Due to Covid-19 related potential logistical problems we did not run a mission trip in either 2020 or 2021 but Muriel and Ross Bartholomew did make a short but significant trip in the first week of October 2021. This is the journey as it was captured through WhatsApp daily as we travelled. We travelled northwards for 3 days, spent 3 days in Ondangwa and returned southwards for 3 days. Most of this report was generated by Muriel as we travelled.
Welcome to Namibia Mission 2021. Pray with us and for us as we journey along meeting with our brothers and sisters in Namibia. May God use us for His Kingdom. Ross and Muriel.
While on mission we intentionally try to stay at the same places so that we can build relationships with the people in Namibia. Our hosts at Grunau were Susan and Stephan and their two young daughters. We often stay at their Country Hotel which is situated in a remote area. Susan goes out of her way to make you feel welcome and is very friendly. Their business was hard hit by COVID and she had to find work in Windhoek earlier this year for three and a half months away from her family. She is so thankful that travel restrictions have eased for now. Please remember them in your prayers that they would trust in the Lord for their future. Pray also that we would be able to share the Gospel with Susan next Saturday on our return journey.
We have just left Mariental. Ross and I are meeting Lukas Katenda (REACH Namibia's Bishop) and a few others in Windhoek for lunch this afternoon. Please pray for good fellowship, strengthened relationships and for mutual encouragement in Gospel ministry.
In pic from left: Kwatouta, Muriel, Ross, Bishop Lukas Katenda, Twapewa, Sylvi, Aune (Bishop's wife) Nathaniel and Matthews
We had a great visit together over lunch. We discussed both the joys of ministry and the various challenges that are present. Going forward we were asked to assist with training for the pastors which is a great need. In this regard Ross (before COVID) had already begun discussions with Simeon Trust (preacher training) to run a seminar in Windhoek. Please pray for the preparations for this to happen post COVID.
NETS (Namibian Evangelical Theological Seminary) is the preliminary training ground for those entering the ministry in Namibia. Cost is R60 000 per year. Ideally REACH Namibia would like all their pastors to have a GWC qualification after completing NETS. The cost of this training is prohibitive for many potential pastors. Please pray for sponsors to join in this Kingdom opportunity.
Many of you know about the eagerness of church members wanting to own a Bible and some of you have donated towards this. Thank you. We have an account with the Namibian Bible Society for this purpose. In the past it has been a challenge to monitor donations vs purchases. Lukas was able to give us the contact details of the CEO for future efffectve communication in this regard. Praise the Lord.
We prayed with our fellow brothers and sisters before we left. Please continue to pray with us for Gospel growth amongst the people of Namibia.
Arrived safely at Kings Highway to overnight. Thanks for the prayers.
Good morning all, we are leaving a little bit later this morning for the last leg of the journey. The sun is about to peep over the hills as we fill up the car. Opposite is Okahanje's informal market. Many former fellow 'missionites' will recognize this place. Please pray for safe travels and for us to be a witness for God's glory along the way.
We had a stopover in Tsumeb.
Fredrich has a 'tent-making ministry'. He does shift work at a local mine, and pastors a church. He lives in Tsumeb, four hours drive away from where his wife, Sylvia and his three children live. This is common amongst many married couples in Namibia.
In pic from left: Timoteus, Nghishoono, Muriel and Fredrich
We spent some time this morning with Fredrich and two of his fellow 'tent-makers' - Nghishoono, a deacon and Timoteus, a youth worker. We had 'brunch' at Sonja's Kitchen. The Lord has placed the youth on Timoteus' heart. He wants to see lives changed for the Kingdom across the North. Nghishoono is a support for Fredrich in the ministry, but his English is limited. Please pray for him as he is keen to study and needs to improve his English. They are both wanting to start with the GWC Explore course.
Fredrich has church in his backyard at the moment. About 20-25 local people attend. They have earmarked a plot of land nearby to purchase for R35 000 so they can erect a church building and later an ECD (Early Childhood Development) centre to serve the community. He is also in the process of building a big house on his land for ministry purposes. Please pray for the people of Tsumeb to be open to the preaching of God's Word. Pray that they will turn to Jesus as they recognize their need for a Saviour.
Arrived safely in Ondangwe. Thank you for your prayers.
Last night Ida Jerimiah had supper with us. Pre-COVID, George (her husband) and Ida used to host the mission teams at their homestead in Ondangwe. They are part of Christ Church in the town. George works away from home during the week and is home at weekends. Ida teaches Gr 2 at a local school and we brought up some teaching materials specifically donated to her from a retired teacher. She was very excited about this and will share them with her colleagues. Pray for her to use this as an opportunity to share her faith and God's blessings to others.
We are visiting 4 pastors in the rural far north today. Please pray for journey mercies and a fruitful time of encouragement and fellowship.
Tata Petrus is at Onamatai. He has an office at Bishop Katenda's homestead and cares for about 120 members of Genesis church. Helping him is Nicodemus, Timoteus' brother. Petrus also looks after two other churches, Onanime and Omumwandi. Petrus and his wife Anna stay more than an hours walk away from the church. He is very appreciative of God's blessings during COVID. Please pray for him to continue to be faithful to the Word and that the Lord would supply his material needs.
Pic on the left is Ross pointing to the church in the distance. On the right is Petrus in his office.
Robert Shilonga, Muriel Ross and Conradie
Conradie Shilombolene oversees 3 churches in the far north just south of the Angolan border. He has plans to start 2 more in this coming month at Oshikuku and Outapi. He is helped by Deacon Robert Shilonga who has joined REACH NAMIBIA from the Lutheran church. They also plan to start a hospital ministry in the area. Evangelist Julius looks after two churches in the Angolan region.
Conradie who turns 59 years of age tomorrow supports himself in this ministry by teaching at the local high school and by doing broadcast preaching for NBC - Namibian Broadcasting Corporation. People are listening to this and making enquiries about attending the church. Pray that many who hear the Word of God would respond in repentance and faith. Pray for these men to be encouraged in their ministry.
In pic from left: Ross, Lay Worker, Herodia, Lukas Katamba
At Ohangwena, we met Tate Lukas Katamba and his wife, Herodia Niita who lives with their last born in Eenhana while he lives near the church with his two older children who attend school there. Neither of them earn an income outside of the church and they are struggling financially. Tate Lukas received EPIC training with Ross before COVID and we encouraged them to start up a business now with COVID restrictions being less limiting. Herodia will be one of the pastors wives that will benefit from learning to sew on the sewing machine that was donated. Give thanks for this. They have many youth attending the church who need to be trained in God's Word. Pray for Daniel who works with them that they may become the future generation in that church.
Ross and Lazarus outside All Souls church Eenhana
At Eenhana, Tate Lazarus met us at the cool air-conditioned Engen One Stop. It was the middle of the day and 35 degrees. Lazarus is the General Secretary of REACH NAMIBIA. He also has a 'tent-making' ministry and works at the local Municipality. He pastors the All Souls church in Eenhana and oversees other churches. He works alongside Wilhelm, Michael, Epafras, Matthews, Kaino and Olivia. They are able to use the resources of a Social Worker who is one of their church members. We were able to gift Lazarus 'the tailor' with the sewing machine. We went with him to see the location of the church. Please pray for them to get land to build on for their church.
Lazarus is a man with a vision and longs to see the REACH NAMIBIA church divided into regions with overseers. He asks for prayers for his country, for men to rise up and be counted for the Gospel sake, and for man's priorities to be other-centred and not for selfish gain. Please also pray for his wife who lives away and is attending an interview for a job in Eenhana this week. This will enable them to serve together in the work of the Lord.
While we were with each of these pastors we prayed with them and presented them with some English Christian reading materials for their individual library which will help them in pastoring their churches.
This is the camping place that the mission used before we started using the home of George and Ida. In 2016 we felt that it was not being maintained well and it was then that we started looking for a different option. Yesterday we thought that we would pop in there and see what it looked like. We were really not prepared for what we found. Those who have never been there will not appreciate the change. The entire place is being completely renovated by an invester and turned into a high end Glampsite.
Thank you for praying today. We returned to Ondangwe safely after visiting Onamatai, Oshikuku, Ohangwena and Eenhana - a round trip of about 300 km.
Today we visited the main church at Ondangwa called Christ Church. It has a lot of history and was consecrated by a previous Bishop, Peter Kalangula when it was part of the Church of England church in Namibia. It is the biggest church building in REACH NAMIBIA and the main events of the church are held here e.g. Synod.
Left is Christ Church Ondangwa and on the right, Pastor Josia Kuduva in front of his home on the church property.
Josiah Kuduva is the resident pastor with 70 people meeting on Sundays during COVID. His wife is Emelia who lives at their homestead in Okonga. He is responsible for churches in Omuthiya, Okapuka and Omungwelume. Assisting him are Hennock and Wilhelmina. They use the building during the week for an ECD which has being ably run by Wilhelmina for many years. Please pray that as they look ahead and plan for future years, their focus will be on glorifying God in the community.
Denys Nande is a man who for many years was our contact when we came up for Mission purposes. He is a fount of knowledge on the history of the church and has faithfully been serving God in this place. He has not been well this past year and is struggling with his right knee and finds walking very difficult. He has also had breathing struggles for which he was hospitalised and this has prevented him from being at church. We visited him at his home in Ongwediva this morning and took him some books to read and his favourite fruits. He was glad to see us. Please pray for God to restore him to good health.
Our last stop for yesterday, was to see Timothy or 'Chicken' as he is more widely known and his wife, Hertha Kanime. They live in the town of Ondangwa and both work for Old Mutual. Chicken is known for his charismatic personality and is part of the Council at Christ church. His mother, meme Asnath, has been a pillar of the church for many years and she has now moved to Oshikongo. We were able to 'talk' to her on the phone when we were visiting. (She has little English). Please pray that their walk with the Lord would continue to deepen and that they would be salt and light in their community.
On the last day in Ondangwa we had set up to meet the last pastor we are seeing. He is Kambauh who ministers at Ongha. He is a bundle of energy and is on fire for the Lord. He has a great story to tell of his conversion and how the Lord called him to follow Him. Please pray that as we hear about his vision for the future up north, we would be able to continue to encourage him in the faith.
Kambauh, his son Forgive standing tall next to him, Ross, Martha sitting, Sylvia sitting. Other young people in pic are being fostered by him and his wife.
Kambauh and Ross with the books we brought up from Cape Town for their library for the people attending NJBC (New Jerusalem Bible College)
Our visit to Kumbauh was inspiring. He uses godly wisdom, 'out of the box' strategies and hard work to drive God's mission to the Ovambo people. Here is one example. It is difficult to get land for a church because the Headman won't give it. Kumbauh then applies for land for himself, builds some huts on it, starts a church and can then erect a church building on the same land. The church is built using poles and zinc. He then gives the whole piece of land to the church and works there as a missionary. He therefore forfeits the right to own the land.
He is the pastor of New Jerusalem in Ongha and oversees St Paul's (Ohangwena) and St John's (Indungungu) and has started smaller churches in the area. He has established New Jerusalem Bible College for the purpose of training future church leaders. These last 2 years, 15 people were trained and 6 were made Deacons recently. He is also training 3 teenagers in Youth work. His wife Martha and daughter Sylvia currently run an ECD centre on the premises which he oversees.
Outside and inside the New Jerusalem Church. The main structure was sponsored by one of our previous mission friends Michael Simmons - now in the USA.
His vision for the future is to work in the northeast of Ongha, evangelize, plant churches and train leaders with Martha. He has already obtained new land in the Southeast where they plan for their 19 year old daughter, Sylvia, to live, organize the Homestead and start up an ECD school while raising chickens for an income. Sylvia has already completed a Certificate in Christian Ministry from NETS online, over 2 years for which she received a distinction. Please pray that the Lord would continue to lead and guide this family in His wisdom and grace and that they would have an impact for the Kingdom.
The rural people of Namibia face many challenges. Although fuel is cheaper here, food is not always. Transport is not always affordable, available or reliable and many travel on foot to their destinations which sometimes take hours because of the vast distances they need to cover. Pray for those who often walk to and from church, especially when the temperatures in summer are often over 40 degrees. There is still a need for Bibles in Ovamboland and the Bible Society is waiting for South Korea to print more for distribution. Please pray that the process would not take long. We leave behind the beautiful sunrises and sunsets of this land, the indigenous Makalani palms that only grow in the north and the many different looking homesteads. Pray that we will be able to return, God willing next year to assist the work in this vineyard.
Inatu is a Namibian woman who is both comfortable in rural and urban settings. She is studying her Masters in a financial discipline while being full-time employed. She was attending lectures in Cape Town in March last year on the cusp of COVID and spent a Sunday with us. Those from St Matthew's might remember her. She is part of the Bethlehem church in Windhoek which Lukas Katenda pastors. She has a wealth of knowledge in various areas and understands the pressures facing the pastors in the denomination. She is particularly concerned about the heavy work load that Bishop Katenda carries, especially as he oversees such a vast area and often has to travel long distances. Please pray that God would raise up godly men to walk beside him and shoulder the load as we look towards the future of REACH NAMIBIA.
The Lord is faithful. Thank you for praying for us and with us for the people you met along the way. We felt greatly supported and dependent on our Mighty God.
There are 3 ways you can continue to be aware of our brothers and sisters in Namibia going forward:
- Be in prayer for them
- Consider donating towards local language Bibles for the people of Namibia
- Consider donating towards Churches for Namibia, a small amount on a monthly basis, so that future missions can take place with more people going :
Bible Society of Namibia
Please use Ref: BAR002
Bank Identifier Code: FIRNNANX
First National Bank
Acc Name: Churches for Namibia
Account number: 62310038014
Branch code: 201409 (250655 if using EFT)
Account type: Current Acc/Cheque