Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I'm an early morning - traveling man!

"I'm an early morning traveling man", I say to the frowning look of a Zimbabwean police official after  - I stopped counting - police blockade. We are usually on the road by 04:00 AM - fresh air, rising sun ..... feeling good until an early roadblock and flashing lights brings the early day to a standstill.  I had a moment of hesitation as I wondered how I would answer the non-smiling officer.  I could pick any of the following -

  • I am on my way to Mozambique to train pastors on how to plant a church in 3 days - no blocks or bricks or expensive roofing;
  • I am training pastors who knows nothing about 'church';
  • We are transforming mosque's;
  • We are building a firewall ..... in difficult areas;
  • We are on a MISSION.
The police official was content with my answer that I actually just build bridges in communities.  The back of my Nissan (now re-baptized as officially "Biebab") was filled with Bibles and training materials but he seemed to not notice the precious cargo.  As we have done for the last 18 years we continue east to Mozambique through some unique landscape .....

Huge Baobab trees in the southern Matabelaland of Zimbabwe.
IF you have traveled to the east in Zimbabwe you will find the Birchendough Bridge .... and crossing it would have probably cost you and arm and a leg together with toll fees, road tax, carbon tax, car insurance tax ... and yes bridge tax!
Scenes like these will greet you all over Zimbabwe ... another busy normal day at an African household.  You will find it scattered along the roadside as you stop to stretch your legs.
And yes .... trying to get to the border will acquire patience.
Our first stop is at a local village where some church planters are waiting anxiously for an early Christmas gift.  After visiting Cape Town and raising funds for various groups where very little or no Bibles are available.

It's all worth it when we drop Bibles - in this case Shona and Portuguese - in a village in Mozambique.
Training material being loaded for church planters in central Mozambique.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Joining a FLASH MOB! Part 4

Our Co-workers not only do amazing things with us through their support, care and prayers, but they INSPIRE those around them to act as well.  I was amazed during my last trip to attend some mission conferences in Cape Town to see this in action.

I was enjoying a very hospitable evening with friends when I saw from the corner of my eye how a young girl (about 12) was on the edge of her seat the whole evening.  She looked at me continuously throughout the evening .... and I sense that she really wanted to tell me something.  She had a bright sparkle in her eye as she could take it no longer .... ran from the table and handed me two handfuls of her saving money.  "This has to go for Children Bibles .... please" she nearly begged.  I immediately acknowledged.  She reminded me of a "flash mob".  You might ask what on earth a flash mob is!  A flash mob is a group of people who care about one particular cause and show it in a way that grabs someones attention. 

During a flash mob, you witness commitment, hard work, passion, fun, creativity, and the celebration of something wonderful.  And often times, if you're not part of it, you want to be!

This little girl inspired me immediately to do something worthwhile!  And that is what I love about every single individual spread all over the world - those who do random acts of goodness ..... just because they are in love with Jesus.  So this is a thank you to all our flash mobs out there who make it possible for us to continually run with the great command that Jesus gave us all!  You are the true heroes in bringing God's Kingdom .... on earth!  Your special actions inspire myself and others to take notice and hopefully, take action as well.


Meeting 'old' friends after 20 years!

TRAVELING BACK TO MOZAMBIQUE AT THE SPEED OF SOUND!  Be sure not to miss our next article and the great miracles God did in Mozambique: 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

All in a day's work: Missions - Part 3

On our way to a mission conference at church .... one lovely Sunday morning ... this is what we got!  Needless to say anything else:

A Mission breakfast at Bellville AFM church and meeting up with friends I have known my entire life!
Pastors Gerrie and Monica - garden dining for the day!  Monica is also Friend of God family church's Missional Co-ordinator.
In the garden of Eden!

After finding a photographer who could at last get us all in ..... more refreshments.
Even the donkeys here love the place .... relaxing as we did.

Monday, October 27, 2014

When a church cares: Missions Part 2

Visiting home churches means re-uniting with friends, supporters and people who truly still believes that not only does the church have a mission but that the mission has a church.  It is truly a highlight annually to return to these wonderful people and being re-fired.  It means a lot of sharing and bringing mission boards up to date on exactly what is happening out on the field.  Answering questions, preaching, visiting, eating ..... (and so the list goes on) .... on a hourly basis. 

BUT in between all of the work and the sharing churches do take it serious to give us a few days of rest.  This is what they organize in between the running.

This is what we do beyond the call of duty ..... lol!

Peace and tranquility made up for the busy schedule!
A lot of  healthy competition with one of the church's pastors, Past. Nico Buys - that is late night I have to admit.  His serious focus made him win many a game!

Did I mention we eat a lot when attending mission conferences?
Visiting the rugby museum with other Transformational Engineers .... and a lot of action!
I even had some time to capture this picture at a Lancia workshop.  Two mechanics in deep conversation!!!!  Specially for Rick Cogbil!
Visiting cell groups is an absolute highlight.  These are the giants praying constantly while we work abroad.  True heroes in my eyes.  Just behind me I need to salute Kotie and Cornee from Belgium who has given their entire life to missions and Kotie has retrired at a young 80!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A rare specie indeed! Part 1

Someone told me long ago that God has a very special export product.  The veteran pastor saw my curiosity immediately as I frowned, trying to figure out what Scriptures I have missed during my studies.  "God's own export product?"  "Yes" ... he added.  "Missionaries of course", he said with a big smile.  I looked around me as I was attending one of four mission conferences in South Africa.  I was suddenly surrounded by these awesome men and women who have simply given up everything, joined some strange culture somewhere just to share the Good News that Jesus Christ is truly the lover of our souls and Saviour of us all.

One coupled shared 99 years of experience on the mission field between them.  Some have been poisoned as they preached in closed communities.  One very special missionary (I love to call them Transformational Engineers) lost his wife on the mission field due to illness and later lost his son in a helicopter crash flying a mission flight in Madagascar.  And here he was standing next to me ..... motivated and preaching to ensure all children has the opportunity to hear the news that Jesus loves them.  I felt blessed.  All of these men and women were indeed very special.

But it was the way our sending churches and supporters, who despite going through recession themselves, stuck with the Missio Dei of God - kept supporting these men and women!  And then spoiled all of us rotten when we visited the annual conference.

Here is a few highlights:

Transformational Engineers from across the planet.  Literally from the jungle to the dessert!
Treated for two days in Hermanus .... and it was beautiful!.
Outside of the church ..... the missional mandate continued with an evening event ... with cultures being on display!

Meeting great friends and being re-united with others after a year's work .... Rev. Frik van Rensburg and his wife Amanda.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bridge over troubled waters!

If you could turn back the clock a few months ago .... you would remember the tragedy that stared our community in the face in Mozambique.  Three children died in a very short period as they were trying to cross a river on their way to our bush school in Mucombeze.  They were all killed by crocodiles. Thanks to generous and amazing sponsorship from Canada and even South Africa .... a dream has come true.  Truly a bridge over troubled water has been built.

Mercy Air South Africa got involved with many other great people to make this project a reality.  At last after 10 months ..... the bridge was up and the rainy season and flooded rivers would take no more lives due to crocodiles.

A special thanks to all who helped to make this, not just a life saving project, but changed lives forever and left a great legacy.  Here are some highlights of the project as it went through construction to transformation.

Special thanks to Lynn Lagore and Anne Herbert for photos shared.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

About time

WOW .... it has been much too long since I have shared life stories through cyberspace.  I was awakened early this morning by a mail from Budleigh, United Kingdom inquiring why I have been so awfully quiet the last few months. (So this post is specially for you Barbara Rainford!)  The last few months were another WOW - but let me share all the stories little by little as there is a lot to tell!  I have mostly been on the road via Mozambique, South Africa (various provinces), Angola and back again.  Mission conferences, meetings ... more meetings and a lot of sharing.  And no ... I am not complaining it has been the greatest joy ever to share what God is constantly doing.

But before I share all those stories .... back to Mozambique ... as we took a few days with friends to just rest before transformation took hold of us all.  Here are a few lighter moments from the Mozambican coast.  Enjoy!

Going to the coast in Mozambique means .... eating a healthy and BIG breakfast.  And that is exactly what we did as Andy Kuret shows off his chef skills.
Catching a boat to the deep sea .... and a few islands on the way.  Visiting Pansy Island was a highlight.
We found pansy shells by the millions ... literally!
Deep sea fisherman fishing in the warm Mozambican current.
And of course .... a lot of snorkeling was on the cards too!
Joao, our Mozambican partner, saw the ocean for the first time ..... 
Did I mention that we eat a lot when visiting the Mozambican coast?
Horse riding was also provided on the coast and we took full advantage of the beasts as we explored the ocean from a different view!

Had to wait a long time for this shot .... but patience is a virtue.  Sunrise like no other place in the world.  Mozambique ..... early early morning.  The fishermen beat me though!
No pain no gain though.  With Mozambique still being in turmoil ... we had to be escorted for about 100 km's through dangerous roads.  As I post this a peace treaty has been signed before the general elections on 15 October 2014.