us with a brand new way to provide on going support to the revival centres we minister to in different parts of the world.
PREACHING FROM THE BEDROOM
Our church in Hermanus (Heaven and Earth) asked Dawid to preach online and we prepared his bedroom as a studio as seen below.
The amazing thing about new technology is that we can deliver a sermon to the world from a bedroom in a remote place and this is exactly what we did.
ATTENDING HEAVEN AND EARTH CHURCH
Similarly we can attend our church in Hermanus on a Sunday no matter where we are. We are tuning in here in the picture below – our beloved Pastor Stoffel preaching a liberating message.
We mentor two Malawian pastors, Pastor Shemstone Zimba and Brave Chimbudzie. Our weekly talks revolve around the importance of integrity, Kingdom life and the renewal of the mind (how to get rid of passive and dependant mentalities) that is plaguing their region.
We are super excited that our financial partners donated enough money this month for us to complete the second church building project, plus we are able to afford starting a Bible school in pastor Zimba’s church!
Pastor Shemstone sent us pictures that shows him and his lovely wife Wezie visiting Brenda who gave them vegetables from her garden that she started. It is an example of a women with a get up and go attitude whom we like to support.
Brenda in the picture below is a success story
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Life is difficult for Brenda as a widow and she suffered stomach cancer 2 years ago when we visited Malawi. As a result she was unable to plant anything, or fix her thatched roof that was in serious disrepair. Last year Brenda felt much better after she was prayed for and she was treated at the hospital. She was well enough to assist us in our children’s ministry, and did great and she is a great all round help to her church and community. Her being a widow, and so helpful to others we decided last year to fix her roof with proper corrugated iron sheets, and we bought her a mattress. For the first time Brenda did not have to sleep on a mat on a hard floor and she was overjoyed.
This year we can see from the pictures that Pastor Zimba sent us that Brenda is flourishing. Our next plan is to buy her a proper bed and to assist her with her agricultural ventures. It is our pleasure to help someone who is willing to contribute so much to her community, despite her own challenges.
Every month I write an article for JOY magazine, which I also publish on our animal blog https://lofunlimited.org/animal-blog/ I update our website and Dawid manages the finances. We work together steering the ministry forward. As you can see in the pic below – it is wintertime!
CARE FOR CHILDREN
Rose and Lynette, friends of ours at Heaven and Earth Church in Hermanus have huge hearts of compassion. They knitted beanies, scarfs and gloves for children at the Aids Hospice in Ladybrand where we have ministered before. We are so thankful for their kind generosity.
INTERCESSION IS POWERFUL
Powerful prayer went up this month for several important matters. Best news is that we are not praying alone anymore. We have two groups that are interceding for us, which we never had before. We are forever grateful.
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Being on the mission field for a few years we always felt one thing lacking – and that was a dedicated group of people committed to praying for our missions. A breakthrough came end of last year when Heaven and Earth church in Hermanus adopted us as missionaries. The students at their School of Intimacy are now praying regularly for us and when possible we hold a zoom prayer meeting with them. This is making a huge difference and we are forever grateful for all the prayers going up.
CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
We also have started a second group of close friends that are praying with us monthly on zoom and again, we are so grateful for these intercessory groups. Matthew 16:25
NIGHT TIME PRAYER
Dawid led us into serious intercession the last week of July. We prayed from 3am – 6am for 5 days in a row. This was a marathon experience and made possible only by much grace!
Dawid is ever ready to pray for someone. Fielies in the photo below had a terrible accident and the doctors had just recently removed a brace from his leg, but he still suffered constant pain in his leg. Days after Dawid had prayed for him, Fielies was very thankful and testified that the pain was now gone in his leg, but still lingered in his foot. We trust God for a full and speedy recovery.
STOCKPOORT BORDER LODGE – LIMPOPO PROVINCE – A COVID19 HIDEOUT
River Living – Exploring the Area – Enjoyable Stay – Special Treat – Crocodile Tears – Magnificent Creation – First Cappuccino – Working a Mile a Minute – Ministry On The Go – Revisiting Bush Camp –Animal Care Blog – Malawian Church Project – Personal Development
RIVER LIVING IN A DIFFERENT PLACE
We had stayed for a month at the Bush Camp on the Limpopo river which was wonderful, but we were asked to move to Stockpoort Lodge not far from there. As usual, God makes all things work together for good (Romans 8:28) and since a cold spell had just moved into the area we were grateful to enjoy a much warmer facility.
I loved the sunshine pouring into my room in the mornings and the grass that I stepped onto when I walked out of my room. We felt connected to the earth and on the edge of the veld where vervet monkeys, mongoose and warthogs entertained us endlessly.
Stockpoort lodge is situated a 5 min walk from the South African border post. We kept looking at the bridge (below) with longing to cross over the Limpopo River to the Botswana side.
EXPLORING THE AREA
We were keen to explore the new area and discovered even more amazing river walks.
The lodge is situated on a farm and behind us on the photo is a green land of luserne. The owner is rightly concerned that with COVID19 local farmers might not have the means to buy the luserne even though they may need it to feed their animals. A very sad state of affairs.
Stockpoort Lodge offered different comforts than what we enjoyed before at the Bush Camp. Takeaway foods are allowed during COVID19 and we ordered the occasional burger or pizza as a treat from the lodge’s restaurant below.
OUR SPECIAL TREAT
Our special treat was to go for our daily walks of prayer and ministry discussion along the banks of the river. We looked forward to these walks because invariably the animal kingdom presented us with an exciting incident, or encounter with them.
CROCODILE TEARS – ALMOST
One morning we stopped at a crocodile hideout that is easily seen from our side of the river. We were a little disappointed that he was not there and instead admired two bushbuck grazing peacefully in the early morning sun on the banks of the river.
Then, our eyes widened. Our mouths dropped open. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. The croc was on the bank of the river on the other side, lying amidst grass next to a log that separated him from the buck. The crocodile and the buck were in very close range. I dreaded seeing a gruesome attack. We alerted the bushbuck by making a noise. Thankfully they fled away waving their white fluffy bunny-like tails in the air, oblivious of their great escape. The indignant crocodile had turned around and came sliding down into the river. It was then that we could fully see him. We were shocked by his size. He was humongous. I have never seen such a big crocodile in the Limpopo River. There is obviously no scarcity of food for him.
We couldn’t take a picture, it all happened too fast. The picture below gives a good indication of his size. Not your friendly neighbour indeed, but a baby monster with a grim attitude, “Cross my path and I will devour you.” There are many spiritual lessons to be learned from just this encounter.
The Book Hebrews states that Jesus Christ is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature. He created the universe, sustains it and propels the universe by the word of His power.
We never tire of admiring nature, especially the river that is now so full after a rainy season. The trees at the river are impressive with their different shapes and sizes. They are huge, varied and inspiring and again provide ample inspiration for teaching people spiritual lessons. It was during our walks that we got many sermon ideas.
OUR FIRST CAPPUCCINO
For shopping we made a bi-weekly trip to Lephalale, a town in the Limpopo province an hour away from where we stay. Covid 19 restrictions partially lifted and we enjoyed our first proper cappuccino in a restaurant. A cappuccino never tasted this good!
Coming into town always felt surreal with mask wearing, hand sterilisation and social distancing. At Stockpoort for most of the time we were far removed from the reality of the pandemic.
WORKING A MILE A MINUTE
We were not on vacation and worked hard on what God had instructed us to do. We did a lot of maintenance initially getting our infrastructure in order and we started with the expansion phase of our ministry. Since Covid 19 we had launched an online ministry which targets a global audience to augment our mission outreaches.
As an office we used an open hall at the lodge – and even here troupes of monkeys and sometimes a clan of up to 60 mongoose paid us a visit. How delightful is that.
MINISTRY ON THE GO
A young boy came to visit, and Dawid never let an opportunity slip by to let someone experience the tangible and electric Presence of God. It is easy to understand why Jesus said in Luke 18:17 “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
REVISITING THE BUSH CAMP
Every so often we went on a longer 2 Hr walks and we visited the Bush Camp where we stayed before. Great place with great memories. Keeping good company with us was the owner Willem’s little dog. He was not going to miss out on any adventure.
LOVE FOR ANIMALS BLOG
Please click on the link below and read the latest article I wrote for JOY Magazine.
MALAWI CHURCH PROJECT
In Malawi our Pastor Brave Chimbuzie was making progress with the building of the church. They had put up the roof and are now plastering the walls. The floor will go in next as soon as the money is raised. Dawid is constantly managing the finances and the materials.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS DURING COVID 19
Last but not least. Our aim is to use this time to improve our expertise to best build God’s Kingdom. We signed up for various online courses as listed below.
– Georgian & Winnie Banov’s 5 day Prophetic Challenge
– Dr Myles Munroe – Wisdom for Dominion Series
– Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Udemy
BUSH CAMP – STOCKPOORT – LIMPOPO PROVINCE
Perfect Place for Lockdown – Settling In – A little Piece of Heaven – Thunderous Applause – Dwelling in the Secret Place before the Crack of Dawn – River Love – Bushbabies – High drama – Long walks Ties with Botswana – Parr’s Halt Farm – Meeting on the River Israelites on the Jordan River – Makwate – Thriving Ministry Albeit Different – Online Teaching, Preaching and Video Production – Prophetic Pentecost Preaching God Loves Animals – 2N Church Building Project in Malawi
THE PERFECT PLACE FOR LOCKDOWN
South Africa has changed lockdown level from stage 5 to 4 in May allowing one week of travel between provinces at the beginning of the month. We gladly took the opportunity to move to a warmer part of the country for the winter season.
Our 4 wheel drive vehicle (supported by a factory in Lesotho) was packed and we excitedly headed north. We left Ladybrand behind on the border of Lesotho and travelled to Stockpoort Bush Camp on the Limpopo River next to the border post. The river is the border between South Africa and Botswana.
We also wanted to be as close as possible to the border crossing in case we could go over into Botswana to sort out the acquisition of inheritance land transfer. It is a piece of land that we want to turn into a home and mission base.
The first 3 days after arrival in the bush-camp we sat around like two zombies. I realised that after more than 7 years of living out of a suitcase and travelling through regions on missions, without a permanent address – it has taken its toll on me. My brain resisted orientating itself in a new place. Eventually we settled in and slowly carved out a way of dealing with our new routine and circumstances.
A LITTLE PIECE OF HEAVEN
The upside was – it slowly dawned on us that we stayed in an absolutely amazing natural environment. It was a magnificent hideaway, a little piece of heaven right here on earth. It was the kind of place that I always dreamed about to stay in.
I couldn’t be happier sharing this time here with my son Dawid who is a huge blessing in my life. We felt close to God. We could almost hear the thunderous applause of the stars at night in adoration of our Almighty God and the trees clapping their leaves by day in praise. Since the beginning of time His invisible attributes are clearly evident through what He has made, in the heaven’s and on the earth. The stars and living creatures have no voice to speak, but they speak all the time, especially here in the bush veld! His magnificent creation is testament to His greatness, generosity and unending love!
We spent the majority of time outdoors and part of our routine was cooking on the fire and “braaing.” No complaints!
DWELLING IN THE SECRET PLACE – BEFORE THE CRACK OF DAWN
We hardly ever saw people, which was perfect for lockdown and we were oblivious to what was going on in the outside world. Pure bliss! Our new habit was getting up crazy early in the morning to have our secret time with God around 3 am ! It was wonderful and a new experience. It was easy to do this because as soon as the sun had set every night, and we were done with supper we went straight to bed.
I was constantly captivated by the magnificent big trees along the banks of the river and the body of water flowing beneath us. Daily we sat on the huge wooden deck and blended into nature – far removed from Covid 19 and the fighting going on in parts of the world.
Every morning just when the sun would come up I would put on my warm long coat, make myself a hot cup of tea and sit on the wooden deck on a high chair overlooking the river. My happy place. I loved listening to the haunting cry of fish eagles that always evoked so many emotions and memories in me, and watched the river flow below me in the first light of day. I was mesmerised with the early steam rising from the shimmering body of water that moved slowly and carefully like a huge sheet of glass on its way somewhere. It was a sight I fell in love with and never grew tired off.
At twilight one evening Dawid and I saw a commotion above the water in the trees in front of us. We thought it was birds fluttering around in the leaves but then realised It was bush babies! They had just woken up and were energetically jumping around in the trees. It was a rare sight to see. Bush-babies are little monkey-like creatures characterised by their tiny size and huge eyes. People find them irresistibly cute. They are nocturnal, not easily seen and are the smallest primates in Africa.
There is always high drama in the animal kingdom. One night a troupe of baboons made a terribly loud and aggressive noise for a long time. It was as if they were at war. It was either the males stalking out territory or a leopard that hunted them down. Another morning I spotted two hippos up the river and excitedly called Dawid. We also saw several water turtles feeding on the edge of the river – less dangerous! Then one day when we looked down from our high vantage point on the deck we couldn’t believe our eyes. A big crocodile came gliding along in the middle of the river just under the surface of the water. The croc looked perfectly menacing to me. I was glad I was not the one in his way.
During our daily long walks we marvelled at God’s creation. How varied and absolutely wonderful it is. A gift to mankind.
We saw various animals like antelope, giraffes, warthogs, monkeys and meerkats. Below is a picture of a waterbuck that is common in the area. They are easily identified by the distinct white circle on their backsides.
Sights like these and many other animal and bird encounters made me realise just how happy we were in nature. God could not have placed us in a better environment during lockdown.
TIES WITH BOTSWANA
I may have mentioned in previous posts that I spent a lot of time in Botswana during my childhood years. I took Dawid there several times from the age of two to visit my Dad so we have a lot of wonderful memories there.
The bush camp where we stayed now is positioned right opposite the property in Botswana where we so often I visited my Dad in previous years. He stayed there since 1960 until a few years ago.
If Covid 19 did not happen we would have been on the farm in Botswana right now and we wanted so badly to go there. It was so close yet so far, with crocodiles, hippos and the hand of the law firmly separating us. Often in the past when I had gone for walks on the opposite Botswana side I would see the bush camp on the SA side and little did I know we would one day stay here.
PARRS’ HALT FARM
For the last 3 years every time we visited Botswana for missions we stayed at this farm for at least 2 months. Owners and friends of ours, Kobus and Ulinda Smith don’t stay on the farm. Their 3 workers Angie, Robert and Mpho stays there and we became quite close to them through our discipleship outreach program. The picture below was taken last year.
MEETING ON THE RIVER
Great was our joy one day in the bush camp when we heard voices on the Botswana side of the river. We suspected it was them but they had no idea we were there. We shouted out loud to attract their attention. When they responded with loud shouting we were overjoyed. At first we could not see them due to the high trees and vegetation, but after much shouting backwards and forwards they finally emerged on the other side of the river. Great was our excitement to see one another and we had to keep on shouting to communicate across the river. They came to visit us several times after that.
ISRAELITES ON THE JORDAN RIVER
We wanted to go into Botswana, and felt like the Israelites standing on the Jordan river looking into the promised land. We used the opportunity to make declarations of blessing over the farmland opposite us and the nation of Botswana.
One day we went visiting a neighbouring farm and they had an outlook post. We climbed up this high structure and for the first time we were high above the African bush.
We could see from South Africa across the plains of Botswana. Great was our surprise that we could actually see the hillside of Makwate in the distance. (Picture below)
On the side of the hill facing towards us is a property that was allocated to my father, for which I have put in a claim. Seeing this unusual sight from across the border was a sign to us that no matter all the challenges we face – that we will get hold of this land in Botswana and develop it for His purposes.
THRIVING MINISTRY – ALBEIT DIFFERENT
Our love for the bush, the river and animals did not prevent us from being productive during this time. On the contrary. God gave us a blueprint to develop the ministry. His first instruction was to reinforce our infrastructure and everything related to managing the ministry. The next phase will be reviewing and enlarging our vision. This will include the development of new products and services and a plan to go online into all the world using digital technology plus practical outreaches. We are getting ready for the next big wave of harvest coming during the pandemic and when it is over .
ONLINE TEACHING, PREACHING & VIDEO PRODUCTION
To support the emotional states that many people are in during lockdown we developed and presented a 6 part teaching series in Ladybrand entitled “KICK FEAR IN THE FACE!” I did the final delivery in the bush camp entitled ” Perfect loves drive out all fear.”
Watch now in the link below!
PROPHETIC PENTECOST MESSAGE
Our home church Heaven and Earth in Hermanus asked us to preach on Pentecost. I was privileged to preach on the day.
Watch now in the link below!
GOD LOVES ANIMALS
I have always found it a tragedy that animal welfare is mainly a secular cause. I am frustrated that Christians don’t preach from the pulpit about this, or actively fight for the well being of God’s animal kingdom. Certainly the proper care of animals falls within the domain of good stewardship of the earth. I was therefore delighted and honoured when asked by Erin Georgiou – Chief Editor of JOY! Magazine to write a series of articles entitled “God Loves Animals.”
2nd CHURCH BUILDING PROJECT IN MALAWI
The first church that we built in the Sani district on lake Malawi is of great benefit to Pastor Shemstone Zimba and his congregation. Apart from using the building for church gatherings and meetings, we held several successful conferences in this building in previous years. Our vision is to ultimately run a Bible School here.
Last year we joined in partnership with Pastor Brave Chimbudzie to build a second church in the Sani district. A recent picture below shows the progress made and we look forward to seeing this building completed. Our vision is to use this building for church services, but also for child development and agricultural training.
We want to thank all our partners who have made a valuable contribution towards building this church! Without friends and partners we will never be able to achieve what we do for the ministry in various places.
Click below to DONATE to complete the church building!
2020 Calendar Changed – Online Ministry Launched – Completed a 46 part Healing Course.
2020 CALENDAR CHANGED
We were in Ladybrand when the lockdown started. The question was now on our minds – how long would the lockdown last? Nobody knew and it became clear that the calendar that we had planned for the year is now cancelled until further notice . We were scheduled to arrive in Botswana in April and Malawi in May for which we had paid airline tickets for but now everything was uncertain.
ON LINE MINISTRY LAUNCHED
A NEW DIRECTION THANKS TO LOCKDOWN
President Rhamapoza had announced South Africa’s lockdown on the 23rd of March and by now we were getting used to staying put in the house in Ladybrand complete with our own little gym routine. It suddenly occurred to me that this was an ideal time to start an online ministry!
God has clearly instructed us last year when we were in Botswana that we should start an online church. Reason being that we need to provide a follow up service to all the revival hubs we go to every year.
In picture below is Dawid in his small online studio.
DAWID TOOK TO THE ON LINE STAGE FIRST
With my hand being operated on I felt fragile and we agreed that Dawid would start a live teaching 3 part series on Facebook. He called it PEACE IN THE PANIC. It was successful and we were amazed that it gained views from different parts of the world.
Watch the teaching series “Peace in the Panic” in the link below!
ONLINE TEACHING PREP
We set up my little on line studio 3 weeks later. I wanted to continue with an anti – fear message and encourage people during this challenging time.
I called my 3 part on line teaching series “Triumph in Trouble.” I did 2 of the 3 parts series before leaving for our next destination. Our plan is to combine Dawid’s 3 teachings and mine in a course series with text books. It will be called “KICK FEAR IN THE FACE” and will be able to set people free from this debilitating disease.
Watch the teaching series “Triumph in Trouble” in the link below!
WE COMPLETED AN ONLINE HEALING COURSE 46 Part Series
The lockdown afforded us an excellent opportunity to do a course series we would otherwise never have found the time to do.
We completed a 46 part healing series that combined excellent teaching with great testimonies by Andrew Wommack. It is titled: “God wants you well”‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcLqPOvL0C8
Domestic Workers in Durbanville – Corona Pandemic Fever
On the road again NI north to Lesotho – Meeting an Extraordinary Man – Marketplace Ministry – Salvation in Bloemfontein
Ladybrand – Our last Social Meetings in SA – Ministry in Lesotho – Lockdown and “the fall.“
DOMESTIC WORKER MINISTRY IN DURBANVILLE
A friend of mine Ymile organised for us to go and minister to a very interesting group of people – housewives and their domestic workers. I always thought the connection between these two women groups, if steered properly can change our nation! They have so much influence – raising all the young men and women in SA in various places; townships, farms and in different parts of towns and cities. So, I was very keen to go, and to see how real and serious this outreach was.
We were not dissapointed. Both Dawid and I had a chance to teach to the group and to attend to the ladies that needed ministry.
God supernaturally singled out and touced people. It was so special to see racial barriers gone and love flowing freely in the meeting.
I realised that if a Godly alliance and proper support between these two women groups can be formed in South Africa it will be a power no one will be able to resist, for the greater good of our nation.
Thank you to Inge Erasmus and friends who have made this meeting possible for us.
COVID 19 PANDEMIC FEVER
We became aware of the Corona virus since December 2019. Dawid’s father was in lockdown in a city in China and we were initially concerned for his safety. Little did we know how it will also effect us and the rest of the world. The news started trickling in about the virus and people wanted to understand the impact of the virus and where it came from. Little did everyone know that our world was about to change drastically.
TRAVELLING N1 NORTH TO LESOTHO.
The time had come for us to leave the Western Cape. We travelled up north into Africa on our yearly mission trip and I was very excited to go. We left on the 12th of March from Somerset West and stayed overnight in Bloemfontein with family on route to Ladybrand on the Lesotho border.
MEETING AN EXTRAORDINARY MAN
On the road in the middle of nowhere we passed an extraordinary man. I had heard of his story from a friend of mine and urged Dawid; “Stop, stop!” I wanted us to at least greet him, show respect and offered help if he needed any. He told us that he had walked with the cross from Pretoria to Upington in the Northern Cape, down the West Coast of South Africa to Cape Town, and is now walking back to Pretoria.
ON THE GO MINISTRY
We stopped on the N1 for lunch and ministered to the lady at the restaurant in picture below. She burst into tears when she told us her problems and it was wonderful to speak God’s word into her life. We comforted her and prayed for her. Little did we know that physical touch, which we so freely give in our ministry as an expression of love would soon be something of the past.
SALVATION IN BLOEMFONTEIN
One person is as important to God as a crowd. Since December I have ministered on whats app to a young girl that I have not personally met. We agreed that when I come to Bloemfontein that we would meet.
It was our joy to lead her to the Lord and Dawid baptised her and she and her boyfriend were filled with the Holy Spirit.
ON THE GO MINISTRY IN LADYBRAND
Arriving in Ladybrand we went shopping and little did we know when praying for people in the isle that it would be the last time, for a very long time that we could do this.
OUR LAST 2 SOCIAL MEETINGS FOR A LONG TIME
We met with Toyik Chan (our dear friend and ministry partner) and his friends. They have just returned from Kenya due to the corona virus threat.
MEETING LESOTHO FACTORY OWNERS AND FRIENDS Our very last social meeting. (picture below) Little did we know how radical social distancing and the wearing of masks will change our lives.
STOCKING UP AMIDST PANDEMIC
The corona virus had overnight become a reality. It was clear we needed to get masks and disinfectant, so we stocked up as best we could.
LESOTHO MASERU – FACTORY MINISTRY
Toyik Chan co-owner of Hippo Knitting factory asked us to come through to the factory in Lesotho. He wanted us to minister to the Asian group in his factory who had become increasingly concerned about a corona virus outbreak in Lesotho, a country with limited medical facilities.
READ MORE ...
We were hesitant to go at first due to the high alert about the virus but we understood our responsibility towards this group. We had come to love and appreciate them and we decided to go. At the border of Lesotho we had our first encounter with a person wearing a mask and the reality kicked in on the seriousness of the situation. Little did we know that we had a close brush with the corona virus due to a person we met in Bloemfontein that attended the day before the international prayer meeting where a lot of people were infected with the virus.
On arrival at the hostel of the factory we were treated to the best authentic Asian meal ever. We always felt we were somewhere on the other side of the world when we shared meals with the Asian and Pakistani people at the factory.
After supper we split into two groups. Toyik ministered to the Chinese group and we ministered to the rest of the Asian group. We instilled confidence into them of God’s love and that they should not fear!
READ MORE ... getting a fright.
We enjoyed communion together and left. Little did we know that we would not be able to go into Lesotho again for ministry for a long time.
Two days later I woke up in the middle of the night with a start realising that we had been in contact with a person who could have passed the virus onto us. We had met with her a day after she was at an international prayer meeting in Bloemfontein where many people were contaminated.
The possibility existed that she could have been contaminated, which could have contaminated us which means we could have contaminated the people in the factory! I felt dreadful. I was not concerned about us getting the virus but about the people in the factory! It was NOT a good feeling and I prayed hard that these precious people would not get in harms way especially after we had gone to tell them about the trustworthy goodness of God. Thank God it turned out we did not receive or spread the virus!
LOCKDOWN AND ‘THE FALL”.
Suddenly our world has changed. Corona virus took centre stage in the world news and in every conversation. Conspiracy theories abounded.
READ MORE ...
LOCKDOWN AND ‘THE FALL”. A lesson learned.
During this time God has warned us specifically that if we can’t do anything practical about a problem, except to pray that we shouldn’t spend our time and energy on it – as it will weaken us. Instead we should stay spiritually strong and focus on what we can do something about – and that is improving our ministry!
I did not heed the advice. For about 10 days my early morning habit had changed. I reached for my cell phone first to check on Corona virus updates, instead of my Bible that would have inspired me and kept me strong during these troubled times.
ONE LESSON LEARNED ON THE MISSION FIELD
We have learned this one thing on the mission field – that it is vital it is to make God first priority every day and that it would cost us dearly if we don’t.
The evening came that President Rhamaposa announced the lockdown and disaster was about to strike. I went out for a run in the dark, tripped and fell. Two of my fingers on my righthand were badly broken, and I was in great pain and shock.
Toyik was quickly on the scene to assist us at the local hospital and Cindy our dear Taiwanese friend PICTURE BELOW and her parents brought us food to eat. Cindy had to feed me like a child as I had no use of my right hand and their love and care for us greatly comforted me. Much gratitude.
2 Days later I was operated on in a hospital in Bloemfontein. I was back home just in time when the lockdown started. This was a whole new lifestyle that we had to get used to.
Preaching / teaching and becoming members at Heaven and Earth Church – Street ministry
JOINING HEAVEN AND EARTH CHURCH
We were asked by the leading pastors of Heaven and Earth Church in Hermanus, Pastor’s Stoffel and Linda Fourie to preach at two of their Sunday services. We were excited and honoured to do that.
I preached on the Glory Realm Bliss. PICTURE BELOW
Dawid preached on New Creation Identity PICTURE BELOW
The church members welcomed us with open arms, honoured us and promoted us on their social media. This was a first for us and a really heartwarming experience. God was giving us a little taste of what was to come.
Pastor Stoffel and Linda, in the picture below invited us to their house for a meal and asked us if they could adopt us as missionaries. We were stunned and overjoyed. We have prayed for a long time where we should fit in with a church family with all the resulting benefits of friendship, prayer covering, emotional support ext.
Finally we had found our home and we trust that God will channel great things through our relationship with them.
We ministered on 3 occasions at the churches SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL and SCHOOL OF INTIMACY. During this time we bonded with the students who have agreed to become prayer warriors for our missions. This is absolute wonderful news and we trust that this will be a collaborative missions effort in the true sense of the word.
ON THE ROAD MINISTRY
Dawid is seen praying here for a man in Caledon hospital. We managed to pray for every person in the ward while visiting a friend whom we also prayed for. His testimony is extraordinary. He had prostrate cancer and we later heard he was miraculously healed. We don’t claim at all that it is our prayers that healed him but what we do know that it is not science but God who healed him. ALL glory and gratitude to God for a miracle healing!
YOUTH MINISTRY in Clifton below
GOD LOVES ANIMALS
JOY! magazine offered me a 1 page article per month to focus on the importance of christians becoming aware of God’s value for the animal kingdom. There is so much needless cruelty and neglect in the world towards animals and I believe it is an overdue responsibility of ministers of the Gospel to address this issue even from the pulpit. The Bible says in Leviticus that the earth will vomit us out if we abuse the land, which includes animals in the land. I have managed to write my first article and the editor of JOY was pleased with it.
BUILDING A 2nd CHURCH IN MALAWI.
Pastor Brave Chimbuzie is progressing well with building a church for his congregation with our finacial partners money. He is overwhelmed with gratitude and what’s app us every few days to say thank you and greetings to the partners. Dawid is managing the process.
We recently sent money for them to buy a wheelbarrow – a neccesary tool to cart bricks around.
ANNUAL SPIRITUAL RETREAT
3 WEEK RETREAT, 7 DAY FAST
We were physically refreshed after the December break, but needed spiritual renewal to strengthen us for what lie in the year ahead.
We couldn’t be in a better place than at Wildehondekloof Private Game Reserve. It is a spectacular luxurious getaway place with about 25 wild Nyala’s grazing peacefully in the front of our rooms every day. https://www.whkloof.co.za/
Hermien & Dawid
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