2019 - Thrive
Namibia: Beyond Borders Beyond Barriers
The Team: Joy Espach, Jamie Blommetje, Cathryn Hall, Liam Nymphe, Sebastian Machill, Rob Booth (Thrive leader) and Ross Bartholomew (Team leader)
Armed with a Camera and the Word of God, we ventured out to Namibia. And this is our story.
We set out on to Namibia on the 13th of August, a Tuesday, At around 11am. 10 hours down the road and alot of sleepy heads later, we finally cross the Namibian border, and probably witnessed some dude sneak into South Africa... anyways 150km after the border, we arrive at our first resting destination in a small town called Grünau.
With a 5am wake up, we head out to Windhoek to have lunch. Then further down the road we enter our second resting destination, at the King's Highway. Here we enjoyed our first Namibian sunset, and had to battle a big spider, before we could sleep.
Once again with a 5am wake up we were soon on the road, and headed straight for our final destination 2200km from Home, a place practically walking distance away from the Angolan border, Ondangwa. Greeted by our generous hosts, we prepared to settled down for the next 7 days.
Being nothing but servants of God and messengers of His great news, with a dash of extreme nervousness. We set out to our first mission destination, a place that changed our lives. We met their Pastor then soon to be our guide and translator, Kambau, a hugely inspiring man, humble and filled with energy and laughter. He made us feel right at home. Here I realised something very important, we are all one in Christ. His opening speech, was very moving. Telling us that no matter our different languages, our different colours, cultures, countries and opinions. We are all United in Christ. And non of that mattered, because we are all just people and we are all sinful and we all can only be saved by Jesus.
Greeted by a warm welcome of singing and dancing, we arrived at our second Destination. Litterly on the Angolan Border. Under a tree was a group of amazing and happy people. Then it clicked, that church is truly not a building. Church is not a place, but it is the people.
What a unique part of the world. Here Animals have the right of way. Speed bumps are higher than your car, termite mounds are taller than buildings, alcohol is more common than water, and the sunsets and sunrises are the most beautiful thing you'll see.
The people here are almost poorer than the dust they walk on, yet they are more happy than anyone in the biggest metropolis in this world. In the middle of nowhere they have found what others spend decades searching for, that is Happiness. Greeted by smiles and waves where ever you go, we came to realise that Happiness comes from within.
Everything is different here.
With a 3 hour long church service, we got to enjoy the voices of the Locals, showing that you dont need anything to praise God. After the service we Enjoyed a generous traditional meal, Hosted by our Favourite Kambau.
We ventured out to a cemetery... well next to one and seemed fitting for the lesson we later learnt. Greeted once again by song, we felt right at home. With Jamie Faithfully sharing the good news about Jesus to the kiddies. We learnt, as Rob taught to the older group, there will always be one or too, who show no interested in this free gift God has given us. Yet we must be reminded that we can only present the good news, this gift is a choice.
The time our energy was near its end, we pushed through to bring the news about. With Rob, followed by Liam, faithfully sharing the Gospel, we learnt yet another lesson. The value of which the Tangible Word holds. The Bible is the most valuable book anybody will ever lay eyes on, and here we saw that first hand, the desperate need some people have for a bible. It warms my heart to see people smile and jump at the opportunity to buy a bible. A book we take for granted.
I thought we only came here to change their lives with the Word of God, but they actually changed ours too. I encourage everyone here, to be apart of the change. Take the next step in growing God's kingdom. Whether you donate to mission work or are apart of it.
Because, the Gospel, is the greatest news anyone will ever hear.
And this is our story.
Thrive is a Gap year programme offered by St James Church Kenilworth, Western Cape South Africa.
Greetings in the precious Name of our beloved Saviour Jesus Christ.
We have arrived in Ondangwa!!
This is just a quick email to let you all know that we have, by God’s grace, arrive safely and today will be our first day of ministry. Our drive up went very well without any difficulties along the way. The Namibian side of the border crossing took about an hour, mostly waiting for the road taxes side, and no one in the queue could figure out what the hold-up was since we were only about 10 people waiting. We eventually decided that it must be lunchtime so we waited.
Weather-wise, so far, our days have been warm and nights mildly cold. All as normal there. Yesterday when we arrived the temp here was just on 30 so we got a taste of the hot days to come.
We praise our Lord for the great journey up and wait on Him for the days to come as we start our ministry. Yesterday we dropped in on the builder who is responsible for erecting a metal structure for a church building at Ongha, (this is a project that was started last year when we were moved by the vision and energy of Kambauh the pastor there – more details on this project later) and saw that he was busy preparing some of the posts which had become twisted in the transport phase. Please pray that he will be able to start erecting by Friday. We are very excited about this project.
Michael & Dawson Simmons, Sphelo Mlungu, Morne, Michell & Caitlin Muller, Ross & Muriel Bartholomew, Carol Ebden, Marion Edmonds-Smith and Kathy Noland
We have arrived safely in Ondangwa. In fact, we arrived yesterday and had a very pleasant, although as always, long trip up. We travelled for three days sleeping over in Grunau and Okahandja.
We have settled into living with George Jeremia and family very easily and well. We just thank our Father for this blessing. Our team is working well together and it has been very interesting getting to know everyone. One of the constants here is the constant change. From year to year there is constant new developments and where we had a landmark last year, this year it is gone, or another building has popped up and our landmark is obscured.
Today saw us at the first church for ministry. St Lukes, at Omungwelume, has always been the furthest church and therefor often neglected. There are now churches further but today we were at St Lukes and had a number of firsts for those of us who have been coming here for some years. This was the first time there were any men to minister to, the first time there were more than 15 women (we counted almost 30), the first time there has been significant numbers of children and youth – close on 90 combined. Most of the youth attended with the children and then most of the children attended with the youth.
Michael Simmons spoke to the men, all 4 of them, and there was much discussion afterwards. Marion Edmonds-Smith spoke to the ladies and they had a great time with singing, talks, testimonies, a reminder of how we had been praying for years for leaders here and also the history of how Lukas and the other pastors came to leave ACSA and join REACH NAM. Kathy Noland led the children and Sphelo Mlungu the youth. Both had very responsive participation and were ably assisted by others of the team. The pastor here is Robert Nakwatumba and assisted by Meme Victoria it would seem that there is much progress from previous years. The children and youth numbers was the most noticeable change.
For this trip 42 Bibles were donated and we were able to make these available and soon there was a stream of people buying the Bibles (we buy them for N$175 and then sell them for N$50). We buy them from the Namibian Bible Society at R175 and sell them at R50. To see people finding the money and with great appreciation being able to but their own Bible is certainly a very special moment. One lady asked for 8 so that she could take them and sell them to her neighbours. A short time later she returned with the money she had sold them for. Praise God for these Bibles and the difference they will make for His kingdom!
Michael teaching the men.
The record number of children intently listening to Kathy.
After Marion taught the ladies, Meme Victoria gave a testimony of the work we have been doing and what a privilege they have had in us coming to them. You really have to be here to feel the passion and gratitude of the people.
Muriel spoke about the road that the team had walked in prayer for men and a leader in particular, showing how God had answered this prayer in Lukas and the other pastors who left the ACSA denom here and joined REACH NAM. Lukas then also told the story from his side.
Here we have the youth listening to Sphelo. Just look at that group! We have never seen these numbers at this church before! In the doorway is Tate Joseph, the 107 yr old who has been coming tou our presentations here for about 3 yrs now, and he walks there.
Tomorrow it is our plan to minister at Christ Church Ondangwa. Here we will also be starting a first, the first time that we will have ministry to the women who are in formal employment. They have typically been missed out since we normally meet at 12h00 so this time we have an additional time for them at 17h00. Please pray that this will be a great opportunity for the Gospel as these ladies mix with many others and have time and place to make much impact for the Kingdom.
- We give our Saviour all the glory for safe and event-free journey from Cape Town to Ondangwa
- We praise our Saviour for the wonderful day of ministry we had today, for lives impacted, many new friends made and the Name of Christ lifted high.
- Pray that as we get more into the daily rhythm of ministry, we won’t become casual about what we are doing and also the exhaustion won’t mean less or hurried preparation.
This years trip was very different to any that preceded it. This year we were part of history being made in such a way that our Lord was mightily glorified. This year,
The year's team proved to be a great group of people and we had a very productive time in Ovamboland. The team consisted of:
The team for this year’s trip was really small, it ended up with just my wife Muriel and myself.
The trip northwards was, as always, a long one, but it was a pleasant drive and without any serious problems – one flat tyre was the only hiccup.
We stayed at Nakambale as usual and it was great to reacquaint with Maggie who looks after the Museum and Rest Camp.
We spent a total of four days in Ondangwa and during that time we accomplished a great deal which needs to be divided into four areas:
Team Leader’s Report
A smaller than normal team of 14 members made the long trip northwards to Ondangwa. The purpose of the mission was much more focussed than previous years. We wanted to specifically pick up from where Tish had left off with the training of the lady leadership and build some playground equipment for the play schools that Tish had envisaged.
The team did not travel together as some were already in Namibia before mission and some needed to visit Outjo to meet with the team behind the training that the play school ladies had done. By Monday 30 June we had all arrived at Nakambale Rest Camp, welcomed by fasithful Maggie as usual.
Team Leader’s Report
The team for this year consisted of a very balanced group in almost every respect. There were 8 men and 8 ladies, ranging from 16 to 73, and coming from 6 Western Cape CESA churches. Our two training days went off very well and the team was well prepared. All too quickly it was time to leave, which took place from an Engen service station in Bothasig at about 22h00 on 22 June in 3 vehicles. We met up with the fourth vehicle just past Malmesbury.
The trip to Ondangwa is a long 2200 km which we took two days to complete with a stopover at Hodygos in Okanhandja. One never really gets used to the distance and it always seems like we just cannot get there but eventually we all did and got ourselves unpacked and set up in the Nakambale Rest Camp, welcomed by Maggie as usual.
Women’s Ministry Reportback.
It was with a great sense of anticipation that the Women’s ministry team embarked on ministry this year. We had clear material, translated into Kwanyama and printed into booklet form so that each woman would have something to take home and refer to in the future when sharing the Gospel with friends and neighbours. The material “Understanding the Gospel” had been compiled by Alan Noble and translated by Denys Nande and was loosely in the form of EE2.
Our programme was jam packed with activities, both teaching and crafting were planned into our schedule and we found it worked very well.
This was the first team trip. The main purpose of the trip was that leaders in the cape would be part of a team to be of specific help to Bishop Kalangula. Quinton van Rooyen led the team. The trip was low key and spent much time getting to know the people and the churches.
Chicken Kanime, ??, Hertha Kanime, Rev Wilhelm Jeramias, Petrus Albino, Bish Kalangula, Colin Banfield, Denys Nande, Elifas Kanime
In October of this year George van der Westhuizen and Colin Banfield attended the Grace Conference in Windhoek.