The steering committee – Colin Banfield (Chairman), Lisa Harvey (Personal Assistant) & Johan Dreyer – planned and organized this trip with help from some of the team. Johan Dreyer was not able to accompany us due to a prior engagement.
WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIP?
The main purpose of the trip was to get alongside key people in our Churches in the North Central Region of Namibia and to offer them fellowship and training in a few specific ministries. We asked the leadership in Namibia to tell us which particular ministry skills they wanted us to concentrate on and also to try and identify potential folk who we could train.
I wanted to give them the benefit of experiencing something of what we have in the Cape by way of ministry training and fellowship in the Scriptures etc. I chose some folk I had worked with on GO and elsewhere to head up the various teams.
The main thing this year, because of the need for continuity and because programs with no follow-up is not helpful, was to concentrate on equipping potential leaders instead of merely doing ministry. Our hope was that with a full-time missionary there from CMS in the near future the little we do will prepare some keen people for them to work with when they get there.
The spin-off for us all would be the experience of thinking outside of our local areas in the Cape and to have to clearly understand those we are ministering to on our return. We are convinced that this is the best way to become more effective in our own situations instead of assuming we already know and understand those around us.
WHO WENT ON THE TRIP?
There were 30 team members plus 1 child.
8 Cape Churches were represented, plus George Whitefield College sent a ministry team. The following are the team members in order of their ministries and leaders
|1.||Youth Ministry Leaders:||Byron Fester (St James) Sean De Kock (Christ Church Somerset West|
|Team:||Daniel Alexander (Paarl) Hilary Peer (GWC & St Paul’s Pretoria) Kathryn Southwell (GWC & CMS Sydney) Vuyi Manzingana (GWC & The Message UCT) Tracy Visser (St James)|
|2.||Children’s Ministry Leaders:||Carine Brand (Paarl) Justin Wakelin (St Paul’s)|
|Team:||Sarah Gilbert (Somerset West) Kyle Brand (Paarl) Cameron Brand (Paarl) Stephanie Haupt (St James) Carmen Visser (St James) Chris Louw (Paarl) Mark van der Westhuizen (Swakopmund) Karis Cyriax (Swakopmund)|
|3.||Deaf Ministry Leader:||Lisa Harvey (St James)|
|Team:||Agnes Diyabusa (Christian Fellowship Khyalitsha) Richard Diyabusa (Christian Fellowship Khyalitsha) Happiness (2 year old daughter of Richard and Agnes) Lyndal Alexander (Paarl)|
|4.||Women’s Ministry Leader:||Renee Chase (Paarl)|
|Team:||Sally Visser (St James) Tish Hanekom (Brackenfell)|
|5.||Pastoral Leadership Leader:||Colin Banfield (Paarl)|
|Team:||Graham Ebden (Somerset West) Flo Visser (St James)|
|6.||Technical:||Kevin Brand (Paarl)|
|7.||Food||Thea Weyers (Brackenfell)|
|8.||Music:||Steven Kuckard (St James)|
WHAT SHAPE DID THE PROJECT TAKE THIS YEAR?
We left at 5.30 Monday morning the 27th June and arrived at Olukonda (7km from Ondangwa) on Wednesday 29th where we camped for the duration of the stay.
Thursday (30th) and Friday (1st July) was spent introducing the team to the Bishop and with orientation. This included a trip with the Bishop to the Border and treating him to a meal with the team at Pescas Restaurant at Oshikongo.
On Saturday 2nd our team leaders spent some time with Denys Nandi and Peter Kalangula at the church organizing the next week’s program and also the Sunday service. The evening included a feast made possible by the Bishop (he shot a bull), to which we invited the Olukonda village and shared the gospel with them. We also invited the local hospital director and a church pastor from Oniipa Lutheran Church.
On Sunday 3rd we took part in the Church service at Ondangwa in the morning – this included the team doing two songs, myself doing a gospel presentation while the team held up pictures, and Graham Ebdon leading the communion service.
Monday 4th to Friday 8th July was spent ministering to local folk and training leaders. We also entertained and built relationships with key people in the area in the evenings.
On Saturday 9th we left and finally arriving back in Cape Town on Thursday 13th July at around 3pm after a stay over in Etosha, a DRC Mission station, Hardap Dam and Springbok.
HOW DID THE MINISTRY GO?
1. Developing of relationships:
The lady who runs the campsite at Olukonda translated for me as I shared Two Ways to Live with the village during a feast. She learned a lot herself and came to realize that Jesus was actually God. I was able to rekindle relationships with Pastor Julias from the Oniipa Hospital whom I had met a few years before, as well as the local ELCIN minister, Eino (famous for his traditional Ovambo hymns). He requested that we help his youth leaders in the future.
The team enjoyed getting to know them as well as Pastor Laban Mashikela and his colleague Peter whom I had met in Windhoek in August 2004 while attending a Baptist convention. He heads up the Mission Wing of the Reformed Baptist Church in Namibia. He has two of his own radio programs on two different channels. He also prints talks in Kwanyama for ‘stand-in-Pastors’ who have no training. He is willing to help our churches, but wanted me to introduce him to the Bishop properly before offering material etc. He knows the Bishop, as his father was friends with him, and he used to be friends with the Bishop’s children as they grew up.
I was also able to introduce Pastor Festus from the Four Square Gospel Church to the team and to get the team working at his private school. He had super with us one night and he was able to teach us some important things about the people in the area and things he had done and tried in Oshakati.
I was able to introduce Graham to Dr Gerhard Buys, a prominent Church leader and member of the Namibian Research Institute. Tish came with us as she had known Gerhard from her time spent in Namibia years before. Gerhard and I had met in Windhoek and he had been very helpful for my understanding of the Namibian Church scene. Gerhard is also well known as the author of ‘The History of the Church in Namibia’. Gerhard’s wife, Claudette is the principal of a school in Ohangwena near the border. They are a key couple in the area with a good reputation even through the liberation days.
Kevin Brand, our technical man, was able to build relationships with the mechanics and workers at the garages he used when we had car problems. The owner of one garage did two days labour on the van and pulled mechanics off of other jobs to do ours, but charged us nothing! Kevin witnessed to them and gave Kwanyama tracts to them. These relationships cannot be overlooked as unimportant!
The following is quite a detailed account of the daily ministry from the various teams.
2. Pastoral Leadership Conference
We had some men from CESA and some from ELCIN (Evangelical Lutheran Church In Namibia) attending our small conference. Bishop Kaulinga and Rev Titus from the ELCIN asked some ‘tactical’ questions in order to see where we were theologically I think, but seemed satisfied after a while.
I did an overview of the theology of Two Ways to Live and then moved on to talk through some Biblical Theology in order to set a foundation upon which to work. I later did an overview of 1 Peter stressing our identity as a Church and our responsibility to the world. Graham did an excellent overview of Joel and a sample sermon on the book. Flo did some pastoral talks on ‘How to Kill your Church’. We all contributed in other aspects of the conference as well.
Translation was not always easy as our translator could not always be there. At one stage I was shouting at the Bishop for him to translate because his hearing aid had broken!
On the Wednesday we began encouraging the men to think about goal-setting, which we looked at on the Friday with some promising results.
3. Ladies Ministry
This ministry was a struggle much of the time as the ladies in the area mostly spoke poor English, but fairly decent translation was found at times. It appeared that the ladies were all very concerned for the youth of the area, including their own family members. One of the ladies brought her little girl for prayer because of an illness.
Amongst other things, the Bible in Ten Easy Lessons was used, and a history of the Bible was given. The ladies were also introduced to daily reading at one stage. They were excited to be able to read the Bible for themselves every day. Some of them received new Bibles from us - they were really excited. We did a study of the role of women in society and encouraged them to think of teaching their children and those at the church.
4. Youth Ministry
This ministry mostly consisted of evangelism and Bible teaching to a few key teens. The planned training did not happen as expected, but these teens who attended every day were discipled and shown how we would lead someone to the Lord and assist them to grow in Him. Some of the folk ministered to became Christians! Some of them were in turn used as helpers to explain the gospel to their friends.
Appointments at schools were also made where morning assemblies and other programs were run. A youth club was run on the Thursday afternoon where a number of teens were taught and were encouraged to keep on meeting and using the material we left for them.
It is felt that youth work needs special prayer because it seems the young people hang out at the Cuca shops (bars) after school!
5. Children’s Ministry
The Children’s work team did not really have suitable candidates to train, so they ran ministry programs each day for the children of the area. They ended up with over 70 kids. The children are quite good with their English as they get taught in English at school.
The older ones seemed to concentrate a lot better as the days went on. The small groups were once again very good with lots of questions. Near the end of the week the kids were even willing to pray out loud.
The team also had other opportunities at a preschool, a private school and a public school where they did drama, testimonies, Bible lessons and songs.
There is real need for a children’s worker in the area for the sake of continuity as there were some responses from the kids on the last day! The team left them with what seemed a full grasp of the gospel. Colin was impressed with the quality of the work done by the group, especially from Chris and Kyle whom he was observing closely in their small groups.
[One of the mothers who belongs to the Church, George’s wife, watched on some occasions and has since been determined to do something with the kids who have continued to attend the church]
6. School for the Deaf & Blind
The work at this school was started last year when Lisa developed a relationship with them. The team had to separate the approximately 150 deaf students from the approximately 30 blind students and do teaching at different times. Initially they had to explain key words to the children like, honour, salvation etc. They then started teaching key verses and then moved on to the Bible in Ten Easy Lessons (which they had to squeeze into fewer lessons!). I found this remarkable, seeing as there were only four leaders and there was a cultural and language barrier!
The same team went to the Liberty Heritage School one morning along with Carine and Sally in order to see how they could help the teachers with Phonics and some handicapped children (I knew the Pastor of the church that the school belongs to - Four Square Gospel Church).
At times the school teachers did not arrive to help which was a bit of a problem with translation for the blind kids and also discipline when the kitchen staff made a noise in the dining room where they were meeting. However, the kids were open and responsive to the teaching right from the beginning and wanted the team to stay and to continue teaching them the Bible.
On the Thursday some of the older kids responded positively to the gospel – around 10 of them. Richard was not sure of the extent of their understanding, but knows that the Holy Spirit will do the explaining in time.
On the Friday morning most of the team (about 25 of us) went through to do a program at the school. The teachers and children are amazed that almost the entire team had learned signing so quickly. It was discovered that only 3 of the 40 teachers are Christians! Nevertheless, Lisa coached one teacher and an interpreter, who are Christians at the school, to follow up the kids once the team had left. It was felt that there was need for prayer for a teacher called Abraham who is a strong Christian at the school. The Bible in Ten Easy Lessons banners were left up in each of the hostels as well.
On that last day there were a number of responses to the Gospel. An effort was even made by the team to produce some Brail verses from a computer program. The effort was appreciated by the teachers who were amazed at the initiative, but said that the brail was very hard to read and was actually in Chinese or some eastern language! However, a promised was made to get hold of some more Bibles for the deaf.
[Christ Church Somerset West have since bought 20 special Bibles for the deaf].
Although the ministry did not go as expected, a lot was done and many lives were touched by the gospel as well as by the love of the team. As seen from the report there were some conversions, and some received initial training in ministry. The Church leaders were encouraged to support any ministry arising from among their members and there seems to be a growing amount of interest from some people with whom the Greefs can work once they get there.
George Jeremiah, the Bishop’s nephew, had supper with us on the last night. Myself, Flo and Graham encouraged him to start a small group within the Church among the younger families etc. We showed him some material and left it with him. He said he would do his best to do what we were asking. On returning it seems that George has indeed begun something. He called Timothy (another prominent young married man) and Stephanus (An older teen) together one Sunday and they planned how they were going to meet and how they would encourage others to join them. Denys mentioned how Stephanus, who spent time with the youth trainers, was showing real interest in ministry. Denys is also going ahead with the translation of Two Ways to Live (expanded booklet) in order for me to collect from him in October for layout and printing.
My feelings about the team were that they were a pleasure. It confirmed to me that local experience on GO and other local church projects pays off when choosing teams for such trips. I never had to push anyone to work or to prepare for the next day or wonder whether they understood the gospel well enough to teach it and adapt it to this different environment. They knew how to work as a team and in a team. They understood the importance of supporting leadership decisions and were excited about and focused on the right things. Most of all they were well aware of the importance of prayer.
By Colin Banfield