Ross Bartholomew, Michelle Daries, Kathy Noland, Carol Sawyer, Demi and Robbie Daries, Marion Edmonds-Smith
Today we arrived at our destination of Ondangwa. All in all our journey from Cape Town, some 2200 kms has been very good and uneventful. For this we are deeply grateful to our precious Saviour.
Not long after arriving in Ondangwa the Daries’ vehicle was broken into and bag stolen which had a number of expensive and precious possessions of Demi. This was a difficult time but we trust that our Lord has something special in store for those who did this deed. We are trusting that they will come to know the Lord. Please pray that much good will still come from this event.
We have settled into our base, which is the home of George and Ida Jeremia. When I can I will send some photos so that you have a better idea of where we are living. We were worried that it was getting dark and we still had to erect tents. When we arrived here we found that there was enough suitable space inside various rooms etc. for us to stay – even erected a tent in the double garage ?.
Tomorrow we need to retrieve much of our equipment which is still at our previous base, called Nakambale. We also need to try and get the window of the vehicle replaced. I will be out of town most of the day preparing more candidates for confirmation. Not sure how many there will be at this stage. This will take place at St Paul’s in Ohangwena and a new church in Ongha. The rest of the team will use this time to settle in more and get our place better prepared for the next few weeks that we will be here.
Please pray for the following:
- Demi as she comes to terms with the theft of her goods and how to respond to this.
- Robbie and Michelle as they comfort Demi and lead her to a Godly response.
- Michelle as she begins to plan for her roles as our chief cook.
- Robbie as he tries to get the window replaced on the vehicle.
- Myself as I work with the confirmees
- The rest of the team settling in and helping wherever they can
- The next three days, Thur to Sat as we are involved in the Minister’s Retreat at Christ Church Ondangwa. These days will be very long and much content will be addressed. Pray that the men attending will meet with God in a very special way and that they will become more prepared for their new roles and the Gospel road of ministry that lies ahead for them. We really are praying that we would see revival starting here.
- Ross Anderson and Njabulo Mazibuko as the travel here towards the end of the week and that they will have much impact when here. Ross will be speaking on Biblical Theology as well as some other topics. Njabulo will be performing the confirmations and ordinations.
Good night for now, until next time.
Tonight I capture the past three days of events. It is amazing how much happens in each day. Wednesday was very full, from an activity perspective as the ladies did much needed shopping and visited our previous accommodation at Nakambale to retrieve the contents of our “cupboard” which means that we now have plates and knives etc. etc. Robbie tried numerous places to try and find a replacement window, all to no avail. He then tried to source one in Cape Town to be couriered up and is due to arrive on Monday. I visited Ohangwena and Ongha where I went through the material for the confirmees. The group at Ongha were the most responsive I have had so far and I really got the impression that they knew the Lord and wanted to be different as a result of that.
In our devotions Wednesday night we heard that Robbie had spent some time with Demi, just talking through the theft of the previous day, while listening to some Christian music. Suddenly Demi started talking about how she has realised things. She then proceeded to compile the following letter to God:
Dear Father God
I was so sad and angry yesterday because something that was very valuable to me was taken away.
Then I heard a song that reminded me that you are God alone and through good times and bad you are on your throne!
I now understand that you are unchangeable, unshakeable, unstoppable, indescribable and that is who you are and that none can compare to your power that is at work in this world. I therefore ask that you would have mercy on those who took my things and I also ask that you would help me to trust you through good times and bad times because you are God alone! Amen.
We give all the glory to our god for His hand on this young girl’s life.
Yesterday was very interesting from a number of angles. This was the first day of the minister’s Retreat. The entire day was spent with Lukas Katenda speaking to the ordinands about what being an Reformed Evangelical Minister in REACH NA should look like, compared to what they were accustomed to in the Anglican Church of South Africa (Namibian Dioceses). He also went through the vows that they would be making when ordained and explained the theological and Biblical base of all the statements.
This was such a heart-warming time, just to hear the clear declaration of thorough evangelical Biblical principles, looking through the 39 Articles and much more. Throughout there was a constant and clear call to servanthood, being Gospel centred, Biblically minded and Christ focused. Yesterday Ross Anderson (Senior Lecturer at GWC, arrived and leaving Sat am) taught all day today and then on Sat Robbie, Marion and Kathy will have sessions.
It was a rare privilege to hear Ross speaking on Biblical Theology and the young men were clearly in awe of what the Word or God is really about. One of them shared that he had been taught that the Bible is a book of many books and some of them were useful for preaching. Now he saw that the Bible is one significant message about Christ and everything was all about that. Many of them said that suddenly the Bible became an exciting and powerful book to them. Below is Ross with all of them. Some wives had also arrived.
Our day was long and full and we are looking forward to another tomorrow but now it is sleep time.
- Please pray that the nearly 100 confirmation candidates will seriously consider their relationship with Christ and only those that have one will step forward for confirmation. I tried very hard, with all of them, to impress that this is much more than a tradition but all about a relationship and how we live in the light of that.
- Please pray that the new ministers will effectively be able to mentor these teens and encourage them to know Christ or grow in serving Him.
- Please pray for Ross’ teaching to bare much fruit in the future. This is a critical subject that these new men need to comprehend clearly.
- Pray that the window will arrive safely on Monday and that it can be fitted without hassle.
- Pray for our Robbie, Marion and Kathy as they speak tomorrow at the Retreat.
Good night for now, until next time.
Wow! The end of another great day. Our team has certainly excelled and is greatly appreciated by the young men who we are getting to know and appreciate.
Today started at 05:30 with breakfast and then devotions and then dropping Ross Anderson off at the airport. We then all travelled to the church and Robbie started the day talking about the church, what it is and what expectations there are. He also looked at the very serious task that lies on the shoulders of the Preacher. There was much interaction once they realised that he wanted them to. This was a very practical talk that I’m sure would have given them much to think about.
Following that Marion took the ladies and showed them how to prepare a Bible study so that they were able to complement their husbands and also rightly divide the Word of God. They also were slow to get involved but soon there was a buzz and it looked like they were not keen to stop.
After lunch Kathy spoke to all the folk on the importance of teaching the Bible to children. I looked as though they were all children as they really enjoyed the story and seemed to understand what she was talking about. As usual, Kathy’s props were fabulous. As the story progressed more and more folk arrived and sat enamoured like the rest.
A number of Bibles had been donated to the Ordinands and I then handed these out to some very thankful men. Earlier this morning I found Lukas about to leave and I asked him where he was going and he said that he wanted to buy them some Bibles. I let him into the secret and we were both amazed at how the Lord had brought this about. May they get to know this Book better than anything else on this earth!
Tonight, for supper we have invited our hosts, George and Ida Jeremia to join us and we look forward to a time of getting to know them better.
- Please pray that the talks of today will in time bear much fruit and that these men and women will impact those under their charge mightily for our Saviour.
- Please pray for tomorrow as it promises to be a very long and full day;
- Over 80 young people to Confirm that they are believers – pray that the ministers of their churches will start nurturing them in Christ and discipling them for growth.
- Ordination of 3 Presbyters
- 9 men to be made Deacons
- Two couples to have their wedding vows confirmed in the church – they have been married by a magistrate and want it to be confirmed under God in church.
- Combined lunch at the home of the former Bishop, Peter Kalangula. Hosted by his daughter Marie and her husband Philip.
- Please pray that I will be able to arrange ministry opportunities for our team in some of the churches for next week as well.
Good night for now, until next time.
Yesterday I said WOW! Not sure what word would sum up today anywhere close to what we experienced. Today was a watershed day. The end of what was and the beginning of what is to come.
The service started at 08h30 and finished at 14h30! 7 hours of… well just amazing. There was much singing in between everything, and in both English and Oshiwambo.
There were 113 young and some not so young people that confirmed their baptismal vows taken by their parents. Some of the not so young had never been baptised to their knowledge and had come to faith in Christ and wanted to declare that. This was an amazing time as Bishop Mazibuko dealt with them in two’s so it took a long time.
Then there were a few choirs that sang, and did they sing! No music but really some great stuff. We just don’t come close to these people.
There was communion for the about 1000 people who were there, inside and outside the church. Bishop Mazibuko preached as well as another man from the Baptist Convention of Namibia. The local Gov. rep. also had a “few” words.
There were 9 men made deacons and 3 ordained as Presbyters. These men have all already been allocated either to some of the exiting churches or have already started their own. There are already 13 churches in REACH NA, which is more than double the 5 that we have had for some years.
There was also a brief wedding ceremony for a couple that had been married in a magistrate court but wanted a church ceremony.
After the service, we had lunch at the home of Mary Kalungula which was another amazing time to relax and chat to many of the people.
My emotions have been all over the place. Just wondering at the amazing grace of our God. This has really been a But God! Day.
Some pics of the day:
The people settling down, and this at 08h35.
This was how the confirmation took place.
Bishop Njabulo preaching and Lukas Katenda interpreting.
One of the choirs in action.
Laying of hands for each candidate.
The three Presbyters: Conradie, Josia and Thaddeus.
Ordination papers of Thaddeus.
The offering. It blew me away when some people arrived with these goods.
Holy Communion being dispensed. The bucket was for used glasses.
The couple getting married… again.
The old guard.
The Government official speaking.
Lunch at the home of the previous Bishop, Peter Kalangula’s daughter, Mary Kalangula, centre in royal blue, is next to her husband Philip. They were our lunch hosts today after the Ordination service. Mary created a feast for kings, all beautifully served in her Ondangwa homestead garden. Our KZN bishop, Njabulo Mazibuko is next to Robbie at the back.
Tomorrow we plan to go to St Peter’s Onamambili for ministry. Like the old days ?
This has been a great day and we give our God all the glory.
Good night for now, until next time.
Compared to yesterday, today was almost completely uneventful, but we did spend some time in ministry at St Peters, in Onamambili, which is just north of Ondangwa, but in the bush. It is one of those places that many people cannot work out how one can ever find the church through the maze of criss-crossing roads, but one gets used to it after time.
When we arrived at the church we were greeted by Christophine… and no one else. This is not un-common as the people normally arrive over the period of about an hour or so. True to form a good group eventually arrived and Marion and Michelle had a great time with them. Kathy, Demi and Carol looked after a few of the young children so that the mothers would not be distracted by them. Carol and Demi got into the spirit of the moment and got themselves face-painted as well. Below is the group, photo taken by Kathy.
Completely out of character for this church a few men arrived so I spent some time with them. This proved very difficult as the material was in Kwanyama but they spoke Oshidongo, which is similar but not the same. Translating was difficult but we eventually got through the material. Four of them had been through confirmation yesterday and while professing to know Jesus could not clearly answer some questions about their faith. This would be in large part due to language as it is very difficult to get across what I am asking when they cannot really understand English. I missed Ndahafa (translator we used last year) as she is brilliant at translating but she was writing test today so couldn’t help up. Here I am with the men. The young man opposite me is Kennedy who lives nearby to where we are staying and he wanted to join us for the day.
Robbie spent the day repairing one of our host’s vehicles. This is a wonderful way to say thank you for enabling us to stay here which has been really great. He should manage to get it all finished by tomorrow.
At this stage, tomorrow, we will only be meeting with the children at St Peter’s (they didn’t arrive today) but we all know that this could change at any time.
I will probably include tomorrow with Wednesday unless they day turns out differently.
Thank you so much for bearing us up in your prayers and the words of encouragement for some of you.
Good night for now, until next time.
Tonight, I have two days in one, I’m trying to save data as it is very expensive once the package data is use up. We get an AwehGig package that gives one a gig of data (plus other things) for R30. After that R80 got me 250 megs!
Yesterday afternoon we went back to St Peters to minister to the children. Afterwards Kathy said that this was like the miracle of the loaves and fishes. She was working with 10 children, turned around to collect something out of a back and, when she returned, there were 20! They just kept coming, which was marvellous. She, Carol and Demi had much fun with them and when it was story time they were as attentive as ever.
As usual our time at St Peters ended when it was almost dark. We gave some of them a lift to Christophine’s home, which is looking much better.
Last night we had a number of guests around for supper. Our team did an amazing job of preparing the meal for all the people. I’m still not sure exactly how many were here but there were many. Chicken and Hertha joined us as well as some neighbours and many children.
Some of the adults.
Most of the children.
Today was scheduled to be ministry at a new church, New Jerusalem Church in Ongha. I missed my landmark so we rode around for a while but with a little help we eventually found our way. This can be a rather tricky operation around here.
This is the church of Thaddeus Thomas, known affectionately as Kambau (pronounced like “come bow”). It was only started a few months ago and is already attracting over 100 people on Sundays. He is a man who obviously loves the Lord and is passionate about ministry and his following here is testimony to that. This was of the best times of ministry that I have had, certainly more men present that almost every before anywhere. The ladies testified to the same level of interest. The time we spend with them was long and tiring but very rewarding. Kambau said to me in the presence of all the men that all they wanted from us was spiritual assistance. They really need Bibles, he said.
As we were coming to the end of our time there we discovered that they wanted us to stay for a traditional meal. This had been prepared and presented all in the time that we were there, rather amazing!
These are the men that arrived and I spent about two hours with.
Here is Marion teaching the ladies! Not all are in view but they are there and drinking in the teaching. All the refreshments were provided by our host Kambau. He told me that the meal was a combined effort of many neighbours!
Kambau and his wife are the two on the right in the foreground.
Here are from right to left; Robbie, Kambau and myself. Robbie, Michelle and Demi left early as a problem had been detected with their car. After some investigation, it seems to be the CV joints on one wheel and this can be fixed tomorrow morning. Thank you Lord.
Marion having lunch with some of the ladies.
This is Kambau’s homestead. You can see the lunch guests still there in the middle. The corrugated iron building on the right is the church. Approx. 9 x 7 m. They have recently been told by the headman of the area that they cannot have a church on their property. About 300m away is an ideal piece of land that they could buy for R6000. This will give them the ability to build a church much bigger than the present one and they would also then have their own land. This would be a very significant move in the community. Please pray with us that the Lord will enable this to happen. We are all just in awe of what our Lord is busy doing in these areas. We rejoice in being able to be part of this.
Tomorrow ere will be cleaning up here and packing away in preparation for our departure on Friday. Some of us will go through Etosha while the rest proceed to Okahandja were we will meet and travel further to Windhoek. The shape of our ministry there has still not been finalised. My next email will probably be when we are in Windhoek. Thank you for your part in this journey with us.
Good night for now, until next time.
We thought that Thursday would be a relaxing day, but!
06h35 I was woken with the news that there was no electricity and that we needed to go and buy some. Not a problem and this was resolved without too much effort, but the cause of being woken was that Ida’s car wouldn’t start. That also meant that she needed to be taken to school. That was also fine and Carol and Demi went with her. Finding her school and the way home is no easy feat but it got done.
After breakfast and devotions Robbie left to get the CV joint of his vehicle fixed. I then had to fetch Carol and Demi from school. Then off to town to do some last-minute shopping. While there we got the message from Robbie that the part was wrong. He then needed to find an engineering firm that would be able to modify the part so that it could fit. We returned home and start cleaning and packing all the kitchen stuff. While that was on the go Carol was concerned about a baby on the property. Kathy joined her in seeing what could be done. Robbie then let me know that they needed specific oil for the vehicle so I left to buy that and take to him. Oil was added, wheel alignment done and the car now goes beautifully. We give God all the glory that this was resolved so well all in one day.
While away Kathy, Ida and a neighbour, whose car I needed to jump-start this morning, took the baby to the Ohandjokwe Hospital. They put the baby on a drip and after about three hours they said that she could go home. No one seems to know what the problem was. She slept very well and all does seem to be well with her. An aside to this account. Kathy had prayed that she would be able to visit a local hospital but knew that this was very unlikely, but here, at almost the last hour a child gets sick and Kathy gets to visit the hospital. It is not uncommon for God to work also in the very small events in our lives. We praise Him!
The rest of the packing went well and Robbie even managed to resolve another problem with our host’s car that didn’t start in the morning.
The last sunset at our “home” in Ondangwa before we left. Always stunning!
Friday morning, we were all up and in the cars ready to depart at 04h55! We had a great trip through Etosha which is always a special treat for up after a long and tiring mission. We saw various animals fairly close-up which is always a treat. A Rhino at about 40m and an Elephant at about 500m. Numerous Zebra, Wildebeest, Impala, Springbok, Giraffe, some Kudu, a few Jackals, some Lions very far in the distance (small blob when photo taken) and a small herd of Hartebees. We lunched in Otjiwarongo and managed a quick stop in Okahandje for some last-minute supplies and arrived at our base in Windhoek at about 18h30. We are staying in Pumula Self-Catering and it is such a pleasure to have hot water again to shower etc.
Saturday was very relaxing. We had a great breakfast, followed by devotions and a very good time of debriefing. It is always very much needed to work though where we have been and where we are going to. We need to be prepared for many people not being at all interested in what we have been doing, and especially when it has been so significant to not just us but for the greater work of God in Namibia. We do pray, however, that we will have opportunities to share the amazing work of God and the little part that we have played.
Good night for now, until next time. I plan on sending out the last mail from Namibia tomorrow just to let you know what we experienced attending worship in Windhoek with our new brothers and friends.
Today is the Lord’s day, we rejoiced and where glad in it!
Our team split into two and we were able to visit both Bethlehem and BASIC (Brothers and Sisters in Christ) churches. I preached at Bethlehem and Kwatauta (Lukas Katenda’s brother) preached at BASIC.
The team that visited BASIC reported that he gave an excellent Biblical message with a strong call to action in Christ. There were about 50 in attendance, including kids, and our team was well received. The service ran from 11h30 to 13h00. The church is very close to the new Grove Mall in Windhoek.
We didn’t know where the Bethlehem church was so met Lukas in the centre of town. He then proceeded to take us on an interesting journey as he collected people from all over Windhoek. We even had one, Rina, in our car and had the opportunity to get to know her a little. The service started just after 11h00 and finished just after 14h00. There were close on 80 and a number of children as well. We also felt very well received and appreciated. Carol had an opportunity to speak and testified how they had helped her in her growth in the Lord. It was a privilege to preach there, with Lukas translating. The new Deacons were introduced, (Nelson, Joel and Paulus) and given an opportunity to tell the congregation how they had come to be in the ministry. After the service, there was a celebratory lunch for the new Deacons. We were invited but we had already been booked for lunch at our accommodation so had to excuse ourselves.
Please pray for the leaders of these two churches, that they would continue faithfully in the Gospel. That they would encourage many more people to enter Christian service and particularly the ministry.
This is the congregation of Bethlehem Church in Havana, Windhoek
This will be the last update until we are back home. Tomorrow we plan to leave at 06h00 for Grunau. Tuesday, we plan to leave again at 06h00 for Cape Town. Tuesday will be the long journey (about 820km) and we also loose an hour when we cross the border. We will be due to arrive in Cape Town late in the afternoon.
May I say thank you very much on behalf of the team for walking this amazing road with us. Your prayers have been a rich blessing. You won’t know the significance for us to know that whatever we were faced with, there are people before the throne of Grace pleading on our behalf with our Loving Father. May you be richly blessed through this and your continued walk with our Beloved Saviour Jesus Christ.
We are back home! Thanks be to our God for the very safe journey and a great time of bonding as we journeyed homeward. De-briefing after a mission is always important although not always an easy process. Please continue to pray for us as we settle back into our lives here but also that what we have learnt and how we have grown will remain with us and our walk with the Lord will strengthen.
Each of the team-members played an enormously significant role while on mission, even although some of them felt that they didn’t do much. The fact that we went and were part of this significant period in the life of the people of REACH NA will mean more than we realise. Each of the people we met and spent time with has been impacted. Please pray for them as they will be facing challenges of their own and will need our prayers as they work in some very difficult circumstances for the expansion of the kingdom.
While on mission much of our focus is one what we are doing but this would not be nearly as pleasant and easy if we didn’t have a good place to stay and food to strengthen our often weary bodies. To this end a very special thank you to our hosts, George and Ida Jeremia who opened their homestead to us where we made our base and were well settled. I must also thank Michelle Daries for her excellent food and care for all of us for the duration of the mission. She was up early each day ensuring that we were well fed for the day ahead. Many of the team helped her but I mush thank her for all that she did in keeping the team moving, and very well at that.
Almighty God, we give you praise and honour for all that has happened over the past 2 weeks. We thank you for allowing us to be part of you at work. We thank you for all how enabled, via financial and other gifts, for this mission to happen. We thank you again for each of the team and what we have come to mean to each other as we served our Saviour.
In Him we now rest… for a little while.
Our team at our last stop in Namibia (Die Withuis outside Grunau):
Ross Bartholomew, Michelle Daries, Kathy Noland, Carol Sawyer, Demi Daries, Robbie Daries and Marion Edmonds-Smith.
Thank you again for walking in prayer with us! Good bye from us all.
Churches for Namibia Team Leader
Cell: 084 557 5301 (Number when in Namibia +264 81 629 1348)