Dear Friends and Family
Greetings in the precious and wonderful Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
I hope and trust that you are doing well and that your soul is prospering and thriving in the goodness and mercy of our great God and Father.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?…
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?…
For I am persuaded that…[nothing]…shall be able to separate us
from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This year has been a crazy, emotional roller-coaster ride for us. You haven’t heard from us at all this year and for that I do apologize. We have gone through some tense storms, walked through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’, and faced some exasperating trials. God has been with us through the fires, although there were times when we thought we were all alone. Please read this letter with the understanding that though we have trials, “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Missionary Training Vision
We came back last year from the Congo Overland Mission 2014 with great vision, calling, and passion to return to Malawi and serve the spiritually vulnerable, beautiful people of various tribes who are falling prey to the invasive, insidious advance of Islam. During our South Sudan Overland Mission 2013, having seen the desperate need for missionaries all over Africa, we saw a need and developed a passion for setting up an intensive Missionary Training Farm in South Africa in order to train up missionaries to fulfill the countless needs in Africa. Included in this vision was the need to have a satellite Mission Base closer to the area of need for further training of missionaries and for facilitating missionary outreach to surrounding areas. So when during the Congo Overland Mission 2014 we saw the great need and potential in Malawi, we believed that it would be ideal to set up a satellite Mission Base here.
Malawi Mission Vision
We leased a piece of land in Malawi (99 year lease) where we hoped to set up a Mission base of operations, a place where we would spend extended time among the people, learn their language and culture, and focus on effective ministry in the surrounding area – a place where missionary trainees could further their training whilst living among the indigenous people. We felt led by God in this, even having set out a ‘fleece’ to test the ‘water’. We had saved up some money that had come in from generous supporters and this was going to be used to build a small house on this land that we had acquired. Everything seemed to be lined up just right for us to pursue this noble vision.
Wrench from Our Clutches
However, upon our return to South Africa, we were in for some nasty surprises. Firstly, my mother got suddenly very ill and had to be admitted into hospital. Mom had been fighting the cancer battle for almost 8 years already and the doctors had run out of medical options for treating mom’s cancer by the end of 2013. Mom then started on this amazing diet known as the Budwig Diet – known for its incredible results in treating cancer patients. This diet made a remarkable improvement in mom’s health, vitality, and energy. We really thought (hoped, trusted, believed) that Mom was improving and that this diet would perform a miracle. But last year in December, we had a nasty surprise as Mom was wrenched away from our clutches by this dreadful disease. My amazing loving mother died too early at age 62 on Christmas Day 2014. We had a funeral two days before the New Year, and entered 2015 trying to keep the pain and sorrow of 2014 back in the past where it belonged. Our efforts were in vain. The pain, sorrow, disbelief, anger, guilt, doubt, and frustration came rushing back at us from out of the past.
Faith Under Fire!
My faith was under fire! Where was God? What does He exist for? Why do I have faith in Him? What is the use of serving Him so sacrificially? Why did He not allow Mom to leave this world peacefully? These were some of the questions buffeting my faith and I had very little willpower to defend myself against these questions and doubts. I was angry with God.
Whilst facing this battle, I also had to face a new conflict – one of finances. The money that I had saved up for the purpose of building a mission house and setting up a Mission base in Malawi was now to be used for a different purpose. One of our particularly generous supporters had intended the money to be used for a different need and somehow, this intention had not reached our ears. This miscommunication was identified and corrected almost 5 months after receiving the funds. I was happy to redirect the funds for the intended purpose, but this then left us without any funding for the Malawi Mission Base project. Once again, I started to become angry with God (I suppose just like Jonah was when God took away the plant that He had caused to grow to give Jonah some shade). I really had thought that God had laid the vision on our hearts, provided the funding, and given us the encouragement of our mission leaders so that we could labour to fulfill this desperate need in Malawi.
Warning of Corruption
To add to this, after giving it some thought, our leaders did not support the building project in Malawi and warned us of corrupt governments who would try to excessively tax us and ‘milk’ us from all possible finances. Our mission leaders recounted stories of their similar attempts to build mission bases in other countries and expressed concern that the same things would happen to us as happened to them. I seemed to have come to a dead end.
I was frustrated, disillusioned, discontent, and downright angry. I started considering all I had sacrificed for God’s Kingdom – having given up my rights to live a ‘normal’ life, to have a home, medical aid, nice income, comforts, friends, and family in order to serve the Lord as a missionary – being away from home for months on end, living in hard conditions, laboring night and day tirelessly for the extension of God’s Kingdom. Why was God frustrating me in this way?! I stood at the brink of resigning from missionary life, thinking that my sacrifices and efforts were in vain. I started considering a ‘normal’ life in secular employment.
Sovereign God of Grace
But thanks be to God Who has chosen us, predestined us to be His, called us to His service, and loves us with an everlasting love; He opened my eyes to see that my attitude was wrong, my motives were selfish, and my perception of missions was flawed. He Who called me to be a missionary broke the spell that the devil had clouded my mind with and He set me free.
I started studying the book of Acts in the Bible and God started to convict me of the error of my ways and my thinking. Similarly God used a book recommended to me by Peter Hammond called On Being a Missionary (by Thomas Hale). God showed me that He has better plans than what I had thought of and that He was keen to use me to help the people in Malawi (and the rest of Africa) in a far more productive way than I had imagined.
Livingstone Farm Project
For several years Frontline Fellowship has been praying over acquiring a farm to establish Livingstone Missionary School. We have now investigated a remarkable farm which appears to meet most of our needs. With the increasing demands for our camps and courses, this farm would be an ideal site for Wilderness Bush Camps, Leadership Training Courses, Youth Camps, School and Church Camps, Biblical Worldview Seminars and Summits, Great Commission Courses, Security and Survival Training programmes and the Livingstone Missionary School. This farm is in a remote and mountainous region with a large number of baboons and some leopards. Dr. Peter Hammond has asked Renee and I to run the Camps & Courses side of this vision. This fits marvelously into place in the vision that the Lord had placed in our hearts in 2013 – a farm to train missionaries in South Africa.
Workers are Desperately Few
“The harvest truly is plentiful but the workers of few”
– Jesus Christ, Son of God (Matthew 9:37)
As non-residential, itinerant missionaries who have travelled overland through much of Southern and East Africa, we have come to see how desperately true and relevant this statement really is in these areas. And of course, our experience of this is in itself also limited. But when we hear the missionary report backs from other missionary pioneers and veterans, we sense the same urgency for workers to be sent to the “harvest field”.
The Needs are Urgent
There are so many needs which urgently need to be filled; there are valiant missionaries who are in dire need of assistance; there are mission stations and mission hospitals that are critically understaffed; there are villagers dying without Christ; the insidious advance of Islam is left un-contested; there are Christians suffering persecution with no support and encouragement; there is a desperate and critical shortage of workers in the “harvest field”. The scope of the needs is so varied that anyone, no matter how skilled or unskilled, with a call to serve and love God and His people, and who have some thorough missionary training, will be a vast and treasured help to those whom they serve.
Livingstone Mission Farm
The news that Frontline Fellowship is looking to purchase a farm that is surrounded by mountains and includes some mountains within its borders excited me vigorously. It is terrain such as this that would be ideal for training missionaries in general, but most specifically for an Intensive Missionary Training Programme.
If this farm is purchased, it would be our desire to conduct thorough, hardcore, and uncompromising, Missionary Training in the mountains and foothills of this farm where we hope to train missionaries who are courageous, confident, prepared, determined, and persevering.Please pray for us that God would provide the necessary funds in order to purchase this farm. We are planning and working diligently in faith that God Who put this vision in our hearts will also provide whatever is necessary to make it a reality.
Marvelous Ministry Opportunities
In the meantime, this year we have had some wonderful opportunities to minister here in Cape Town. While Peter Hammond has been away on various Missions I have had the privilege of taking his speaking responsibilities at Livingstone Fellowship, Reformation Society, and Staff Devotions. I have also had the privilege of being involved in presenting the 8 part Way of the Master Evangelism Training Course at a church in Epping and also presenting some lectures at a youth conference of a church in Firgrove. In total I have had 29 opportunities to minister God’s Word this year. For this I am truly grateful.
Renee has been helping in the Literature4Africa stores as the store lady. As we arrived back in Cape Town (from Durban after burying my Mom), we were told that the previous store man had resigned and there was a gaping need for someone to fill in the gap. Renee courageously stepped up to the challenge and has been an immense help for the past 4 months whilst a replacement store man was enlisted. The Literature4Africa stores received 3 shipping containers of literature each loaded with 18 tonnes of Bibles, Gospel books, and Discipleship literature. Renee did a marvelous job of receiving, packing, and sorting these books as they arrived.
Sweat, Tools, and Missions
I have also been keeping myself very busy here at Livingstone House with various maintenance issues, a building project, and helping two mission teams get off to a good start. I have been building a server room in our IT office where a new server will be installed. This has been quite a challenging project to complete as there have been many other demands on my time such as sermon preparation, maintenance on vehicles, off-loading shipping containers, and assisting the mission teams as they prepared for departure.
Upcoming Mission Plans
Malawi still weighs heavily on our hearts especially now as I have received word from my contacts there who report that the Muslims are now aggressively targeting Christians in some areas by invading their homes, confiscating their Bibles, and giving them Qurans. The Muslims have a definite bold agenda to Islamize Malawi by force and bribery. We need to support our brothers and sisters there by providing training, encouragement, and practical support. We also need to warn the unsuspecting ignorant village folk of the dangers of Islam. Most who eventually convert to Islam have no idea of the beliefs of Islam, but only convert either because of financial gain or because of threats of violence.
I am busy planning a 3 month Mission to Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia. Please pray for us that God will go before us and prepare the way. Pray that God will guide our plans and our steps. Pray that God will give us boldness to declare His Word uncompromisingly.
We sincerely thank you for your continuous prayers and support. You are a vital part of our missionary endeavours and we thank God for your partnership with us.
May God bless you abundantly, thoroughly, and perpetually.
“That His glory may dwell in the land” – Psalm 85:9
PO Box 74, Newlands, 7725
Cape Town, South Africa
Cell: +2774 887 0211
Office +2721 689 4480