February 1997

CESA couple off to N.E. Namibia

In 1991, four years after being converted unde the ministry of Bishop Joe Bell at Christ Church Pinetown, Geoff and Pat Hartley sensed God burdening them to serve Him fulltime. At the same time Geoff was an engineer with Shell and BP SA refineries in Durban and Pat a busy housewife.

In 1997 they will be living far from the city rat race - at Dihokohoko one the banks of the Okavango in the far north-eastern corner of Namibia. As AIM missionaries, Pat and Geoff will be part of a team of three couples assigned to serve the fledgling Evangelical Bible Church in Mbukushu. One couple is already there. Another couple from the USA is due in March, when the Hartleys hope to be ready to go, having raised their financial support.

The Hartley's primary responsibility will be to teach and develop the church leadership. One couple will focus on evangelism and the other teach at the local high school.

The traditional religion of the HaMbukushu includes nature and ancestor worship. Witchdoctor practices are prevalent. Syncretism is a common problem in the church. Families are suffering as a result of AIDS, unemployment, alcoholism and absentee fathers.

Shoot fish

The people cultivate millet, sorgum and maize and graze cattle on the river plains that are flooded every rainy season. They fish with baskets or bows and arrows (shooting the larger fish). The nearest commercial centre is Rundu, about 180 kms away.

Robyn (9), the Hartley's younger daughter, will go to Namibia with her parents. She will be home-schooled initially. Her sister Lisa (20) is studying tourism at Natal Technicon and has to find a six month field training position by June 1997.

Bishop Bell presented the Hatleys at Synod in Blairgowrie, where they were warmly received. They plan to visit KwaZulu-Natal churches first, then go to the Western and Eastern Cape in February and churches in Gauteng in March. They would like to speak to smaller groups as well as at services.