Friday, December 30, 2011

God Spoke to Me in different Ways

God Spoke to Me in different Ways


Contents
Part 1 The Period of my life till 1992

1. Early Gospel Seed
2. Movement in the ecumenical Field
3. An African Missionary in Germany?
4. Home sweet Home
5. A Mixture of Politics and Romance
6. Supernatural Intervention
7. Back in Germany
8. An Exile to all Intents and Purposes
9. A radical Activist
10. Disgruntled and then Changed
11. Problems with Infant ‘Baptism’
12. Home or Hearth?
13. Counting my Blessings
14. Back to Africa?
15. Flexing Missionary Muscles
16. A Door Closes and a Window Opens

Part 2

17. Serving the Lord at the Cape
18. Taking back what Satan had stolen
19. Involved in doctrinal Apologetics
20. Whippings and Lashes
21.The strong Wings in Operation
22. Counters to anarchic Conditions
23. The last Lap?
24. The last Lap to (autobiographical) Publications?
25. Advocacy on behalf of Refugees
26. New Battle Fields
27. Jews First

Preface
Deep involvement in church youth work led to the opportunity to widen my ‘horizon’ during a stint of two years in Germany where I could start my theological training in the biblical languages Greek and Hebrew. During the time in Southern Germany I met Rosemarie, who subsequently became my wife. In between she had been blacklisted for entry into South Africa because of the government opposition to our serious friendship across the racial barrier. Due to the racial policies of the day, including the failed attempt at racial ‘reclassification’ to Rosemarie and the known legal prohibition of our envisaged marriage, I was hereafter forced into an exile of just under twenty years.
Almost two years after I had left the Cape shores in 1973 for the second time, my further theological training resulted in ordination in September 1975 in Bad Boll, Germany.
My wife Rosemarie was already impacted in the early months of 2011 to use the supernatural in our ministry. She felt especially challenged to see a healing room started in the CBD of Cape Town. She was all ears when she heard about a Dutch lady that had done the training course in line with our special ministry needs. After some interaction in the middle of the year with the person concerned, the lady shared the Gospel during their workshop lunchtime devotion. Rosemarie promptly invited her to come and teach Friends from Abroad (FFA) team members, along with a few others, at our home.
At the teaching session on Saturday, 13 August 2011, the Dutch woman asked the group of ten people how they have been experiencing God's voice. All the other participants narrated how they discerned God's voice in different ways. While the others were sharing, I jotted down many occasions how I was challenged and especially addressed by God's Word. Just before our meeting was scheduled to end, I was asked to report as the last person. I simply said: 'There were so many times when God spoke to me through His Word, through other people and through circumstances that I could write a book.' On Monday, 15 August, I started collating these occasions from my earlier autobiographical material.
I am very much aware that scripture got a bad name in certain circles because of abuse. I consciously make no attempt here to convert anybody to the authority of the Bible. My audience is those people who would like to be encouraged or challenged by the book which impacted me more than any other one. Although I endeavour to be balanced in whatever I address, I make no apology for the subjective nature of the material. This is an autobiography after all. Yet, I want to remain open for correction. As a test to find out whether it is God's timing to go public with some sensitive material from my life, I now intend printing a small number of copies of Part 1. In my low-key protest to be put in any box, I hope to challenge many a reader who tend to put people in neat boxes of religion or ideology at a later stage in Part 2.
One of the most important lessons that I have learnt over the years is perhaps that adversity often turns into a blessing when one can accept it with grace and thankfulness. The other big lesson I had to learn again and again was that it is always good to wait on the Lord. Over the years I have written and typed many a page that never got published. I have learnt to be patient. I am in no hurry to change in this regard.

December, 2011
Ashley D.I. Cloete



1. Early Gospel Seed

My German-born wife Rosemarie and I came to the Cape from Holland in January 1992 as emissaries of the Gospel. Soon we sensed a call to minister to Cape Muslims in a loving but low-profile friendship building way, focusing on those who had already become followers of Jesus. My own background - being born in the St Monica's Maternity Clinic in Bo-Kaap on 31 December 1945, and having grown up in the slum-like part of Cape Town called District Six - gave us a distinct advantage for ministry. I had been teaching in the partly Islamic 'Coloured' township Hanover Park in 1981, and I also had some credentials in the struggle against apartheid. In the last quarter of 2003 we were challenged to shift the focus of our ministry to foreigners. For many years God blessed us with a love for both Jews and Muslims. Since 2008 the German background of Rosemarie brought apologies to the Jews into the frame. In obedience to the Word, we see a ministry of reconciliation as a priority, inviting readers and others we meet, to become followers of Jesus as the way to get reconciled to God.

A roaming little Boy
Long before I could read, I was roaming through District Six, knowing almost every street by name. I detested having to attend school when I turned six, seeing that as a serious curb of my freedom. I deem it as God’s grace to me that we moved from District Six at an age where I was quite receptive for wrong influences. On the other hand, my heart was somehow also touched by the Gospel early in my life when I listened to a Sunday afternoon open air service near to our home in District Six at which John 3:16 was sung - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.
A fairly strict parental home served as an effective counter to the exposure to vice in my early childhood. Thus it was logical to them that we as children would attend the Zinzendorf Primary School and the Moravian Sunday School at the same venue. The first challenge that I remember to commit my life to Jesus occurred during an evangelistic service in the Chapel in Ashley Street on Moravian Hill. (From there I got my name.) Some German guest preacher was God’s instrument that evening.
(Photo: In front of our house in 30 Combrinck Street, District Six with some relatives, holding the hand of my favourite ‘Aunt’ Patsy Roman, our neighbour, who was still a teenager at the time.)

Denominational Prejudice broken down
I am thankful that God used people from other countries and cultures to enrich my life, also in respect of faith. The breaking down of denominational prejudice and my appreciation of other church traditions started already in District Six. It continued when we moved to the Northern outskirts of the Cape Peninsula at the end of December 1954. Tiervlei, later to be renamed Ravensmead, was still quite rural at that time with many sandy roads. Living in Northway Road, we initially attended the nearby Moria Sendingkerk, the local Dutch Reformed Church as a family on Sunday mornings. On Sunday afternoon we joined the Moravian services in the garage of Mr Charles Grodes, the owner of a small taxi fleet. The denominational school up the road that my siblings and I attended, was linked to the Volkskerk. the first indigenous Cape ecclesiastic denomination. There all of us learned the anthem ‘Protea, protea .... blom van ons vaderland’ (Flower of our fatherland).
When I was nine years old, the next invitation came to me to accept Jesus as my personal Saviour. This time it happened at an evangelistic service by the well‑known evangelist Robert Thom in a big tent next to the local AFM Church. I responded to the altar call, but I was neither counselled properly, nor was there any follow-up to check whether I knew what is was all about.

Not ready to die
After only two years in Tiervlei, a significant change came my way. My grandfather, Oupa Joorst, asked my parents from the Elim Mission Station whether I could come and help them as a ‘stuurding’, an errand boy to fetch water, go to the shop and empty the toilet buckets.1 Auntie Maggie, our mom's ister, had come to care for 'Oupa Joorst' after her divorce and the death of Ouma Joorst. Although the idea did not really appeal to me to go to the country-side, I agreed readily to go to Elim. Because girls in the neighbourhood started to tauntingly link me up to one of their group, I was glad that this opportunity came my way to 'flee' from that situation.
In Elim quite an amount of Gospel seed was sown into my heart in various ways. The memorizing of Bible verses at the primary school was to come in good stead in later years. A special Scripture portion was the first verses of Isaiah 53. We had to memorise how the prophet wrote about an unknown suffering person who was compared with a lamb taken to be slaughtered. I understood this to be a prophesy of Jesus, the Lamb of God. He, the Lamb, did not open His mouth when he was falsely accused.
Towards the end of February 1958 ‘Oupa Joorst’ became very ill. The doctor discerned that he was not going to live very long. Soon his children and grandchildren came from as far away as Enon in the Eastern Cape to bid farewell. The end came on 7 March 1958 just as I came from school for the noon break. I went straight to Oupa’s bedroom, where the neighbour, Ta’ Stienie Daniels, tried to push me out of the room, but it was too late! She could not stop me experiencing something very special! I was privileged to see the radiant joy on the face of the aged saint going ‘home’. He was evidently 'seeing' something supernaturally which nobody else of us at his bed-side could see. He stretched out his arms expectantly, as if he was being fetched, with his face lighting up for a moment. And then it was all over...
This left an indelible mark on me, discerning that Oupa obviously knew where he was to be ‘taken’. I was however terrified because I was nowhere certain where I would go to if I would die. How I detested the enforced Sunday midday nap which Auntie Maggie foisted on me and my brother Windsor, who later also joined me there in Elim. The reading of a tract and the weekly practice of the church brass band combined to frighten me. I associated the trumpets with the return of the Lord. I was not yet ready to meet God if I would die or if the Lord would return. Always wide awake, I was always eagerly waiting for the church bell to toll for 2.30 p.m. That was the signal for Windsor and me to could go and play outside.
Changes in Tiervlei
Back home in Tiervlei things changed drastically because our Dad lost his job as a blocker at a millinery factory where they manufactured female hats. (He was retrenched after traiining a yong man to take over his place. That was a common practice of scrupulous factory owners.) No factory linked to the clothing industrial union was inclined to employ a middle-aged worker on top wages. The financial situation at home thereafter deteriorated to such an extent that my parents saw no other way out than to take our sister Magdalene out of school as the eldest of the four children. As a fourteen-year old teenager, she co-operated willingly to try and help augment the family budget, to work in the nearby Footmaster sock factory near to Parow Station.
When Daddy eventually got employmed as a night porter at Mupine, the hostel for workers of the insurance company Old Mutual, the total family earnings in the family were still not enough to keep the three boys at school who were now between ten and fourteen years old. Our grandparents2 and Aunty Maggie in Elim took care of my younger brother Windsor and me. With the family income still not sufficient to cover the daily needs, Mommy was forced to go and work as a domestic worker, serving at first in far away Kenilworth in the southern suburbs as the nanny of the children of Professor Beinart from the UCT Law Faculty. But being away from home for two weeks in a row was rather unsatisfactory. An attempt as a domestic worker with a Jewish couple who owned a shop in Parow was also no solution. The efforts with domestic work proved to be very disruptive for the family life - with a meagre income to boot. Our Mom ultimately joined Magdalene at the same sock factory in Parow, Footmaster.
Secondary School Challenges For my secondary school training I had to return to the Cape Peninsula from the Elim Mission Station, attending Vasco High School, one of the only three secondary schools in the northern suburbs of the Cape Peninsula designated for ‘Coloureds’. (In fact, the one in Bishop Lavis Township only offered up to Standard Eight (Grade Ten) at that time.) Nicholas (Klaas) Dirks was my best friend, the only one in my class who stayed fairly near to us. In the morning we would walk the few kilometres down Jopie Fourie Street to Tiervlei Station, where we boarded the train to Elsies River. From there we walked another kilometre or two to the ‘Acres’, where our school was situated in Wiener Street. Our school principal, Mr Braam, was a fervent Methodist lay preacher. At the school assembly he challenged us frequently with the song ‘Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.’ He would stress the certainty which he had personally experienced when he accepted Jesus as his Saviour. This made me quite jealous because I did not have that assurance. Klaas Dirks was a member of the local Sendingkerk Boys’Brigade. One day he invited me to an event staged by the combined brigades of the Sendingkerk (DRC Mission Church) at the Goodwood Showgrounds to be held on Sunday 17 September 1961. The open air congregation was to be addressed by a certain Dr Oswald Smith from Canada. The name did not say anything to me. At that evangelistic service I surrendered to the claims of Christ. The Lord used the Canadian preacher to challenge me to consider that Jesus did not only die for the sins of the world in general. This was not new to me at all to me. How often have we been repeating in the church on a Sunday in one of the Moravian liturgies Lam van God wat die sonde van die wêreld wegneem…3, I responded to the altar call to accept Jesus as my personal Saviour. Subsequently I was led to the Lord by Eerwaarde Conradie of De Doorns. I could now also sing with conviction Blessed assurance... Jesus is mine. Unfortunately I was not spiritually discipled thereafter.
A second Wind
While I was at Vasco High School I was quite small in physique. During the Physical Training (PT) lesson we were often required to run the British mile4 on a strange track. We were required to go around the prefabricated school complex four times. Like many others in my class I was a kaalvoetklonkie, I had no footwear.
The so-called track included thick sand in one part and thorns in another portion (My hardened feet became quite used to the thorns after our move from District Six to Tiervlei/Ravensmead). In a bunch – the boys from two classes combined - we would set off and go on our race of four laps. One particular day during the PT lesson, I ran the first two rounds with my classmates, deciding to rest a while at the back of the school where no one would be able to see - or so I thought. As the leaders came around for the final lap, I joined them, thus finishing in the leading group … However, the teacher, Mr October, did pick it up. He now required me to run the lap all alone, in full view of many other learners who would now know that I had cheated!! How difficult that last lap was. Not only was there the shame, but there was also the thick sand at the back of the school. But then I discovered that the running was suddenly easier. I received what we used to call a tweede wind, a second wind, and I managed to finish the race in this way. I used the example in later years to explain that the Lord gives us a second wind when the going is tough.

If the Lord does not build the House Our final Matric exams were quite strenuous. I wrote my last paper - Geography – three weeks after the first one. On the day before this paper, I was completely exhausted after many late nights and early mornings. We had a teacher for that subject who was nowhere qualified for it. This was a situation that was so typical in all secondary schools for learners who were not White. We had not been properly prepared in the class room for the Geography paper. Often I studied together with Attie Louw and Attie Kotze, two class mates who came from the countryside and who lived nearby. I worked out a strategy for myself to make the best of the situation. That evening I had no energy left. I turned to the Bible for a special word. In it I had a book mark from the Bible Society with scripture verses and portions for various occasions. Under a heading like 'extremities' or 'exhaustion' I found Psalm 127. 'If the Lord does not build the house.... in vain you work so hard from early morning until late at night.' That was just the word I needed. I immediately went to bed. The examination paper seemed to have been made tailor-made for the strategy that I had worked out. I praised God that I was able to pass quite well in the subject - unlike the bulk of my class mates.

A Financial Crisis at Home yet again By this time our family had progressed materially to some extent. We now possessed two bicycles! Our sister Magdalene received a new one on her 16th birthday with which she cycled to the Elizabeth Arden cosmetics factory in Parow where she was now working. (She had been sacked at Footmaster for talking too much.) I went to school on the same second-hand bicycle which Daddy had been using when he returned home from Mupine every morning. During 1962 our mother had to stop working because of arthritis where she had to be on her feet all day. In those days only few people possessed a washing machine. Mommy thereafter also did some washing for compassionate relatives who could be assisted in this way simultaneously.
I matriculated at the end of 1962, with the under­stand­ing that I could finish my teacher training after a year of any other employment that I could find. The financial situation at home was not such that all three sons could be kept in educational institutions, two of them at secondary school as well as Kenneth, the oldest of the brothers, who had just started the two-year course at Hewat Teachers’ Training College.
God's higher Ways impacting me
After a few unsuccessful attempts at getting clerical work5 that was as a rule reserved for Whites in those days, I settled for an unskilled job at Nasionale Boekhandel in nearby Parow, cleaning the machines. Returning to our Tiervlei home from the printing works in Parow in the late afternoon of early January 1963, I was notified that I had been accepted as a trainee at Hewat Teachers’ Training College in Crawford. (Being the only institution of its kind for ‘Coloured’ males in the Western Cape, the bulk of the applicants was usually turned down.) A few of my Matric classmates settled for the reviled ‘Bush College’ in Bellville, the apartheid-related tertiary institution that had just started. Like all ‘Coloureds’ with a sense of dignity, I initially despised the new university college of learning designated for our racial group.
I was quite surprised when my parents disclosed that they feel that I should go to ‘Hewat’. They had been challenged by the ‘Watchword’ from the Moravian textbook for the day, Isaiah 55:8: “My ways are not your ways ...” They decided to send me to college by faith.

Holy Spirit Conviction
In the first quarter of 1963 I was deeply challenged by a sentence from a sermon of the new local Dutch Reformed minister, Dominee Piet Bester, who came to Tiervlei in 1962 (later called Ravensmead). Apart from services in the local Moravian Church building that church members had erected on Saturdays. I often visited the local DRC Sendingkerk. The clergyman’s testimony of his deliverance from folk dancing pierced my heart: Was I actually idolizing sport myself? I wanted to speak to Rev. Bester afterwards, ready to justify my actions. Brother De Bruyn, the church deacon who was allocated to counsel me, was however very clear: If the Holy Spirit convicts you of anything, then you must put it right. After he had prayed with me, I sensed a feeling of liberation from bondage. Previously I had not even been aware of my addiction to sports. As part of my new commitment to the Lord, I decided to stop playing cricket for Tigers, the local club.
Already before making this decision, I had been quite radical and non-conformist, ready to rock boats and not hesitating to swim against the stream. As secretary of the church youth group I deviated in my annual report from the prevalent custom of painting a rosy, but dishonest picture of our activities. My candid honest reports at the annual birthday celebration of our youth club to which other church groups were also invited, were different. It was possibly a sniff of fresh air in the stuffy church culture of our generation where tradition was the name of the game.
2. Movement in the ecumenical Field

There was quite a lot of ecumenical movement in the circles in which we moved. Thus we brought preachers from all sorts of denomi­na­tions to the pulpit of our small Moravian congregation in Linden Street, Tiervlei. All members of our family played a role. Daddy contributed by bringing in Mr Braam, our school principal, as well as Greek background Nic Bougas,6 who resided in the Old Mutual Hostel Mupine. Nic was linked to Youth for Christ. Our sister Magdalene invited Chris Wessels, a young minister at that time. His sermon on Jeremiah 4:3 was very exceptional, making a deep impression on me, even though the content became rather vague in my memory as time went by. Only very seldom we heard a sermon from one of the prophets. 'Braak vir julle 'n braakland. Saai nie onder dorings nie', ('Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns . …') was like seed sown on the fertile soil of my heart, imprinted on my soul. It would germinate and come up many years later in my own preaching on the parable of the Sower when I was a young minister in Holland: Over the years I became very sensitive to the disparities caused by materialism. As a young minister in Holland, I discerned that the Lord equated seed sown among thorns with materialism. 'Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things,choke the seed...' Yet later, I discovered that Paul, the apostle, taught that covetousness and greed boiled down to modern idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
Chris Wessels utilised one of his preaching occasions in Tiervlei to challenge me to take up theological studies. But I was adamant that the Lord should clearly call me personally to serve Him as a pastor. Thereafter the conviction grew even stronger within me that I should really experience a divine calling from the Lord before indulging in such studies.
(My ID card, which one received at the age of 16)
As I entered my second year of teacher training - in those days that was the final year - I did not feel comfortable and capable at all to go and teach straight away the following year. I still looked like a school kid myself. I genuinely feared that the learners would run over me because of my youthful appearance.


An ecclesiastical Misfit
In our church I did not fit in the mould, along with two young Sunday School colleagues with the name Paul who had the typical Cape Moravian surnames Engel and Joemat.7 Paul Joemat initially visited us in Tiervlei with some romantic interest in our sister Magdalene. Subsequently he became quite a firebrand for the Lord. The three of us – the two Pauls and I - would often launch out in an arrogant way to ‘get the Moravian Church back on track’ with regard to biblical conversion. We sometimes used unconventional means. Bible choruses were regarded as sectarian in those days, but we had the respected Chris Wessels on our side. Chris had been in Holland and Germany before he returned to the church’s service and thereafter he became travelling secretary of the Christian Students Association. In that capacity he would impact quite a few ‘Coloured’ young people around the country including Allan Boesak.
At our local youth services, I went a step further than my sister, inviting not only experienced (lay) preachers from other churches, but also teenagers like myself to come and preach. Attie Louw, who was with me in Matric, had contacts via the Christian Students Association (CSV). He came to preach at one of our youth services and he also recommended Allan Boesak from Somerset West, who was matriculating at Gordon High School. As a very committed believer, Attie was all set to become a Sendingkerk pastor. The Lord used him to bring life into the CSV of our school. In later years Tony Links,8 a teacher colleague and an Seventh Day Adventist, graced our pulpit. At this time I was also invited to preach at other Moravian congregations.
Ready to be ex-communicated
On the issue of believer’s baptism a Pentecostal friend had been influencing me. If my Pentecostal friend had come on a Saturday afternoon to take me to a baptismal service in a lake as he had promised, I would have gone with him: I was ready to be immersed and thereafter to be ex-communicated from the Moravian Church because of believers’ baptism. That is what happened to people in those days who dared to get re-baptised’. But my new friend didn't pitch, so I stayed in the Moravian Church.
Allan Boesak came to preach in our fellowship soon after he started with his theological studies. Allan had to come from Somerset West, about 30 kilometres away. He slept with us on the Saturday evening. This afforded me with a good opportunity for theological discussion. I eagerly grabbed the occasion to sound Allan out about the christening of infants.
Allan couldn’t really convince me, but I was satisfied that he was honest enough about it, that he believed that infant christening is the sign of the new covenant, a substitute for circumcision. According to his explanation the latter is the visible sign of the old covenant of God with Israel. The Church is the 'New Testament' equivalent of Israel in the old covenant. Neither did the arguments used by Ds. Piet Bester of the local Moria Sendingkerk in this regard make a big impression on me. Otherwise Ds. Bester was however such a big influence in my life at that time.
The Challenge to Missionary Work
Ds. Piet Bester was divinely used to get me not only interested in sharing the Gospel with others, but also to become open for missionary work. Since I was racially classified and raised as a ‘Coloured’ in apartheid South Africa, I never considered in my wildest dreams that I would ever get to another country for missionary purposes. Nevertheless, I joined the Wayside Mission after getting in trouble at my own church because of my evangelistic drive. I thereafter operated as a volunteer at a small open air Wayside Sunday School in someone’s backyard.
The run-up to my involvement with the Wayside Mission was actually quite interesting. In the Sunday school of our church, I had been leading children to a personal faith in Jesus as their Saviour as I had been taught to do as a counsellor at various evangelistic outreaches with Ds. Bester. I also encouraged the children to tell others about their decision to follow Jesus. One of the children from the Sonnenberg family did just this at home. The staunch Moravian parents ‑ who had only been sending their children to Sunday school, without hardly ever attending church services themselves ‑ promptly complained to the church leadership about the sectarian way in which I was conducting the Sunday School classes. To get ‘converted’ to faith in Jesus was regarded to be sectarian by the rank and file Moravian Church member at the Cape. Sadly, our denomination had thus drifted far away from its blessed evangelistic and missionary beginnings.

Interest in Politics
The Sharpeville and Langa events of 1960 made itself felt all over the Western Cape. I had really started to hate the oppressive apartheid system, but not Whites as such. The subtle education of society and the racist government continued to influence me.
My interest in politics and the fight against racism in our country received a tremendous boost at Hewat Training College. Many a lecturer supported the struggle against apartheid, although they were in general quite careful. (Quite a few teachers were dismissed at this time or posted to rural places for sharing their political views too openly.) Great was my disappointment though when two of our best lecturers, Mr Herbert (History) and Mr Hanmer (Geography) left for England and Canada respectively. Were they not running away from their responsibility like Jonah, was my judgemental question.

Theological Studies?
While I was still a teenager, Chris Wessels challenged me to enter theological training. However, I expected to be more clearly and divinely called, although I had no idea how such a call would occur.
Rev. Kruger, a member of the Moravian Church Board approached me in 1964 with an offer of a teaching post in Port Elisabeth as I was finishing my second year of teacher training. Ever since I started my teaching career, I felt that I should be trained for the ministry. But I sensed no peace to follow this ‘call’ to the Theological Seminary. I was therefore quite contented that I could tell Reverend Krüger that I had applied to do the third year ‘academic’ course at Hewat.
I now also started considering God’s call to full time service more seriously. Almost as a matter of routine I repeatedly put it before the Lord on these occasions that I was fully willing and prepared to proceed to theological studies. But I wanted to be absolute­ly sure that it was His calling.

A major turning Point in my Life
A major turning point in my life occurred in 1964 after Allan Boesak and Paul Engel had nudged me to attend the evangelistic outreach of the Students’ Christian Association (SCA) just after Christmas every year.
Allan Boesak’s dedication to the Lord made a deep impression on me. When he spoke about the ‘stranddienste’, the beach gospel services of the Students Christian Association at Harmony Park, he sowed seed in my heart. This seed germinated when my Moravian soul mate Paul Engel joined me at Hewat Training College in 1964. Paul also spoke about the Harmony Park beach outreach.
The Christmas of 1964 however had me spiritually in tatters. I was on the verge of getting ready for the Harmony Park ‘stranddienste’ (the evangelistic beaches services), but I was feeling completely barren. In desperation I called to the Lord to meet me anew. I had nothing to give to anybody, unless He would fill me with His Spirit. And that He did. The Harmony Park beach evangelization was to change my life completely.

Impacted by the Unity of Christians
For the other participants it might not have been so significant, but the unity of the Christians coming from different church backgrounds there left an indelible mark on me. I did not know the divine statement yet that God commands his blessing where unity exists (Psalm 133:3). But I saw the Holy Spirit at work, as I had not experienced before. I was not only spiritually revived, but there I also received an intense urge to network with other members of the body of Christ, with people from different denominational backgrounds.
There my friendship was forged with Jakes, a young pastor who came to join us after a long drive through the night from far-away Umtata in the Transkei. Along with David Savage from the City Mission,9 I started learning the power of prayer there at Harmony Park in a new way. Because Jakes had become my hero and confidant, I seriously started considering taking up studies at the Dutch Reformed Church theological school, rather than with the Moravian­s. I regarded our training as inferior. But Jakes never encouraged me along these lines. I appreciated that tremendously.
Multi-racial work camps at Langgezocht in the mountains of the Moravian mission station Genadendal from the mid-1960s - to help build a camp site there - gave me the rare opportunity to meet students from other racial groups in a natural setting.

Completely unbalanced After my encounter with the Lord at my first Harmony Park beach outreach, I started attending the prayer meetings every Sunday morning at six o’clock at the Tiervlei Sendingkerk. One Sunday morning a mini-revival erupted there when suddenly everybody started praying simultaneously. That was quite revolutionary for the time, causing some disquiet among the traditional Dutch Reformed believers. It was significant that women from different denominations began to meet each other regularly for prayer at this time. This confirmed for me the special blessing of united prayer. Years later we would put this to good effect in Zeist (Holland) in the 1980s and back in Cape Town since our return in 1992.
Yet, I was also very much a child of my surroundings and completely unbalanced. Not long before starting my teaching career, I was still frowning upon lengthy degree studies because I expected the Lord to return very soon.

I conveniently forgot my Reservations
When I heard that extra-mural courses would be started at the University College of the Western Cape, I jumped at the opportunity to start degree studies, conveniently forgetting my earlier reservations to study at the ‘Bush’ college. I was ambitious and eager to get promotion in the teaching profession. Soon I was cycling to the school in the morning, and from there to the afternoon and evening classes. Often I utilised the time on the bicycle - e.g. holding a book on the steering bar while I memorized the various forms of the German strong or irregular verbs. Not knowing that it would come in good stead at a later stage, I had included German Special in my degree curriculum. I was sad that they could not offer Mathematics as a subject extra-murally straight away. Only in my final year of the degree I included Mathematics in my curriculum, doing it through correspondence with UNISA.
Being thoroughly materialistic at this time, I only had eyes for the opportunity to get in line for promo­tion as a teacher in later years, so that I would be able to earn more. But there was also the academic field that beckoned. Posts at the new 'Coloured' University were waiting to be filled by people from our racial grouping. As one of the better students and also the youngest of the extra-mural ones, this was quite a tempting option.10

A significant Moravian Funeral
Another teenage hero of mine was Reverend Ivan Wessels. He contracted leukaemia at the beginning of 1968. He passed to higher glory after a few weeks in Groote Schuur Hospital, not very long after Professor Chris Barnard had just performed his first heart transplants at that institution. Instead of the usual Sunday School Conference in Pella that had been scheduled for the weekend following his death, almost the whole Moravian Church establishment gathered in Lansdowne for the funeral of one of its most promising sons. Although very principled and outspoken against any form of racism, it was characteristic that the wise late Rev. Daniel Ivan Wessels was never jailed or banned - in contrast to so many other members of the Wessels clan. Bishop Schaberg challenged the congregation: ‘Who is going to fill the void caused by our deceased brother?’ I discerned God’s voice in my heart. Back home in Tiervlei after the funeral, it was not difficult at all to go to my knees and say ‘Yes, Lord, I’m prepared to be used by you to fill the gap.’
The next day we went to the Pella Mission Station for our condensed Sunday School conference. I was completely surprised when Reverend August Habelgaarn, a member of the church board, approached me with the question whether I would be interested in a bursary for two years of theological studies at the Johanneum in Wupperthal (Germany).11 I had no hesitation to reply that I saw this as clear confirmation of the call of the Lord the previous day. Another few months down the road, preparations were well advanced towards my leaving for Germany at the beginning of 1969.


3. An African Missionary in Germany?

Towards the end of 1968, preparation for Germany didn’t belong to my priorities. Instead of trying to get my knowl­edge of the German language on par, I rushed from one youth camp to the other. Romances had been starting to play a bigger role in my life, after I had previously decided that in terms of priorities, I was too busy with other things like my studies and service for the Lord to have time for a girl friend.
I had just turned 23 when I left South Africa by sea. All around me my peers were getting married. But I was determined from the outset not to marry a German girl because that would have prevented me from returning to South Africa, due to of the laws of the country at the time. Rationally, I considered that I would be of more use inside South Africa than outside of the beloved country.

(On the day of my departure with my close friend Jakes standing between my mother and me. My dad is on the extreme left with John Tromp, a friend from the Calvinist Protestant Church in Tiervlei)
I regarded the stay in Europe in the first place as an opportunity to study, but it was also combined with some missionary zeal. Fairly at the beginning of my stint in Germany, I once opposed Marxist theological students, although I still could not yet express myself sufficiently in German, thus needing an interpreter. Thereupon a German lady exclaimed quite shocked that their ‘Christian’ country now seemed to be in need of mission­aries from Africa.

A Low-key Fighter against the Communism
Just before I left South Africa in January 1969, I bought a booklet at the Christian bookshop of Nic de Goede, the leader of the Wayside Mission in Station Road, Parow. The booklet Tortured for Christ’by Richard Wurmbrand, in which the author describes how he had been maltreated in Communist Romania, made a deep impression on me. In Germany I soon had the opportunity to listen to the testimony of the Romanian pastor himself and hear about the experiences of Christians in the Communist countries.
Hereafter I received the periodical of the organization founded by Wurmbrand regularly. I also started fasting and praying on Friday mornings for imprisoned Christians behind the iron curtain. Initially this was actually more or less faceless untargeted praying, but it was to change in later years when we received photograph cards of the persecuted Christians. Nevertheless, I never really proceeded to become a prayer warrior in the best sense of the word.
After my return to South Africa in 1970, my vigour to pray for the Communists was dampened after I listened to Richard Wurmbrand once again. This time he spoke on the Green Point Stadium. I regarded him as very insensitive when he compared our situation of racial inequality with the Christians’ experience under Communist oppression. The SABC however rubbed salt in the wounds of the oppressed part of the population through their reporting of the Green Point event and Wurmbrand’s visit to the country in general.

A Short-term Missionary
The original idea of my doing two years of theological studies at the Johanneum in the city of Wupperthal was later changed to a one year practical in youth work with the Evangelische Jungmännerwerk in Wuerttemberg with its headquarters in Stuttgart. There Reverend Rolf Scheffbuch, our ‘boss’, was quite open to assist to let me possibly study Theology in Germany (with a bursary from the Landeskirche). I was elated, thrilled at the possibility of doing a full theological course at the renowned Tübingen University. (The possibility of the deport­ation of our German lecturers at the denomination’s seminary was nowhere fictitious. This happened to a quite few foreigners who opposed apartheid. In the case of this eventuality, I argued, it would have been good if we had properly university-trained lecturers at our seminary from our own ranks. I wanted to be available for this eventuality.)
My church authorities back home were however not so enchanted with the idea. They feared that I could become estranged from the country after many years out of the land. In the end it was agreed that I could remain in Germany for one more year, studying the biblical languages, Greek and Hebrew. From the outset I regarded myself as a ‘short term missionary’. In those days this terminology was still fairly unknown. The possibility of a missionary coming from Africa to ‘Christian’ Europe was unheard of. But I was also very determined to return to serve the Lord in my home country. The almost two years in Germany, during which I learned much about youth work in the first year, were very enriching. The last sector of the two years was devoted to studies in Greek, Hebrew and Latin.12
I had to guard myself against falling in love if that were possible at all. I had to learn the hard way (well, really?) that also my emotions had to be brought under God’s rule! His ways were indeed higher, also with regard to my future marriage partner. I still had to learn that it was not right to prescribe to the Lord the race to which my future wife should belong.
My Defences fell apart
I had not been in Europe for two weeks when ‘it’ hap­pened. I fell in love as never before. A Christian girl in Switzerland not only impressed me, but I also noticed a growing feeling towards her that drove me to my knees. I was really thrown into a spiritual crisis. I asked the Lord to take away my infatuation because she was 'White'. I felt myself committed to a task and a commission that was awaiting me in South Africa. The emotional crisis was saved when the friend wrote to me a few months later that ‘she’ appreciated me like a brother. But she had a boy friend of her own. God taught me through this experience to become open to the option of a German as my future wife. The end result of this experi­ence was however that all my defences fell apart. I sadly caused heart-aches among young German females in the months hereafter.
A clear challenge came from a completely different direc­tion when I landed at Selbitz, a Protestant institution that had all the hall-marks of a monastery. The life-style of these followers of Jesus challenged me to a celibate life, something with which I had not been confronted before. But I knew myself too well. I settled for a compromise: I decided to dedicate my ‘youth’ to the Lord, i.e. I wanted to stay unmarried until the age of thirty.
My vow-like intention to stay a bachelor until the age of thirty was made easy when I fell in love with a teenager. I knew that I would have to wait on my new-found darling for many years before we could marry. My resolve to return to South Africa at all costs had all but disappeared by now.
When my teenage girl friend wrote to me some months later ‘I don’t love you any more’, I was thrown into deep despair. But soon hereafter, a black-haired beauty walked into my life – Rosemarie!

Stay clear of Politics!
Before I left South Africa, Bishop Schaberg warned me to stay clear of politics, because agents from the apartheid government were also well represented overseas. The Lord blessed me with insights that turned out to be quite prophetic. In my usual talk on South Africa, I spoke about the unique problems of the country. I defined them as the apartheid government policy, the disunity of the churches and alcoholism. As a solution to the problems, I suggested much prayer. I had started to believe strongly in the power of prayer - the result of my Harmony Park experience and the teaching of Ds. Bester. As a speaker from Africa, I was something of a celebrity in certain quarters, especially on the German countryside.
I heeded Bishop Schaberg’s warning initially, without however really making a conscious effort. A letter from my parents changed all this. It shocked me out of my wits to hear that our family had been served with a notice of the expropriation of our property in Tiervlei under the guise of slum clearance. Before I left South Africa we had heard a rumour that our property – the house plus 8 vacant plots on which more houses could be built – was offered to a businessman in Bellville South. Considering that our solid brick house nowhere resembled one of those that qualified for slum clearance, we had initially taken that to be an unfounded rumour.
What really enraged me there in Europe was that my mother mentioned in her letter something about ‘the will of the Lord.’ I could only perceive the move of the local municipality as a local version of the jealousy of Naboth in respect of the vineyard of a poor man (1 King 21:1-15). In my anger I stopped just short of considering joining the armed struggle against the apartheid government. The wanton act of the Parow Municipality was to me just an extension of the racist government policies. From abroad I wrote quite a strong letter of protest to the Parow Municipality, with copies to some people in Tiervlei. That letter could have brought me into serious trouble. But I couldn’t care less any more. The only restraining factor was that I nevertheless wanted to act responsibly towards God. It was however of no avail. A few months later, while I was still in Germany, my parents were evicted - forced to move.

Run-up to a special Relationship
When Rosemarie entered the Jugendbund für Entschiedenes Christentum with her student colleague and friend Elke Maier in May 1970, I experienced something as close to a ‘love at first sight’ as ever there was one, especially after I had spoken to Rosemarie afterwards. I could not keep it to myself, blurting it out and telling my two Stuttgart room mates immediately about ‘Rosemarie Göbel aus Mühlacker’, even though I had just got to know her.
I was quite disappointed when she stepped just as suddenly out of my surrounds as she had entered. We had no opportunity to exchange addresses or telephone numbers.
Almost simultaneously with my examination in Greek - two weeks before my scheduled return to South Africa - Rosemarie re-entered my life. She started her qualifying year of teaching at the School for the Blind in Stuttgart, where she also lived on weekdays. This time I resorted to some very unconventional methods to make sure that we would not lose contact with each other again. Those two weeks turned out to become quite crucial in our lives. The ensuing miraculous divine intervention so gripped me so much that I really wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
The most important moment for me during this time was probably Rosemarie’s reaction when I invited her telephonically to join me for an evening with the Wycliffe Bible Translators. Her response was: ‘already from childhood I wanted to become a missionary.’ To me this was the sure confirmation that I wanted nobody else as my future wife. But already a few days later, a possible marriage seemed completely remote.
When she told her mother that she had fallen in love with an African student, Mrs Göbel immediately opposed the relationship, fearing an even harsher reaction from her husband, not allowing Rosemarie to meet me again. My darling agreed not to tell her father about me. How many times he had warned her never to marry a foreigner, a teacher or a pastor. This is not even mentioning the indoctrination of Mr Göbel’s own upbringing. That had been an important reason for him to oppose her idea of studying in Tübingen, where she could possibly get involved in a relationship to a non-German.
Rosemarie was not permitted to attend my farewell at the Christian Encounter youth group, but she later learned the chorus “My Lord can do anything ...”. (We made a recording of the proceedings via one of the recent technological advances, the audio cassette. At my farewell evening I taught the German young folk this chorus, as well as ‘By u is daar niks onmoontlik Heer,’13 without thinking much about the content. These two choruses would mean such a lot to the two of us in the months thereafter.) A foretaste of the miracle that was still to happen occurred just prior to my departure. When Rosemarie went home the next weekend, her mother allowed my darling to see me once more and also to accompany me to the airport a few days later.
I was so happy when she agreed to join me to a performance of Händel’s Messiah when I went to meet her at the train station. That Sunday evening everything seemed hopeless with regard to any future for our intense mutual love. We had no option but to stick to the content of the chorus: Our Lord could do anything.
We were thoroughly blessed, when we attended the oratorio. As we listened to the words from the prophet Isaiah: ‘Every valley shall be exalted...’, we looked at each other eagerly and lovingly, adapting the promise to our personal circumstances! How we longed for the fulfilment of the application of the verse from Scripture! We decided to continue praying for each other at 9 p.m. Every Sunday evening.
When I returned to South Africa in October of that year, I had no doubt that Rosemarie Göbel was the girl I wanted to marry. My intention ‑ not to get involved in a special relationship with the opposite gender in Germany that could lead to marriage ‑ was thus effectively dashed.


4. Home sweet Home

I wasextremely in love and was soon telling our wonderful love story wherever I got the chance. At one of these occasions I blurted out my feelings towards Rosemarie to my cousin, Rev. John Ulster. He was the minister of the Elim Mission Station and a member of the Moravian Church Board. He pointed out to me the obvious, that I had to choose between South Africa and Rosemarie. But I wanted both. This must have looked really stupid and naive because a marriage to a (White) German was just not a runner at that time. But I was too much in love to accept that. I wanted to marry Rosemarie come what may and equally determined to fight to get her into South Africa. To everybody around me that idea sounded quite crazy. Marriage between a ‘White’ and any other race was completely out of the question in our country.
My opposition to the government of my home country received a personal touch with my new resolve. A law was prohibiting me from getting married to Rosemarie Göbel. I would not accept that.

Quandries in Germany and at Home
I had caused problems in Germany for myself as well because I was quite outspoken there about my desire to return to South Africa to serve my people. In a newsletter to friends in Germany dated 22 December 1970, I wrote from Elim at the home of my parents:
I hear already your question: You always asserted that you see your duty in South Africa and now you have fallen in love with a German? ...
I defended myself in the same newsletter: It is not so much that I fell in love but that GOD granted us this exceptional love. I furthermore pointed out that if I had my own way, I would have returned to South Africa much earlier and then we would not have met each other again two weeks before my return in October 1970 after we had initially lost contact with each other.14
Many acquaintances on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea were rather sceptical about our romantic friendship, waiting for the novelty of my new-found love relationship to wear off. On my part there was no resolve to prove anything. I was so sure of our strong love. There was however still one snag: Rosemarie’s father still didn’t know about our friendship.
Rosemarie was doing her qualifying year of teaching at the School for the Blind in Stuttgart, where she also had a room. Thus we could correspond, without her parents getting upset by it. Rosemarie kept the promise to withhold the information from her father for many weeks.

Fighting Apartheid
After my return to Cape Town, I was soon swept along by the politics of the day. Ever since reading books of Martin Luther King and Albert Luthuli during my stay in Germany - literature that was either unavailable or declared banned literature in South Africa - my interest was more than merely aroused. Now I was ablaze in opposition to apartheid. I saw this as my Christian duty. One of the first things after my return was to join the Christian Institute (CI), an organisation founded by Dr Beyers Naudé after he had been disillusioned with his denomination’s response to the proposals of Cottesloe in 1960 - where he had been a delegate.

Part-time Theological Studies
Because I had started with the theological languages (Greek and Hebrew) in Germany, our church board was prepared to allow me to join the other full-time students at the Moravian Seminary in District Six by way of exception. I was however adamant. Typical of the rebel I still was, I refused special favours.
In January 1971 I met my former Afrikaans teacher at high school, Mr Adam Pick at the ‘Coloured’ Affairs office in Bellville, where I possibly went to fill in the necessary forms of my resignation from the teaching profession. My reputation as a fairly good Mathematics teacher had somehow done the rounds and he was now the principal of Elswood High School. He promptly asked me to come and teach at his school. Being a Moravian himself, he sowed seed into my heart, suggesting that I could study theology part-time. (He knew that the seminary had just moved to Cape Town after the Group Areas expropriation of the church’s property in Fairview, Port Elizabeth.)
I soon took up a full-time teaching post at Elswood High School in Elsies River, making clear though that I would only be teaching for one year. After that year I wanted to study Theology full-time.
Because my parents were now living in Elim and my sister and her family were living in Sherwood Park, quite far from Elsies River for the purposes of commuting, I needed accommodation in the vicinity. Mr Pick introduced me to the Esau family that possessed a 2 by 2 metre outside room with one double bed that I subsequently shared with my brother Windsor. He worked for a pharmacist in Goodwood, but he also did some deliveries. How we enjoyed the lekker stews Mrs Esau could cook like hardly anybody else! There I hung Rosemarie’s photo on the inside of the door, the important artefact for my Sunday 22h prayer rendezvous with my darling when we prayed for each other.

(Photo: Together with some of my Elswood High School Mathematics learners, sporting my UNISA blazer.)
I proceeded to study part-time at the seminary in 1971, linking up with my old stalwart rebel fighter of the Sunday School conference days, Paul Joemat. (The third ‘musketeer’, Paul Engel, had started at the Moravian Seminary when the institution was still in Fairview, Port Elizabeth.)

Various Dilemmas
A major problem had arisen in Germany after a few months. Rosemarie’s father still had no clue what was going on. At the School for the Blind she received my letters. Only over week-ends she would go home. But she soon deemed it wise to do it less frequently.
Her mother was now torn between the love for her husband and allegiance to the daughter with the strange choice of a boy-friend. But God had already started to change her original attitude to our friendship. In a letter to Rosemarie she wrote very wisely:
... I feel that should Ashley come to Europe one day - and should you still think about it as at present - that it would be the opportunity to get to know him. Think about it how many people had to experience a time of separation. Sometimes God requires of us a time of testing. In the meantime, you can learn some extra things for His service. Should you serve Him together one day, He will surely make your way clear...
The inference is that her mother thus reckoned with the possibility that I would return to Europe in future. The next few weeks brought no change with regard to Mr Göbel’s position. In fact, at one of the rare weekends at home, Rosemarie couldn’t take it any more. She took her bag and ran out in tears. This also brought her in a spiritual crisis, thinking that the termination of our friendship would be the only way out.
The secrecy of our friendship took its toll on Mrs Göbel, so that she landed in hospital with gall trouble. Rosemarie had to face the fact that the tension because of our friendship was the cause of her mother’s ailment. But she also knew that she could no longer keep the secret away from her dear father. With her mother in hospital, the tension in the house became unbearable. She splashed it out to her dad, causing excessive pain to him.
As someone who had been raised and indoctrinated in Nazi ideology, his world crashed. His dream of seeing both his daughters married to prim and proper Germans appeared to be crashing.
Subsequently Rosemarie wrote to me about the quarrel she had with her dad about our friendship.

I forced an Issue
I thereafter wrote an apology to Mr Göbel. In the letter I also officially asked to correspond with his daughter. He replied equally formally, giving me reasons why we should terminate our friendship. He had nothing against me as an African, but he didn't want Rosemarie to marry someone from another nation. My reaction was not saintly. I should have left it at that. In stead, I stubbornly requested him to allow me to continue the correspondence with Rosemarie at festive occasions. I insolently suggested that if I would not get a reply from him, I would take it that he agreed to my proposal.
I twisted Mr Göbel’s arm
Ethically this was deplorable. I twisted Mr Göbel’s arm, because in the same letter I still had to learn that one could aggravate a problematic situation by forcing an issue. Mr Göbel was too angry to reply, instructing Rosemarie to write me one final letter! She was not ready for this. She did not oblige by obeying promptly.
I went ahead with the writing of a thick epistle. Via my Easter letter I wanted to make sure that my darling would have enough material to read and to re-read until Pentecost!! Easter 1971 would have been the next occasion of our mutual exchange of letters. Her letter didn’t arrive at the expected time. After some delay, the letter arrived that should have alarmed me. She mentioned in that letter something about a certain 'Kriegsdienstverweiger'15 quite positively, but I did not attach much attention to it.
* *
On this side of the ocean there was of course the ominous ‘Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act’, that tried to prevent any marital bond between a White person and someone from another race. My effort to get Rosemarie reclassified as a ‘Coloured’ ‑ to enable her to come to South Africa so that we could get married at a later stage ‑ only created more problems. Instead of waiting on God’s intervention to usher in our marriage, I attempted to ‘assist Him’. After reading in a local newspaper of someone who had been racially reclassified - something like that could of course only transpire in the apartheid era - this looked to be my big chance. I would not accept the ‘realistic’ options of either Rosemarie or South Africa.
I wrote to the Prime Minister, enquiring about the procedure to have someone reclassified. I was also insensitive to the objections from Wolfgang Schäfer, one of our Seminary lecturers - that I would give recognition to the immoral racial laws of a country which required such a reclassification. But this could not deter me.
I desperately wanted Rosemarie to come to South Africa, instead of me having to return to Germany. Knowing the objections of her family, Rosemarie on the other hand was however far from free to come to Africa permanently. In one of her letters she actually requested me to pray for her inner liberation in this regard. I had no problem with this, trusting God to change that in due time. Didn’t she tell me when I invited her to the evening with the Wycliffe Bible Translators that she wanted to enter missionary work already from childhood? Thus I just pushed ahead with my own ideas in a rather headstrong way.

Traumatic Weeks
Naively over-looking what Rosemarie had intimated in her Easter letter, I continued writing my next epistle that was intended to arrive in Germany at Pente­cost. I had elevated this church feast to the next big occa­sion, just looking of course for an opportunity and excuse to write a letter to my ‘Schatz’. But Pentecost came and went, without any letter from my bonny over the ocean.
I was ‘sure’ that the South African government had intervened, that our post was being intercepted. Practices like this belonged to the day-to-day occurrences of apartheid South Africa. If the powers that be could stop our contact in this way, they would definitely not hesitate. Inter-racial contact of any sort was not appreciated in government quarters, let alone that between the sexes across the colour bar.
When I didn’t hear from my darling for many weeks, I got really worried that something could have happened to her. I received a cheque from the authorities - money that I had paid into the State pension fund when I was teaching from 1965-68. The amount of the cheque was more or less just what I would need for a return air ticket with Trek Airways (later the airline changed its name to Luxavia) to Luxembourg. I expediently perceived - after quite a lot of prayer – that the cheque from the government could be divine provision to fly to Europe in the June 1971 vacation. What a blessing it was that my passport was still valid!16
In utter naivety, I still did not even consider the possibility that my darling could have become romantically involved in another serious friendship. In the meantime, Rosemarie’s relationship to her parents had become so strained that she was severely tempted into another friendship - with the loving handsome ‘Kriegdienstverweige­rer’, Günther.17 The relationship to a prim and proper German seemed to bring back the family bliss. In her heart Rosemarie was nevertheless still praying for some miracle to happen so that she could marry her ‘first choice’ in Africa, but more and more this likened a pipe-dream.

My Bonny in a Dilemma
In the meantime, Rosemarie was teetering on the horns of an immense dilemma when the mother of Günther became critically ill. He stated innocently to her that he would not be able to take it if he would lose both Rosemarie and his mother. Günther obviously sensed that she still loved the African theological student in Cape Town. Rosemarie felt herself cornered when his mother died.
The temptation was too strong for her. Promptly she gave her word to him. Relief and joy became hereafter almost tangible every time she pitched up with courteous Günther at the Göbel home in Albert Schweitzer Strasse in Mühlacker. On top of that, Rosemarie showed to Günther her 'final' letter to me that she had written. She however became very ill and thus she could not post this letter, which would have settled the matter. It would have terminated our friendship and I would then not even have contemplated flying to Europe in our Winter school holidays.
* * *
The shock was complete when a letter from Cape Town arrived at Rosemarie’s parental address in the first half of June 1971. Because I had not received my ‘Pentecostal letter’, I wrote in dire frustration to enquire about Rosemarie’s whereabouts. I also indicated that I considered coming in the June school holidays, ‘even if it would mean to visit her grave’.
Any doubts about the correctness of such a drastic step as going to Germany for only two weeks were dispelled for a moment. I heard from Trek Airways that the first flight just after the start of the school holidays was absolutely fully booked. This was a very convenient ‘Gideon’s fleece’, a test to see if it was right to use the money that I would possibly need to finance my theological studies. Two hundred and sixty odd Rand meant a lot of money in those days. So I argued: “If it is the will of the Lord that I should go, then he has to get a place for me on that flight’.
When I received a phone call only a few days before the departure date that one seat on the flight is free, I saw this as a clear indication that I should go. I had considered the venture prayerfully enough! I now sent a telegram to Germany which caused a lot of consternation there!

Feathers ruffled
My unexpected arrival in Germany ruffled feathers thoroughly, because Rosemarie had started to regard herself as all but formally engaged, to get married to Günther in due course. She began to consider our romantic relationship as ended. She knew full well that the problems at home would flare up again if she would resume our friendship. But she also knew in her innermost now that she could not proceed with a marriage of compromise to Günther.
After an intense struggle in prayer, Rosemarie decided to break with both of us. Everybody had compassionate understanding for her decision, even her mother. I could fully comprehend the reason for this decision, but my own faith was really tested to the full. I could not understand why God allowed me to come all the way to Germany to experience this.
* *
The last time when Rosemarie and I were together before my return to South Africa, the Lord comforted us. Although we had the inner conviction as never before that we belonged to each other, we agreed to separate, committing our future in God’s hands. As we prayed for each other, we more or less left the ball in God’s court. He had to bring us together again if it was His will that we should marry one day. I knew for one that it had been wrong for me to try and assist Him through letters to the South African authorities or the like.
But we also knew now that we still loved each other intensely and that was ample consolation for the moment. I still experienced great difficulty to release Rosemarie completely from within.


5. A Mixture of Politics and Romance

Along with my former musketeer colleague Paul Joemat I was now studying at the Moravian Seminary in District Six part-time. Our institution harvested a bad name with the government of the day because people of all races were entering and leaving there. The authorities of the day regarded that as subversive. Definitely influenced by the emerging Black Consciousness ideology, I was fond of wearing my ‘Black is Beautiful’ T-shirt, especially after I heard that the sale of it had been banned. I went even one step further in my radicalism. With a thick black Koki marker I wrote ‘Civil Rights’ at the back of another T-shirt and ‘Reg en Geregtigheid’ (Justice and Right­eousness) at the front. (This meant of course that I could not wash this T-shirt for many months, but this didn’t trouble me much, as long as I could posture these sentiments defiantly.)


A magnanimous Gesture
I had some frank discussions with my parents in Elim during the last part of the June holidays of 1972 around political matters. Because we already received Pro Veritate, the Christian Institute periodical, at the seminary, I requested my personal copy to be sent to Elim.
I also discussed the issue of my relationship to Rosemarie openly with my parents for the first time, including my hope of bringing her to South Africa one day. They shared that they would be prepared to sacrifice me if I wished to return to Europe rather than see me bringing Rosemarie into the humiliations and injustice that was part and parcel of apartheid reality for people of colour. I was too much in love to appreciate how magnanimous their gesture was. They knew what they were talking about. My cousin Hester Ulster, who married Tubby Lymphany, an English marine sailor from the Simon’s Town naval base around 1950, had not been allowed to visit her parents, i.e. after more than 20 years of marriage.

Divine Intervention
God intervened in Rosemarie’s life a few months later when it became clear to her that she loved me too much. We faithfully still kept to our mutual promise, our ‘rendezvous’: praying for each other every Sunday evening at 21 hours mid-European time (10 p.m. South African time). For the rest, we heard about some of each other’s activities and whereabouts through the faithful Hermann Beck, my Stuttgart room mate whom I had dubbed Harry. Almost like clockwork he would return my post. He was studying in Tübingen, where Rosemarie now worked as an occupational therapist with terminally ill children.
It came as quite a shock when Rosemarie wrote directly to me:
Tübingen, 7th November 1971
“MAY THE LORD BE BETWEEN YOU AND ME”
... You must know that it was the love, but also the trust in our Lord that led me to write this letter to you to tell you of my decision. Precisely because I want to love Jesus above every­thing, I want to be absolutely obedient to Him. You know, out of a genuine love must also grow a complete trust. Out of this trust I want to take a step in faith that will lead both of us into a genuine inner freedom. Yes Ashley, I know now clearly that it is God’s will that we part. More I can’t and should not tell you now. You may expect more details through Harry. May you experience the compassionate love of God!

She felt that her love to me was obstructing her relationship to God. Later she described it as her Isaac experience, comparing it of course with the Bible narrative of Abraham, who had to sacrifice his son. Rosemarie thought that she had to sacrifice me completely.
The Lord had prepared me somehow for this shock. Just prior to this letter, I received a notification on behalf of Dr Theo Gerdener, the Minister of the Interior, informing me that the government could only reclassify Rosemarie once she was in South Africa.18 This was of course logical. The letter helped me to release her completely, even though this was only temporarily. What we didn't know was that she was actually black-listed for entry into the country.

Living in a liberated Area
A big dose of cross‑cultural pollination was administered to us as students during our time at the Moravian Seminary in Ashley Street in District Six. This resulted not so much via the formal theological studies, but especially through the extra-mural activities, such as those of the Christian Institute with which our German lecturers Henning Schlimm and Wolfgang Schäfer brought us into contact. That enriched our lives as students tremendously. I was now living in a ‘liberated area’ - as one of our lecturers dubbed the seminary complex in Ashley Street. The Seminary was very much involved with the activities of the Christian Institute. The posh residential area Bishop’s Court, the apartheid bastion of apartheid, the University of Stellenbosch and the Black townships were places that a 'Coloured' would not visit normally. We were also privileged to get visiting lecturers from around the world like Dr Desmond Tutu who came to the seminary in District Six. (At that time he was based in Britain, connected to the Theological Education Fund).
My personal friendship to Jakes brought us also to activities of the Sendingkerk (and later to those of the Broederkring.) Reverend Martin Wessels of Steenberg, one of our lecturers, also played his part in our broad education. Once a month he would forfeit his own lecture to take us, the full-time students, to places like Ravensmead for special lectures by Professor Willie Jonker from Stellenbosch or similar stuff at the Sendingkerk theological school in Bellville. These lectures were initiated and facilitated by Jakes. They developed into a sort of harbinger of the Broederkring,19 a circle of Dutch Reformed clergymen and academics from different racial backgrounds. The Broederkring was to give the White DRC and the apartheid government quite a few headaches in the late 1970s and early 1980s.20
We were allowed by our lecturers to participate in political marches, demonstrations and the like, such as those for equal educational opportunities, without any fear of reprimand. In church politics the Moravian Hill seminary students gave the denominational leadership a hard time. We incited other young people in different congregations directly and indirectly. A few congregations banned Fritz and me from their pulpits. Older ministers often emulated the government in their dealings with opposition to the traditionalism in the church. Augustine Joemath, Fritz Faro and I had walked out of the Moravian Hill Chapel during a church service in 1972 - in protest against separate seating that was organised for the White Germans. (Traditionally this happened bi-annually, on Good Friday and on the celebration of the Herrnhut revival of 13th August 1727.) I was called to be the spokesman for the young people in the tussle with a delegation of the German Christians, led by our dear retired Bishop Schaberg. The conservative Germans were caught somewhat off-guard to hear me defend our actions fluently in their language.

A Reprimand from the Prime Minister
Early one October morning in 1972, while I was on my knees praying for the country, I felt constrained to write a letter to the Prime Minister. In this letter, I addressed him with ‘Liewe’ (dear). That was definitely something extraordinary. My natural feelings towards him were not that charitable. In this letter I challenged Mr Vorster to let himself be used by God like President Lincoln in the USA, to lead the nation on the ways of God. Basically, it was a letter of criticism that could have landed me in hot water. I was fortunate that I only got a reprimand from Mr Vorster, the standard reply to people who objected on religious grounds to the racial policies of the country. In this reply, which was actually more or less a circular in which only the name of the recipient was inserted, the Prime Minister implied that I was involved in politics under the guise of religion. Through this ploy the government apparently endeavoured to teach church folk to make a sharp distinction between faith and politics. Many Afrikaner eyes were kept blinded to the heresy of apartheid in this way.

South Africa to be regarded as a Micro-Cosmos?
An article in Pro Veritate, the mouthpiece of the Christian Institute, depicted how South Africa is a micro-cosmos – a sample of the world at large. This presented me with a great challenge. If it were true that all the problems of the world are present in a compact way in our country, why couldn’t we give an example to the world to the solution of those very problems? Without any ado, Reverend Henning Schlimm, our director, allowed me to examine poverty in the 'Old Testament' for a mini thesis in that subject. A few years later, I challenged Prime Minister Vorster along these lines.21
Mentally I was almost completely caught up by the racial issues of the country. As a former teacher, the racial discrimination in educational funding and facilities was something for which I felt worthwhile to go to the streets in a protest march, defying police orders to the contrary. I had an aero-gramme in my pocket for Harry, my faithful Stuttgart room mate. I wanted to post this letter before joining the demonstra­tion for equal education for all races. In this letter I stated that we expected to be arrested because of our defiance of a government ban on the demonstration.
But we came away ‘unscathed’: tear gas won the day! In this way the demonstrating crowd of young students was scattered. Police was still sensitive to the Sharpeville precedent, not to use bullets too easily. Many activists took refuge in the nearby St George’s Cathedral. This was perhaps the first time when the police brutality really got home to White people. Among other things, it was reported in the newspapers how a White girl was pulled by her hair from behind the pulpit where she was hiding.
Black Theology coming into its own
It was special to study at the Seminary at the time when Black Theology was coming into its own, encouraged by our lecturers. In the atmosphere of open academic discussion I learnt to look very critically at all issues. I became especially more sensitive to the injustices of our society. The desire to work towards racial reconciliation, in obedience to the Word, grew intensely within me.
A side effect of my studies at the Moravian Seminary was that I lost much of my zeal for evangelism. Gradually it was substituted with political involvement. In that sense Prime Minister Vorster was not completely off target when he accused me of ‘making politics under the guise of religion’. This was his standard reply to religious objection. Possibly he did not even read my letter of October 1972 himself. I had challenged him in this letter to be used by God to get our country out of the impasse, heading for disaster. I was definitely not the only one who saw the apartheid policies as the sure recipe for a massive calamity in the beloved country. Yet, prayer had inspired my letter.
In another initiative Robbie Kriger,22 a part-time seminary student colleague, was prominent. Dr Beyers Naudé was invited to address a youth rally on Youth Power in the Old Drill Hall. This was typical of the position of the Seminary in opposition to the regime.
At that time our theological seminary was perhaps the only institution in the country where the students could influence what was actually taught. Black Theology made us quite sensitive to the context in which we operated and studied. Thus we noticed for instance the irrelevance of the curriculum with regard to our surroundings. With Muslims all around us in District Six, it was indeed strange that Islam didn’t feature prominently in our curriculum. It was more or less an optional. The Seminary lecturers had no qualms when I asked whether my friend Jakes could be invited to lecture on Islam after the end of the year exams in 1972. In the atmosphere of openness at the Seminary, the lecturers had no problem to have some extra lectures added. My knowledgeable close friend Jakes was only too happy to oblige.
Many churches had been bull-bozed by the end of 1972, but the Muslims opposed the demolition of their three mosques of District Six fiercely and successfully. Proportionately more Christians than Muslims left the residential area, creating a situation that made the Islamic presence much stronger than before.
6. Supernatural Intervention

Returning to the Seminary in Ashley Street from the political demonstration, there was a letter from Germany, not from Harry, but one directly from my ‘Schatz’! I could hardly believe what I could read there. Through the 'Old Testament' Watchword on her birthday, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, Rosemarie’s mother was challenged to give us permission to resume our correspondence. At Rosemarie’s 21st birthday, the Lord had spoken to Mama Göbel through a word from Scripture anew: 'love the stranger in your gates''. She knew that it meant that she had to accept me as the future husband of her daughter. She reacted positively, giving Rosemarie permission to write to me again! This was very courageous of Mrs Göbel because she knew that this was definitely not the heart-felt wish of her hus­band. But he appeared not to have objected either. Their daughter had come of age after all.

Rosemarie to be racially reclassified?
We could thus proceed with the attempt to bring my bonny to South Africa, so that she could be racially ‘reclassified’, a condition for a possible marriage.
Encouraged by this development, and liaising with my mentor and confident, Henning Schlimm, a teaching post was negotiated for Rosemarie at the ‘Kindergarten’ (Pre-school) of St Martini, the German Lutheran Church in Cape Town. I was not aware of the great courage that Pastor Osterwald, the local pastor, had displayed to appoint Rosemarie. He knew the whole background of the application, requesting Rosemarie in a handwritten letter to refrain from mentioning anything about her application in her letters to me. (He wanted to make sure that there would be no copy of this letter.) Once here at the Cape, we would not have been able to be seen together in public until her reclassification would be finalised. As these plans unfolded, her father started to accept Rosemarie’s choice reluctantly.

S.A. Spies in Europe?
I had been far from careful when I stated openly in a newsletter to friends in Germany that Rosemarie was to come and work in Cape Town the following year. That was looking for trouble. Oh, sometimes I was so naïve and careless! Had not Bishop Schaberg warned me years ago that the S.A. government had their spies in Europe?
Rosemarie was of course pleasantly surprised when a ‘Coloured’ South African pitched up in her vicinity. He was introduced as Mr Ashbury from Gleemoor, a part of Athlone, a suburb of Cape Town. She had no idea whatsoever that he could be a link to the South African security network. (In those days the Special Branch also had the task to keep ‘pro­blems’ like our romance across the colour bar outside of the country. Rosemarie tried to send me an audiocassette with this gentleman. On this cassette she included Pastor Osterwald’s advice: ‘I want to tell you that your decision to start on this daring venture will lead you into many a conscientious conflict...’ The link of the ‘Coloured’ gentleman or his landlady to the South African authorities was quite clear when a certain commissar from Reutlingen assured Rosemarie soon thereafter that she would not get a work permit to come to South Africa. It was evident that this ‘commissar’ knew the content of the cassette recording. Further enquiry brought to light that the local police in Reutlingen had no knowledge of the commissar with the name given by him.
I was completely unaware of what was going on - a series of events that I might have set in motion through my careless newsletter. Or was Rosemarie’s visa application or the request for reclassification the cause? Or did all three issues play a role? All of this may still be unveiled one day.
Great Disappointment
I was still counting the days to the beginning of March 1973, when Rosemarie was scheduled to arrive in Cape Town. Great was the disappointment when March came and went without any news of the work permit. We first thought that this would be a mere formality. I was therefore completely stunned when Rosemarie called me on the direct telephone line from Germany that had just been installed. She had received a letter from the South African Consulate:
‘I regret to have to inform you that your application for permanent residence in the Republic of South Africa has been turned down...’

Spiritually disunited
Rosemarie was also refused a work permit without any reason given. Looking back, we saw that the Lord was very gracious to us. Our brittle love would have been put under extreme pressure by the compulsory sphere of secrecy neccessitated by the apartheid laws. But also theologically and spiritually we were miles apart at that moment. I had become rather liberal under the influence of Black Theology and the teaching at the seminary. The lectures were definitely not evangelical content-wise.
The spiritual environment in which Rosemarie was operating in Tübingen at the time was very conservative, not always in the best traditions of the word. The congregation had close contacts with Bob Jones University in another part of the world where the full individual freedom in Christ was not always practised. It is doubtful whether our sensitive relationship would have survived the double tension if Rosemarie had been able to come to South Africa in March 1973.
We deemed it nevertheless important that Rosemarie should at least get to know South Africa and my family. Therefore she applied again, this time for a tourist visa which was however also refused. It seemed inevitable that I would have to leave the country if I wanted to marry my darling.
In stead of coming to South Africa, she now went to Israel with Elke and other Christian friends. There they walked at a children's home in Migdal, a small village on the lake of Galilee. During this time in Israel, her love for the Jewish people deepened. (Neither of us was aware that she had actually been blacklisted in respect of entry into the country.)
After Rosemarie’s second visa refusal, as usual without any reason given, I had to face the facts: I would have to leave South Africa. Our church board co-operated almost whole-heartedly. They came up with the suggestion that I could go and work with the Moravian Church in Germany from the end of the year. (Perhaps the one or other among them was also happy to get rid of an uncomfortable trouble-shooter. The Lord still had to humble me more a lot.)

Interaction with the Jesus People
The Lord was evidently also working in my life, chiselling away more rough edges. My student colleague Fritz Faro was in close interaction with the Jesus People, a group of young men and women who would spearhead the Cape hippy revival of the mid-1970s. We appreciated that they were radical, even though we had prob­lems with their a-political stance, for example that people from the different races were sitting separately in their church services. Spiritually, their radicalism did rub off. It reminded me of the days with the SCA young people of which I had become estranged because of the liberal phase through which I was going.
Of course, we could not leave the a-political stance of the Jesus People unchallenged. At some interaction with a young White from their ranks who actually came to visit us at the seminary, we invited and challenged him to come and make a public demonstration of our unity in Christ. The young believer, who hailed from Zimbabwe, was playing some musical instrument. He immediately agreed to come along with the three of us to play choruses on the beach of Muizenberg. Gustine and Fritz were playing the guitar and I blew my own trumpet literally. (I brought along an instrument - a gift from Christians in Bietigheim, Southern Germany.) Our playing on the beach as a multi-racial group could have caused problems, but we were quite prepared to take this risk. As this beach was racially designated ‘for Whites only’, we three seminarians were liable to be arrested.
Alas, the brother from Zimbabwe phoned, opting out with a flimsy excuse. Other believers had obviously advised him to refrain from coming along with us. We deduced that he had most probably been influenced by ‘a-political’ South African Christians, who supported the status quo. On the other hand, the Lord still had to deal with my activist spirit and my expectations of the effect of such overt demonstrations of the unity in Christ. I still had to be humbled!

Deep Soul Searching
God also had to humble me to accept his choice of a wife. I still somehow did not want to leave South Africa. I was cornered; I had to choose between the love for Rosemarie and my love for the country. Ever since my return to South Africa from Germany in October 1970, I was determined to oppose racial prejudice wherever it would surface. Operating predominantly within the confines of the ‘Coloured’ community, I knew that we had to address the superiority complex in respect of Blacks. My inner tussle came to a head one August Sunday of 1973. We invited a Black preacher for our youth service, one of the friends of the seminary. The Congregational Church pastor Bongonjalo Claude Goba23 was our speaker on compassion Sunday. This was possibly one of the first times that there was a Black South African on the pulpit of Moravian Hill Chapel in the city’s well-known District Six. It was thus actually not so surprising that a lady left the church the moment Claude Goba walked to the pulpit. (Did we seminarians give a bad example, to walk demonstratively out of a church service? The three of us did this when the local pastor persisted with segregated seating for visiting Whites, after earlier protests from our side had achieved no result.)
Claude Goba’s sermon brought me to some deep soul searching. Was I not like Jonah, running away from the problems of our revolution-ripe country? This was the very last thing that I wanted to do! But I just couldn’t stand the real possibility of a negative response to an application for the extension of my passport, which was to have expired soon. I bought a round-trip ticket, although I didn’t intend to return to my fatherland. I booked a seat on a Luxavia flight, to leave fairly soon after the completion of my theological examinations in November 1973. A real struggle ensued between the love for my country and my love for a foreign girl who would take me out of my trouble-torn heimat. So much I wanted to make a contribution towards racial reconciliation. I thought, perhaps a bit arrogantly: “I am of more use in my native country than anywhere else.” I was still to be brought down from that presumptuous pedestal.
I was so wary of creating the impression that I was running away from the problems of our country. It would have solved the problem for me if I had fallen in love with a ‘Coloured’ girl. In fact, I actually started praying along those lines. This would have been proof to me that I was not destined to venture into the life of a voluntary exile.
Hesitantly, I opted to leave the country, with little hope of ever being able to return. I did resolve though to fight the matter, to work towards returning to my home country by 1980. To this end I intended to attack the discriminatory laws from abroad, to enable our return as a couple.

Farewell South Africa!
But there were also other things that kept us busy at the seminary, such as the preparations for a youth rally with the theme Youth Power and Dr Beyers Naudé as the speaker. Our seminary played a major role in the organising of this event. As Dr Naudé was lodging with the Schlimm family, he heard about my pending departure for Germany and about the link to my darling Rosemarie. (Henning and Anne Schlimm had been my confidants during the three years of my studies at the seminary.)
There were all sorts of other things to see to like greeting many people prior to my departure. Fol­lowing in the footsteps of my cousin Hester Ulster, who married Tubby Lymphany and my friend Roy Weber from Elim (who became a marine biologist of international repute in Den Helder, (Holland) after marrying a Danish national) - we expected this departure to be my final fare­well to South Africa, most probably never to return. (Roy never saw his Dad alive again and the same thing may also have happened with regard to his mother.)
From yet another side, I was squeezed. In the months prior to the scheduled departure, various leaders of the Christian Institute (CI) had their passports confiscated just prior to their respective departure from Jan Smuts Airport, Johannesburg. Although I was only a very inconspicuous member of this organ­ization, one could never know. The presence of Dr Beyers Naudé at our youth rally did not augur well for me. I wrote to Rosemarie that I would phone her from Johannesburg if the government would prevent me from leaving the country.
* * *
After so many youth camps and the like that I had attended, I thought that I was hardened regarding farewells. But this time it was almost unbearable. The finality of leaving my beloved parents and siblings behind was the hardest of all. Five years before this, I was determined to return to South Africa. This time I had to reckon to all intents and purposes – never to see at least some of them again - if I would succeed to get out of the country. And yet, I loved my country so much. This was a real Isaac experience of sacrifice, where I could not expect to return permanently one day any more. I was determined however to fight the matter, to work towards a return to my home country by 1980. That was however over-ambitious and unrealistic.

Yet, there was also the nagging uncertainty whether my decision was God’s will. Or was this my own way? I couldn’t muster the courage (or faith?) to apply for the extension of my passport in time!

7. Back in Germany

All the anxiety with regard to my getting out of the country proved to be unnecessary. Rosemarie and I were soon enjoying every minute of being together after the years of involuntary separation. It was however not easy for my darling when I made no secret of it that I regarded my return to Germany as a sacrifice.

The first Visit to Rosemarie’s parental Home
My first visit to Rosemarie’s parental home in Mühlacker was very near to a catastrophe. Mama Göbel remembered the command from Scripture, but her husband still had difficulties accepting a foreigner as a future son-in-law. My visit caused so much tension in its aftermath that her parents felt compelled to request Rosemarie to leave the home. Conditioned by the notorious South African way of life with all its racial prejudices, I hardly had a prob­lem with these developments, much less than Rosemarie. My bonny knew of course that she was not sent forth because her parents did not love her any more. But it was not easy nevertheless. The family of Elke Maier24in Gündelbach lovingly took Rosemarie into their home.

Our Engagement annulled?
At a German Moravian pastors’ conference in May 1974 I shared a room with Eckardt Buchholz, a missionary from the Transkei. He was not sceptical at all - like so many other people - about the fact that the South African government intended to give real independence to the homeland. In fact, he challenged me to come and work there after the start of the independence of the ‘homeland’ that was scheduled to commence in 1976. Eckardt was confident that Transkei would not take the racist mixed marriages prohibition on board. I gladly accepted the challenge, encouraging him to send me audio cassettes so that I could start learning Xhosa.
Taking for granted that Rosemarie wanted to become a mission­ary one day, I expected that she would want to join me to the Transkei. On her visit to Berlin soon thereafter, I was therefore quick to communicate my intention to her. I was completely taken by surprise that she was not ready at all to go to ‘Africa’ with me. The annulment of our engagement was on the cards, because I was quite determined to return to my continent as soon as possible. I didn’t feel like ‘hanging around’ in Europe for any length of time. It is rather strange that we never discussed this matter thoroughly before we got engaged!

A Word in Season
Neither of us was prepared for this turn of events. What could we do now? On the issue of our future abode, we seemed to be miles apart! In our utter despair, we cried to God for help! We loved each other so dearly. We didn’t want to part, but on such an important issue we had to agree. It had to be sorted out immediately. We loved each other far too much! In complete desperation we prayed together, asking God to guide us through His Word.
Divine intervention seemed to be the only possibility to save our union. Both of us knew that it would not be the proper way to handle Scripture, but we decided to seek God’s mind by opening the Bible randomly - albeit prayerfully. When the Word of God fell open at the verse where Ruth said to Naomi, ‘I shall go where you go’, we were filled with awe and thank­fulness. We were extremely elated, taking this as God’s special word for us. We could go into the unknown future together, and that’s what both of us really wanted! This was indeed a word in season.
It could have become a problem if we had discussed the issue further, because both of us interpreted the text from the own perspective. I trusted that Rosemarie would join me, going to Africa. She thought I would now stay in Europe. Thankfully, we didn’t pursue the matter further. For the moment, parting was not an issue any more. We were overjoyed at this confirmation that we would be serving the Lord together, wherever He would lead us!
* * *
Rosemarie and I had become engaged in March 1974. We still deemed it important enough - if possible at all - that Rosemarie should get to know my home country and my relatives. Because I was now in Germany, a major obstacle to a visa should have been eliminated. At least, that was how we reasoned. We asked the Moravian Church Board in South Africa whether Rosemarie could come over to do voluntary work for a period of two months at the Elim Home, the institution for spastic children on the Elim Mission Station. (My parents had relocated to Elim after they had been more or less forced to leave our home in Tiervlei by municipal decree, to go and live in the small Moravian settlement where they had hailed from originally.) Theoretically my darling would thus have been able to get to know my parents fairly well in this way. With increased hope Rosemarie applied for a visa for the third time. Along with the application she sent an explanatory letter, mentioning the fact that she wanted to get to know my parents better and that I was now in Germany.
We were quite encouraged when we heard that the Special Branch (of the police) had left a message in Elim: Rosemarie and I could come to South Africa together, on condition that we would not contact the press. We however had no intention initially of going to South Africa as a couple! It therefore really took us by surprise - to put it mildly - when instead of the requested two months, Rosemarie received permission for a visit of only two weeks. But the Special Branch had given us an idea, the possibility of spending our honeymoon in South Africa! This notion was something that was destined to give us many hassles. With regard to a visit to my home country, we now went over into the attack. The activism that had taken hold of me ever since my return from Europe in 1970 - and which had increased during my seminary days - got full scope.

Nerve-wrecking Correspondence
An adventurous but nerve-wrecking correspondence with the South African authorities followed. Unwittingly however, we made some serious mis­takes. But the result of the correspondence and a visit to the consulate in Munich was that we found out that Rosemarie had actually received permission for a visa to be issued, albeit under the condition that she would not “travel to South Africa accompanied by your future husband.” The lady at the consulate warned us not to try to circumvent the condition.
Initially I didn’t see any problem with the condition. I was so elated that she received a visa at last to visit my home country! But in the car on our way back from Munich, Rosemarie had a poser for me. She didn’t want to go to my “heimat” alone any more. All the arrangements for our wedding had more or less been finalised already by this time. Rosemarie’s apt rhetorical vexing question was “What sort of honeymoon is this?” I had no reply ready. With a fearful heart I agreed that we would travel separately, in spite of the warning. The prospect that I would now still see my family and friends was so enticing. When I left the country in 1973, I had to reckon with the possibility that I would never be able to return legally!
To ensure that our plans would not be wrecked on Jan Smuts Airport, Johannesburg, I was now quite untruthful. I gave the impression in my correspondence to my parents and friends that Rosemarie would come alone. It would have been quite easy for the auth­orities to send one (or both) of us back with the next flight or to lock me up. I still possessed a South African passport.

* * *
Henning Schlimm, our friend and confident from the seminary days, had just returned from South Africa with his family. He was about to take up a post as the Moravian minister in Königsfeld (Black Forest). There I resumed my stay in Germany in December 1973, operating as an assistant pastor. It seemed almost obvious that we should marry there because marrying from Rosemarie’s home church-wise was not an option.
On Thursday, the 20th March 1975, we nevertheless became husband and wife legally in the Rathaus (= Town Hall) of Rosemarie’s home town Mühlacker. We deemed it a special blessing that her mother agreed to serve as witness, along with Elke Maier, who had such a big part in the run-up to this moment. Elke brought along a protea, the South African national flower, for the occasion. This was quite costly in Europe. With her special gift Elke gave me an idea.
A cloud hung over the wedding festivities two days later because neither my par­ents nor any of my family would be present. But Papa Göbel had no liberty as yet to participate. Rosemarie still wrote a letter to him shortly before the wedding, apologising for the hurts caused by our friendship. She also urged him to come to our wedding. We were grateful that he gave his wife full freedom to act according to her convictions, to attend. But he was not to be swayed.

The Wedding in wintry Conditions
The wintry conditions in Königsfeld could not mar our joy. Virtually until the last minute we were busy with things like removing ice from the windows of our wedding ‘limousine’, Rosemarie’s little Renault R4 and boiling eggs for the reception.
My bride was so beautiful, although I did not quite like the small Biedermeier bouquet. An idea took shape!
The Königsfeld church choir rose to the occasion with a great rendering of Bach’s ‘Jesu, Joy of man’s desiring.’ The highlight of the marital ceremony in the church was undoubtedly the sermon. Reverend Henning Schlimm understood magnificently to intertwine parts of the thorny road up to our marriage with the biblical verse that we had requested him to speak on.
“You have seen what I did... and that I bore you on the wings of an eagle and brought you to me.”
(This is Exodus 19:4, the Daily Watchword from the Moravian textbook for 22 March, 1975).
Many a tear was shed as we were overawed by God’s good­ness and grace. Haven’t we experienced clearly enough how the Father bore us on His strong Eagle’s wings? Our hearts were filled with gratitude and joy towards the mighty God we now wanted to serve together, joined in matrimony.
At our wedding reception there was a lovely protea, blom van ons vaderland, on the table in front of us, the thoughtful gift of Elke Maier, our bridesmaid.
8. An Exile to all Intents and Purposes

Three days after our church wedding Rosemarie and I parted for the start of our honeymoon. Obeying the strange visa condition, I left with a Lufthansa flight a few days after our wedding ceremony. Rosemarie was scheduled to fly the following day with South African Airways. She was still very tense because I was not supposed to enter my home country. We were clearly circumventing the condition of the visa that she had received. At such occasions one tends to aggravate things. Fears of my arrest in Cape Town, or even in Johannesburg were only natural. Rosemarie thus left Germany quite tense.

A Honeymoon with a Difference
Initially we intended to stick to the spirit of the strange condition of the visa. We also took precautions with regard to lodging. In Elim Rosemarie would sleep in the Mission Guest House. This was indeed a strange preparation for a honeymoon journey, but we were quite prepared to live with these conditions temporarily. We had also agreed that I would not come to D.F. Malan Airport to meet Rosemarie, because one could never know whether she would be followed and watched by the Special Branch of the police.
I was much more optimistic. I was surely very naive, but I just couldn’t resist the temptation to go along to the airport to welcome my bride on home territory. Elke’s unintended hint came in good stead. I indicated already at the wedding that I was not totally happy with her small “Biedermeier” bouquet. How could I welcome her more fittingly than with a beautiful box of protea’s from the Cape?

Untruthfulness coming Home to roost
My untruthful correspondence with family and friends was however coming home to roost soon. On Good Friday, the 200-kilometre trip to the Elim Mission Station was on the programme. When we arrived there, I decided on the spur of the moment that Rosemarie should get a “real” welcome by my par­ents and not in my shadow. After all, I was not supposed to be in the country. I instructed Rosemarie to go in to meet my parents while I hid myself in the car. This idea was not good at all. A few seconds later I regretted it very much.
From the car I could hear the warm welcome given to my wife, coupled with general relief with regard to Rosemarie’s ability to speak English. In jest, Jakes – who had also met her in Germany - had left my parents with the impression that Rosemarie could hardly speak any English. Now it turned out - as Magdalene and the rest of the Esau family had of course already discovered - not to be such a big problem after all. The first few questions about the journey and so forth didn’t pose any problem, but then the crunch came:
“How’s Ashley?”....
I had put Rosemarie in a real predicament. I salvaged the situation for a moment by appearing “from nowhere”, but this was too much for my mother. Hysterically she burst out in tears....
This was to be expected. Not only had I misled them through my letters, but they had also not expected to see me again. Now I was standing there in front of all of them, so unex­pectedly.
In this unforgettable - close to sacred moment - I could only embrace my parents and my newly wedded wife, also as a consolation. This treasured moment still belonged to our wedding cere­mony.
* * *
The local policeman of Elim encouraged us, suggesting that we should just behave ourselves like a normal married couple. He would warn us in time if there were complaints from his headquarters in Stellenbosch. We were back in Cape Town after the Easter week-end with Jakes, my bachelor friend. He would have none of it that Rosemarie should go and sleep with Lies Hoogendoorn and Hester van der Walt. They were two White friends, with whom we had fought many an apartheid skirmish. Jakes insisted that we stayed in his home, the parsonage of his Hanover Park (Mount View) Sendingkerk congregation. In our obligatory discussions about a wife for him, the name of Ann Swart featured prominently.
A special part of the honeymoon journey was the car trip through the Transkei. Here I renewed the contact with Eckardt Buchholz, with whom I had shared a room at a conference in Germany. The short meeting with Willy Mbalana in Mvenyane was also meaningful, leading to a partnership later in the year between his church and our congregation in Berlin.

One Surprise after the other
Having fulfilled the conditions of the visa, not to enter the country together as a couple, and after our honeymoon with a difference, we returned to Europe with thankful hearts that nothing seriously happened that could have marred the tremen­dous trip. A new 19-75 day tariff, which had just come into oper­ation, had two distinct advantages that were of interest to us, although it was slightly more expensive. One could cancel on short notice without any costs and one could change one’s booking from the one interna­tional airline to another without any cost. We took this tariff so that Rosemarie could change her ticket. Thus we could return to Europe together in the same Lufthansa machine, straight to Frankfurt. The honeymoon however also stamped the finality of my new status. I was now an exile to all intents and purposes.
Back in Germany, one of the first things of course, was to phone our parents (-in-law). That we wanted to visit them on the very first Sunday after our return was only natural. We knew however, that this did not mean that Papa Göbel would be at home to meet us.
On this sunny afternoon we experienced one surprise after the other. Our faith was too small, because God had wonderful things in store for us. Papa stayed at home to start with. But then he also went along to their “Stückle”, a small site where the family spent many a Sunday afternoon. We were still wary of the meeting because of the tragic similar occasion one and a half years prior to this, after which Rosemarie had to leave her parental home.
This time it was to be totally different. It was a bright sunny afternoon, but I did not bring along a pair of shorts. Papa Göbel offered me a pair of his, addressing me with the personal “Du” (You). With that - and it was particularly discernable in the tone - he was saying so much as “I accept you fully as my son-in-law”. His invitation in words a little later - ‘You can call me Papa!’ - was thus actually superfluous.
Rosemarie, who knew him so well, recognised how much it must have cost him to come that far. God had been performing yet another miracle! Once the ice was broken, it didn’t take long before it seemed as if we knew each other for ages, as if there had never been any problem at all.

A Lack of Virtue
My conscience wouldn’t leave me in peace, because we had circumvented the condition of Rosemarie’s visa. However, I also felt that we should encourage the South African government to take steps towards real democracy. I still hoped to return permanently with my wife by 1980. A letter to the Prime Minister served my dual purpose well enough, but I went too far when I tried to justify our actions. In this letter, I displayed a lack of Christian virtue by hitting back quite hard at the officials because of the bureaucratic blunders made by the Consulate in Munich.
I was courting trouble by also sending a copy of this letter to the Munich Consulate. I “earned” the jitters a few days later: an element of revenge on my part had clearly played a role. I should not have been surprised when my activ­ist attitude elicited a quick angry response.
The consul twice tried to contact me telephonically but on both occasions unsuccessfully. He discovered the name of Breytenbach in my correspondence. (I had called on the precedent of an illustrious Afrikaner, who had been allowed to visit South Africa with his Vietnamese wife. I tried to use that as a lever to get Rosemarie into the country.) This now turned out to be a bad move. Breytenbach had been arrested in the meantime in terms of the law concerning the suppression of Communism. By mentioning Breytenbach’s name, I made myself suspect.
When the consul phoned the next time, he threatened with disciplinary measures, under which we understood the confiscation of my passport. Therefore I just had to be avail­able at the set time when he would phone again.
Rather fearfully I waited for the phone call. I suspected that it would be about our visit in South Africa and my letter to the authorities. It was very reassuring though that I knew that Rosemarie and other friends were praying while I was taking the phone call of the consul.
The Lord worked mightily: in the course of a few minutes the tone of the consul changed 180 degrees from tough to cor­dial. In the end he actually offered his aid in a very friend­ly tone if I should ever encounter any problems in Europe.
This experience encouraged me to carry on working towards democracy in my home country even more. But there were other priorities. After our return from South Africa, Rosemarie was pregnant. This was not ‘planned’ because I was still finishing the last part of my theological studies in Bad Boll, at the HQ of the Moravian Church in the Western part of the European continent.

Visitors in our minute Flat
We received many a visitor in our tiny flat in Bad Boll. That pattern was to follow us wherever we went. Our first marriage quarrel followed when I rocked up with visitors from South Africa that I had met in the village, without informing Rosemarie beforehand. From our culture that was never a big deal. We would simply share what we had - or fetch something from the shop all to often 'op die boekie', on tick. (Like so many other families who had a good record of paying their debts at Kwong See, the Chinese-owned shop, we were allowed to pay off some of it on Friday evenings. We only got out of debt at the grocery store when Kenneth started teaching.)
In Germany everybody expected to be properly prepared for guests. Unexpected visitors are an unknown phenomenon in their culture, just not done! That I simply pitched with guests in our minute flat was very embarrassing for Rosemarie.
Rosemarie’s first pregnancy was not normal at all. The local gynaecologist should have monitored the pregnancy better. We were not only completely inexperienced, but also very unwise. Soon after my ordination in September 1975, we travelled in an inconvenient truck to Berlin with our meagre possessions. There I was returning to the same congregation where I had been assistant to the pastor the year before.
A really difficult experience followed soon after our move to Berlin. At the very first time Rosemarie went to the gynaecologist, he discovered problems. He diagnosed placental insufficiency. She was sent to ahospi­tal, but the baby could not be saved. Even though we had not ‘planned’ to get a baby in the first year of our marriage, we had really looked forward to the birth of our first child. Our little David came stillborn into the world.
Even more traumatic for Rosemarie was that she was alone in her grief when she had to give birth. I had to preach on the Sunday when the lifeless foetus was removed. The staff of the institution, the ‘Neuköllner Krankenhaus’, was hardly interested in her as a person once it was known that the baby had died. Only the Turkish lady cleaner showed compassion to a young mother who had lost her first baby!

A ‘Peaceful’ Front to change the racist Structures?
Every week I received the airmail edition of the International Star. Thus I kept abreast of developments in South Africa. I saw how trouble was brooding in Soweto, with High School learners demonstrating after they had been forced to learn some subjects through the language medium of Afrikaans. I also read about Dr Desmond Tutu's warning to the government in May 1976. However, the uprising of the 16th of June took all of us by surprise. With Pastor Uwe Holm, a leader from the Lutheran State Church, I spontaneously got involved in organizing a protest meeting in the ‘Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtnis’ Church in central Berlin. The 16th of June 1976 protest event took my activism to another level. I feared that an escalation of violence could lead to a bloodbath in my beloved South Africa. I now saw it as my moral responsibility to work even harder towards achieving a non-racial set-up in South Africa, using non-violent means.
I hereafter attempted to start a ‘Peaceful Front' to change the racist structures of our country. I wrote letters to various institutions, including the German government. But support was not forthcom­ing. The brutal apartheid government repression of the peaceful protest of the students was to so many people the final proof that the days for boycotts and the likes were over. My compatriots overseas felt that the government in our home country could only be toppled through the barrel of the gun. All bar one of those whom I approached had given up on the option of peaceful transition to change in South Africa. Our friend Rachel Balie, who was studying in Berlin, was the only one of our circle of countrymen and -women who were still supporting the idea of non-violent change. The brutal putting down of the Soweto school protests brought so many to change their minds on the usefulness of non-violent protest.
In an activist way, especially through letters to various Prime Ministers and Cabinet Ministers, I resolutely continued towards my goal of returning to South Africa by 1980, i.e. trying to get the apartheid laws gradually repealed. (Later I changed my views in my correspondence with the South African authorities significantly, after I had discerned from Scripture that one could not reform a wicked system; that it had to be eradicated completely. But I possibly went overboard in the process.)

The Stewardship Issue
Before I left the South African shores in 1973 I had been influenced indelibly at the fairly unknown theological institution in Ashley Street in the heart of District Six in yet another way. The Moravian Seminary not only increased my awareness of political justice, but during the three years from 1971 to 3 I also became very sensitive to structures that perpetuate economic inequality. As a teacher I had already battled with the racial disparity. Being on the receiving end of injustice was in fact some consolation, because I knew that we as ‘Coloureds’ were earning almost double the salary of our Black colleagues. And we had much smaller classes to cope with to boot. But I felt nevertheless uncomfortable that I was earning much more as a young male graduate than others who had to make do with much less and whole families to feed.
From 1 December 1973 I had been an unmarried assistant minister of the Moravian Church in Germany earning a salary that was a multiple of what my colleagues with families and many years experience earned in my home country. This was not the first time when structural inequality was hitting my conscience like a bomb.
Come 1974, my guilt was driving me almost berserk when our salaries were increased by almost 10%. This constantly happened the next few years, adding agony to injury. During the final part of my theological studies in Bad Boll (Southern Germany), the view of Jan Amos Comenius, the 17th century theologian and last bishop of the old Czech Unitas Fratrum (Unity of the Brethren) and Count Zinzendorf, the leader of the renewed Moravian Church, became very dear to me.
I felt very much alone when even my wife could initially still not comprehend how I felt. Our very first Christmas in Berlin highlighted my dilemma. We received a fat bonus – the Europeans call it a 13th monthly salary - in a climate where the birth of Jesus Christ disappeared in the wake of the commercial atmosphere all around us. Of course, in Cape Town it had not been much different. Even there I had my problems with the abusive commercialism at Christmas time, but now I was really sad. At first, Rosemarie couldn’t understand my emotions, but gradually she became more sensitive to my feelings in this regard.
The extreme ‘Weihnachtsrummel’ (Christmas commercial hype) of Berlin was in such sharp contrast to the needs of our brothers and sisters in the Transkei. (I had kept up contact with Reverend Willy Mbalana, who was the Moravian minister in Sada. Sada was an apartheid creation, a ‘resettlement area’ where redundant people were dumped – such as those who returned with diseases from the goldmines.)

I started seeing White South Africans in a different Light
It was crystal clear to me that the annual salary increases in Germany were only possible because of the disparity between rich and poor countries. This bugged me.
Suddenly I saw White South Africans in a different light. I discovered that they were similarly enslaved and imprisoned by a system of injustice.
My fight against apartheid got a new direction. I hereafter challenged various leaders of the apartheid state - perhaps very naively - in letters to start setting the example to the rest of the world, by a voluntary sharing of the resources with the poor of the country. My role models at this time were Jan Amos Comenius and Count Zinzendorf, who took their cues from the Bible. That Comenius had stated that we can erect sign posts that point to the reign of the coming King, was very inspiring to me. Thus it was not so important any more if one does not see any immediate fruit of one’s actions. Similarly, the example of Zinzendorf - including his day-to-day relationship to Jesus, his famous 'Umgang mit dem Heiland' - and his high view of the Jews, really challenged me in a deep way.

In April 1977 we received a phone call from our church head office in Bad Boll (Germany) with the question whether we would consider pastoring the congregation of Utrecht in Holland. The church authorities needed someone in the city of Utrecht who could learn Dutch quickly. We had earlier indicated that we were open to work among the Surinamese people in Holland. Before this development, we were already planning to go to South Africa in February 1978 to show our son Danny – born on 4 February 1977 - to my parents. Now this would of course not be possible and such plans were shifted to a future date.
After my ‘Soweto’ speech in West Berlin I was catapulted into the role of mediator in a dispute between foreign African students and the local authorities. This effort of mediation caught the eye of Heinz Krieg, who was connected to Moral Re-armament. He and his wife befriended Rosemarie and me. They gave me a challenging book as a parting gift when we left for Holland in September 1977: South Africa, what kind of change? I read in the book about personal friends from the Cape like Franklin Sonn and Howard Eybers.25 I was challenged anew to become an activist for racial reconciliation in my home country.

Support for East German Christians
Nevertheless, I got involved in the support of the Christians in their struggle against Communism when I worked as assistant pastor in (West) Berlin while I was already engaged to Rosemarie. Time and again we brought Christian literature to the Eastern part of the city when we met the Moravians under the Communist regime. This was not completely without risk, because I was almost always picked out from the queue either because of my external features or my South African passport. Once, I was very surprised when the officials actually looked into my satchel with the illegal Christian literature openly displayed. Yet, no action followed. On another occasion, a lady official insisted that I open a letter that I had just taken from the letterbox. It was a love letter from Rosemarie. The female official insisted that I should read it aloud to her. For the rest, our support of Christians in the Eastern part of the city was low-key. After our marriage in March 1975 and our ordination in September 1975, we returned as a married couple to Berlin where I was now the second pastor.
A highlight at this time was a visit to Herrnhut in August 1977 at the 250th year celebration of the revival that spawned world missions like nothing else ever since. It was a special privilege to lead the Bible Study at a family camp that coincided with the celebrations. Just as memorable was an evening meeting where Christians from neighbouring socialist countries also attended.
I was asked to give a short ‘Grußwort’, a word of greeting, but the believers from Poland were very disappointed that I didn’t speak longer. The Polish people were even more starved from meeting people from outside the Soviet block than the East Germans. At a time when I was really struggling with the materialism of the church in the West, I was really blessed by the convincing walk with the Lord of some of those believers in Socialist Germany.
9. A radical activist

Rachel Balie, who had returned to South Africa after the completion of her studies, wrote in September 1977 that Chris Wessels, our long-time friend in whose home Rosemarie and I had been on our honeymoon journey, had been imprisoned. Nobody from his family knew where he was incarcerated. He was neither formally accused nor brought before a court of law. Later we understood that his main offence was that he helped to care for the families of political prisoners. A few days before this, Steve Biko died while in police custody. We feared that the same thing could happen to Chris.
My activist spirit was aroused. Everything was set in motion, to get the Moravian Church leaders into action on behalf of our brother in detention. Initially it involved something of a battle to get our church authorities in Bad Boll (Germany) on board, but they finally also nudged their colleague church leaders of other countries to write to the respective S.A. Embassies. We heard later that this move possibly saved Chris’s life.

The unsound Premise of my Calling to Utrecht
The premise of my calling to the Moravian congregation of Utrecht was not sound. Robin Louz, a Surinamese brother representing the Utrecht congregation, had heard me attacking the South African Moravian Church for its double standards publicly. The occasion was a visitor from the Broederkerk church board Rev. Hansie Kroneberg, attending the Moravian European Continental Synod in 1975. At the opening evening meeting I embarrassed him, when I exposed the lack of support of the church board for the outspoken banned brother Dan Wessels in Genadendal (On our honeymoon we had visited the old pensioner). Robin Louz thus thought that they would get a young ‘political’ radical pastor. He didn’t bargain for one who was also an evangeli­cal, one who was on top of it deeply influ­enced by a moral radicalism. Later this was to cause a lot of strain.
After merely three months I was involved in a head-on collision with my Utrecht church council, because I didn’t mince words in my sermons. I challenged them on moral issues as well as towards complete submission to the claims of Christ. My referring to terminology of the Count Zinzendorf, the founder of the Renewed Moravian Church about winning souls for the Lamb, was maliciously mis­construed as something tantamount to sheep stealing. After I had used testimonies ofyoung Moral Re-armament (MRA) visitors from South Africa in a church service on Christmas Day, this was equated with the practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses.26 But I was not going to budge. In fact, I almost revelled in fighting for biblical truth. I was possibly very unwise to be so radical almost at the outset of my tenure in the congregation.
Initially Rosemarie also attended the meetings of the ‘Broederraad’, the church council. But soon it became too much for her. Soon she decided to rather stay at home. She couldn’t take the unfair attacks on me any more.
* * *
My interest and involvement in Moral Re-armament taught me to jot down insights and things that I wanted to do during my ‘quiet time’. As a radical activist I started collating all the documents and correspon­dence pertaining to our struggle with the authorities in South Africa, giving the manuscript the title Honger na Geregtigheid.27Also the Moravian Church authorities came under fire as I tried to nudge them to be more active towards racial reconciliation and equality between the privileged ‘Coloureds’ and the ‘Blacks’ in the church. Thus I challenged the leadership to merge the ‘Coloured’ congregation of Manenberg and the Xhosa one of Nyanga separated by the railway line - to be served by the same pastor.
Driven by activism, I got up at two o’clock in the morning after perhaps three hours of sleep. I would then return to bed at five for another quick dose of sleep, but before 8 o’clock I was again behind my desk where our son Danny got onto my lap until breakfast.

A severe Fright
We had started making preparations for a second visit to South Africa when we got the fright of our lives. Rosemarie went to Dr Wittkampf, our home doctor in Zeist, because she noticed a lump in her throat. He immediately phoned the hospital - he suspected a tumour! We were already over-sensitive after a series of terminal cancer cases had been occurring in our circle of friends including Reinhild Schäfer, the wife of Wolfgang, our lecturer in District Six, who had passed away because of cancer. The two children of Henning Schlimm also had the same disease. The daughter Monica had already passed away while we were still in Berlin and it looked to be a matter of time before Andreas, their son, would traverse the same road. In this atmosphere it was all gloom in our home. Tears were flowing freely.
I hurt Rosemarie immensely when I was so insensitive to clearly verbalise her possible passing on as an opportunity to return to my home country. What a strain this brought to our marriage, the first really serious disagreement in our blissful marriage because I dared to express this. After the traumatic experiences in the run-up and aftermath of our honeymoon, she had come to resist a possible move to South Africa. Also she did not want to raise children in such a racist environment. She was not yet ready at all to return with me to my home country. Her prayers thus went along the line of “Lord, I’m prepared to serve you anywhere in the world, but not in South Africa!”
A positive element of the detection of the tumour in Rosemarie’s throat was that we got some reprieve from the malice and accusations in the Utrecht church council, which was inappropriately called Broederraad.28 Suddenly it seemed as if everybody rallied around us. In those days having cancer was like a death sentence. The Lord somehow spoke to Rosemarie through this experience. She now became prepared to serve the Lord in South Africa if He would spare her life. But she did not share this with me.
* * *
In our utter despair we turned to the Lord in prayer. At this stage we read a Bible verse, John 16:20, that comforted us extremely: “Your grief will turn to joy!”
A few weeks later the tumour was removed in an operation. The laboratory examination showed that the tumour was benign! Indeed, our grief turned to exceeding joy!
10. Disgruntled and then Changed

In September 1978 we left for South Africa for a six-week tour. Experiences with the Moravian Church leaders at the Cape and with the folk of Moral Rearmament (MRA) 29 during the visit with Rosemarie and our son Danny were quite traumatic. The stark differences between the township and shack surroundings of Sherwood Park, Manenberg and Crossroads on the one hand - and the posh residential areas like Glenhaven and Fish Hoek on the other hand - were hitting us as never before.

Circumstances almost knocked me out
The general indifference to the injustices everywhere seemed all-pervasive. This does not include the rationalisation of it by people from whom I least expected it. Petty apartheid bureaucracy was adding insult to injury. Disappointments in my church leaders and their reaction to the imprisonment and restriction of Chris Wessels, our friend, who had been detained without trial - along with racist experiences on the train from Cape Town to Johannesburg, had the beating of me. It brought me to the point of utter frustration and despair, deciding to leave South Africa - never to return! That a Cabinet decision was necessary to give clarity whether we could travel in the same compartment as a family, together with bureaucratic bungling, really embittered me. I became so angry and disgruntled.
I started to simply give up the fight. Howard Grace, a British Moral Rearmament (MRA) full-time worker, fetched us from Park Station in Johannesburg. He had to bear the brunt of my anger. When I was still fuming, Howard suggested on the car trip to Umdeni (the villa of the movement, where we were scheduled to stay in the rondavel for the next few days), to introduce me to the influential Professor Johan Heyns. The moment of his kind gesture was the worst one the MRA man could have chosen. At that point in time I was definitively not prepared and interested to meet the chairman of the Broederbond, the think tank of the apartheid regime!

A farewell Gesture of Solidarity
On that November Saturday the MRA people of Johannesburg surely did not encounter a happy Christian. I am ashamed to concede that I relished whipping an old White lady verbally because she clearly expressed her sympathies with the government. With as much venom as I could muster, I shared how the various agents of the apartheid government had been maltreating us. Therefore it was no wonder that Howard Grace and others verbalised in the evening that I was craving after sensation when I phoned Dr Beyers Naudé to find out where he was worshipping. There was ample reason for the one or other MRA member to surmise that I was not sincere in my wish to want to worship with Dr Naudé. One of them actually suggested that I more or less had a martyr complex, hoping to be thrown out of the church.30 I nevertheless received special grace that I could still keep my cool!
I intended the visit to Dr Naudé’s congregation to be my farewell gesture of solidarity with the politically oppressed of the country. I was determined never to put my foot on South African soil again. I needed divine healing from my anger towards the apartheid government and my denomination for their indifference towards the gross injustices of the day. Someone - or perhaps even more than one person - must have been praying for me. Rosemarie and I, along with a few believers linked to Moral Rearmament, were really privileged to visit the congregation that Dr Naudé attended regularly. He entered there as the last person just before the bell would toll so that the minister and his church council could step out of the vestry in procession. Dr Naudé would then leave as the first congregant at the end of the service because he was not allowed to speak to more than one person at a time. His wife came to us, organising that we could follow him in his car to their home. (She had to teach at the Sunday School.)
The Father hereafter used the well-known Oom Bey Naudé - who was loved by many who were not White, and hated by those who supported apartheid - in a special way. A miracle happened that Sunday. I was changed supernaturally from within through the visit to the Naudé home.
Dr Beyers Naudé and the congregation where he worshipped were the divine channel to bring me to my senses. A divine touch cured me of my intense bitterness and anger towards the country that - paradoxically - I so dearly loved.
In fact, after the red-letter Sunday I dearly wanted to make amends for my anger and bias. Hereafter, I set out to work quietly for the lifting of the ban of the beloved Dutch Reformed Minister, who had meant so much to me.31

Determinination to fight the demonic Apartheid Ideology
In His sovereign way God used the events of that Sunday to make me more determined than ever to fight the demonic apartheid ideology from abroad. The Moral Rearmament practice of writing down thoughts fuelled my activist spirit. Hereafter I wrote various letters of protest to Cabinet ministers. From the time of our return to Holland after our six-week visit to South Africa, I saw a ministry of reconciliation now as my special duty to the country of my birth. As part of this effort, I continued to collate personal documents and letters with more verve, hoping to get it published under the title ‘Honger na Geregtigheid’(Hunger after Righteousness).32 In this manuscript I included and commented on my correspondence with the rulers of the day. Yet, I wanted to win the S.A. government over, rather than expose their malpractices abroad. As a means to this end, I targeted Dutch Reformed theologians whom I believed could play a pivotal role.
In my resolve to work towards racial reconciliation, I went out of my way to meet Professor Johan Heyns and a delegation of Dutch Reformed minis­ters. They attended a synod in Lunteren in Holland in 1979. (The delegation furthermore included Dr O'Brien Geldenhuys and Professor Willie Jonker.) I arranged to meet them again at the Amsterdam airport of Schiphol on their return to South Africa. These three theologians were to be quite influential to bring about significant changes in the Dutch Reformed Church in the years hereafter. I urged the clergymen to attempt to get the ban of Dr Beyers Naudé lifted, challenging them also with regard to membership of the Broederbond. Prof Willie Jonker, whom I still knew from my District Six seminary days, took me aside to explain to me that he was not a member of the secret society.
I was of course elated to read later that some of them had responded positively, however without initial success to get the ban of Dr Beyers Naudé lifted. Because of the well-publicized tampering with post by the special branch of the police - which I had experienced myself - I contrived to send the draft manuscript of Honger na Geregtigheid to Dr Naudé with the delegation.
My request for one of them to deliver the manuscript to Dr Beyers Naudé personally, was however not honoured (I had left the envelope open on purpose, suggesting that the bearer could read the manuscript himself first. I learned later however that the envelope and its content were handed to the government. However, that move did harvest respect for me in government circles thereafter.) An inter­esting sequel to my meeting with the Dutch Reformed minis­ters was that Mr van Tonder, a top official of the South African Embassy in The Hague, who was also at the airport, visited us in Zeist shortly thereafter. (Only a few weeks before, Mr Reg Septem­ber, who was at that time an influential ANC offi­cial in Lusaka, pitched up in our home on the Broederplein of Zeist.)

Tears and Anxiety
A further nice ‘aftermath’ of our visit to South Africa was that Rosemarie was pregnant once again. We really wanted a second child. It was so fitting that the addition to the family was conceived just before our return to Holland, after I had been reconciled to my home country. The pregnancy proceeded however not without tears and anxiety.
A few months after our return to Holland, Rosemarie was diagnosed with Hepatitis. Both she and our son Danny had contracted it in South Africa and in January 1979 both of them had (yellow) jaundice. We were not overjoyed at all when the doctor felt compelled to suggest an abortion, intimating that this was advisable because of the great risk to the foetus. The possibility was great that we would have to cope with a deformed or handicapped baby. As a matter of principle we decided that we would accept the baby in whatever state it would come into the world as God’s gift to us. For the next six months we had to live with the real possibility of a handicapped child to be born in August 1979.

Racial and ecclesiastical Division as Hurdles
I discerned ever more clearly with the passing of time that racial and ecclesiastical divisions were hampering a deep work of the Holy Spirit, notably in South Africa. The need for racial reconciliation and the attempt to help close gaps between ‘ecumenicals’ and ‘evangelicals’, as well as between the rich and the poor, became increasingly important to me as I became aware how much of a micro-cosmos my home country was.
I hereafter delved into intense correspondence with various agencies in what I sensed as a calling to achieve reconciliation in my divided home country. I felt an intense challenge to oppose the demonic tenets of church rivalry and competition, by stressing the unity of the Body of Christ, as well as fighting the diabolical economic disparity and structural injustice in a low-key manner. These were to become other facets of our personal ministry. I hoped and prayed that South Africa might give an example to the world at large, not only in respect of racial reconciliation, but also in the voluntary sharing of resources.

The Love for my Home Country cemented
The two visits to the ‘heimat’ in 1975 and 1978 cemented my love for my home country. In correspondence with the church back home and with the government, I still tried to fight my way back into the country, initially with the intention of coming to work in the Transkei. My intentions in this regard - which were not shared by Rosemarie - were interrupted when we were called to Holland in 1977. It never became relevant again because two years later the continuation of our service in the Moravian Church was already in the balance.
I was quite insensitive to the needs of my Surinamese congregants as aliens in Holland. My love for my home country made some of them quite envious. Or was it mingled with guilt? (It was well known that many Surinamese people fled their country as economic refugees, whereas I endeavoured to return to a revolutionary situation in my home country.) Opposition to their pastor grew when I was perceived to be headstrong in my opposition to occult traits and immorality which they regarded as part of their culture.

Almost unbearable Tension
The tension in the church council became almost unbearable. When we heard of a vacancy at the headquarters of the Dutch Scripture Union, I promptly applied, seeing this as a possibility to get away from the untenable situation. At the beginning of 1979 I was sick and tired of the bickering in my church council, the fighting over what I regarded as peripheral issues.
On a Saturday at the end of January 1979, I was almost on my way to Noordwijkerhout for the interview for the Bijbelbond post, when a freak slippery condition on the roads set in - ice started pouring down - a very rare phenomenon. This makes driving very hazardous. We never experienced something like this before or after that day. I was already in our car when the road became increasingly slippery. I decided to leave the car at the railway station and travel by train. When I phoned the Scripture Union people, they suggested that we should postpone the interview because there were similar conditions in Noordwijkerhout.
The interview never took place. I knew that it was a Jonah experi­ence par excellence. I was trying to run away from the difficult church situation!

Discouraging News from S.A.
Other discouraging news coming from South Africa carried politi­cal implications. From the MRA people in Johannes­burg I heard that the South African author­ities had intercepted the Dutch MRA periodical Nieuw Wereld Nieuws in which I had written an article about our previous visit. In the same periodical there was also a radical article under a pseudonym by Kgati Sathekge, one of the youths from Atteridgeville, whom we had met on our previous visit to South Africa. As a 16-year old Kgati had been among the leaders of the riots and the school boycott of Black townships like Soweto and Atteridgeville in 1976. He was arrested thrice, beaten and put into solitary confinement for a long time.
As an eighteen-year old he made up the balance. He and a few other young leaders concluded that the price was far too high in his own generation; crime and teenage pregnancies were spiralling. Drug abuse increased drastically. Kgati and his friends decided to start a back-to-school campaign. That however led to threats to his life. Howard Grace and other MRA people supported them.
In January 1979, Kgati stayed with us in Zeist for some time, although we had warned him that Rosemarie had hepatitis. In his article in the 9 December 1978 edition of the Dutch MRA periodical, Kgati sharply attacked apartheid as an un-Christian pol­icy, stating bluntly that ‘we have hunger yes, but we especially hunger after ‘de volle schotel van gerechtigheid’ (the full measure of justice). In a balanced way he also attacked Black Nationalism that likewise could not produce free people.33
I referred in my article to the unjust incarceration, banning and wanton arrest of innocent people like Beyers Naudé and Chris Wessels. I also stated that ‘I look forward to the day when great people like Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Beyers Naudé and other great South Africans may be seen and heard on South African TV and radio.’
It was a sad tes­timony of the slow pace of change that articles like these were viewed with distrust. The same atti­tude pre­vailed when I sounded out some people about pub­lishing my treatise “Hunger after justice” in South Africa. It became clear that the government was prone to censure the publica­tion, apart from the fact that much still had to be been done to make it readable and palatable.
On another track, I took the initiative to cor­respond with ministers of the Dutch Reformed Church about its race theology, as laid down in Church policy papers on “Church and Race”, also with regard to synod resolu­tions and reports. Some stories in the press gave the impres­sion that the government wanted to abol­ish the “Prohibi­tion of Mixed Marriages Act”, but that the Dutch Reformed Church would not agree. However, my cor­respon­dence with people of the influential denomination brought me nowhere. Instead of achieving anything, my activism made me only more suspect in the eyes of the South African authori­ties!

Difficulties in Holland
In Holland itself my radical activism also harvested problems. Soon after our arrival in 1977, Brother de Bruyn, a local Moravian church member, who was responsible for organising lay theological training, heard me mentioning stewardship. Promptly he thought it fit to invite the new young minister of Utrecht to give teaching on the subject to his students. Hardly anybody was possibly fully happy that I was also proposing that obsolete church traditions should be dumped. Yet, in the beginning of 1978 I was not even remotely contemplating christening of infants as one of these traditions. With only a few lay people attending these Saturday classes, nobody seemed to take offence at the radical34 statements which I derived from my biblical studies. Hereafter the situation heated up even more. I challenged the church practice on every level, i.e. suggesting that we should test all the traditions of the denomination from the Bible.
That was however only the start. In typical activist fashion, I launched out to campaign for ‘signs of the coming Kingdom of the Messiah’ globally. I had discovered this tenet in my study of the teaching of the old Moravian Bishop Comenius. I furthermore believed firmly that the small Moravian Church - as a micro-cosmos of the world-wide economic disparity - could start to do something to rectify the global economic imbalances. I went too fast, suggesting for example a voluntary lowering of salaries in line with the teaching of Jan Amos Comenius. In addition, I proposed that a fund should be established to enable missionaries from the third world Moravian Churches to come to Europe. I aimed much too high. The church was not ready yet for such revol­ution­ary stuff.
In due course I also got involved in the drafting of synod resolu­tions and reports. Thus I also actively participated in a small pressure group to formulate a Moravian synod resolu­tion for a boycott of Shell, the Dutch-based multi-national petrol company, because of its perceived role in supporting apartheid structures and practice. It was no surprise that I was now regarded by many in the church as an infante terrible, although hardly anybody openly displayed enmity or dislike. Strange things happened like the disappearance of proposals that we had prepared for the 1979 synod in Driebergen. Gradually I was being side-lined, but surprisingly enough, not ostracised.
Government Negotiations with the ANC?
The closest I came to get something published in the 1980s was a series of articles about South Africa in the periodical Factum in Switzerland. A German school principal and a friend, Günther Kurz, perceived my viewpoint on my home country quite balanced in view of the polarised positions in Germany. He suggested that I write a series for the Swiss middle of the road periodical.
On 6 April 1982 Mr Nitsche replied on behalf of the editors that he would like to publish my series, adding the request whether I had Black and White pictures of South Africa. In this series I argued that the churches should urge the South African government to enter into negotiations with the ANC. That proved to be my downfall. After my reply of 5 May of the same year, I did not hear from Factum again for more than a year. After my inquiry what happened to my articles, I had to learn that my articles were given to some professor for scrutiny. In evangelical circles the ANC was regarded as Communist inspired. This was reason enough for my material to be turned down even in neutral Switzerland.

Publishing autobiographical Material in Holland?
Another few years on, in 1990, I started considering publishing autobiographical material in Holland. I used the manuscript as a ‘fleece’ - albeit still with some inner uneasiness - to discern whether we should visit my home country again. The idea was to generate funds for our proposed trip with Danny and Tabitha, two of our children. My parents were set to celebrate their golden wedding anniversaryand my mother her 80th birthday at the turn of the year 1990/1. However, after all the overseas trips I did in the preceding months and the pending four-month visit to England as candidates of WEC International, I deemed it almost immoral to expect believers to support us again.
The husband of a cousin of mine, Hein Fransman, had started Kampen Publishers, as a subsidiary of the renowned Dutch company. (He published Allan Boesak’s Vinger van God). Our friend Chris Wessels was also eager that I should expose the evils of apartheid in this way, but I was still holding on to my hope of winning the Afrikaners over in love. The need of funds to go to South Africa with my wife and some children for the Golden Wedding anniversary of my parents and the 80th birthday of my mother nudged me to approach the well-known publishers in the Dutch town of Kampen. They returned my manuscript, stating that there would be no market in Holland for such a book. Miraculously, God sent in sufficient funds for us to go to South Africa, without us approaching anybody to assist us. We gradually got used to expect God to supply our financial needs once we had inner peace that we should venture out in faith.
I trusted that the Lord evidently knew that my heart was not really in it to lower my lofty ideal to refrain from publishing the sensitive material abroad. This would surely have been quite embarrassing if not damaging to the government of the day.

Rosemarie was critical of my Writing Activities
Rosemarie was still quite critical of my writing activities. She thought that I was wasting my time. This effectively put a break and a damper on my spirit. Indeed, I had very little to show for all my efforts. Looking back, I am nevertheless thankful for Rosemarie’s criticism. It kept me humble. I don’t know whether our family life would have been able to handle the pressure of the prejudicial South African society in the 1980s if we had gone at that time. One of the issues of which she was very critical was my emphasis on confession. Through our contacts with Moral Rearmament (MRA)- where I was clearly influenced in this way - we had also seen that confession could also be abused as a tool. We had learned that remorse was a pre-condition and that it as a rule had to be followed with genuine restitution.
In the meantime we had distanced ourselves from the movement. We felt that MRA was too compromising, not radically committed to justice. In our view MRA appeared to emphasize only those parts of Jesus’ message that suited the rich and influential. And then, of course, we perceived the unique position of Jesus as the only door to the Father, was being compromised as well in MRA.
11. Problems with Infant ‘Baptism’

The crowning of my renewed commitment to work towards reconciliation in my home country was the birth of our second son, 9 months after our visit to S.A.!
On August the 4th 1979, our second son was born healthy – in contrast to the prognosis of our doctor. Fittingly, we gave him the name Rafael. This has the meaning God, the healer. With my brother Windsor about to visit us with his wife Ray and their baby Kevin shortly hereafter, an infant christening service was scheduled for a September Sunday. Rosemarie’s sister Waltraud with her family was also visiting us.

Scrutiny of Church Traditions
Two other infants were to be christened that Sunday in our congregation. A serious problem arose after one of the couples had taken exception to my asking questions about their relationship to Christ. The dis­cussion at the home of the couple was not cordial at all. The husband argued quite strongly that they paid their church dues. They expected me to simply perform my ‘duty’ as a pastor, to christen their infant without asking any questions. I was nowhere willing to oblige.
The prospect of a quarrelling couple pitching up at the church service, at which our son Rafael was to be christened, literally haunted me. Although I had my church council supporting me on the issue, it gave me a sleepless night. The possibility of a scene at the church in the presence of our family from South Africa and Germany was not pleasant, to say the least!
I experienced a genuine sigh of relief when the ‘difficult’ couple with their baby stayed away that Sunday. But the issue of infant christening was to flare up soon hereafter. I was seriously challenged from Scripture about this church practice. This was happening at the very time when I had been suggesting that stewardship should include the scriptural scrutiny of all church traditions.
Hein Postma was the principal of the local Moravian school, whom I got to know when he addressed the congregation at a love least after which we got befriended. Rosemarie and his wife Wieneke struck a close friendship, having babies of the same age. I sensed that Hein Postma had a kindred spirit. When he invited us to a weekly Bible study with other local Christians that he was leading with Wim Zoutewelle, a biology teacher at the local Christian high school, I accepted without any ado. Through this influence I regained my evangelistic zeal that I had lost during my activist anti-apartheid period.

A Substitute for Circumcision?
During a Bible Study with Hein Postma, Colossians 2 was read. Although baptism was not discussed at all that evening, the Holy Spirit ministered to my heart. I was moved to discover that ‘circumcision of the heart’ - conversion to faith in Jesus Christ - was the actual basis of baptism according to Colossians 2:11,12: “In him you were also circumcised... with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith...” My own argument for practising the tradition of christening of infants was pulled from under me. Subconsciously I was still somehow influenced by the Calvinist argument in defence of christening of infants. According to this view, the christening of infants as the sign of the new covenant was a substitute for circumcision. The latteris the visible sign of the old covenant of God with Israel. As I was now reading there in Colossians about the circumcision of the heart, I was dealt a severe blow spiritually. I had not yet looked critically at the replacement theory, whereby it is believed that the Church came in the place of Israel. From the context it was clear that conversion through faith in Jesus was meant.
In the preceding years and following in the footsteps of the Count Zinzendorf, I got to love Israel and the Jews. When I now had to reflect on it more deeply, the untenability of the christening of infants struck home. How could the Church put something else instead of circumcision, a practise so sacred to the Jews? As I now also studied the Moravian liturgy used generally at the christening of babies, I knew that I couldn’t carry on with a practice that had indeed become a tradition that nullifies the power of God (Mark 7:13). The seed was sown in my heart for opposition to replacement theology, whereby the Church is taken to have substituted the nation of Israel.
In the course of my participation in a liturgical commission of the Moravian Church in Holland, I was deeply troubled by the formulation in the (infant) baptism liturgy whereby eternal life is apportioned to babies at their ‘baptism’.
This was now really the last straw to me. How could I continue with the tradition with a good conscience? I promptly put the problem to my church council. They were very sympathetic, especially after our common experience only weeks prior to this. They suggested that I should discuss it with my minister colleagues.
Also here I initially found a lot of understanding because the colleagues likewise encountered irresponsible fatherhood among the church members. It was decided that we would organise a weekend to discuss the issue in depth with the various church councils in the Netherlands because also in other congregations there were similar problems. The lack of responsibility by men who fathered children outside of wed­lock was a common phenomenon of the Caribbean community. I was possibly too judgemental, making it difficult for my minister colleagues to support me. (This ran parallel to other radical proposals such as the reduction of salaries into a mission fund. with which Moravians from the third world should be invited to come and minister in Europe. My take was that westerners were under-developed in respect of non-material values like hospitality and warmth.)
Before any such a weekend could take place, my problem with infant christening was maliciously conveyed to our church board. I was taken to task and finally referred to the bishop for counselling. This nevertheless transpired in a very cordial spirit. I was impressed that Bishop Reichel – walking in the footsteps of Zinzendorf on the issue - was convinced of the matter for himself as he looked at the grace of God operating ahead of us. But it didn’t solve my problem.
In the end we found a compro­mise: I would continue as a minister without having to christen infants. This could of course not go on for any length of time. I was offered another post, but as the matter of radical stewardship had become so important to me, I could not accept a post where we were required to compromise on this issue. We agreed that I would terminate my services in the church at the end of 1980.
Activism in the Church
In Holland I got isolated even more in the denomination, after I had joined together with Harald Lenz and Edgar Loswijk, two young minister colleagues. We tried to nudge the Moravian Church to oppose Shell because of its support of the apartheid government. However, our draft resolution ‘disappeared’ mysteriously at the synod. Our radical suggestions - originally intended to be presented at the synod – for example that the Moravian Church in Western Europe should take a lead in real sharing with the poorer countries, contributed to my isolation. I was vilified among my colleagues as a fundamentalist and a trouble-shooter simultaneously.

Schiphol Airport “Rendezvous”
Since our last trip down south, some other interesting things had happened. After reading in the newspaper about their presence at some church synod in Holland, I had taken the initiative to meet a delegation of the (White) Dutch Reformed Church at Schiphol Airport. From this “rendezvous” stemmed a superficial correspondence with Professor Johan Heyns in which I challenged him to include theologians of colour like Dr Allan Boesak in the provisional plans of the denomination for overhauling a booklet on race relations. Indirectly I also tried to reconcile the two of theologians, who were leading the influential “Broederbond” and “Broederkring” respectively. (I knew from our student days how Allan had been raving about Dr Johan Heyns, his lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University College of the Western Cape). Rosemarie had little faith in my letter writing activity, but I just continued, albeit rather subdued.
It was still my conviction that ‘Honger na Geregtigheid’ should be published in South Africa in Afrikaans first, in an effort to win over the Afrikaners rather than running our country down abroad. Because different Cabinet ministers openly expressed their intention to move away from discrimination, I secretly hoped that they would co-operate with the publication. The curt reply of Dr Schlebusch, a senior Cabinet minister, when I hinted the publication in South Africa in one of my letters, was to me however the sign that the climate was not yet ripe for the venture. The response by Dr Schlebusch was not positive enough to me. I decided to abort the effort towards publication.
After our trip in 1978, I had informed the government of my inten­tion to publish the documents that I had collated. I naively hoped that I could help (White) South Africans to repent in that way. Towards the end of 1980 it seemed as if the government was seriously trying to revive the momen­tum of change. (This was however effectively halted when Dr Andries Treurnicht started to breathe threatening down the neck of the government from the right wing.)
I also noticed now how influential people got damaged spiritually when they came into the limelight. I wanted to be certain that my autobiographical material would be published in God’s perfect timing. The letter to the Cabinet Minister was one of many ‘fleeces’ (Compare the story of Gideon in Judges 6:36-40), to ascertain whether I should have my autobiographical manuscripts published at all.

Too critical, but not loving enough
I gave a copy of the manuscript ‘Honger na Geregtigheid’ to our friend Hein Postma. He pointed out to me that the manuscript was too critical, not loving enough. He missed compassion in it. I had to agree with Hein Postma that the manuscript was possibly an overdose of medicine to a sick society. In my spare time - i.e. during the early morning hours between 2 and 4 a.m., because I was sensitive to the criticism of my church council - I worked at the rewriting of ‘Honger na Geregtigheid’ in three parts. The intention was also to diminish the possible shock effect for Afrikaners in that way.
I revamped the manuscript, concentrating on the issues around the prohibition of racially mixed marriages and our own experiences, calling it ‘Wat God saamgevoeg het’ (‘What God joined together’). 35 I hoped of course in my heart of hearts that this could facilitate my return to South Africa.
There were also other persons who were not happy with the manuscript - for completely different reasons. One of these was my close friend Jakes to whom I had sent a copy. He felt that one should not correspond or associate with members of the apartheid government. They should be isolated and treated like outcasts! Jake and I agreed to differ, but it was not easy to discern that apartheid was causing a strain in our long-standing friendship. His ‘second best friend’ was Allan Boesak. Jakes’ views were apt to rub off on our common friend, who had become quite influential by this time.36
An Activist for racial Reconciliation
By 1979 my previous idea that apartheid could be reformed, had undergone a complete metamorphosis. It probably started in the aftermath of June 16, 1976. In 1979 and 1980 I was especially activist with my letter writing to achieve racial reconciliation. In a letter to the editor of The Star, that was published on 29 June 1979, I wrote inter alia: 'The time for cosmetic change is over. Only radical change will assure a peaceful future for South Africa.'
The editor referred to the opinions of Mr Louis le Grange, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs: 'On the Readers' Views page today we carry a letter from the Reverend Ashley D Cloete ... The straight answer to Mr le Grange... is that South Africa does not need the Group Areas or the Population Registration Act or the race-orientated sex laws...'
Another letter (in February of the following year) radiates my changed position. This was written in reaction to an editorial of the Star, after a kidnapping incident in Silverton on the Rand, purportedly perpetrated by ANC ‘terrorists’. I wrote: “I missed in your editorial any discussion of the merit of releasing political prisoners like Mandela.”I added: “Don’t you dare to condemn the attitude of the ANC when its officials are being quoted as saying ‘they will kill all the hostages next time’?” It seemed as if the ANC had decided to go for all-out insurrection including the taking and killing of hostages.
In March I posted a copy of my letter to the editor (of The Star) to Reg September a leader of the ANC at their head office in Lusaka who had visited us in our home. I also posted a copy to Prime Minister P.W. Botha. In the letter to the ANC office I challenged the leader: “I pray that (at a possible release of Nelson Mandela and others?) the ANC can be brought back to the original course set out by people like Chief Albert Luthuli - a course of racial reconciliation, together with the appreciation of the intrinsic value of every human being... Oh, I do want to pray that South Africa might become a driving force for God’s justice and peace!”
In early April my next letter to Mr Botha, the Prime Minister, was a mild protest against the confiscation of the passports of Bishop Tutu and Dr Allan Boesak. I was tempted to relinquish my own passport, but ultimately refrained from doing it. That would have been a carnal reaction based on anger.

Love drives out all fear
In July 1980, I was driven into action once again after I had read about the arrest of some of my friends like Paul Joemat.
When I read that Mr Botha was to have a meeting with church leaders on 9 August 1980, I pointed out to him in a letter dated 22 July that some of those people who had been arrested were friends of my youth days. They were committed Christians who never would have considered violent solutions for the political problems of our country. I included with that post a treatise with the title “Liefde dryf die vrees uit.”37 I also posted a copy of this document to Bishop Tutu, who was the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches at that time. In the accompanying letter to Bishop Tutu I wrote: “It is my conviction that the South African churches in general should confess their collective guilt with regard to racism, as an aid to the government to do the same”.
Using 1 John 4:18 as my point of departure, I opined in ‘Liefde dryf die vrees uit’ that the apartheid laws were based on fear and therefore they had no future. Instead, the authorities should give love and trust a chance. This document was originally intended as a challenge in which I critically discussed a few of the government policies, with the aim to get it printed in one of the Afrikaans daily newspapers. It was possibly too long for anyone of the Afrikaans papers to consider it seriously, unless possibly as a series. Seeing that it opposed government policy diametrically, not a single one of the big four Afrikaans daily morning papers to which I had sent the article, showed any interest. I was possibly too radical, referring to the (traffic) sign of the cul-de-sac as a deformed cross. I stated that apartheid opposed the message of the cross; that it was basically diabolic because it separated people, whereas the nature of God is to join together. In the document I also suggested confession as a pre-requisite to reconciliation.

Foes wherever I went?
My radicalism on many issues made my position quite difficult. In my view the South African Moral Re-armament and the Moravian Church were much too compromising in their opposition to apartheid. In Holland I collided with my minis­ter colleagues when one of them opined that Europeans had no right to oppose the occultism of Surinamese traditions. His argument was that the Europeans themselves are in the web of another ‘-ism’, viz. material­ism. I was not prepared to allow a compromise for any sinful ideology or leave such practices unopposed!
I seemed to irritate people wherever I went. Many had problems with me because I did not fit into one of the boxes of the time. One was expected to be either against apartheid or Communism. I attacked both. On top of it, I also opposed occultism and materialism. Could one blame people that I appeared to oppose everything that was quite acceptable to others? All the while, I had hoped to be positive: to fight for God’s righteousness and justice. But it was probably not very wise to fight so many different issues simultaneously.
In the meantime I targeted the Dutch Reformed theologians of South Africa whom I believed could play a pivotal role in effecting change for the better in my home country. A fairly extensive correspondence followed with different role players on the South African scene. My ministry of reconciliation also aimed at trying to heal rifts where I discerned them. Thus I attempted to reconcile (the later Arch) Bishop Desmond Tutu and Dr Allan Boesak. The latter, along with his Broederkring cronies, were angry at the likes of Tutu - people who were still prepared to talk to President Botha. It also affected me personally when my letters to various Cabinet Ministers in the government estranged me to a great extent from my close friend Jakes.
My effort to get Dr Boesak and Professor Heyns reconciled was unsuccessful, but I was happy to hear later that Bishop Tutu and my former evangelism buddy Allan Boesak were operating again in concert. However, my interference harvested the wrath of Allan, who was by now a well-known church leader.
Professor Heyns went on in the mid-1980s to become one of the divine instruments of change in his Church, taking the denomination away from apartheid thinking and attitudes.

Mixed Marriages Act to be scrapped?
I was following the developments in the country closely. One of the most dramatic developments occurred when Mr P.W. Botha, the Prime Minister, stated publicly that he was ready to scrap the (prohibition of racially) Mixed Marriages Act. All the more I was very disappointed to read hereafter that the Dutch Reformed Church effectively pulled the break lever on this government intention at their synod of 1978. President Botha later made a backward somersault, mentioning that he rather looked at reviewing the law in question. Yet, he challenged the churches to come with a united viewpoint, which he possibly knew was very unlikely.
Rommel and Celeste Roberts, a couple from South Africa, suddenly popped up in Zeist. We had met Rommel in Caux (Switzer­land) at a conference of the Moral Rear­mament (MRA) in December, 1977. After his training as a Cath­olic priest, Rommel got involved in the Modderdam squatter camp near Bellville. Here he met Celeste, a White Catholic nun. They broke all the codes of South African “way of life” by marrying inside South Africa, thus not crossing the border to exchange marriage vows in some neighbouring country. Rommel himself had been released from prison just before their departure for Europe. He was never brought before a court of law because of his role in the bus and student boycotts of that year, but the couple feared a new arrest. Therefore they were very happy for the opportunity to get away from the police hunt. Probably more than anybody else in South Africa, they had courageously challenged the “Prohib­ition of Mixed Marriages Act”.
In a letter started on 19 November 1980 and concluded on 25 November 1980, I applauded Professor Heyns on the efforts to get the ban of Dr Beyers Naudé lifted and that the Dutch Reformed Church also called for the repeal of the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act. Also in this letter I suggested a clear confession accompanied by a concrete proposal of restitution. Professor Heyns subsequently played a major role in the transformation in the Dutch Reformed Church when the synod of 1986 made a major turn around. That unfortunately nudged apartheid die-hards to break away to form their own denomination. Great of course was my joy to hear of the confessions offered at Rustenburg in 1990, even though the government did not show appreciation initially. The seed of confession apparently still had to germinate in some hearts. Johan Heyns was not destined to experience the start of the uniting of the sister reformed churches in 2003 that had been divided by the hurtful race policies. His theological contributions had a large impact on changing the thinking of the Afrikaner government. (An unknown gunman, who possibly saw Heyns as a traitor of the Afrikaners, assassinated him on November 5, 1994. It is generally believed in South Africa that a right wing extremist, who could not accept Heyns’ role in the dramatic turn-around of the denomination, was responsible for his assassination).

A Shock: my Sister had Leukaemia
When Rommel and Celeste Roberts came to visit us in Zeist in 1980, Celeste was pregnant. A complica­tion not only extended their stay in Zeist, but she came close to losing her life because of it. In what amounted to a miracle, her life was saved. Because of her illness and hospitalisation, Celeste stayed with us much longer than they had originally intended.
Just at this time we got the news in August 1980 from South Africa that my only sister Magdalene had contracted leukaemia, for which there was no remedy yet. It moved me deeply because she had played such an important role in enabling her three younger brothers to enjoy tertiary education!
God used Celeste Roberts to sow seed in our hearts so that I actually started enquiring after the cheapest possibility to go to South Africa. We thought initially that I should go to South Africa alone. Due to Celeste’s encouragement, we decided to take tentative steps towards going to South Africa as a family. The date of my mother’s pending 70th birthday (28 December) was however far from convenient. There were so many other complicating factors militating against it. Another visit to South Africa seemed a non-runner towards the end of 1980. Because of my conscientious and scriptural objections against the practice of the chris­tening of infants, I resigned as a pastor in the Moravian Church of Utrecht. I still had two weeks of holiday due to me.

Remain in Jerusalem
Through our connection to Moral Rearmament, we got befriended to the work of the ‘Offensive Junger Christen’ in Bensheim, Germany. Their method of operation sounded very much like our own thinking. Soon we were seriously considering moving to Germany. To our disappointment, nothing came from our application to join the ‘Offensive’. No clear reason for the refusal was given, although we suspected that my radical view regarding the christening of infants might have been the hindrance.
By October 1980 we still had no new position and nowhere to go after the termination of our work in the church. It was understood that we were required to vacate the parsonage at the end of that year.
At this stage we prayed fervently to the Lord for a word of guidance. We were nevertheless quite surprised when Luke 24:47 came through. The verse mentioned ‘beginning in Jerusalem’. It was not clear to us how to interpret it. We thought it to mean that we should remain in our Jerusalem, Zeist. But this seemed so impossible!
From two other groups we had firm promises that we could join them - with accommodation included - if there would be a problem. But nothing was forthcoming from either of the groups when push came to shove. We ultimately had nowhere to go to!
Our friends who prayed with us stood firmly in support. To us this was very much an encouragement. They knew my decision to resign as pastor had really been a step of faith for us.

Another visa Application
Towards the end of 1980 it seemed as if the government was seriously trying to revive the momen­tum of change. I thought that my letter-writing to Cabinet ministers would make Rosemarie's visa application a mere formality. I naively thought that they would not dare to refuse Rosemarie a visa again, knowing that I could publish the documents abroad to their detriment – i.e. an element of subtle blackmail was involved.
Rosemarie was much more realistic with her suggestion to write another accompanying letter with the visa application. She thought that mentioning my sister’s disease in such a letter could have assisted to expect a positive reply. Encouraged by a speech of Prime Minister Botha in Upington and other reports in the press, I was very much under the impression that the govern­ment actually wanted to change or scrap the law pertaining to the prohibition of racially mixed marriages. The impression was given that the (White) Dutch Reformed Church was the big culprit. Later I had to recognize that this view was much too simplis­tic. (I even thought - although I had no concrete proof to this end - that my initiative perhaps played some little role in the government’s inten­tion to change or scrap 62 discrimina­tory laws.)
Before I could book any flight however, there was still the hurdle of my congregation. It was unreal to expect them to release me just before Christmas. One could hardly expect any church council to allow their only minister to take leave at that time. Surprisingly however, when I merely faintly expressed my wish to see my sister soon, the Broederraad supported our departure before Christmas graciously. In a remarkable sequence of events, we experienced that we were guided by a much stronger hand than ours. My church council agreed that I could deliver my last sermon there on 14 December, 1980. Rather unusually, we thus never had a valedictory service, but at least this was honest. My departure was not amicable at all. We could now go ahead to apply for a visa for Rosemarie and our two children and book tickets.
My idea not to write an accompanying letter however helped us to get clarity whether we should go to South Africa as a family or not. Financially it amounted to a major risk. We also considered that the granting or withholding of the visas could be a test whether it was right to start on this risky venture at all.

Divine Pruning
The heavenly Father was obviously continuing to prune me, cutting away rough edges. He needed to break me down to fit into His plan with us. Thus I could return to the travelling agency to book seats on a flight just before Christmas. There the lady greeted me with the words “Mr Cloete, I have a nice surprise for you!” She had just received news that Luxavia was offering a special air fare. The airline was introducing the big Boeing 747 Jumbo jets. We saw in this “co-incidence” another confirmation to proceed with our plans. I had no hesitation any more to book for 18 December, 1980.
Letters from South Africa with regard to the illness of Magdalene encouraged us to quite an extent. We knew that we should not get excited too soon, but we also believed always that “My Lord can do anything”. And didn’t God prove it so often in our lives? The fact that we could plan to go to South Africa was already a miracle to us.
Our joy was however soon replaced by anxiety because of the visas for Rosemarie and the children. Various telephone calls to the South African Embassy in The Hague brought no result. Slowly but surely the last day for payment drew nearer without any prospect of the visas. Even a telex from the South African Embassy personnel in the Hague to Pretoria on our behalf turned out to be fruitless.

Agonizing days
Celeste was back with us after visiting some other people in Holland. Together we experienced the agonizing days of waiting in vain on the visas for Rosemarie and the children. We shared our uncertainty with Celeste in respect of our going, because we would be using just about our last savings for the trip and I still had no employment after our return from South Africa. On the day on which we were required to pay the deposit to reserve our seats,38 I phoned the Embassy once more. The official suggested that I phone someone in South Africa to contact Pretoria. The travel agency gave us an extension of an extra day to procure the visas.
I couldn’t phone my relatives of course, because we didn’t want to cause any more anxiety there. But we were happy that it was a Thursday. Now we could share our burden in the evening with our Bible study and prayer group in Zeist.
Our friend Jakes, whom I phoned, used a method with which I would not have been happy if I had known what he would do. On the other hand, I had only myself to blame because I was the cause that the accom­panying letter with the visa application was not written. His phone call to Pretoria went along the following lines:
“I am a friend of Reverend Ashley Cloete in Holland. I want to contact the press straight away, but I just want to find out whether it is true that you don’t want to allow him and his family to come and visit his sister who has cancer...”
Of course, the government could not allow such an embar­rassment without any ado, especially since we were still abroad. Therefore it was not surprising when the answer came promptly:
“Sir, I will investigate the matter straight away. I’m sure it will come in order.”
* * * *
Not aware of this telephonic conversation, we were still anxiously waiting on the call from The Hague on Friday, the 28th of November. Before 4 p.m. we had to phone the travel agency. We agreed that if we would not have received a positive reply from the Embassy by that time, we would cancel our bookings. Finally, four o’clock arrived without any call from The Hague. I had given up hope, but Rosemarie prodded me to phone the Embassy once more before cancelling our seats. I dialled the now so familiar telephone number, while Rosemarie prayed that the will of God might become evident:
A friendly voice greeted me from the other side of the telephone line: “I have good news for you. The visas have been granted. However, I must still read the full text of the telex. Please phone me on Monday.”

Visas granted Although we knew in the meantime that strange conditions could be attached to visas, we were overjoyed. And it was such fun that Celeste was there with whom we could share our joy. The preliminary knowledge about the granting of the visas was already such a special gift to us. At the same time it was also a confirmation to venture out in faith into the unknown. We were encouraged to trust God for our future and for our everyday needs.
We needed this fillip because not everybody was happy with our six-week trip to South Africa. We could understand their reasoning so well: in such a case one would normally first make sure that one has a job on one’s return. In so many words, we had to hear that this was very careless. It did hurt deeply when we had to read from a senior representative of the church:
“It has nothing to do with faith...” But I had given the Church Board member, who wrote these lines, such a hard time through my radical activism while he tried to mediate between the Utrecht Broederraad and me. I knew it was well meant, out of concern. In the same letter, our brother affirmed that I would remain a minister of the denomination and that he would love to welcome me back to take up a post in the field of representation.
The only conditions attached to the visas turned out to be that we had to pay the telex costs and that we had to obtain and send a letter from the travel­ling agency to certify that we had bought return tickets. The stage was set for our next trip.
In the following three weeks the big priority was to get a job. I hoped to take up teaching again. Certain posts for Relig­ious Instruction seemed fitted to my previous experiences, but the expanding unemployment was also taking its toll in Hol­land. When we left for South Africa, my hopes were pinned on one single application where I had survived the first round of nineteen applicants. However, there were still nine other applicants in the running for the vacant post.

12. Home or Hearth?

We had a nerve-wrecking few weeks until we finally received the visa for Rosemarie and our two boys literally on the last minute. Now we could finalize our travelling plans at last. Unfor­tu­nately, the connecting flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town were already fully booked by this time. We had no option than to sleep over in Johannesburg for two nights. The conditions under which the visit to the Cape would take place, were nevertheless very daunting. We were basically hoping to go and see my dying sister. We had no idea what would happen on our return to Holland because we had more or less used our last savings for the air fares and I had no firm prospect of employment on our return.
It suited me perfectly that my seminary colleague Martin October, with whom we lodged in the Moravian parsonage, was so willing to take me to Bishop Tutu and Dr Beyers Naudé on our return to Holland. From the Bosmont manse I made a few phone calls. I also contacted Dr Beyers Naudé. When I heard from Dr Naudé that he had never received the manuscript that I had sent with the delegation of DRC theologians the previous year, I was all the more keen to discuss my material with him and Bishop Tutu. We left our winter coats with Martin and Fanny October, intending to collect them when we would return to Europe.

A sad Welcome and a Macedonian Call
On arrival at D.F. Malan Airport, the name of the international airport of Cape Town at that time, we heard that my sister had died the previous evening. (When I spoke telephonically to Anthony, our brother-in-law, I somehow did not understand his question clearly when he asked me where we were staying.) But we were still in time to attend the funeral. Hoe kan ek u prys, the anthem of our clan, was of course a must at this occasion. Rosemarie and our almost four-year old son Danny had been learning the hymn as well.
It was felt that the event of the Joorst clan at the Jolly Carp Recreation Centre in Grassy Park, that our late sister Magdalene had initiated, should go ahead just after Christmas. She had hoped of course that she could still attend it for the last time and meet the 200 odd clan members.
In a series of events prior to our scheduled return to Holland, we discerned God’s hand clearly. This happened especially during the evening devotion of 19 January 1981 in Elim. My late father was reading the scriptural Macedonian injunction from the Daily text: ‘Kom oor en help ons.’(Come over and help us.) Our mother was furthermore quite ill at that time. Her passing away was actually anticipated. With Daddy’s heart condition, which caused him to go on early retirement, it was a big question whether I would see one or both of them alive again. In the car the next day Rosemarie soon shared how deeply moved she was from the word from Scripture. 'Shouldn’t we stay at the Cape at least for the last week in the country', was her apt question. I was however not to be moved, too proud to acknowledge that the ‘Macedonian call’ had also touched me.

The Anti-apartheid Spirit made me hard
By this time I had become quite a hardened anti-apartheid activist once again. The only constraint I had was that I waged my opposition from a religious platform. I did however hold firmly to my conviction that the unity of believers was all-important.
Rosemarie was deeply moved when she saw how our brother‑in‑law Anthony was struggling after the death of his beloved wife, our late sister. Full of compassion she could not comprehend why I insisted to go to Johannesburg for the remaining week before our departure for Holland.
The anti-apartheid activist spirit made me hard and uncompassionate. Many people asked me why we didn’t stay longer when they heard that I had no employment in Holland on our return there. According to certain trusted people to whom we turned for advice like our friend, the Anglican Pastor Clive McBride, I should easily get a post with my good reputation as a Mathematics teacher and the dearth of qualified colleagues in ‘Coloured’ schools for that subject. When I checked it out, this was confirmed. But I was not to be moved to stay longer in Cape Town. I wanted to proceed to Johannesburg. Not even the possibility of my mother passing on soon - and that I would not see any of my parents again, because Daddy was also a heart patient who had prematurely gone on pension - could touch me significantly. This was the classic Jonah situation all over again where I wanted to run away from responsibility.
On the afternoon that had been scheduled to be our final time together, my special friend Jakes was at hand, taking us to the Strandfontein beach. A strong wind was blowing there. In the evening we were due to take the train to Johannesburg. This time we had received government permission to travel in the same compartment as a family without any ado, albeit that it bugged me that one still had to ask for permission. My manuscript had evidently done some intimidating work in government circles.
When we arrived in Sherwood Park at the home of the Esau family, the train tickets were however nowhere to be found. I must have lost them in Strandfontein. With the strong wind there, it would have been futile to go back and try and find them. God had caught up with me once again. I was trying to run away from the responsibility to my parents and the bereaved family.
The Holy Spirit had thankfully softened me up by now. Reticently I agreed to stay in Cape Town for another week. My parents were pleasantly surprised when we pitched up in Elim once again. This time we had interesting news for them. We had decided to extend our stay in South Africa, unless I got the Religious Instruction teaching post in Holland for which I had applied.
After the extra week in Cape Town, everything was cut and dried. It was confirmed that we should try and stay for another six months. The church in Holland graciously agreed that we could leave our furniture in the parsonage in Zeist. A new pastor for Utrecht had not been appointed yet.

Teaching in Hanover Park
I took up a teaching post at Mount View High School in Hanover Park. I knew that this was one of the two schools where the boycotts had started the year before. I felt a little bit uneasy when the relevant authority in Wynberg expressed his satisfaction at me being a clergyman to take over at the school where a colleague had been dismissed for ‘unprofessional conduct.’
The suspicion at the school that I was a government informer was almost tangible. The reason was clear. My predecessor also had the surname Cloete. In addition, I must have dished up a strange story to them, having come from Holland and a sister who had passed away. All this must have sounded very suspect. On top of it, the widely read tabloid-styled newspaper of the ‘Coloured’ Community, The Cape Herald, reported shortly after I started teaching in Hanover Park that Matthew Cloete, my predecessor, had been sacked for disseminating ANC pamphlets. It must possibly have been logical for the school fraternity to regard this as confirmation that I was an informer, a collaborator with the hated regime. Fortunately for me, the practise of ‘neck lacing’39 was not yet in vogue.
We tried to support the bereaved Esau family by being on hand. Richard Arendse, my classmate of high school days and a later teacher colleague, immediately obliged by allowing us to use their caravan. Thus we could now sleep in the caravan in the backyard of the Esau home. My brother Windsor and his wife Ray from Grabouw generously put the use of one of their two cars at our disposal so that we could visit my sickly and ageing parents in Elim – around 200 Km away – fairly frequently.
It was very special to see our ailing mother recovering slowly and the diminishing strain was evidently doing our Daddy a lot of good.

Divine Protection once again
During the short spell of teaching at Mount View High School (Hanover Park) in 1981, I had a good percentage of Muslim pupils in my classes. I was especially happy that I was so near to my friend Jakes, who had married Ann Swart, a social worker. On Friday afternoons we often had a little rendezvous together there in the Penlyn Estate parsonage on Friday afternoons with Henry Engel and Chris Wessels, two Moravian pastors. There I also attended a few Belydende Kring meetings. After one of those meetings I was evidently followed by some Special Branch agent. Thankfully, there were no negative repercussions. I experienced divine protective intervention the next day. This was after all a time when persons could disappear mysteriously.
We furthermore had to request the extension of the visas of Rosemarie and the children that could still be turned down. With my track record of opposition to the government, the granting of visas for them could not be taken for granted.
Just after Easter, Mr Cassie, the principal, asked me to address the school assembly in the weekly devotional exercise. In my mini sermon I stressed that Mary Magdalene had previously been an outcast and demon‑possessed before she became a follower of Jesus. Coming from their despised township, the pupils could obviously fully identify with the message that I shared. I was moved to see how open some Muslim learners were to the radical claims of Jesus. I furthermore highlighted in my message that the outcast Mary Magdalene became the first evangelist of the resurrection of Jesus according to John’s gospel. This was solid Contextual Theology. Others would perhaps have called it Black Theology. In my talk I challenged the township pupils and teacher colleagues, stressing that this could only happen to Mary Magdalene because she had first committed her life to Jesus as her Lord. Of course, that was down to earth evangelical language. Be it as it may, this mini sermon harvested for me acceptance from the learners in the highly politicised school.

Camping semi-permanently
As the nights became colder in March, it became imperative to move out of the caravan. Our one and a half year old Rafael constantly had a cold. However, the politics of the day prevented us from getting accommodation in a ‘White’ residential area for the last three months of our stay in South Africa.
Repeatedly Rommel and Celeste Roberts invited us to come and stay with them. The couple had been with us in Holland for a few months after they were more or less forced to flee from the country the previous year. They were not only known as political activists, but just like us, they were a racially mixed couple. To accept their offer would have meant inviting trouble with the government. After all other efforts to get temporary accommodation40 had failed, we had no other excuse available to turn down their generous offer. Very hesitantly, we moved into the three-bedroom cottage in Haywood Road, Crawford with our two small boys to join Rommel, Celeste, Alan and Wally. The latter two are brothers of Rommel. We knew that living in a White residential area was a great risk we were taking, but we had no other option.

Low-Key Involvement in ‘political’ Matters
Because of my own involvement in ‘political’ matters at school and our supporting Rommel, Celeste and Alan Roberts in the politicized Crossroads community with harassed ‘illegal’ Black women,41 there was the real fear that anyone of us could have been arrested by the police. Of course, we were basically working towards racial reconciliation. But it was illegal for a ‘Coloured’ or a White to go into the Black townships without a permit. Expecting that such an application would have been refused any way, we never even considered asking for one. That would have meant looking for trouble, apart from the principle involved. (It is highly debatable whether one should apply for a permit under such circumstances.)
On more than one occasion we experienced from close range how the political climate in the country was heating up to near boiling point. Rosemarie had been helping a Black teacher in a Roman Catholic school as a volunteer in Nyanga with the teaching of retarded children. Every day a red car was following her closely, apparently attempting to intimidate her.

Tense weeks
A crisis followed after a bus load of ‘illegal’ Black women had been forced to return to the Transkei. The group returned to the Cape with a hired bus through secret compassionate assistance of the South African Council of Churches under the leadership of Bishop Desmond Tutu. I was blessed to hear of a letter he had written when I visited a meeting of the Quakers on May 20 with Rommel Roberts. In this circular letter Bishop Tutu called on churches to make August a month of compassion, giving special attention to forced removals. The letter called on the government to stop hunting ‘Blacks’ like animals. He also suggested special prayer and fasting during that month. The spiritual dimension of Bishop Tutu’s letter encouraged me greatly. This sort of defiant opposition was of course going very much against the grain of the government.
In the middle of the Crossroads crisis I was preaching in the (White) Congregational Church of Rondebosch where our friend Douglas Bax was the pastor. Through his involvement other representatives of the Western Province Council of Churches got on board in the Crossroads saga.
Rosemarie and the children valiantly joined me in dangerous ventures, such as joining me to Crossroads on Ascencion Day. I was a member of a Church delegation including Reverend Douglas Bax and a few other ministers. Military ‘Caspirs’ containing soldiers were driving along Lansdowne Road at this occasion. They reminded us that a massacre at our open-air meeting with these women and others in Crossroads, in which we could lose our lives, was not out of the question. The presence of a British TV crew probably saved the day for us. (On that occasion I was very much impressed by the performance of a young pastor, Elijah Klaassen, whom I met a few times thereafter at the Crossroads Clinic, that was run on behalf of the UCT-sponsored SHAWCO by a young doctor, Ivan Toms.)
Rosemarie and our two sons also joined me to Hanover Park when I decided to support the learners of Mount View High School in defiance of a government decree. We, the teachers, were opposing the government by offering a programme of alternative teaching on the ‘compulsory holiday’ on June 1, such as the history of resistance to racial oppression.42
On June 1 the police actually stepped in when a few pupils entered the school premises in defiance of the government threat. That was just what the defiant learners wanted – confrontation. Because I was due to return to Europe shortly, I volunteered to go and try to mediate between the speedily growing crowd of learners and the police. The subsequent heated interaction between the defiant angry learners and the police made me however quite nervous. I was very thankful when through my mediation the police agreed to leave without arresting anyone. Nor were any shots fired. The learners agreed to retreat to our teaching venue, the adjacent Bruce Duncan Home, where hereafter no 'alternative teaching' was possible.
During these tense weeks we had to reckon all the time with the possibility that any one of us residing in Haywood Road, Crawford could be killed or arrested. (In fact, Celeste was arrested once after she had stood in front of a bus that was about to leave with women to be deported to the Transkei. She was however released the same day, after we had succeeded to get the news also to the international media.) We struggled through all sorts of apartheid red tape next to the racist attitude of locals and the indifference of the churches. Our personal experiences and involvement in political turmoil during this period of our lives caused significant resentment in Rosemarie towards South Africa. She now started looking fervently forward to the day of our return to Europe.

Spadework for the Battle of Nyanga
The separation of Black families developed into a strange tradition in South African society because of government policy. We were privileged to have been involved with the spadework that prepared ‘the battle of Nyanga’. Alan Roberts, the brother of Rommel, interviewed the ladies who had been taken out of the homes and brought to the Roman Catholic Church of Langa, where they lived for some time after a hint by Celeste after their shacks had been demolished by the police during rainy weather.
I was deeply moved as I typed the stories of the luckless Black people whom the government was trying to remove forcibly, wanting to take them to the Transkei. At the court hearings these written stories were valuable, but then we heard that the narratives had mysteriously 'disappeared'. It was strategic that I had copies of these stories, but also this helped only minimally to keep them longer with their husbands in the Western Cape Black townships.
Our involvement with the Blacks did create in me a resistance of another sort. After seeing at close range how Black families were forced to live separately, I was not interested any more to approach the government - cap in hand - for the ‘privilege’ to live in my home country with my wife and children. (A few White people wanted to introduce me to the Prime Minister to achieve this.)
The life stories of the women were not the only material that ‘disappeared’. A manuscript that I wrote at this time - about false political alternatives that I had left at the school in Hanover Park during the boycott crisis around June 16/17 - also mysteriously 'evaporated'. I was somewhat careless in this regard to let my notes lie around.
In the meantime I had become quite bitter once again. Spiritually I still had to learn that God was more interested in my relationship with Him than in my activism. Of course, I regarded my political activism as a part of my service for Him, part and parcel of an effort to get the races reconciled to each other.

An old Wound opened
Towards the end of our stay Rosemarie had more than enough of all this turmoil and uncertainty. She now had only one prayer: ‘Lord, I am prepared to serve you anywhere in the world as long as it is not South Africa’. She seemed to have completely forgotten her vow of 1978. We now also had to witness how confused our four year-old son Danny had become because of the different languages to which he was exposed. We were convinced that we had to return to a European country where Danny could concentrate on one language. A German-speaking environment was the obvious choice. After leaving the political cauldron in South Africa, we first went to Rosemarie’s family in Southern Germany. But all efforts to get employment in Germany or Switzerland were unsuccessful. As we shared our experiences, we completely forgot the divine injunction to ‘remain in our Jerusalem’ - Zeist in Holland.
It was quite difficult to accept soon hereafter that Rosemarie was pregnant again. We very much wanted another child - preferably a daughter - but the timing of the pregnancy was very uncomfortable indeed. I was still unemployed with little prospect of anything concrete with which I could feed my family. On our return to Holland Rosemarie and I were quite divided on the issue of where we should be located - an old wound had been opened. Rosemarie was relieved that we could get out of the threatening hearth more or less unscathed. I wanted to return to Africa as soon as possible. But we knew that God had brought us together and that we had to be called together to whatever country of His choice.
13. Counting my Blessings

My interest at fighting apartheid was far from altruistic. I yearned to return to my home country, although I knew that it was almost impossible. In order to achieve that, the racist laws had to be dismantled.

The Blessing of united Prayer
Linked to my efforts there was the blessing of united prayer, which was repeatedly confirmed as we attempted to address the racial barrier in a low-key way. We were very much encouraged by a multi-racial group from different denominations in Stellenbosch that had been started by Professor Nico Smith and a few pastors. (This was a sequel to the SACLA event in Pretoria in 1979.)

The Aftermath of the Saga of Nyanga and Crossroads43
We returned to Germany and Holland, unaware of the crisis which we had helped to unleash through our involvement in the initial stages of the saga of Nyanga and Crossroads by getting church leaders on board. The plight of the victims received not only international attention but it also boiled down to one of the major defeats of the apartheid regime. The Dutch Reformed Church was disunited and thrown in a crisis because of the brutal treatment of the Blacks in those townships. Professor Nico Smith, who had already moved to the periphery of the apartheid structures after SACLA in Pretoria in 1979, not only took a group of theological students to Crossroads, but the events of the winter of 1981 there became instrumental in opening many White eyes to the effects of apartheid legislation.
Professor Smith’s brave stance unleashed a storm in his church, leading to intimidation and victimisation. Times had changed. Unlike the post-Cottesloe period when Dr Beyers Naudé was ostracised and isolated, other clergymen rallied in support. In fact, Nico Smith had little difficulty to find contributors for his book Stormkompas, which he co-edited with Dr Piet Meiring and Dr Obrien Geldenhuys. The latter had been one of the DRC delegates that I had challenged on Schiphol Airport two years earlier.
The practical aid of the SACC in the saga made it only natural that Bishop Tutu, the General Secretary at the time, would visit Crossroads in August at the end of a period of prayer and fasting. The saga continued until deep into 1982 when 60 Xhosa men, women and children occupied the huge St George’s Anglican Cathedral in the heart of Cape Town, a stone’s throw from the Parliament buildings.

Our unwitting Role in the Dismantling of Apartheid
I could not afford the international edition of The Star any more. Thus we were not aware that we had actually contributed significantly to the dismantling of apartheid through our involvement in Crossroads, Langa and Nyanga. A networking initiative with local ministers of other churches saw me deeply embroiled in the Crossroads saga with high risks, linking closely with Rev. Douglas Bax, who had been a friend of our seminary. It was the beginning of the end of the influx control laws which were finally scrapped in 1985. Our experiences of 1978 and 1980/81 and my correspondence with various Cabinet ministers possibly contributed in some measure to the removal from the Statute books of the prohibition of racially mixed marriages in that same year. Our friend Douglas Bax had taken the matter further to get the Presbyterian Church active in defiance of that legislation.

Growing List of unpublished Manuscripts
I still thought that Honger na Geregtigheid or rather the first part of the revamped Wat God saamgevoeg het should be published in South Africa in Afrikaans first, to win over the Afrikaners. The timing would be of the essence. I also noticed how influential people got damaged spiritually when they came into the limelight prematurely. I therefore wanted to be certain that my autobiographical material would be published in God’s perfect timing. The letter to the Cabinet Minister was one of many ‘fleeces’44 to ascertain whether I should have my manuscripts published at that time. Some people wanted to introduce me to Mr P.W. Botha, but I was not interested, after having seen how other families were being ripped apart because of the pass laws. 45 During our six-month stay in the country I updated an amended manuscript. When we left South Africa in June 1981, the second draft of ‘Wat God saamgevoeg het’ in English translation - ‘What God joined together’’ - I had prepared a number of copies in A4 format. I left a copy of the English manuscript with Tafelberg Uitgewers just before we returned to Europe in June, 1981 with the hope to have the book printed in Afrikaans first if they accepted it for publication. It was however turned down, becoming just another addition to a growing list of unpublished and incomplete manuscripts. I had been too naïve to expect the government-supporting publishers to deviate so much from the official government policy.

Back in our “Jerusalem”
Back in Holland, a very difficult period in our lives started. Time was running out because my work permit was due to expire soon. Yet, the word from Scripture to stay in our “Jerusalem” did not enter our minds again. However, we had no motivation to start packing. The church had offered us temporary accommodation in Bad Boll, where we once started our marriage. But we had no peace about this move.
And then it happened. Virtually on the last minute, I got a temporary teaching post in nearby Utrecht. Simultaneously, I applied for a position with a new mission agency Evangelische Zending in Nederland (EZIN), to function as a pioneering church planter in Almere, a new polder area where land had been regained from the sea and where there were hardly any churches. For some reason or other, I never heard from the EZIN people again after sending them my CV. The new evangelical group probably either found my political activism unacceptable or the reason for my resignation as a pastor.
We had no intention of joining another denomination when we left Zeist for South Africa at the end of 1980. When we returned in July 1981, we found that a few believers had decided in our absence to start a new fellowship there. Our friends Hein Postma and Wim Zoutewelle had been having talks with Albert Ramaker and Jan Kits (sr) in an attempt to start a new evangelical fellowship in Zeist along the lines of the Christian Brethren.46 I was not opposed to the idea of another Bijbelgetrouwe (Bible-based) fellowship, but I was not very happy that they decided to have the fellowship meetings also on Sunday mornings. I did not like the idea at all of competing with other Christian groups. I had been impressed by the idea of the base communities of South America which gathered on Saturday evenings.
Yet, it was still a long way off before I learned that church disunity and a competitive spirit among the various fellowships were actually demonic strongholds. My preference was to have a fellowship on a Saturday so that everybody could still attend a church of their choice on Sundays. I also had not yet discerned properly how Constantine had high-jacked the Church, estranging us from our Jewish roots by making Sunday a compulsory day of rest. If I had done it at that time, our decision to join the new group might have been different.
A new Fellowship
What I specially liked about the new fellowship was that there would be no formal membership. The concept of dual membership that we brought along from the German Moravian Church - where the members were also liked to the state Church – appealed to me. At any rate, we remained members of the Moravian Church. On both sides people were unhappy, but we were not to be deterred. On virtually every Saturday evening one would find me joining the traditional Moravian ‘Zangdienst’ (Evensong) and on Sunday evening I enjoyed the spiritually enriching liturgies. We maintained a cordial relationship to the old couple, Hans and Jo Rapparliés - who lived beneath us at Broederplein - until they had to leave for an old age home. On Sunday afternoons (later on Saturday evenings) we would often play together on different musical instruments and/or sing and especially to have prayer fellowship with each other.
The tragedy of denominational division really hit home to us on Sunday mornings when we set out for the new non-denominational fellowship that developed out of a weekly Bible Study with Christians from diverse denominational backgrounds. We joined the group that had no formal membership, although I was not so happy that they celebrated on Sunday mornings. With some hesitation I also agreed to serve on the Broederraad, as well as leading the young people along with Tom, the son of Wim Zoutewelle. The tiny fellowship moved to a new location at Panweg from where it significantly influenced the region in the 1980s.


14. Back to Africa?

Very surprisingly, Rosemarie did not protest at the prospect of a return to South Africa after we had heard from Hein Postma that the Dorothea Mission was looking for missionaries to work among the youth of Soweto. I had little hesitation to apply. However, I clearly mentioned that racial reconciliation was dear to us. The Dorothea Mission probably regarded my stance as too political because we never received any reply from them. Via friends we heard a few years later that our application was fiercely debated. With us being a racially mixed couple, this was of course quite a hot potato in a mission agency that was very close to Afrikaner thinking, if not completely immersed in it. (The law forbidding racially mixed marriages was not yet repealed.)

Applications galore
The next few years I applied for numerous teaching vacancies in Holland as a teacher of Mathematics. My South African nationality however made me suspect because I purposely refrained from mentioning my race in all applications. I did not want to be employed because of sympathy. On the other hand, not being Dutch, i.e. having a foreign accent on the phone and in the classroom, was not to my advantage either. I soon discovered that I could only apply for temporary positions. Amid the uncertainty of permanent employment our daughter Magdalena Erika - named respectively after my late sister and Rosemarie’s mother - was born on 17 March 1982.
I was elated when Jakes and Anne joined us in Holland with their little boy Alain, although we had become somewhat estranged from each other in the meantime. The teaching stint at Hanover Park in 1981 healed the temporary rift because of our different views of looking at people in government. Jakes still thought that isolating the regime was the best way. I had my doubts, seeing this method as uncharitable, not in the spirit of Christ. We agreed to disagree on this matter.
A return to Southern Africa was however still high on my list of priorities. When we heard of a teaching position in Lesotho, I was of course quite interested. But nothing happened after my enquiry. Also other ‘doors’ never seemed to open. My South African passport constituted an important obstacle to get into any African country.
Different missionaries who worked in South Africa would visit us when they were on home assignment. Thus we got to know Dick and Rie van Stelten, a missionary couple from the little town of Josini, as well as Cees en Els Lugthardt, who were working with the Dorothea Mission at the headquarters of their mission in Rosslyn, north of Pretoria. I also knew Shadrach Moloka, originally likewise from the Dorothea Mission, already from my first period in Germany when he ministered in Stuttgart and Liebenzell.

The Start of the Goed Nieuws Karavaan
Peter Kalmijn was one of the youth group members of the Panweg fellowship that met in our home. The Lord would use Peter at different times in our lives to challenge us. He had returned from Austria with his mother Geertje and his brother Hans in 1981. His parents had been missionaries there before estrangement and divorce. This caused Geertje and her two sons to return to the Netherlands. On one of our youth evenings in 1982 Peter mentioned that the organizers of the ‘Kinderkaravaan’ - a local outreach to children - were looking for a leader. This occurred when I was unemployed after a year of Religious Instruction at the College Blauwkapel in Utrecht.
While he was still at secondary school Rens Schalkwijk, who returned with his parents from Jamaica in 1978, joined the weekly prayer group at the Moravian Widow’s house. This was another link to the denomination that I kept intact throughout our period of ministry in Zeist. (Later Rens’ mother led the prayer group at the Zinzendorf House next to their home when the venue of the weekly prayer meeting was changed.)
With Rens I felt spiritually very much on the same wave length. In 1982 the teenager suggested that the two of us should come together for early morning prayer, just as our spiritual ancestors, the Moravians, had been doing. This we put into practice, soon joined by Peter van Veldhuyzen, a member of the Panweg fellowship. Every morning we prayed in the nearby forest before Peter left for his work.
I tried to put the lessons of the unity of the Body of Christ to good effect that I had been learning. A first big nudge came in 1982 from Rens Schalkwijk, a teenager who had returned from Jamaica a few years prior to this with his parents, Moravian missionaries. He suggested that we pray together - in the footsteps of our Moravian ancestors - early in the morning in the nearby forest. I was unemployed again at this time, having left the pastorate at the end of 198047 and a rather nerve-wrecking year as teacher of Religious Instruction at the College Blauwkapel in Utrecht. This was no success. I was regarded as ‘too friendly’ by the teenage learners – this was no attribute - on top of the fact that teaching only RI to disinterested teenagers would be very difficult in any teaching environment. The experience during the latter months of teaching at this school was tantamount to emotional torture, but I somehow survived without suffering a mental burn-out.
The suggestion of Peter Kalmijn and the 1982 prayer effort with Rens and Peter van Veldhuyzen culminated in the setting up an evangelical agency, the ‘Stichting Goed Nieuws Karavaan’ that included various facets of evangelistic outreach.
Spiritual Warfare
When we came to Holland we were fairly ignorant with regard to unseen things happening in the spiritual realm. However, we should have known better because we had been reading about occult realities in the literature of Kurt Koch, a German theologian. In the course of our experiences with our Moravian congregation I was leading in Utrecht, we started to catch up, e.g. when a teenager congregant died mysteriously.
We soon found ourselves in the spiritual battlefront in this area. In the run-up to the birth of our son Samuel in July 1984 we were clearly confronted with occult forces. Rosemarie had excruciating pains in her back during the pregnancy. She feared that evil forces were trying to kill the foetus. We had learnt about generational curses and influences n the meantime. Rosemarie heard from her father why he never wanted a son. Through generations some curse had rested on their family coming via the sons. One night when she had this heaviness and fears again, she woke me. When she told me about it, we immediately prayed, breaking the curse in Jesus name! That was the last time that Rosemarie had these problems, albeit that the actual birth of Samuel was not plain sailing at all.
Samuel’s birth brought Brigitte Röser, a Dutch friend who has been visiting us from Germany from time to time, closer into the family frame. We asked her to become his godmother. In later years she was to become our contact person for the distribution of our newsletters in Germany.
Knowing that we were now in the front-line of missionary outreach, we were not surprised any more at attacks that we recognized as demonic. Yet, we still had not discerned mutual links between Communism, Islam and other anti-Christian forces.

A Period of great Uncertainty
After ceasing to function as a minister of the Moravian Church, a period of great uncertainty followed for us as a couple. This coincided with the practical need to feed the family. It was not easy at all to get employment as a teacher of Religious Instruction and my South African (Bachelor of Arts) degree was not recognised in Holland.
In the mid-1980s a speaker from OM (Operation Mobilisation) pitched up at one of our Panweg church meetings. I sensed a challenge to venture into one of the Middle East countries as a missionary. A simple comparison of the number of missionaries in Islamic countries brought home to me the dire need to share the Gospel there. It was clear that I could not go into one of the 'closed' countries as a Christian minister of religion. I was thus highly motivated to get an updated Mathematics teaching qualification for this purpose. I decided to resume studies in Mathematics, not only as a way of getting a post more easily, but also as a vehicle with which I could return to Africa in ‘tent-making’ missionary work. We really wanted to get involved with missions, but no door seemed to open.
Rosemarie was however not at all enthralled at my idea of going to a country like Egypt. But she initially patiently allowed me to continue with my studies in Mathematics, in order to use that as an entrance into one of the countries that were closed for Christian missionaries.

Testing the Waters back Home
Although I had no proof that my activism had contributed in any way, I did sense some satisfaction when the law in my home country that prohibited people from different races to marry, was finally repealed in 1985. This caused me to test the waters back home with regard to getting a teaching post in South Africa. The Group Areas Act, which prescribed where the respective races were to reside, was however still standing erect as a major hurdle. The reply from the director of 'Coloured' Education made it clear. The requirement that I should commit myself to refrain from 'political' activities was perhaps to be expected, but to me this was merely the sign that it was not the timing to return to my home country. I wanted to be free to act in obedience to God. In the meantime I would continue to work for racial reconciliation from abroad.

Interest in missionary Work
Our diminutive evangelical fellowship at the Panweg in Zeist maintained a great interest in missions in general. From the word 'go' the fellowship supported various missionaries. With Willie Jonker, a church member and a worker with the Evangelische Omroep as a board member of the Red Sea Mission, the outreach to Muslims was natural. In the loving low-key missionary outreach of the Goed Nieuws Karavaan team that Rosemarie and I were leading, we now started to work with many Moroccan and Turkish children and youth of Zeist. We were so happy in the new fellowship!
We had a fairly close friendship to Bart Berkheij, praying with him through many obstacles before he was finally accepted as a missionary. And how happy was he to introduce his British fiancée Ruth, the daughter of missionaries, to us! A special friendship developed between Ruth and Rosemarie after their marriage. The two of them were pregnant almost at the same time when we expected our three youngest children. How did we empathise with the Berkheij family as they struggled for many years to go through the rigours of preparations until they could finally go to Mali with the Red Sea Mission! They knew how I yearned to return to Africa and how no door seemed to open for us. One of the major handicaps remained for us: my South African passport.
My interest at fighting apartheid was still basically self-centered. The deep desire to return to my home country was almost idolatrous. During my quiet time in the mid-1980s eighties, God liberated me from this passion. I had been reading in the Word how Joseph was taken out of his home country against his will; that was how I felt. I discovered that Joseph never returned to Israel alive. This was quite liberating. Hereafter I was now also prepared to spend the rest of my life outside of South Africa.

Going to a Muslim country?
A phone call to the Worldwide Evangelization for Christ (WEC) Headquarters in Emmeloord discouraged me. I erroneously got the impression that they expected me to attend a Bible School again. That put paid to our joining WEC at that point in time. Later we understood that we would probably not have been accepted at that time, because of their mission policy. (New couples with five children were not accepted.)
A visit to the Panweg fellowship by Shadrach Maloka, a friend and an evangelist from South Africa, ignited the sending of clothing to needy evangelists who were linked to his work. Rosemarie had been sensitive to the nudge by the Holy Spirit. Financially we were just making ends meet at this time, but we had a surplus of clothing because we received used garments from different people. This encouraged us to start distributing clothing to missionaries, evangelists and other needy people. In our spacious home, the former parsonage, we always sub-rented at least one room or helped someone with accommodation - and yet we still had space to spare. A part of a big upstairs room that was only used as a guest facility, was changed into a small 'bring and share' clothing ‘boutique’ from where Dutch believers would come and help themselves, giving a donation in return. From the funds thus received, we could send parcels to missionaries and needy believers in different countries. Missionaries from overseas could come and make there pick there. Salou and Annelies,48 a befriended YWAM couple from Cameroon, even filled a vehicle that they had received as a gift. Our initiative ultimately gave the jitters to people like the Romanian dictator Nicolai Ceauçescu, who tried to prevent his nationals from having contact with the outside world. (It was special to address a church in Wiesbaden (West Germany) in the new millennium where there was a contingent of believers and their families who had come from Ceauçescu's Romania.)

Frustration and Tension at Home
My studies in Mathematics caused a lot of frustration because I had so little time for Rosemarie and the children. (From 1985 I attended lectures on two evenings per week and often thereafter still studied or worked after coming home. I was also teaching simultaneously during the day. One evening per week every fort-night there was also the church council meeting, apart from my responsibilities as the leader of the city-wide evangelistic work of the Goed Nieuws Karavaan (GNK) that we had started at the end of 1982. Almost every evening of the week I was not at home. The children only saw me on the weekends for any length of time. We tried to compensate for this by doing something together on the Sunday afternoons that they would enjoy. It surely was a good idea to take time with one child apiece over the weekends. This could be just going for a drive by bicycle, eat ice cream or whatever they would wish and which would not be expensive. This was also excellent for the education of our children, but the exercise was only short-lived, petering out already after only a few months.

Regional Prayer
Rens Schalkwijk had been coming in and out of our home. (He was thus a natural choice to become the godfather of our youngest daughter Tabitha.) One day he came along with the suggestion that we should resume our times of prayer, but perhaps in a different way. In January 1988 we started a Sunday evening prayer meeting at our home. Rens brought along another couple, Ria and her fiancé Lukas Hartong, who had been students at the local Pentecostal Bible School. (Ria was one of our GNK children work volunteers.)
The American prayer leader Dave Bryant visited Holland to promote Concerts of Prayer. Pieter Bos, a YWAM leader, initiated regional prayer groups as a sequel to Dave Bryant's visit. Out of these prayer times Rens was ‘delegated’ to attend a meeting in the city of Arnhem with David Bryant, that was attended by Christians from quite diverse denominational backgrounds.
In August 1988 - through the active urge of Rens Schalkwijk and his contacts with Pieter Bos, the prayer movement in Holland got underway. Rens and I were soon leading the first geographical area of the ‘Regiogebed’ in the Netherlands - that of Driebergen-Zeist. The monthly events included prayer for local evangelistic work, praying for missionaries that left our area and for individual countries.
The Regiogebed of 4 October 1989 targeted strife-torn South Africa, after one of the attendees heard of my personal letter of confession for my arrogance and activism. I had posted the aero-gramme that day to President F.W. de Klerk, i.e. shortly after he had taken office.

My Dream to return to Africa buried?
Rosemarie and I had been attending the annual mission day of the Evangelical Alliance regularly. Year after year we went there, hoping that the door to foreign missions would open up. When we went to Amsterdam in 1988 we had actually more or less given up the possibility to enter missionary work. My dream to return to Africa was all but buried. Our eldest son Danny was about to enter secondary school and there were four more siblings to follow. When Tabitha would be finished with her education I would be almost at pension age. On top of it, it seemed as if hardly any mission agency would be prepared to accept a family with five children.
For years we had been attending the annual mission conferences, but everything still seemed far away. We went to Amsterdam nevertheless, where I took along a leaflet from Africa Inland Mission (AIM). It struck me that they were looking for teachers at their boarding school for the children of missionaries in Nairobi, Kenya. When we spoke to the representatives of AIM soon thereafter, they encouraged us, seeing even other possibilities for us with my training and background. The only problem was my South African passport. But seeing that I had been in Holland so long, they proposed that I should apply for Dutch citizenship.

Cutting off my own Roots?
The AIM suggestion to apply for Dutch citizenship was easier said than done. That I might then have to apply for a visa to visit my parents and my home country did not even enter my mind at that stage. My main problem was the feeling of despair at cutting off my own roots. It had been traumatic already that our home, school and church in District Six had been razed to the ground, that my high school in Vasco suffered the same fate because of the Group Areas Act and that our home in Tiervlei/Ravensmead had to be vacated under the guise of slum clearance. Would I now also have to lose citizenship of the country I still loved so intensely?
I nevertheless buried my pride and inner turmoil, sensing that a step of obedience was now required. We had been praying all the years for the opportunity to return to Africa for missionary work. How could I opt out now? Surely I could not be a Jonah again, running away from God's purposes in disobedience?
The visit of the Dutch AIM leaders was the catalyst to start using the book Operation World to pray with our children once a day through all the various African countries. In this way we hoped to discern in which country the Lord might wish to use us. The effect of these prayers at meal times was initially not positive at all, if not counter-productive. The sprouts did not seem excited at all at the prospect of having to leave Europe for what they perceived as primitive Africa. But our children now noticed that we meant business in respect of missionary involvement elswhere!

God confirmed my Move in a sovereign Way
For many years we had not been in the position financially to consider going to South Africa again as a family. Somehow we could put some cents together so that I could go with one child in the northern summer of 1988. (My parents had not yet seen our three youngest children.) One of the obligatory visits was of course Wellington, where my friend Jakes was now the pastor. He had decided to return to the pastorate, after turning down a bursary for finishing his doctorate in Holland and declining the possibility of an appointment with Professor David Bosch, one of South Africa’s most prominent theologians.49
The summer of 1988 also brought a terrible shock when we heard that Bart Berkheij and his children had lost Ruth his wife and their young mother in a car accident. They had been in Mali only for a very short time! We had been feeling ourselves so close to them! A few months later God confirmed the move in a sovereign way. It all started when our black and White TV set that we had bought in Berlin in 1975, packed up just prior to the Olympic Games of 1988. When the entertainment appliance started giving trouble, we decided not to replace it. The pending Olympic Games were however something we thought that could also have some educational value for our children. Our quest after a second-hand model from the newspaper resulted in us agreeing to take a TV set on loan via a befriended family. Their aged mother was not using her set much in the old age home. However, we insisted that we would keep the 'Box' only for the duration of the Olympic Games.

A Dispute turning into a Blessing
As we drove from Lienzingen back to Holland, after having spent a few days with our family later in the year, Rosemarie and I got involved once again in a subdued dispute which had been a cause of anxiety and tension in the family - my studies. I now possessed a Mathematics qualification for Dutch schools, but I was considering adding another year to upgrade my teaching diploma which would give me more options for getting permanent employment, possibly linked to relocation.The responsible official on behalf of the Zeist Moravian church council frequently wanted to know when we would move out of the former parsonage.50
We agreed that I would only do that extra year if God would give us a volunteer worker who would take responsibility for the driving of the truck to the various Goed Nieuws Karavaan children’s clubs of Zeist. For the very same evening the Friday ‘coffee bar’ outreach was scheduled. Harmen Pos, one of our co-workers, came of his own accord to tell me that God had laid on his heart to take over the driving of the vehicle that gave its name to the organisation. He became not only the driver of the vehicle, but also the maintenance man. Harmen cared for the missionary truck like his baby until we sold the blessed evangelistic tool in 1991, just before our going to the RSA full-time as a missionary family. I could thus continue with my studies for another year.

A letter arrived from The Hague
When a letter arrived from The Hague regarding my application for Dutch citizenship, they also mentioned an administration fee of 400 guilders. This was occurring just at a time - the only occasion during our 14 years in Holland - when our banking account was in the red, although we had been scraping the barrel financially for the bulk of our time there after the resignation as a pastor.
Rosemarie and I took the letter to the Lord in prayer. I still had turmoil in my heart, really struggling with the prospect of having to relinquish my South African citizenship.
God intervened in a clear way when a befriended family that was nowhere affluent, wanted to give us 800 guilders so that we could buy a new TV set. I was overawed that God sent in double the amount we needed! It turned out that the husband, who brought the money, was actually using it as a test on the evangelical Christians. He came to fetch the set of his mother, but he and his wife decided to donate us money for a TV of our own. He did not know that we had been praying for confirmation with regard to the money for my Dutch citizenship. He was just as surprised when I showed him the letter regarding my naturalization. He agreed that we could use the money for that purpose and other more urgent needs.51 I was reassured at the same time that God was in the move of my having to hand over my S.A. passport.

15. Flexing Missionary Muscles


1988 ended so full of hope. After many temporary teaching posts in Holland, I really yearned to settle down. I had an updated Maths secondary school teaching certificate in my pocket and I was on the verge of getting higher qualification in that subject. I had no intention of continuing academic studies as such, but the idea of venturing into missions was somehow blocked out of my mind by November 1988. I finally got a teaching position in the rural town Huizen, a position that could become permanent. After all the dark years of employment uncertainty and scores of applications - plus - light at last seemed to break through. The prospect of having a home of our own in the picturesque little town of Huizen with a permanent teaching post in the offing was so enticing after all the years of uncertainty. This possibility all but nullified my vision for missionary involvement. I now definitely needed divine intervention to get me back on track in terms of a call to missions.

Struggle...
The year 1989 started with a lot of turmoil. Every Saturday evening Martje van Dam had been coming to us with Gré Boerstra, another believer from the Panweg fellowship, for a time of prayer. We had been doing this regularly with our neighbours, the old brother and sister Rapparlié, until they went to an old age home. But Martje, who had survived the death sentence of breath cancer for almost 11 years, was now terminally ill. Her cancer had recurred.
* * *
We have a family tradition to wake the birthday boy or girl early in the morning by singing the prayer of Martin Luther “Führe ihn (sie) O Herr und leite...” [Guide and lead him (her) o Lord]. When we followed the meaningful ritual for our eldest son Danny on the 4th of February, we had no clue of the multiple blows that was to hit our family that day. First of all the news came through that Martje van Dam passed away. But we knew that this could happen any day.
We were not prepared for it however when a phone call from Mühlacker informed us that Papa Göbel died in his car after he had a heart attack. As if all of that was not enough, we heard that a close friend from our Panweg fellowship, Els van Wingerden, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was furthermore pregnant. She and her husband Hans did not want to allow the pregnancy to be terminated on medical grounds. We had quite close ties to the Van Wingerden family not only because they had five children of similar age than our sprouts. They had left the Hervormde Kerk (Reformed Church) with similar battles as we experienced in the Moravian Church. On top of that Hans, the husband, was ill with a serious rheumatic ailment. He was in constant pain. They were also battling financially all the time. Children’s clothing was shared to and fro between the two families. Together we had been battling with the crisis at the Panweg fellowship, which we had left. The Van Wingerden family still stayed on for some time under much duress.
But that was not the end of the calamities that day. As I travelled from school in Huizen with a teacher colleague, I heard from him that my teacher predecessor wanted to return to the secondary school. It was just the time when the decision on my probationary three months was to expire. I knew that I could not 'compete' with the colleague I had replaced, because I did not belong to the preferred ecclesiastic denomination. I was still a member of the Moravian Church. Actually I was also still struggling to cope in the Dutch teaching environment. Of course, being in a foreign country in a situation of unemployment would make anyone very vulnerable. The odds were stacked against me. Yet, I now at least I had an up-to-date Dutch Mathematics teaching diploma, hoping to have an upgraded one in a few months.
...and Victory
I had almost forgotten that I had applied for Dutch citizenship in order to get to the African mission field. I discerned that all the disappointments were actually part of divine pruning once again (John 15). I had been running away from my missionary calling. The Lord used these circumstances to throw us back into exploring a possible involvement in missions, where we wanted to be in the first place. Information we received at the funeral of our father (-in-law) in Germany comforted us. For years we had prayed that he would come back to the Lord. At a family camp the whole family committed their lives to Jesus, but thereafter he gradually got back-slidden because he had no spiritual nourishment. It was very special to hear from Mama Göbel that he carried in his wallet (that was found in his pocket at his death) the letter that Rosemarie wrote to him just before our wedding. In that letter she requested Papa Göbel to attend, apologising for the hurts she had caused them as parents through her friendship to me. Although he did not attend our wedding, he evidently treasured that letter.
* * *
Ever since an old German couple, the Scheunemanns, were sleeping in our home as guests of the Rapparliés, our downstairs neighbours in Zeist, we had been receiving Weltweit, the German two-monthly newsletter of WEC (Worldwide Evangelisation for Christ) International. After we had read there about a family camp to be held in the small town Braunfels, we decided to book in faith. We had no money for such luxuries as family holidays at that stage, but we definitely needed a break. The Lord provided miraculously.
We had hardly arrived there, when the news came that Rosemarie’s mother had a stroke, that she had been admitted at the Mühlacker regional hospital. This was only a few months after Papa Göbel had passed on. Rosemarie left by train for Mühlacker, starting a period in our life that would require more visits to her mom, but it also brought WEC into focus as a possible mission agency with which we could work, although we still had AIM in mind if I would get my passport the next year, i.e. 1990. (At our application for Dutch citizenship the letter stated that I had to reckon with a two-year waiting period.)
After the family camp in Braunfels, we went to Lienzingen for our annual visit to the family. This time we had to visit Mama Göbel in hospital. On the Sunday in the late afternoon just prior to our return to Holland, I rushed back to Lienzingen, also driving through a red traffic light. The flash was ominous. A few years prior to this I had to pay a fine of 100 German marks for a similar offence. Would the German authorities hunt me down in Holland? In our precarious financial situation, we could ill afford this sort of expense. I felt very bad about it, saying to the Lord in prayer that I would rather give that as a gift to a missionary family ministering in the Amazon region of Brazil to which our Panweg congregation had a close link.

Suffering from spiritual Suffocation
In the meantime I got involved in yet another skirmish. A few members of our Panweg fellowship were unhappy that a few Roman Catholic nuns participated in the ‘Regiogebed’. Some believers had obviously been so brainwashed by anti-Catholic indoctrination that they could not believe that born-again people - especially nuns - could be in the denomination derogatorily called the ‘Church of the Pope’. The unity of the body of our Lord was an issue on which Rosemarie and I felt that we could not compromise. Other simultaneous tensions in the fellowship brought matters to a head. We soon suffered from spiritual suffocation. It was very special when we now received a letter from Dick van Stelten52 in Josini (South Africa), which confirmed to us that we should consider moving on. To all intents and purposes a split occurred in the fellowship where we had experienced such blissful times.
Internal Differences at Panweg
The internal differences of the fellowship coincided with a financial and transport crisis within our family. Our ancient VW microbus needed expensive repairs at a time when we had a negative banking account for the first time. We had been scraping the barrel for many years, but we somehow never landed in the red. Now this had also happened.
We decided to walk on Sunday mornings to the nearby ‘Figi’ congregation - the Full Gospel Fellowship - until such time when we would be ‘mobile’ again. The problem of transport was really not a crucial issue, because everybody in Holland cycles all too often. As a family we were regularly on the road on a Sunday afternoon in that way, with our two youngest children respectively transported by Rosemarie and myself.
We were slated, slandered and unfairly criticised by certain believers, but we nevertheless hoped that matters could be resolved and that reconciliation to our beloved fellowship could be achieved. It never entered our mind to defend ourselves. We nevertheless yearned to return to the fellowship with which we had so many happy memories over the previous seven years.
But it was not to be. The reconciliation did not come about until much later, when the children were already settled in the new church environment of ‘Figi’. It took some time for me personally to get warm in the much bigger new fellowship, but once we joined a home cell in 1989, things improved considerably. That this congregation would not fully support the ‘regiogebed’ was nevertheless a matter of distress to me. The building of an own kingdom was very much rife, also in the ‘free churches’.
We had proved a point in the meantime with the work of the ‘Goed Nieuws Karavaan’. This local evangelistic ministry was going well. About 30 volunteers from different denominations were involved in a wide range of evangelistic ministries. We had demonstrated to Dutch Christians that it is possible for people from different church backgrounds to work together if doctrinal tussles were not allowed to cause quarrels, if the believers would only concentrate on the uniting person of Jesus.

Ministry with Campus Crusade
I had started to do some voluntary work in Holland with Campus Crusade along with Bram Krol, one of their full-time workers. We were soon challenged to come and work with them full-time. In due course we were seriously pursuing this idea, looking at a house in Zeist that we hoped to purchase. Just before my father-in-law passed away in February 1989, he indicated to us that he and his wife wanted to help us to buy a house. At last a door to evangelistic ministry seemed to open. I had more or less started to bury my dream to return to (South) Africa permanently.
The contact with Campus Crusade started a process during which Cees Rentier joined our ministry with the Goed Nieuws Karavaan. (Cees would later lead a countrywide ministry to Turkish-speaking people in Holland and another few years on he married Marika Pretorius, one of our missionary colleagues of Cape Town.)

Another bash at the Iron Curtain
The next major chapter of our involvement with the fight against the Communist wall started in Holland. Especially because of the persecution of the Jews by the Nazi’s, that country took a great pride to support the persecuted. A great pioneer was Anne van der Bijl, who had his Bible School training at the WEC missionary training College.
The formative years of the World War II made Van der Bijl sensitive to the needs of the persecuted. Worldwide he became known as Brother Andrew and as the leader of Open Doors.
The discovery that Bibles were almost impossible to get into those countries made Brother Andrew the pioneer of a crusade with a difference: to smuggle Bibles into the Communist countries. Through ‘Kruistochten’, as Open Doors was initially known in Holland, we prayed regularly in our home for persecuted Christians in different countries.
The seven years of prayer for the Soviet Union from 1984 were integrated in our family prayers while we were praying for God to lead us into overseas missions. It was always a thrill to remove the one or other face from the little card box. Each card had the name and photograph of some persecuted Christian for whom we had been praying. The removal of a card from the little box indicated that the believer had been released from prison. We would praise God who had answered the prayers for these people.
In the children’s clubs of the ‘Goed Nieuws Karavaan’ an evangelistic agency that we had started in the little town of Zeist with Christians from different church backgrounds in 1983, the children learned a song about the persecution of Christians in Russia and China.
In 1987 an international conference for missionaries linked to Islamic countries was going to take place in Zeist. But the Lord had other plans for me. It was not his timing that I should get involved with the wall of Islam in a bigger way than via the Goed Nieuws Karavaan activities. There was another ideology to be tackled first.

Opposing the Çeauçescu regime
Three years before our Braunfels episode in Germany – in 1986 - we had actually enjoyed our first family ‘faith holiday’. Financially we could also not afford to go on holiday in 1987 as a family, but we had lerarned to venture out in faith with the prayer that the Lord would use the period of vacation in the southern German village of Tieringen in a strategic way. We heard that the German government heavily subsidized that facility to enable big families to go on holiday.
Tieringen was to become the beginning of the next chapter of our struggle against the atheist East European Communist regimes. There we met Erwin Klein and his family, who had just come out of Romania legally because of his German ancestry. Through them we not only got valuable inside information, but we also received addresses from Christians in the socialist home country of Sina Klein, Erwin’s wife.
After September 1987 we were also sending used clothing to Romania. The Holy Spirit was evidently orchestrating things. From the little Dutch town of Zeist almost a mini Romania fever broke out in support of the persecuted Christians. Believers from different church backgrounds supported various mission organizations. We gradually understood why God wanted us to stay in Zeist, our ‘Jerusalem’. This town is more or less in the middle of the Netherlands. Parcels with clothing and articles that were scarce in Romania, were sent to different addresses supplied to us by Sina Klein. Our ‘clothing depot’ came in handy with the Goed Nieuws Karavaan funding the postage. Another source of income for this project was people ‘purchasing’ clothes (Often some of the clothes ‘bought’ were back in the ‘boutique’ after a few weeks, ready for resale or to be sent to some foreign country.) For some Dutch believers who had never before considered wearing used clothing, this was a new experience in good stewardship.
Soon the communist regime was ‘attacked’ in this way by the compassionate care for the persecuted Christians. Clandestine visits to Romania followed from different parts of Holland. Various organizations that brought aid to the Communist world intensified their aid to Romania, although this apparently had not been formally orchestrated. This was seemingly part of God’s Master Plan to break down the Communist stronghold. Of course, this made the Çeauçescu regime quite nervous because their nationals were officially not expected and allowed to have contact with people in the West.

More Involvement with the Communist World
At the Concerts of Prayer of the ‘Regiogebed’ with Christian participants from different church backgrounds, we prayed for local issues, for missionaries who left from our area but also for certain countries. In 1989 we prayed especially for Communist countries, notably for the German Democratic Republic, Hungary and Romania. We were really encouraged by the news that came through from East Germany. Praying Christians in Leipzig and Dresden seemed to be at the forefront of the surge towards democracy.
The rest is fairly well known history. When Michail Gorbachow took over as the leader in the Kremlin, God had evidently put the right man in place for the season. That the old guard of the Soviets had died one after the other before his ascent to power was obviously providential. It was fitting that the avalanche towards the removal of the Berlin wall in November 1989 and the final demise of Communism all started with Anne van der Bijl of Open Doors when he offered one million Bibles to the Russian Orthodox Church at the commemoration of the 1000th year of their existence.
The battle was however far from over with the Orthodox Church’s acceptance of the gift of Bibles to which Gorbachov and his cronies surprisingly agreed. The praying Christians around the world knew of course that this had been painstakingly prepared, bathed in prayer. The groaning of the believers behind the iron curtain has been compared by the agonizing cries of the Israelites in the Egypt of old when God brought Moses on the scene.
When I was invited to give pastoral assistance to the other participants on a ‘touring bus’ scheduled to be in Romania in November 1989, Nikolai Çeauçescu and his clan were still firmly in command. The bus was almost empty in terms of passengers, but loaded with Bibles and other Christian literature and material goods for the persecuted Christians of the iron curtain. Because I was unemployed at the time of the offer, I initially declined the invitation on moral grounds. I had just acquired a more advanced Dutch Mathematics teaching diploma, hoping that this would at last give me a permanent position after more than 8 years of uncertainty with regard to employment. I felt that it was my first duty to feed my family and not to do pastoral duties on a touring bus to Communist countries. It was an open secret of course that this was not normal tourism. The other reason for declining the invitation was that I possessed a South African passport. After unpleasant experiences at the checkpoints to East Berlin in the mid-1970s, I did not want to endanger the rest of the group.

A special Month
October 1989 was to become one of the very special months in our lives. God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform. Unwittingly I was preparing my return to Africa, to my dear Heimat at that. On 4 October 1989 I wrote a letter to President de Klerk, the new president, after I had sensed an inward conviction because of my activism and arrogance that I duly confessed in the letter.
The ‘regiogebed’ that we started in our area in August 1988, congregated every first Thursday of the month for a Concert of Prayer. At our meeting of 4 October 1989, I mentioned in passing to someone that I had posted a letter to President de Klerk that day. Mr van Loon, a teacher from the nearby town of Doorn, who was no regular at our prayer meetings, overheard me telling that to someone. He suggested spontaneously that we take more time that evening to pray for South Africa. Nobody had a problem with this proposal. That must have been supernatural guidance. The whole prayer meeting was subsequently devoted to praying for my home country. That was the only occasion when we did it in that way.
Nobody present at the prayer meeting was aware that President de Klerk was due to meet Archbishop Tutu and Dr Allan Boesak the next week. That strategic meeting became in a sense a watershed in the politics of the country, the prelude to the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid. Also in other countries - especially in South Africa itself - people had been praying for a change of the suicidal direction of the political system.
This prayer meeting was special to me in another sense. This was one of the very first opportunities in evangelical circles where I experienced clear support for my opposition to my government at home. There had always been individuals from evangelical ranks who had given some support, but the lead from the Evangelische Omroep was very ambiguous. Some people even perceived the Dutch evangelical radio station to be supporting apartheid. In these circles South Africa was regarded as a bastion against Communism, full stop. The idea was somehow still doing the rounds that as an evangelical one had to support apartheid. Ecumenicals would defend Communism as a brand of Socialism, that was of course accepted. I was opposing both positions, but I was not so isolated as in earlier days.
I was not always successful in communicating my sentiments ‘properly’. Thus I harvested enemies by criticizing the unjust economic structures, noting that we in the affluent West were exploiting the poor of the third world. To many Christians this was socialist language that befitted the left of the political spectrum. How could I then be against Communism? To some people this was puzzling. Some evangelicals derogatorily regarded me as an ecumenical. I was ‘sitting on the fence’ in their eyes, but I was not ashamed of my views, because I derived them from the Bible and had peace about them.

West Africa beckons
We were challenged in yet another way when Marry Schotte of WEC (Worldwide Evangelisation for Christ) shared at the annual Evangelical Missionary Alliance event, that had relocated to Barneveld in 1989. She shared there about a mission school in Vavoua (Cote I’voire) where they needed teachers. Their need seemed geared to what I could offer. In the school for the children of missionaries from various African countries, they had departments for Dutch and German children. The common language of the school was English. I could teach Mathematics - for which they indeed had a vacancy - in all three languages. When Marry Schotte brought along a video of the school when she visited us in Zeist, she succeeded in getting our children excited. Before this they found the prospect of going to ‘Africa’ quite scary.
I hardly had opportunity to digest this challenge when our friend Bart Berkheij phoned me with the request whether I could join him on a trip to Mali at the end of January 1990. All expenses would be paid for Bart and a friend, to go and wind up things where he had stayed with his family, but from where he suddenly left after the accident in which his wife Ruth was killed. I declined Bart’s invitation to join him initially because I was still unemployed. It was very attractive to get a feeling of West Africa in the light of our own preparations to go to Cote d’Ivoire. However, I found it ethically incorrect to plan this while I was still hoping to get a teaching post. Everything looked cut and dried when I heard that someone else was due to join Bart on his trip to Mali. On top of that, I still possessed the odorous South African passport! The dust was not yet fully settled on this issue when along came our friend Wil Heemsbergen yet again on behalf of Jan van der Bor, the Dutch leader of the “Underground Church” - as Richard Wurmbrand called his organization. It was a repeated invitation and request to go along to Romania to help on the pastoral side of the touring bus to the Communist stronghold, the dreaded den of Nikolai Çeauçescu. My hope of getting an appointment as a Maths teacher in Holland was all but dashed. Apparently I was now ‘over-qualified’ for the bulk of the few Maths teaching posts that were available.
It was now already well into October. I had just heard that my recent applications for teaching posts had been unsuccessful in spite of my upgraded qualification. Thus I would theoretically be free to join the group. But there was still the other hurdle - my possession of a South African passport. I repeated this to Wil. She promptly relayed this to Jan van de Bor, the Dutch leader of the mission agency and the organizer of the trip. Although the Underground Church organizers wanted to give it a go to have me on their bus - in spite of my South African passport - I was not really at ease.

The dreaded brown Envelope
Then it happened! In the post there was the dreaded brown envelope from the Dutch Department of Justice. Surely this was the fine for my driving through the red traffic light in Germany! Imagine my elation and surprise when this was not the case. Instead, there was a letter on behalf of Queen Beatrix to inform me that Dutch citizenship has been granted to me! Out of the blue I heard that my application for Dutch citizenship was successful. I had still been waiting for the test of language proficiency that I was expecting as the next step of the process.
Now I could fetch my Dutch passport, so much earlier than what everybody had anticipated! In fact, within a few days I had the passport in my hand, ready to be off to Hungary and Romania!

In Communist Eastern Europe
The experiences in Hungary and Romania were sobering, emotionally not easy to handle at all. Hungary had already started opening up to the West. The hospitality of the Reformed Christians, our hosts, was really heart-warming. In Western Europe, where materialism had taken its toll, I had become used to cooler receptions.
We delivered the bulk of the material aid that we had brought along in the bus for the persecuted Christians. Other people would take the literature in small quantities to the various countries that were still firmly in the grip of atheistic Communism.
Rumania was a completely different kettle of fish compared to East Germany or Hungary. We had hardly passed the German border when one of our passengers, who originated from Hungary before her marriage to a Dutchman, picked up the news on the radio. A bus with tourists from the West was announced. The border officials deemed it important to relay this information to the national radio station. We were ‘in the news’. What a special item! The intention was of course to label us negatively as enemies of the state. It was forbidden for Romanians to have contact with foreigners.
In daytime we were just tourists, but we were expected to go to our bedrooms quite early. Only a few selected people in our group knew about the clandestine operations at night. Everything happened in utmost secrecy to secure the safety of the local Christians. Only once I was one of the select group privileged to take suitcases with clothing to a local address. We did all this in broad daylight. If we would be asked by anybody where we were going, we would have simply enquired after the way to the hotel where we were staying. As we were walking with suitcases, this was intended to remove any suspicion. We prayed that nobody would see us slipping into a side ally that led to a flat complex. We prayed especially that nobody would notice that we had left the suitcases and their content with the Rumanian believers after our departure from the home.
What a joy our presence brought to those Romanian believers we visited! Even though none of us could speak a language known to them and none of them could speak a West European language, we experienced a special kind of fellowship. The gesture that Christians in the West have not forgotten them, made their day!
The trip ended traumatic. At the border the sentries abused the objection to the inspection of the film of a video camera and the reaction of its owner as an excuse to grill the whole group. The Romanian Securitate, their secret police, had evidently done their homework very well. They knew exactly which people from our group were involved with the major clandestine activities. They extracted enough information - using a search that included the underclothing of one of our participants and a letter that was to have been posted in the West - to bring our trip to Romania to a very sad end. The Securitate agents knew exactly whom to grill and interrogate especially. A haunting question was what would happen with the couple whose son in the West was to receive the letter that was to be posted by someone from our group.
While we were in Romania, something very significant had been happening elsewhere. We missed the television viewing of the breaking down of the Berlin wall on November 9! In Romania it was of course not shown on the State TV. There the population was fed with the ‘staple diet’ - the diverse activities of the Çeauçescu clan at almost any time of the day.

Rebellion in Romania
It was something of a consolation when we heard soon thereafter that there was rebellion in Romania. At this time I was working part-time at the East Europe Mission for a few days per week. Now and then I was taking Bibles and other material aid on behalf of the organization to Switzerland. The loads were scheduled for the Communist countries. Other people would take the valuable goods further.
When the fighting in Timisoara near to the Hungarian border got to a critical stage, Tineke Zwaan, one of our Goed Nieuws Karavaan co-workers, phoned us with a suggestion. She wanted to come over with her husband Gideon so that we could have a special prayer session for Romania. We had close contact with Tineke for many years, when she was still single and unemployed. She had been one of the founder workers of our evangelistic team of the Goed Nieuws Karavaan. I suspect that we were one of many groups around the world that were raised up at that point in time to pray for the Communist stronghold to crumble. (The medium of email had just come into vogue among insiders. But it was still generally unknown.) Within a matter of days, the days of the dictator Çeauçescu seemed counted.

Demise of Communism
In the next few months the almost complete demise of Communism took place. Albania was one of the few countries that was still resisting the winds of change. When I heard from the aged sister Kooy, our faithful prayer warrior, that the diminutive Gesina Blaauw of the Antique Mission had been working with Albanians, it was only natural that she should be invited as one of the next speakers at our monthly ‘regiogebed’.
I was not privileged to listen to Gesina Blaauw myself, because divine moves were already afoot to get me more deeply involved with the next ideology: Islam. Bart Berkheij had been introducing me to missionaries which were linked to agencies which ministered in Islamic countries. To operate in 'closed' Islamic countries had been my reason for the resumption of studies in Mathematics. In 1987 an international conference for missionaries linked to Muslim countries was due to take place in Zeist. But the Lord had other plans for us. It was not His timing for me to get involved with the wall of Islam in a bigger way than via the Goed Nieuws Karavaa.

A Trip to West Africa.
I had hardly returned from Romania, when Bart Berkheij approached me again to accompany him to West Africa, mentioning that the friend who would have joined him, had pulled out. This time I was happy to accept the invitation to accompany him to Mali, on condition that he would join me to Cote I’voire. Last not least, I now had a Dutch passport. In Cote I’voire I wanted to explore the situation at the mission school of Vavoua where I hoped to go and teach. He agreed to this request and the itinerary could soon be finalised. I would join him on the trip to Mali for two weeks and the third week he would accompany me on an orientation trip to the Ivory Coast.
The first two weeks in Mali were quite exciting. In the capital Bamako I heard for the first time about an artefact called a modem after our arrival there. Norwegian missionaries were using emails to communicate with their folk at home. That was still new to us. The contrast could hardly been greater than to Dionkolane out in the sticks. We were scheduled to go and fetch belongings of Bart and his family there. They had left the bulk of their possessions there after the accident in which his wife Ruth had been killed. I assisted him with the grave and we also visited the only known convert from Islam who lived in a remote desert village. Isa had become a follower of Jesus when he worked in France.
Every day the missionary colleagues of Dionkolane communicated with their colleagues by radio. But we also had acccess to BBC. How exciting it was to hear that President de Klerk announced in Cape Town on 2 February in Parliament that Nelson Mandela was to be freed unconditionally shortly! This acutally happened on the 11th.
Our trip back to Europe was quite adventurous, using different 'bush taxis' to travel from Bamako to Vavoua. This included pushing the vehicle up the hill at some stage. The other passengers were so excited when they heard that I came from Afrique du Sud! The short visit to the mission boarding school of WEC was quite enjoyable. I looked forward to return there with my family!
Bart and I were scheduled to fly from Abidjan, the capital city of Côte d’Ivoire on Friday 16 February, 1990. The last day in the West African metropolis was exceptional. I enjoyed the bus trip from Vavoua so much. I had a meaningful ‘conversation’ with an Ivorian student who had studied German. I practiced my recently acquired little bit of French, translating a tract about the lost sheep of Luke 15 into German, for him to check. The openness for the Gospel in the West African metropolis of Abidjan impressed me deeply.

Overwhelmed by Nostalgia Bart and I spent the morning doing some sightseeing and shopping – buying small artefacts to take along for the families at home! Nostalgia overtook me as I looked over the city! When I saw a few mosques, it so much resembled the old District Six, the slum-like area of my childhood. I had thought that South Africa was out of my mind in terms of a return there! But in a fleeting moment I was overwhelmed by nostalgia. It was strange that my trip was supposed to be an orientation for us as missionaries to West Africa, but I was now ambivalently longing to return to my home country once again. The previous Sunday Nelson Mandela had been released. I was quite sad that I could not witness the event via a TV set! Was the way opening up for me to return to my home country after all? For the moment I was however more set on returning to Côte d’Ivoire to come and work in the WEC mission school in Vavoua.
My missionary friend Bart Berkheij from Holland and I landed in a mosque service by accident. When all the shops were closing at lunch time, Bart and I had no opportunity to continue our shopping spree. We simply took a seat next to the road. To our surprise prayer mats were rolled out all around us. Bart was sitting obliquely behind me. Somehow I had the wrong impression that he was also performing the obligatory raka’ats, the Islamic cycle of body movements accompanying the prayers. Thus I simply joined in, imitating the people in front of me.

The Islamic ‘Wall’ due to crash?
As I looked at the people in front of me, I experienced a thrill. It was as if the Lord was reassuring me that these bodily movements are no more than meaningless tradition; that the Islamic ‘wall’ would also crash one day like the Communist iron curtain or the apartheid edifice that was on the verge of collapsing as well. At that stage I was not yet aware of how Muslims had been deceived. I discovered only much later that people versed in the New Age movement are aware that Muhammad was not the one and only person who thought that he had been visited by an angel.53
Suddenly I heard an angry voice: ‘Ashley, wat doe je daar!’ (Ashley, what are you doing!) What a bashing my friend Bart gave me afterwards for going through the Islamic motions! Strangely enough, I didn’t feel sorry from within.
The insight I gained from the Abidjan experience was quite meaningful. Back in Holland I challenged our home ministry group of the Full Gospel congregation. I had recognised that raising your hands in worship and performing similar religious gestures could be just as empty as the Islamic raka’ats. Having come from a church with a rich tradition of liturgy,ritual and music, the message of Isaiah 58 hit home to me that outward feasts and celebrations - without a genuine concern also for the poor and needy - could actually be disgusting in God’s eyes.

Rosemarie experienced excruciating Trauma
That future mission work in Africa would be linked to spiritual warfare, was foreshadowed when I heard on my return that our daughter Magdalena had a close call with meningitis during my three-week absence. In that time I had no contact with the family.
Our Magdalena had been terribly ill. Because she had contact with another child that had contracted meningitis, Rosemarie went through excruciating trauma. What my dear wife shared on my return was to become a pattern – some member of the family would be attacked health-wise during my absence from home. We learned later to pray for special protection for them at these times.
* * *
We deemed it fit to speak to the leaders of the local Full Gospel Church regarding our plans to get involved in missionary work, although we had been visiting the fellowship for less than a year. The dynamic ‘Mama’ Heijnk, the leader, was quite contented when she heard that I intended to be teaching there, practising the profession in which I had been trained. She stated clearly that as a congregation they were financially committed to Brother Andrew's Kruistochten’(Open Doors), although she felt personally that more missionaries should go to the Muslim world. The fellowship was supporting missionaries, but not yet on a regular basis.
At the discussion with the new church leadership team a few months later - the old Heijnk couple had taken a back seat – the leaders were quite surprised that we did not mention financial support. Not very long hereafter, the elders progressed even further along a new road: they committed themselves to substantial regular monthly support for us. (That commitment formed the basis of what we would later trust the Lord for paying our rent in Cape Town from 1992).

Come over and help us.
The experience during the trip to West Africa in February 1990 was so encouraging that I was highly motivated to return to the Ivory Coast. Back in Holland there were however quite a few letters awaiting me. One of them had been causing quite a lot of soul searching and turmoil for Rosemarie. Out of the blue there was a hand-written letter from a friend from my Tiervlei/Ravensmead days, Pietie Orange. (I never had any contact with him since I left South Africa in 1973.) There was not much in his letter in terms of contents, but very clearly there was the clarion call: COME OVER AND HELP US. Rosemarie had no clue who the letter writer was. But it was enough to get her into intense turmoil. Hadn’t she made a vow in 1978 when she had a tumour that she would go to South Africa if God would spare her life? Ultimately she got peace. She was ready to join me to my Heimat.
I was quite surprised by the letters awaiting me, two of which were invitations to new areas of ministry. Most of all I was surprised that Rosemarie seemed to be especially tense about my response to the letter of Pietie Orange. Under normal circumstances I would have jumped at this invitation to return to my home country. With so many missionary options, I became however now quite confused.
Rosemarie’s excitement about the possibility to go to South Africa was especially interesting to me. She knew of my fervent desire to return to my home country. In the early years of our marriage it caused a lot of strain when she noticed that I regarded it as a sacrifice to be in Europe. Through my ‘Joseph experience’ the Lord had by now however thoroughly dealt with my idolatrous craving for a return to South Africa. I was fully prepared to serve Him anywhere in the world. I was even willing and ready never to return to South Africa on a permanent basis - if that would be the confirmed divine guidance.
* * *
I had returned to Holland quite excited about the possibilities to share the gospel in West Africa. The discussions at the school in Vavoua were promising, although I foresaw that merely as a prelude to get into other missionary work after a few years. But I still had to get fluent in French, the lingua franca of West Africa and Rosemarie had not even started learning this language.
We decided to move further along the road towards the teaching post at the WEC school for missionary kids in Ivory Coast, unless the Lord would close the door. The possibility of operating as a Mathematics teacher appeared to be specially fitted to what I could offer. After all, there were not that many people available and willing to teach Mathematics in the three languages of English, German and Dutch at the school in Vavoua.

A Teacher for our Children
In order to join WEC, we however needed a teacher for our children during the time of our candidates’ orientation. Because WEC Holland did not have its own Candidates’ programme, we were expected to go to either Germany or England. Our children spoke neither English or German, but they understood the southern German dialect of the area where Rosemarie’s family comes from.
We really had very little faith. Where on earth would one get a teacher who not only would have to pay the fare to go to either Germany or Holland, pay for accommodation, teach four different classes and who would do it as a volunteer?
Our children were now definitely on board. It was so moving to hear our children praying. How earnestly the little ones would pray for someone to go with us to teach them. Their faith put us as parents to shame.
The Lord used the trip to West Africa to sort out this problem. While I was in Mali our long-standing friend Geertje Rehorst visited Rosemarie one evening. When she heard that we were praying for a teacher, she asked all sorts of questions. Because she had been ruled unfit for teaching a few years before, we never even considered her as a possible candidate to help us out. (We knew of course that Geertje had been teaching children of different age groups at Barthimeus, the local School for the Blind.)
When her son Peter visited us with his wife Annelies, we told them of our need of a teacher to accompany us to England. Soon he asked: ‘Have you thought of my mother?’When we invited Geertje over one evening to put the question to her, she confirmed that she knew all along that the Lord wanted her to go with us to England. She was only waiting on us to approach her.
Our children had such a time of fun at school during those four months at Bulstrode. The Lord used the time at the International WEC Headquarters near to London, to bring Geertje back into missionary work. Soon hereafter she started to learn Spanish, becoming the member care person for a few workers in Spain. She became a consultant for missionaries in Spain on behalf of ECM, the successor of her old mission agency the Europeese Zendingsgenootschap (EZG) until the end of 2003. This happened quite a few years before member care became common in missionary circles.

More Encouragements
The regiogebed that started in Holland in 1988 had different shoots. One of these was that parents of children started praying for the schools. Believers of Zeist-West, including our friends Hans and Els van Wingerden started praying for the primary school that their children attended and when our son Danny started off at the Christelijk Lyceum, the local High School, we were involved in a similar prayer group just prior to our departure for South Africa in January 1992.
Yet, when another off-shoot, the corporate prayer movement started in 1996, still very few people in Holland took any notice. Holland was heading to become a fully secularized country, in which prayer was considered at best an irrational but harmless pastime.
Ten years later however, prayer in the workplace was becoming an accepted phenomenon in the Netherlands. More than 100 companies participate. Government ministries, universities, multinational companies like Philips, KLM, and ABN AMRO - all allow groups of employees to organize regular prayer meetings on their premises. Trade unions even started lobbying the government for the recognition of the workers' right to prayer in the workplace.
16. A Door Closes and a Window Opens

When we worked in Zeist among Moroccan and Turkish children, we were not aware that the Lord had started to prepare us for a future ministry among the Muslims of Cape Town. Even when we invited Herman Takken, who was doing this work in Holland full-time - to come and give us some teaching on Islam - I was not remotely thinking of using it one day in the city where I was born and bred. Working as a missionary in a Muslim country was however one of the options I had in mind as a definite possibility. And then there was of course the visit to Mali and the Ivory Coast that had struck a chord in my heart to reach out more to those who were shackled by Islamic bondage.
The Door to Côte ‘Ivoire closes
We were quite dejected when the door to Côte ‘Ivoire closed so to speak in our faces. By then I had already started to learn French for quite a few months. I was quite shattered when a negative reply came from there. The principal of the Vavoua mission school had already told me that the small institution had only limited dormitory facilities and the small boarding school has never had five children from the same family! The age and number of our children militated against such a venture. Decisive was – we had to read - that our eldest son would have to return to Holland fairly soon after our arrival in Côte ‘Ivoire. But I was nevertheless not ready yet for the unexpected negative response from that quarter.

… and a Window opens to South Africa
In his faithfulness the Lord intervened shortly hereafter. After an evening when we specially prayed for our future ministry, a completely unexpected phone call came the very next day. Out of the blue Dick van Stelten phoned from the tiny village of Josini in South Africa near to the Mozambican border, challenging us to come and take over their work. That was the Lord’s way of turning our attention to the country of my birth, so to speak a renewed Macedonian call, on par with Pietie Orange’s letter.
Through a process of elimination we had been guided to WEC (Worldwide Evangelization for Christ) International. Jacob and Emmy Spronk, the Dutch WEC leaders were very supportive, encouraging us to go and explore the work in Northern Natal to see if the Lord confirmed a missionary stint there. Perhaps it could become a new venture of WEC South Africa. (Neither the Spronks nor we were aware of it that WEC South Africa had actually decided not to start new ministries in the country.)
My mother was due to turn eighty at the end of that year and the golden wedding anniversary of my parents was due shortly thereafter in early January 1991. After all the international trips of the previous months, we hardly had liberty to share our vision and intention with other Christians, to visit South Africa on orientation at the end of 1990. (Officially I was still unemployed, teaching only a few hours Religious Instruction per week at the local School for the Blind and doing some casual work with the East European Mission.)
Gradually one hurdle after the other was surmounted as we decided to take our eldest and youngest children along on the orientation journey to South Africa. We had no funds for such a trip, so that the publication of my autobiographical material naturally came up for consideration. A major obstacle to the publication of our story had been removed at the death of Papa Göbel. (I had written too negatively about him at that point in time about his role in opposing us. I discerned that concern and love for his daughter were his prime motives. His own upbringing in the Hitler era had deluded and deceived him also thoroughly of course.)
Was it because of desperation that I had forgotten my intention not to publish my autobiographical material abroad before having done so in my home country? But Kok, the publishing company in Kampen (Holland), returned the manuscript a few months later. They stated the obvious. There was no market in Holland for a Dutch translation of ‘What God joined together.’
Our faith was really tested as we prayed about going to work in Northern Natal. In a TV programme on Dutch TV the reporter mentioned that Natal at that time was worse than Lebanon and Northern Ireland put together in respect of civil war conditions. Was this the sort of situation we wanted to take our children into?
Another Fleece
The procedure to become WEC missionaries had been already well advanced when we became very uncertain. What would happen if WEC turned us down or if we decide not to join that agency after all? Then we would have been without any accommodation. We knew how difficult it was to get a house even for a couple or a small family. With our five kids, would such a step be responsible? We decided to put out a ‘fleece', to test it. If the Lord would give us people who would be willing to come and stay in our home and pay the rent for the six months of our missionary orientation, we would know that God was confirming our call. He indeed gave us a couple, where both of them had good jobs.
In obedience to the Lord we nevertheless started to plan a visit to South Africa. In Pretoria we hoped to visit Cees en Els Lugthardt, a Dutch missionary couple linked to the Dorothea Mission. From there we would somehow get to Josini. Miraculously, sufficient funds came in to book our tickets and pay the fares - without having to get into debt or approach anybody. We were so happy to see how the Lord was teaching us anew to live by faith. In fact, we also needed the fares for the ferry to take all of us - plus our car - from Holland to England for our Candidates’ orientation. And then there was the special 'fleece' that we laid out. The Lord provided all our needs so wonderfully, including the couple that would pay our rent in Zeist!

Collating written Material
I had also started collating and typing the reports of our previous visits to South Africa, typing it into an old computer that was given to me. As my parents were due to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary, some sort of treatise became my intended gift. David Appelo, a friend that I got to know during my stint in Holland with Campus Crusade, helped me a lot to get a manuscript in a presentable form.
I started considering publishing autobiographical material. I used the manuscript as a ‘fleece’ - albeit still with some inner uneasiness - to discern whether we should visit my home country again. The idea was to generate funds for our proposed proposed trip to South Africa with Danny and Tabitha, two of our children. During my quiet time I was hereafter challenged through a Bible story: God touched the heart of King Ahasveros to have the records fetched when he could not sleep. Then the king read how someone had saved his life. Mordechai was honoured in the perfect divine timing. I understood clearly that I should not attempt to get honoured by men. During our visit to Josini a word came thorough from the Lord through Dick and Ann van Stelten: I was not to sell my testimony; I should not attempt to be vindicated through a book. The Lord would see to it himself in His good time.
In a few cases the seed I tried to sow over the years seemed to germinate. I really rejoiced when I heard of Professor Willie Jonker’s54 bold stand in Rustenburg in November 1990. The government of the day and the Afrikaans press slammed the Rustenburg confession in general, but in the spiritual realm a deep impact was definitely made.

A Sense of Home-coming
In a wonderful way transport was supplied for us to get to Josini. We were given a ‘bakkie’, a vehicle with only one seat for two or three passengers. Our two children that we had taken with us – Danny, our eldest son and Tabitha, our youngest - could sit under a canopy at the back. We were requested to return the vehicle to one of the Van Stelten children in Durban. The son was only too happy to have convenient transport in this way to go home for Christmas.
In Josini it was clearly confirmed that the Lord did not call us to serve in Ubombo, at a school for Zulu children. On the other hand, when we joined the national conference of WEC in Durban, we experienced a sense of home-coming. Although we did not know anybody present, we felt that we belonged there, in spite of a hick-up or two. Durban was the ideal preparation for our candidates’ orientation at Bulstrode in England, which was to follow soon after our return from South Africa. Also in Cape Town - the next port of call - things fell in place. It was agreed that we could return there at the beginning of 1992 with a role in representative work and possibly for some evangelistic work among students.
We felt like coming home when we arrived at the WEC headquarters in Durban in December 1990. However, my activism was soon bringing me in hot water once again. As the 16th of December approached, I felt constrained to write a letter to President de Klerk, Mr Nelson Mandela and Chief Buthelezi, the three main political role players at the time, suggesting to them to take a bold step in reconciliation. In fact, I also proposed the traditional ‘Day of the Covenant’ to be renamed under this banner.
This attempt led to a major upheaval when I showed my draft letter to the acting leader of WEC South Africa. My idea of writing a letter to encourage the three politicians, nudging them towards a common gesture of reconciliation, did not go down well with one of the delegates. He thought that I was engaging in politics inappropriately. (A few years later the public holiday on 16 December was indeed called Reconciliation Day.) He stressed that it was WEC policy to ‘stay out of politics.’ I disagreed, because my intended plan of action was definitely not meddling in politics in my view. I regarded it as a biblical injunction to be an agent of reconciliation. Nevertheless, I refrained from posting the letters. But I was thrown into an inner turmoil once again. Over our joining WEC there was suddenly a big cloud.
Come January 1991, we were already in Bulstrode, the international headquarters of WEC (Worldwide Evangelization for Christ) International for the candidates’ orientation course. Soon after our arrival there, I shared my reservations with Howard Sayers, our Candidate Secretary. He suggested that I speak to Dieter Kuhl, our international leader, and especially to Patrick Johnstone, who had been working with the Dorothea Mission in Southern Africa. After speaking to these people, we had liberty to complete the four months of the Candidate Orientation Course in England.
Lessons in Spiritual Warfare
The Lord used the time at Bulstrode to start moulding us for our future ministry in Cape Town. Here I was clearly introduced to the concept of spiritual warfare in a new way. Never before had I heard about things like prayer walks, although we already had ample practice in some areas of strategic and targeted prayer.
The Gulf War at the beginning of 1991 made things very practical. In a devotional exercise Jenny Carter, one of the workers at the International Office, demonstrated why it was necessary for the allied airplanes to prepare the area for the artillery. Using the same idea, C.T. Studd, the founder of WEC, had used terms like 'chocolate soldier' and 'prayer batteries' many years ago. But that sounded like language of a bygone age. The purpose of Studd’s concept was to prepare the ‘soil’ of the fields before the missionaries would move in. C.T Studd was of course very much influenced by William Booth and his Salvation Army.
I could have known more about spiritual warfare because Count Zinzendorf, the founder of the renewed Moravian Church, had introduced a term like ‘Streiterehe’ - the warrior marriage - centuries ago. According to this concept, the married partners sacrificed to be separated from the spouse for extended periods for the sake of the Gospel. But I had been perceiving all this not to be valid for our time.
At Bulstrode all this changed when not only the Gulf War made matters very practical, but fundamentalist Islam also became ever more clearly visible as a threat to world peace. At the Lausanne II event in Manila in 1989 spiritual warfare had come forcefully into the foreground. Having lecturers like Patrick Johnstone and Dieter Kuhl, who were at the cutting edge of worldwide developments, we profited very much from this new missions focus at Bulstrode.
As part of our missionary training at Bulstrode we had to write an assignment, a ‘field study’ about the country where we intended to go to. I had already been giving talks about different aspects of South African life. But I thought that I did not know enough about the culture and history of the Indian population of our country. What also played a role in my thinking was the strategy to be used back home to help recruit South African Indians to go as misioaries to the subcontinent from where their ancestors originally came. As a mission agency we were seeing this as one of the possibilities of solving the problem of entry into India as career missionaries. Thus my suggestion was that Rosemarie could study the politics, economy and related issues about South Africa, while I would make a study of the South African Indians. This led me into looking at Hinduism and Islam, the two major religions of their ancestors. My experience in West Africa also definitely influenced me. I started thinking of getting the Black South Africans as potential missionaries to the Muslim countries of West Africa.
Tests of Faith
In Bulstrode our faith in God for the financial provision was tested to the full. Our rent in Holland had to be paid in Holland while we were also required to contribute towards our stay at the WEC International Headquarters. When the couple staying in our home did not honour their financial commitment, matters came to a head. Phone calls to Holland to the couple were of no avail, merely harvesting empty promises. We now however experienced one miracle after the other when we were enabled to pay both our rent in Holland, for our contribution towards our stay in England over a period of four months and the costs for two months of accommodation in the Dutch Headquarters in Emmeloord.
Our Acceptance in WEC deferred
During my fairly superficial study of Islam in South Africa in Bulstrode, I already discovered that Bo-Kaap, the residential area below Signal Hill, had become an Islamic bastion through apartheid legislation. I discerned that some spiritual warfare might be needed to reverse this process. When we returned to Holland from Bulstrode, I challenged the Christians there to send their ‘prayer batteries’ to Bo-Kaap, to bombard the area - before we as missionaries could go in as the infantry. (I was not aware that the Society of International Ministries (SIM) was already active there, although we had no concrete plans for any involvement there at that stage.) In our correspondence with WEC South Africa we did mention that we wanted our hands free to evangelize among the Muslims. But the South African WEC leadership desperately wanted to use us for representation in the Western Cape. The stated strategy of WEC in SA was to focus on recruitment, and not to get involved with new ministries.
Perceived differences with the new WEC leadership in South Africa with regard to our future role clouded our start at Emmeloord, the Dutch HQ, where we were scheduled to be for two months. When the designated (late) new leader seemed to insist that we should do representation at the Cape predominantly, we almost opted out. We dared to take up the challenge, to get involved with regional representation as a matter of priority ‑ at least for the first year.
On our side, there was also some misunderstanding. It was touch and go before we finally agreed to join WEC. We would help our colleague Shirley Charlton with representation in Cape Town in the first year and thereafter we would see how the Lord would lead. We on the other hand were not inclined to allow ourselves to be bogged down to administration and representation. This was not evasion of responsibility. We just did not see that as our gifting. A tussle with the leadership was thus on the cards after our first year. Also in Holland we got into a skirmish at some stage with someone in leadership whom we regarded as autocratic. We decided to defer our acceptance as WEC missionaries. We continued however with the negotiations to get the necessary papers for South Africa. Luckily all the differences could be resolved after a few months. Later in the year we were accepted as WEC missionaries.
Another high hurdle was the airfares to South Africa for us as a couple and for our five children, of which two had to pay adult fares. We had also decided that a container would be the best way to get our personal possessions to Cape Town. The Lord sovereignly provided in all these steps of faith.
When the couple that stayed in our house for six months finally paid the rent in a lump sum, we experienced practically how the Lord saw us through. Not once we failed to pay our rent. In this way we had the funds not only for our airfare, but also enough to pay for the container in which we transported our furniture and other belongings. All in all this was a big learning curve to trust the Lord for finances, without appealing for funds. We appreciated this pillar of the WEC ethos very much.

Start of the Zendingsbidstond
Another couple in our 'Figi' fellowship in Zeist was about to go to Bhutan as missionaries. When we spoke to Hans Riemersma, one of the elders, he was very sympathetic to our request to start a zendingsbidstond, (missionary prayer meeting) but he was rather sceptical. Apparently, other people had already tried something similar, but tradition in the church had smothered every effort in that direction. The Lord blessed the renewed attempt. We soon hereafter had a regular zendingsbidstond - a monthly prayer meeting for the many missionaries started in the home of Don and Kryniera Koekkoek. That became an important feature in the calendar of the church in due course. This is still the case today.
During the last few months in Holland before our departure to South Africa, I helped out one day in the week as a teacher of Religious Instruction at Barthimeus, the local school for the Blind, where Geertje Rehorst had taught before she was boarded. On another day of the week I assisted in the office of the Eastern Europe Mission. This led to my taking clothing and Bibles for persecuted and needy Christians on behalf of the Eastern Europe Mission to Switzerland over certain weekends. From there other people took the goods to Communist countries. I was given permission to take our family members along on these trips in a small truck with comfortable seating for at least five people. Because we would sleep with our family in Southern Germany, this saved the mission quite a few Dutch guilders for accommodation and meals in Switzerland.

Difficulties and Attacks
On our last trip on behalf of the Eastern Europe Mission in December 1991 - also intended as our farewell to the family in Germany - we had to face the reality of spiritual warfare as never before. Satan evidently wanted to prevent us from going to South Africa. Rosemarie and I left for Switzerland from the home of the Braun family in Lienzingen, with literature and used clothing for persecuted believers in Eastern Europe. The intention was to return to Lienzingen the same evening. Next to the literature and used clothes we had brought from Holland, we also picked up quite a number of Russian Children’s Bibles at Licht im Osten in Korntal, near Stuttgart. The load was thus quite heavy hereafter.
Snow in the mountainous region of Southern Germany about 50 Km before the Swiss border made driving hazardous in the extreme with the heavily loaded van. As we slid across the Autobahn55 on the heights, we were praying almost all the time.
And then it happened! We skidded off the road. We discerned God’s protecting hand when the van with the heavy load was thankfully just at a place where there was a parking place. If it had been at almost any other location in that area, we would have gone down into the depths to a certain death.
Soon we had to face an onslaught of another sort. We were heavily burdened to leave the care of Rosemarie’s ailing mother to Waltraud, her sister. From Holland we could at least assist during the school holidays to take over some of the burden. That would not be possible from South Africa.
Everybody also knew how dearly I wanted to return to my home country. Therefore it was fully comprehensible when it was vocalised that it was perceived that I had been been abusing the interlude of the Ivory Coast as a smokescreen in this way, to prepare the way so that I could ultimately take my family to South Africa.

We returned to the Netherlands with heavy hearts. We cried to the Lord to intervene. Our tickets were booked by now and the container ordered. The Lord would have to send in someone to help Waltraud with the care of our mother. Otherwise we would have no liberty to go!
(Picture:Mama Göbel in an old age home with
Waltraud and her daughter Damaris)

Tom Zoutewelle, a friend and Broederraad colleague from our Panweg days, brought us in touch with a retired nurse of Doorn who spoke German and who was prepared to go to Lienzingen to help Waltraud with our mother. This cleared the way for us. We were now free to go to Cape Town a week later! It was however never necessary to call on that help.
Part 2
17. Serving the Lord at the Cape

We came as a family of seven to the Mother City of the Republic of South Africa on 11 January 1992. One of the first occasions with regard to representation occurred when Shirley Charlton, our Western Cape representative, introduced me to the Western Cape Missions Commission. In this group I soon met the major role players of missionary recruitment at the Cape – almost all of them White. Martin Heuvel and Bruce van Eeden were notable exceptions. Both of them would play strategic roles in our future ministry at the Cape. Drawing from my notes on South Africa as ‘A Goldmine for missionary recruitment’, I suggested that we should start looking at sending out Blacks to the rest of our continent. For some participants this view was possibly still too radical. That I used the term ‘New South Africa’ that President de Klerk had made fashionable, was however a strategic move, making the idea more palatable to them. Now, almost twenty years later, the sending out of Black African missionaries from South Africa must still get off the ground.

Start of a cross-cultural Choir
At one of the events to which Shirley took me, I heard Joyce Scott reporting. She was a missionary of AIM with a gift of using music her in ministry, lecturing at the Cape Evangelical Bible Institute where we stayed druing our first month at the Cape. This was the catalyst for me to start a choir from different cultures, a vision I had brought along from Holland. (In Zeist I had attended a performance of a culturally mixed group from New Zealand. This sowed a seed in my heart.)
In 1992 there was still great need for racial reconciliation. I contacted Joyce to start a choir as a possible vehicle for reconciliation in our devided country.)
At different occasions to which I was invited as speaker, I took along the cross-cultural choir that we had recruited. Apart from Grace Chan, our colleague from Mauritius, we also had people from different races in the choir - including a Zulu and a few Xhosas. I collated the choir members predominantly from Capetonian Bible Colleges. Soon after Joyce left the Cape to take up a post in Natal - some of the Bible School students left as well - the choir was disbanded. The contacts to the various bible colleges proved quite valuable for our later ministry.

A Call to Cape Muslims?
Once in the Mother City, the call to the Muslims of the Cape came through quite strongly. The Lord used our colleague Shirley Charlton in different ways unwittingly to nudge us to the Cape Muslim community as an unreached people group in respect of the Gospel. The lack of suitable accommodation brought Shirley to the Cape Evangelical Bible Institute (CEBI) in Surrey Estate. How interesting it was that Bill Parker, the former boss of my father, was now the administrator of that Bible School. The very first morning at CEBI a roar woke us up at half past four. We discovered that it was the thundering sound of minarets from the seven mosques in a two-kilometre radius from the Bible School.
I noticed that so much had changed in my (in)voluntary exile of almost 20 years. During our short visits at the Cape since 1973, we only visited certain residential areas. I now had to face radical changes in my absence from the Cape. I encountered this especially in Surrey Estate, a suburb that had become quite Islamic in the meantime.

Two Priorities
The number one priority for us was now to get permanent accommodation. Issue number two was to get the schooling of the children sorted out. Already during the occasion of our spying the land in December 1990 we thought that our two eldest children should attend the German school. There we ultimately enrolled all five children. Also Tabitha was accepted for the first grade although she was only five years old.
That the government had published its intention to scrap the Group Areas Act, made matters a lot easier, giving us more options to find suitable and affordable accommodation. We followed up all sorts of advertisements, hoping to find a four bed-roomed house so that we could also have a guest room. At one of the houses there was a swimming pool. At the next occasion when we prayed as a family for the right accommodation, our seven year-old Magdalena had no hesitation no problem to include a house with a swimming pool in her prayer request.
Finding a suitable house that was more or less affordable was almost like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Four bed-roomed houses were few and far between and usually very expensive. Soon we were prepared to settle for a three bed-roomed one, but also in this regard it was not easy at all. Whenever the home owners heard how many children we have, they were not interested any more. Thus we soon made a point of mentioning our five children right at the outset whenever we enquired. That spared us unnecessary waste of time, petrol and further disappointments.
We were quite frustrated when all our attempts at getting a house seemed to have brought us nowhere. We were soonin quite dire straits because we had to get out of the Bible School before the end of the month.

Sleeping on the Street?
This was still the position on the 30th of January. We could not believe our eyes when a house with four bedrooms plus another room was available in the suburb called Gardens at ‘our price’. It was furthermore not very far from the German school, albeit that a busy road had to be crossed. The timing seemed to be perfect, because it was almost the end of the month and we could move in straight away. The wife of the house owner took for granted that her husband would agree to take us as tenants because he was a German-speaking Swiss. We were really in the clouds when the phone call confirmed that he indeed agreed initially. We were already praising the Lord at the table at suppertime, when the phone rang once again. This time it was the husband himself. He had just heard from his wife that we have five children; this was a major problem to him. They were not renting their house to us. When I returned to the supper table with the shattering news, all of us were devastated. Little Tabitha vented her fears spontaneously as she cried uncontrollably: ‘Will we now have to sleep on the street?’ How thankful we were when Rafael could console her: ‘No, the Lord will see to it that we need not go and sleep on the street.’ I had a big lump in my throat, witnessing the child-like faith and yet also thankful for the maturity into which our son had started to grow.

Strategic Contacts
The Bible School period was quite strategic in terms of contacts. We had met Johan van der Wal and his wife Maaike in our home church in Holland a few months before we came to South Africa. Through them we got to know interesting contacts. Thus we got to know Alan de Cerff and his American wife Jennifer, who operated at UCT under the flag of Campus Crusade. In turn, we got to know other people and groups through the De Cerff couple like the Community Bible Fellowship at the Baker House in Crawford. On the last Sunday of January we shared our housing predicament with that fellowship. To the Van der Wal couple we would have close contact ever since.

Something happening in the Heavenlies
On Friday the 31st of January we started packing all our belongings together without knowing where we would be going the next day. On Sunday the influx of students was expected to start. We were now clinging to our last hope. Shirley Charlton would ask her landlord whether we could move into her two-bedroom flat in Diep River temporarily. She would then go to a friend. When we phoned Shirley the Saturday morning, this last hope was all but dashed…
We were not aware how many people were praying for us. Of one group we knew. They were Christians from the Community Bible Fellowship in Crawford that we had attended. They would pray right through the night from Friday to Saturday, also for us!
In the heavenlies something had obviously been happening, because somewhere in the suburb of Kenilworth – a few kilometres from Crawford - a Greek lady could not sleep. Ireni Stephanis never had problems with sleeplessness – not even when her husband died - but that night she constantly had to think about the family from Holland about which she had heard from Shirley Charlton. Ireni was curious whether the family of seven had found accommodation in the meantime. After hearing of our predicament, Ireni offered to share her big house. (Her daughter had just married and left the home. Ireni’s two adult sons were living overseas and would not be around for some time.) Generously she offered that we could stay with her until we would find a suitable house to rent.
When we learnt this story the Saturday afternoon from Shirley Charlton we stood there in awe! We could only marvel at the timely intervention of the Lord. It looked to be the most practical thing to sleep at the Bible School for the last time. Even in this little detail we could see the hand of the Lord. At this time we also met John Cyster, who offered to assist us with the clearance of our container, once it would land in the Cape Town Docks.

Our Children as a top Priority
The settling in of our children we saw as a top priority during the first six months of our stay at the Cape. The move from Holland was not easy for the one or other of them. Our son Rafael especially had a torrid time. Rafael appeared to have made the biggest sacrifice of the children when we came to Cape Town after having had a fairly close friendship to Michiel van der Wolf in Zeist. For months he had no friends in Cape Town.
With regard to a local church fellowship I intentionally refrained from taking preaching engagements more than once a month so that we would not be running around too much. (Shirley Charlton was very happy to have a male assistant because the bulk of the churches were not ready to have a female on their pulpit.) During this time we were very unfocused ministry-wise, praying that God would show us where we should get involved. Our representation work with WEC had the goal of making the mission agency known at the Cape for recruitment purposes.

Orientation Time
We were very thankful that Shirley put the mission car, a VW Golf, at our disposal for taking the children to school during the week. Our finances were running precariously low while we desperately needed a vehicle of our own. We were thankful that my brother Kenneth and his wife were willing to help us bridge the gap until finances would arrive from abroad.
Our lack of transportation brought us in touch with Manfred Jung and the late Alroy Davids, both of whom were involved with outreach to Muslims. The 13-year old horrible-looking minibus, previously belonged to the Gschwandtner family before they sold it to Manfred Jung (the Gschwandtner family had left for Kenya). It badly needed some colour. Alroy Davids spray-painted the vehicle in his spare time. Every Friday I would bring the vehicle to him when he would start working until Saturday afternoon. This went on for a few weeks.
The time in Kenilworth was fairly blissful for the children but the switch of schools were rather traumatic for Rafael and Samuel. Rafael, who had only learned a little bit of English at Bulstrode before, now had to struggle with an inexperienced teacher in that subject. She put much too high demands on 12 year olds. The introvert Samuel struggled in his class where only German was spoken. For months he was to say nothing at all in class.

Involvement with Drug Rehabilitation?
Almost from the word go we got in touch with a big problem of the Cape communities - drug addiction. On the first Sunday after moving to Kenilworth, we attended the Living Hope Baptist Church with Ireni Stephanis. A couple there told us about their daughter who was addicted to drugs and who subsequently became a Muslim. We were immediately reminded of the successful Betel outreach of our mission agency to drug addicts in Spain, seeing this as a loving avenue of service to the Muslim community. This was yet another nudge that we should get involved in compassionate outreach to that part of the Cape population.
The problem of drug addiction in the Cape Muslim society was highlighted again and again. We were thus confronted with the need of a centre for rehabilitation where people could be set free through a personal faith in Jesus. Our mission agency WEC had significant success in Spain. Many former addicts started out as missionaries to other countries. This now became our model for the drug addicts of Cape Town. We were yearning to share the vision with Capetonian Christians. The initial response was general indifference.
Only after a few months in the Vineyard Church we found out that there was a Muslim background believer in the congregation. Achmed Kariem had fled South Africa in the wake of his anti‑apartheid activities with a hatred for Christianity. In his fairly accurate youthful assessment apartheid had been the cause for his family to be moved out of Mowbray to the desolate Bonteheuwel. This ultimately resulted in him fleeing from the country. In England he became addicted to drugs. There he was miraculously set free from drug abuse through faith in Jesus. The need of a centre for the rehabilitation of drug addicts in Cape Town was invigorated in my heart when I heard his testimony. He would become God's instrument in our ministry in many a way.
Pointers to Muslim Outreach
Various ‘co-incidences’ pointed us clearly to an involvement in evangelistic outreach to Muslims. Almost from the outset we bumped into a major problem of the Muslim community - drug addiction. On the first Sunday we attended the Living Hope Baptist Church with Ireni Stephanis, a couple told us about their daughter who was addicted to drugs and who became a Muslim via a romantic relationship. We were immediately reminded of the successful WEC-related Betel outreach to drug addicts in Spain, seeing this as a possible loving avenue of service to the Muslim community.
Without us doing anything about it, we got in touch with converts from Islam. We met Adiel Adams and Zane Abrahams through our representation work with WEC. Aunt Emmie Snyers, my father’s sister, gave us the phone number of Majiet Pophlonker spontaneously. It seemed as if different people were divinely instructed to challenge us to reach out to Cape Muslims.
To get more information about the German school, we were referred to the Pietzsch family. Horst Pietsch was also involved with the SIM Life Challenge missionary outreach.
A clear confirmation along these lines came when we could finally rent a house in Tamboerskloof, almost a stone’s throw from Bo-Kaap, the prime stronghold of Islam in the Western Cape. God had evidently started fitting things together in his perfect mosaic.
At the beginning of our stay in Tamboerskloof I joined the SIM (Society of International Ministries) Life Challenge team of Manfred Jung in Bo‑Kaap, Walmer Estate and Woodstock.56 However, I felt rather uncomfortable with the method of knocking at strange people’s doors to speak to them about my faith.

Start of Prayer Walks in Bo-Kaap
Aware that Bo-Kaap was a Cape Muslim stronghold, Rosemarie and I decided to do prayer walking there, asking the Lord to lead us to those people where the Holy Spirit had done preparatory work.
Soon we were walking through the Bo-Kaap as a couple once a week, praying for the area. But after a few weeks we sensed that we should not be alone in this venture. We had to get the backing, moral and prayer support of other Christians. As a family we were now attending the City Branch of the Vineyard Church (as the Jubilee Church was called at that time). Dave and Herma Adams, the local leaders, had a vision to reach out to the Muslims, but the church in general had no affinity as yet in this direction.
At the same time Rosemarie and I prayed, asking the Lord where we should start with ministry. By June 1992 our ministry was not focused at all. As I was speaking during a phone call to Val Kadalie, the matron of the G.H Starke old age home in Hanover Park, I sensed confirmation that this township, where I had been teaching in 1981, was the place to get involved with ministry. Soon I linked up with Norman Barnes, a former gangster and drug addict and a convert from Islam. He was leading the prayer group on Saturday afternoons.

Part‑time Studies
A positive result of my involvement in door‑to‑door ministry in the Muslim areas was that I discovered that my knowledge of Islam was completely inadequate. I asked permission from our mission leaders to do a post‑graduate course in Missions at the Bible Institute in Kalk Bay that would include a special emphasis on Islam.
In the course of my part‑time studies, I had to write a certain assignment, for which I had to research the spread of Islam at the Cape. For this study I was referred to my friend of the Harmony Park and other student camp days, Jutty Bredekamp, who had become a History professor at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). When I shared with him some of my discoveries, especially in respect of my misgivings about the misrepresentation of the work of missions with regard to Muslim slaves in the available literature, he encouraged me to publish my findings. He arranged with the South African library to have my paper printed in their quarterly journal. The idea was to let the contribution coincide with the tercentenary in 1994 of the arrival of Sheikh Yusuf, the founder of Islam at the Cape. I discovered with sadness not only how Cape Muslims were maltreated by Christians at the Cape of Good Hope, but also how the outreach to them as a group was completely neglected.57
Another assignment brought me on the track of Jesus in the Qur’an. These studies wetted my appetite for further research.
Church Planting in Bo-Kaap?
Involvement with street children was not confirmed, but there was many an indication that we should move into Muslim evangelism. We had started praying for Bo-Kaap, but we also wanted some hands-on ministry. The thought came up to investigate outreach in Hanover Park where I had taught during the turbulent times in 1981. After a phone call to the local branch of the Cape Town City Mission there, we soon sensed a confirmation that this is where we should get more involved, starting with a prayer meeting once a month.
Soon Rosemarie and I were walking through the Bo‑Kaap once a week, praying for the area. We knew that the suburb became a Muslim stronghold through the demonic apartheid policy, when churches and Christians were forced to leave. Through prayer we wanted to reverse the situation. We yearned to see at least one vibrant home church planted again in the area. The ten years of prayer for the Middle East gave us a good framework in which we hoped to accomplish our prayer goal. (We failed miserably. After almost twenty years we still have not achieved our target.)
After only a few weeks we sensed that we should not go it alone in this venture because there were evidently also other spiritual forces at work. We had to get the backing of other Christians. As a family we were attending the City branch of the Vineyard Church - as the Jubilee Church was called at that time. Dave and Herma Adams, the local leaders, also wanted to reach out to the Muslims, but the denomination in general had no affinity as yet in this direction.
Through the mediation of Ms Hendricks, who was guiding tourists and other people through the Bo‑Kaap Museum, we at last got in touch with her neighbours in Wale Street. The husband of Cecilia Abrahams had been a Muslim until shortly before his death. She was living next to the museum with her daughter and son. Because Cecilia was a Christian, certain Muslims wanted to get her evicted from the residential area that had been designated for Muslims by legislation. Cecilia fought the attempt successfully. Before they could evict her, winds of change had started to sweep over the country. Apartheid-related evictions ceased.

Meeting Muslim background Believers
Towards the end of June 1992 we were not really engaged fully in any ministry yet. But then things started moving. Fairly soon after our arrival we already got befriended to a few Muslim background believers, Zane Abrahams, Adiel Adams, Achmed Kariem and Majiet Pophlonker. From them we learnt a lot about Islam in Cape Town, e.g. that Bo-Kaap should be a focus of our attention, as this could influence Islam in the whole of the Western Cape. We learned a lot from Achmed Kariem and the other converts with an Islamic background.

Resumption of a fortnightly Prayer Meeting
When Cecilia Abrahams visited us in our home in Tamboerskloof, we learned that a SIM/Life Challenge missionary had held a fortnightly prayer meeting in her Wale Street home before he had left for Kenya with his family. We promptly decided to resume the prayer meeting at her home in 73 Wale Street, in the centre of Bo‑Kaap. Cecilia introduced us to Daphne Davids, another Christian who was living just across the road from her. In those days it was really a rarity to find committed Christians in that residential area. It had become almost completely Islamic population‑wise because of the apartheid legislation. We took up the challenge to see this process not merely reversed through prayer. We also wanted to see (house) churches coming into being there. What a huge task this turned out to be.
When SIM decided to stop their activities in Bo‑Kaap, Manfred Jung told us about one of their prayer warriors, the Afrikaner Hendrina van der Merwe. She was immediately ready and eager to join the new prayer group. On the first Monday after the first ever WEC conference in Cape Town, we started our prayer meeting for the Muslim world in general and Bo-Kaap in particular at the Abrahams’ home. I was the only male present when Hendrina shared that she is praying for four men to be part of our group. We decided to wait for concrete steps in the direction of church planting until such time that the Lord would give us four regular males attending the prayer meeting.
Dave and Herma Adams, the leaders of our church, the local Vineyard fellowship (later it became known as the Jubilee Church) gave their blessing that I could invite people from the fellowship to join the prayer group. Soon Elizabeth Robertson and Achmed Kariem linked up. When the devout Floyd Daniel joined us soon hereafter, things looked pretty well. We were already three men! We got excited that we would soon be able to take further steps towards starting a home fellowship in Bo-Kaap. But that was not to be!

Other Strategic Contacts
The Western Cape Missions Commission proved very valuable in terms of contacts. An event with John Robb of World Vision in 1993 with some link to this group was very fruitful. I used the list of participants to organize Jesus Marches the following year. At this occasion I also met Trefor Morris from Fish Hoek. He became not only a regular at a Friday lunch time prayer meeting that we started, but he also became an important catalyst to get me studying the history of spiritual dynamics at the Cape. (Trefor presented a radio series on historical churches via Radio Fish Hoek, the first community Christian radio station of the country.)
At one of the mission events I met an AIM missionary who told me about Salama Temmers, a convert from Islam. Her husband Colin soon became one of the regular warriors at our Friday lunch hour prayer meeting. The Temmers family became a part of the core of the initial converts coming from Muslim background with whom we had a regular monthly event. Supporting Muslim background followers of Jesus became an emphasis of our ministry.

Representation Work Via Shirley we were approached to assist with the training of Xhosa young people in children’s work at Camp Joy, a campsite in Strandfontein during the June holidays. The week turned out to be quite strategic. There we met the gifted Melvin Maxegwana, who was translating the teaching of Ammie Coetzee of the Children's Evangelical Fellowship into Xhosa. For the rest, our ministry still had no clear direction. We took along two young people from the Hanover Park City Mission congregation, who later showed interest in missions and evangelism. In due course Shane Varney, a former learner of mine from Mount View High School in Hanover Park, went for missionary training to Pretoria with Operation Mobilisation (OM) with a vision for Bangladesh. Carlo Johnson, still a teenager, later attended the Cape Evangelical Bible School. Shane Varney completed a degree at university. Subsequently he became a township pioneer to teach English in the Far East.
The holiday teaching stint was strategic as a link to a Black congregation. We subsequently linked up with Pastor Melvin Maxegwana, his wife Primrose and their fellowship at Khayelitsha and later in a fellowship they started in the Bloekombos informal settlement near Kraaifontein. I preached at both venues occasionally.
Trying to excite the churches of the Mother City for missionary work was a daunting challenge. It turned out to be much more difficult than I thought it would be when I started with tentative steps. We would occasionally go to churches where Shirley Charlton had arranged the meetings. Now and then also our children were involved, such as dramatising the story of Jonah at a church in the ‘Coloured’ suburb of Kensington.
Fruitful Networking
In the course of my representation work of our first year, I attended the meeting of the Western Cape Missions Commission. Here I met Martin Heuvel, a pastor from Ravensmead. He impressed me so much that it was only natural that I would visit him when I assisted to prepare the October 1992 visit of Patrick Johnstone, the author of Operation World.58 A touch of nostalgia was hardly to be prevented when I visited the premises of the Fountain Family Church complex in Ravensmead. (The building and the adjacent shopping centre have been built for the great part on the property, from where our family had to move in 1970.)
There I was to give a few lectures at the Cape School of Missions where James Selfridge, an Irish missionary, had become the principal. One of the students was Jeff Swartz, through whom I got to know a young student from Venda, Tim Makamu.
When Shirley Charlton organised for me to preach at the Docks Mission Church in Lentegeur, one of the most meaningful contacts ensued. Pastor Walter Ackermann had a heart for missions second to very few in the Western Cape. I was soon preaching there regularly until Pastor Ackermann left the church at retirement age.
In Tamboerskloof we were living quite close to the German Stadtmission. This resulted in a good networking relationship with Lothar and Barbara Buchhorn, the pastoral couple. Simultaneously this laid a sound basis for a link to loving outreach and a link to the German school where we soon started a prayer group with a few other parents. Susi van Dijk and her family were members of this fellowship and she was simultaneously also on the school board for quite a few years until her death. The close relationship with Lothar and Barbara Buchhorn contributed much to make our children feel themselves at home at the Cape.
When Shirley Charlton organised for me to preach at the Docks Mission Church in Lentegeur, one of the most meaningful contacts ensued. Pastor Walter Ackermann had a heart for missions second to very few in the Western Cape. I was soon preaching there regularly until Pastor Ackermann left the church at retirement age.

Bo-Kaap Prayer Meetings Resume
During one of our Bo-Kaap prayer walks we visited the Bo-Kaap Museum. There we heard about Cecilia Abrahams, the neighbour at 73 Wale Street, a committed believer. She is the widow of a convert from Islam in the Islamic residential area. When we finally met up with her we were blessed to find out that we could actually a resume the prayer meetings, which had been conducted by Walter Gschwandtner, SIM Life Challenge missionary before he left for Kenya. We started with fortnightly prayer meetings in the Abrahams home in July 1992.
SIM had decided to stop their activities in Bo-Kaap, but Manfred Jung brought me in touch with Hendrina van der Merwe, a fervent prayer warrior from the fellowship commonly called the Orange Street Baptist Church. She was immediately ready and eager to join the new prayer group. Dave and Herma Adams, our local Vineyard church leaders, had a vision to reach out to the Muslims. They gave their blessing that we could invite people at the local Vineyard church. Soon Elizabeth Robertson and Achmed Kariem joined us for this purpose. Achmed hailed from Mowbray before he and his family were dumped in the desolate Bonteheuwel due to the Group Areas Act. In rebellion and disappointment at the Islamic leaders he became a Communist, finally leaving the country in frustration. In England he became addicted to drugs before he was miraculously freed through faith in Jesus. We learned a lot from him and the other converts from Islam. Achmed soon suggested that we should start a prayer meeting on a Friday when the Muslims go to their mosques.
We were less happy when Manfred Jung of the SIM team came to our home to discuss the respective ‘operating areas’ of ministry. We were not interested in rivalry and competition, preferring to network with other missionaries. We nevertheless agreed to concentrate on Bo-Kaap and Hanover Park where no other mission agency was operating at this time.

Start of Friday Lunch-hour Prayer Meetings
At one of the regular prayer meetings in the home of the Abrahams family at 73 Wale Street Achmed Kariem suggested a lunchtime prayer meeting on Fridays, at the same time that Muslims attend their mosque services. This could be implemented very promptly through the mediation of Marge Ballin, a YWAM missionary, who was involved with evangelistic work in the nightclubs. Without much ado we were allowed to make use of the ‘Shepherd’s Watch’, a former funeral parlour at 98 Shortmarket Street where the Ark Mission was now conducting services and caring for a few mental patients. It was an added blessing when we heard that missionaries in other parts of the world were hereafter also starting to do this. Our prayer events started in September 1992 in the Shepherd’s Watch near Heritage Square.
Of the early regulars at the new Friday prayer meeting we had Alain Ravelo from Madagascar and Johan van der Wal, who originally hailed from Holland. We had met Johan van der Wal and his wife Maaike in our home church in Holland a few months before we came to South Africa. Both Alain and Johan had been in the country for some length of time. Alain had been part of a group that met regularly, praying for the country when apartheid was still rife. He also had a vision for networking. Soon hereafter Arina Serdyn, an Afrikaner, joined us after she had retired from teaching. She was one of the best examples of networking, soon linked to our children’s work in Hanover Park while still having close links to the Ravelo’s who are linked to TEAM and simultaneously being a co-worker of SIM Life Challenge.
Next to Achmed Kariem, Berenice Petersen was another Muslim background believer who worked at Truworths.
When the Shepherd’s Watch was sold a few years later, the weekly event switched to the Koffiekamer at 108 Bree Street (The venue was used by Straatwerk for their ministry over the week-ends to the homeless, street children, and to certain night clubs.) In addition to prayers for a spiritual breakthrough in the area, a foundation and/or catalyst for many evangelistic initiatives was laid at the Friday lunch hour prayer meetings. The vision, to get prayer groups formed all over the Peninsula - so that the spiritual eyes of Muslims might be opened to Jesus as the Saviour of the World and as the Son of God - never took off. Here and there a prayer group started and petered out again. Two prayer groups operated in Plumstead and Muizenberg for a few years apiece. The leaders of the respective prayer groups, Sally Kirkwood and Gill Knaggs, later got involved with the Cape prayer movement. The only prayer group that continued functioning over many years was the one in the Abrahams' home in Bo-Kaap. The Friday lunch hour prayer meetings persevered in the Koffiekamer of Straatwerk until July 2007, when it was relocated to our Discipling House in Mowbray, later changed to another day of the week. We now do it on Tuesdays at 11 a.m.

Prayer for the Middle East
Elizabeth Robertson, who was now attending our Bo-Kaap prayer meeting, really loves Israel and the Jews. A few years prior to this she had been on the verge of marrying a Jew in Israel. Soon we decided to pray for the Middle East at every alternate Monday prayer meeting. We includedMuslims and Jews in our intercession. Renette Marx, who was also involved with loving outreach to Jews, soon joined this prayer meeting. Hereafter we visited the Beth Ariel fellowship of Messianic Jews in Sea Point from time to time. In later years Lillian James, who grew up in Woodstock, joined our prayer meeting. She had a heart for both Muslims and Jews. Still later, two Messianic Jewish believers came to this prayer group, viz. Lally Neveling and Marilyn Kemp.
Achmed Kariem left for Bible School training in 1993. Floyd Daniel continued to come from Wynberg until he was incapacitated a few years later after a near fatal accident with his bicycle. Sybrand de Swardt a member of the Cape Town Baptist church joined us later. For years hereafter however, we never even had three men for any length of time at our prayer meeting in Bo-Kaap. The resumption of a stronger evangelical presence became our stated goal. Increasingly we saw that this was only possible within the context of a general spiritual revival in the City Bowl. And to effect this, we had to achieve more unity in the body of Christ. This proved to be a big challenge.

Writing Activity
Our own family history was definitely the tone of a manuscript that I presented to Rosemarie on her 40th birthday in July 1991. I gave it the title ‘On Eagles wings’, using our wedding sermon as the cue. Writing has been my passion for many years.
David Appelo, my Dutch friend that I got to know during my stint with Campus Crusade, felt that we should try and publish the manuscript that I had given to my parents in a form that would not be more than merely a family record. I allowed him to revamp the manuscript for wider publication. I was not completely happy that he changed the title to Involuntary Exile.59 He went to considerable expense to prepare a few hard-bound copies - a complete autobiographical book edited on my behalf a few months into 1992. But also this attempt to get a publisher in Holland for my book was to no avail.
I however had little hesitation to refuse my full co-operation for this publication, David Appelo had not complied to our original agreement that he would send the manuscript on a ‘floppy disk’ first. My intention - that it should be a testimony to God’s goodness and grace - was coming through insufficiently in my view after his editing attempt. I was nevertheless sad to disappoint David, who had gone to such length to prepare Involuntary Exile for publication. Using the written word as a part of our ministry still had to take off. But I soon started to collate testimonies of Muslim background believers.
My experience in West Africa had been influencing me to think of 'Black' South Africans as potential missionaries to the Muslim countries of the continent. I was also reminded how I was impacted while in exile, hoping that we could one day also inspire foreigners in South Africa in a similar way to go and minister in their home countries. In the months hereafter I started writing my thoughts about these matters. A missiological manuscript described the new South Africa as a ‘goldmine’ for the recruitment of missionaries. I called it‘A Goldmine of another Sort’. The subtitle was the New South Africa as a base for Missionary Recruitment.’60 When I presented the manuscript to Patrick Johnstone and the international leaders of WEC, the response was however not encouraging enough to me to proceed with publication. I decided to leave it at that. I loved writing and researching. I dearly hoped to put the results of my work in the service of the Lord, but I definitely did not want to waste money to get books printed that would hardly be read. The Lord would have to confirm any possible publication. Also I recognized that it is not so bad at all to remain an unknown entity. Our family life remained fairly stable that way. I was only too aware of the possibility of homes disrupted through too much media interference.
Jotting down the stories of people like Adiel Adams and Achmed Kariem was almost natural. The testimony of Nabs Wessels, the wife of Chris, our friend, was only minimally more difficult, but with our past common interest in the ‘struggle’ against apartheid, that was no sacrifice at all. While I was ministering on the Cape Flats, I heard that Esmé Orrie had just converted from Islam. The Holy Spirit touched a chord in my heart when I heard that she was baptised together with a believer from Jewish background. Rosemarie and I always had a soft spot for the Jews.
When I phoned Esmé , she was quite upset. After having experienced terrible persecution from her family, she appeared very worried; she was anxious where I got her phone number. A few years later however, she was courageously sharing her testimony in many a church and via the radio.

Black and White together
Many Capetonians from different cultural and church backgrounds became our friends. We were approached to help train Xhosa young people in children’s work at a camp site in Strandfontein during the June holidays. The week was strategic when we got to know the gifted Melvin Maxegwana who was translating the teaching into Xhosa. For the rest, our ministry still had no clear direction. We started children’s work in Hanover Park and got involved in work related to social needs of patients at St Monica’s, the maternity home of Bo‑Kaap where I was born almost 66 years ago.
Margaret Curry, a member of the WEC prayer group in our home ‑ who had been a missionary linked to the Hospital Christian Fellowship ‑ introduced us to the matron of St Monica’s. (I vaguely remembered that my mother had mentioned that I was born there.) The institution hereafter played a special role in our getting to know people with diverse cultural upbringing.
After initial insecurity because of her complexion and foreign accent, Rosemarie would usually then immediately get more trust from the patients when she mentioned that her husband had been born at St Monica’s.

Abuse of Converts from Islam
My naïve attempt to unite the churches of the Mother City in ministry turned out to be quite a daunting challenge. It panned out to be much more difficult than I thought it would be when I started with tentative steps. The first move was to attempt to get believers to pray for Muslims. I organised for converts from Islam and missionaries who reached out to Muslims to speak in various churches on the Sundays during the month of Ramadan. However, I soon stopped encouraging the practice of using Muslim background believers to share their testimonies in church. I noticed that these converts were put on a pedestal in an unhealthy way. I also did not like the air of triumphalism that was created through it. I furthermore also noticed that many churches were not interested in getting involved in loving Muslim outreach at all. They merely wanted to be entertained. I hereafter put this as a condition for accepting invitations to preach and bring along a convert. Hereafter such invitations dried up significantly.

Operation Hanover Park
In the second half of 1992 we became involved with children’s ministry at the Newfields clinic and with the establishment of what was dubbed Operation Hanover Park. The stimulus for the latter operation was given by a police officer, sergeant Crowe, who approached the churches after the law enforcement agents could not handle the criminality of the area any more. Operation Hanover Park came into being with Pastor Jonathan Matthews of the Blomvlei Baptist Church61at the helm.
Dean Ramjoomiah, a convert from Islam, was eager to be used by the Lord as the local missionary of the churches among the gangsters of Hanover Park. The Blomvlei Baptist Church, the pivot of Operation Hanover Park, offered him and his family accommodation on their church premises. When a few other churches pledged financial contributions, things looked very promising. Our idea of solving the gangsterism problem on the long term, by starting Christian children’s clubs in different parts of the township, got many people excited. It looked as if our vision of local churches working together in mission and evangelism was coming to fruition. At the same time it would have given an example to the rest of the country how to combat criminality and violence.
A miracle happened: Hanover Park experienced its ‘most quiet Christmas ever’, according to an older resident. A combined prayer effort by Christians from different churches was the mainstay of the operation.
One Disappointment after the other
The year 1992 ended with our WEC conference in Durban. At that time the conference used to be held twice a year. The midyear conference had been held in July in Cape Town for the first time ever. At the conference in our Tamboerskloof home – WEC South Africa was indeed still very small - it had been decided ‘to strengthen the stakes' (A reference to Isaiah 54:2‘ to consolidate the present work. That meant that our colleague Shirley Charlton would remain at the Cape, instead of going to Johannesburg. In the envisaged WEC scenario, Rosemarie and I would have taken over from her as mission representatives in the Western Cape). At the same time the Lord had clearly confirmed that we should get more involved in Muslim Outreach. That is how we saw it. For Shirley this was a big disappointment. She had hoped so much to return to her roots on the Reef.
Our missionary colleagues were however not yet prepared to release us to continue with Muslim Outreach, because that would have meant starting a new ministry. Officially WEC South Africa had decided to concentrate on recruitment. We had to fight all the way against their earlier decision. Having fought many a verbal skirmish over the years, this was not new to us at all. For Rosemarie it was the Broederraad of Utrecht all over again, including the tears. The presence of Neil and Jackie Rowe, former British WEC leaders, saved the day for us. Otherwise we might have left WEC to get involved with Muslim Outreach outside the confines of the mission agency. The Lord had called us into this ministry and we were not prepared to budge, even though I did not put it to the conference as strongly as that.

Service of Love and Concern
We still thought that the establishment of a drug rehabilitation centre ‑ as a service of love and concern to the Muslim community ‑ would be a very effective way to make inroads into the ruling demonic forces. The related problem of gangsterism had spawned the establishment of Operation Hanover Park. A tract by Dean Ramjoomiah, our co-worker, written in the slang of the gangsters, touched Ivan Walldeck,62 a gang leader. Dean also succeeded to organize gangs to play soccer games against each other instead of shooting at each other. Soon peace was returning to the township. To God be the glory for the answer to the prayers! But hereafter Dean not only got estranged from the Blomvlei Baptist Church, but he also drifted away from the fellowship of believers.
Former Drug Addicts as missionaries?
The general indifference of the church to drug addiction, prostitution and gangsterism was something else that really made me sad. These are only three areas of concern that are a combined menace to the Cape Muslim community, thus where I thought the body of Christ could start repaying our debt. But all my efforts to get churches interested met with indifference.
When Achmed Kariem went to the Cape Evangelical Bible Institute in 1993, it looked as if my vision of getting former drug addicts from the Cape to be trained as missionaries started to take shape. When the PAGAD scourge appeared, I challenged Cape churches to see gangsters as potential missionaries – using the example of the fugitive King David who roamed the region with a bunch of rogues - because of their fearlessness. That hope was unfortunately very premature as well.

Diverse strategic Moves
Elizabeth Robertson, who was now attending our evening Bo-Kaap prayer meeting, really loves Israel and the Jews. A few years prior to this she had been on the verge of marrying a Jew in Israel. Soon we decided to pray for the Middle East at every alternate Monday prayer meeting, including Muslims and Jews in our intercession. Renette Marx, who was also interceding for the Jews, soon joined our group for this prayer meeting. Hereafter we visited the Beth Ariel fellowship of Messianic Jews in Sea Point from time to time. In later years Lillian James, who grew up in Woodstock, started to pray with us. She had a heart for both Muslims and Jews. Still later, two Messianic Jewish believers joined this prayer group, viz. Lally Neveling and Marilyn Kemp.63
An event organised in 1993 with some link to the Western Cape Missions Commission was a workshop with John Robb of World Vision. I later used the list of participants at this occasion to organize Jesus Marches the following year.
Contact with Jan Hanekom of the Hofmeyr Centre in Stellenbosch was quite strategic. He was a spiritual giant, who was praying about entering Bhutan as a tent-making missionary.

Contact with Jan Hanekom of the Hofmeyr Centre and SAAWE in Stellenbosch was quite strategic. I linked up with the countrywide prayer movement through Jan Hanekom, a spiritual giant of South African missions and prayer movement. (He was prayerfully preparing entry into Bhutan as a tent-making missionary when he died a few years later after contracting some mysterious disease.) Local Christians joined Bennie Mostert when he led a group to pray at the Islamic shrine of Macassar. In October, the group interceded at the shrine of Shaykh Yusuf, the man generally acknowledged to have brought Islam to South Africa. At this occasion Bennie encouraged us to concentrate on uplifting Jesus.
A Breakthrough in the spiritual Realm
Something significant happened on that day of intercession in October 1994 at the shrine. The ‘martyr seed’ – the son of Ds. Ali Behardien - might have played some role in the spiritual realms as well. Together these factors may have signalled a breakthrough in the heavenlies. Individual Christians started showing more interest in praying for Muslims, although in general, the churches remained indifferent.
A new brand of convert from Islam emerged nevertheless, people who were bold and willing to suffer ostracism and persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. One example is Esmé Orrie. For a long time after her conversion in July 1992, she was very fearful and suspicious. However, from 1994 she started to testify boldly in churches and on the radio. (On 10 March 2000, listeners to the CCFM Christian radio station were invited to react by telephone to the programme God Changes Lives after she shared her testimony.) On a memorable Wednesday morning, 22 March 1975, we baptized five converts who had come from Islam, including two connected to our ministry. At that occasion we also heard about Johaar Viljoen, who had won over many Christians to Islam in his Islamic hey-day. (This former imam came to faith in Jesus in the prison of Caledon. His conversion in 1992 - a demonstration of the power of prayer - shook many Islamic inmates who regarded him as their religious leader.) Johaar Viljoen hereafter also shared his conversion story in churches fearlessly, in spite of quite a few threats.

Changing Church fellowship yet again?
In the meantime we were increasingly unhappy with the fellowship at which we were worshipping. The initial interest in the outreach to the Muslims appeared to be limited to Herma and Dave Adams. Achmed Kariem, the lone Muslim background believer in the fellowship, like-wise found no interest when he spoke to someone from the church leadership. Liz Robertson, who almost got married to a Jew, deduced that the fellowship had only real interest in less challenging and more rewarding church planting, e.g. in the Black townships. That was of course much easier than trying to reach out to the resistant Jews or Muslims.
Rosemarie and I attended the foundation classes of the denomination with a view of becoming full members of the covenant set-up. Although we liked the idea of commitment, we had no liberty to join a church that had so little vision for the body of Christ in general. With the proximity of Hanover Park to Toronga Road in Crawford where the Vineyard Church - as the Jubilee Church was called at the time - it would have made a big impact if they also joined up with Operation Hanover Park. But no interest was forthcoming.
We knew that these reasons were definitely not adequate to stop attending the fellowship, but we were now really seriously praying what we should be doing. Prior to this we had been changing churches a few times because of relocation. We wanted our children to get settled again in a fellowship where there was warmth and love. One of the last things we wanted was to change our Sunday fellowship yet again.
Just then the church leadership came up with a suggestion that made the decision very easy for us. Instead of the separate entities at different venues for the Sunday morning service, the church members decided to congregate centrally at the former Waverley blanket factory in Observatory. We were not happy to attend a church some five kilometers away. We saw this as God’s answer to our prayers. But to find another fellowship of believers where we would be happy as a family, was yet another matter.

Various Encouragements
Just at that time we heard that Louis Pasques and his wife Heidi were interested in Muslim outreach. Louis was a student at the Baptist Seminary and leading one of the three daughter fellowships of the Cape Town Baptist Church, just like the Vineyard Church had been doing.
The arch enemy seemed to give us one hammering after the other, but the Lord also encouraged us. In the second quarter of the year we felt that Rosemarie should visit her ailing mother again to relieve her sister Waltraud. When we lived in Holland, we would go to Germany in the school holidays to give Waltraud a break. But how could we finance such a trip from South Africa? We were scraping the barrel as usual.
The very morning we started praying about the matter, the telephone rang. It was Waltraud from Germany. She and her husband had been thinking about funding a trip for Rosemarie to visit them. That would be much cheaper than trying to get their bed-ridden mother into an old-age home for two weeks. My cousin Milly Joorst and her prayer warrior friend Magda Morkel came from Genadendal to cook for us in Tamboerskloof while Rosemarie was away. That was the beginning of a close prayer relationship to this couple.
The Lord himself seemed to lead us to the Cape Town Baptist Church, using the 8-year-old daughter of Brett Viviers, one of the elders of the church. This family belonged to the Tamboerskloof cell of the church. Their daughter Vanessa had been terribly troubled by the calls from the minarets in the nearby mosques of Bo-Kaap. Her father suggested that she should start praying for the Muslims. The result was that a whole group from the church pitched up one Monday evening at our Bo-Kaap prayer meeting in Wale Street. From that group nobody continued to attend our prayer meeting regularly, but it was decisive. We forged links to the congregation, even though we were far from excited about the fellowship itself. But we also knew that the perfect church does not exist.
Heidi Pasques and her husband Louis showed interested in missionary outreach in a Muslim country. This became the prime factor that made us join the congregation. Furthermore, two members of our Bo-Kaap prayer meeting, Hendrina van der Merwe and Daphne Davids, were already members of the church.
While Rosemarie was in Germany, funds became available that her late father had donated as a bequest for the education of his grandchildren. For months we had been experiencing the need of a guest room. This was amplified at the latest occasion with Milly and Magda. The close relationship with Lothar and Barbara Buchhorn at the nearby German Stadtmission that contributed such a lot to make our children feel at home in the new environment, was an added boon. However, we did not feel comfortable to approach the Buchhorns repeatedly when we had visitors.
Rosemarie’s visit to Germany also contained a temptation. While being there, she heard how nothing was done to reach out to the many Turkish people of the area in a loving way. In order to share the Good News with the children of the guest workers, it would not even be imperative to learn their language. In due course the enemy would abuse this snippet of information as a temptation to return to Germany.
The Country in Turmoil
Just after Rosemarie’s return to the Cape in July 1993, the whole of South Africa was shocked out of its wits. On the last Sunday of that month terrorists killed a few congregants and maimed many believers wantonly in the evangelical St James Church of Kenilworth, a Capetonian suburb. It was a miracle in itself that not many more people were killed.
Satan probably planned this to become the start-shot of a violent revolution and civil war. It had been preceded and followed by many attacks on innocent civilians, including Amy Biehl, an American exchange student. Although the date had been set for the first democratic elections, hardly anybody expected the run-up to the elections to be peaceful. Black townships like Khayelitsha were no-go areas for anyone who was not Black. Our friend Melvin Maxegwana from the City Mission of Khayelitsha where I had preached in the interim, had to flee for his life. The local civic organization had concocted allegations against him. As a pastor with contact to other races, he was suspected of linking up with the Whites. That was one of the most dangerous things to do in the Black townships at that time.
But Satan had overplayed his hand. The St James Church massacre turned out to be the instrument par excellence to start the movement towards reconciliation when those family members who lost dear ones received divine grace to forgive the brutal killers. The killing of people during a church service sparked off an unprecedented urgency for prayer all around the country.

A Home of our own?
About the same time we received a letter from the German owner of our home in Tamboerskloof. She wanted to sell the house, but she gave us the first option to buy it. Our landlady was definitely not the only person who wanted to sell property. In fact, just about everybody who was in the position to emigrate, was considering this option as we approached the elections, due on 27 April 1994.
With money that we expected from Germany soon - an inheritance to our children from their late grandfather - we were now in the fortunate position to consider buying a suitable house. Up to that point in time we did think about it, but a bond on a house with four bedrooms was well beyond our means. It was still the question whether the bank would grant us a bond because we had no fixed income. With Bo-Kaap and Hanover Park as the main areas of our ministry, we looked at possibilities to purchase a house geographically somewhere between these localities in a residential area like Pinelands.
The first few houses that we viewed in the City Bowl vindicated my scepticism. But then one day the estate agency phoned, to inform us that a run-down house in Vredehoek, a suburb on the slopes of Table Mountain, was for sale. The bank offered the re-possessed building to the estate agent on condition that a potential buyer had to make an offer within two weeks. The run-down mansion we entered and viewed at 25 Bradwell Road in the City Bowl suburb Vredehoek contained some broken windows plus a stinking carpet in the living room that dogs had infested with fleas. Vagrants were already living at the back.
But then Rosemarie saw the beautiful view that the Lord had previously given her. I was not yet convinced. We would possibly have to spend a fortune first to get the property habitable! But it had a swimming pool, albeit that it was algae-invested dark green in colour! (When we were looking for a house to rent in January 1992, our daughter Maggie was very much impressed that there were also houses with a swimming pool. She would subsequently pray in our devotional times for a house to rent with a swimming pool.)

A traumatic Weekend
While many thoughts were still milling through our heads, a traumatic event shook us to the roots of our existence. Whereas the violence and turmoil on the East Rand, in Natal or even Khayelitsha was still on the periphery of our lives, the weekend starting with the second Friday of September 1993 had us reeling.
After the children had left for school Rosemarie and I had a short prayer session. Just after nine o’clock I had to fetch a few participants for the monthly WEC prayer meeting at our house. Here we would especially pray for our missionaries from South Africa serving in other parts of the world and for those ministering in other parts of the country. When I went outside to pick up a few ladies, I discovered that our Microbus was stolen.
The events of the next 30 hours were traumatic in the extreme. Our emotions swung like a very long pendulum from the heights of elation to the deepest despair. For many years hereafter I tried to document a complete report of the events, but I was never able to finish it within a time limit where the memory of the events were fresh enough.
At the one o’clock prayer meeting a new ‘convert’ came to our meeting - a drug addict who purported to have just been ‘saved’. Thirty hours later we found out that he was a conman. In the meantime this fake convert had fooled us terribly.64 His demonic demeanour squashed our vision to work or challenge others towards the establishment of a drug rehabilitation in Cape Town almost completely.
The events of the weekend highlighted the temptation to return to Europe. The Jonah in me surfaced very strongly. After more prayer, we decided to request Rainer Gülsow, a German friend who had been in the building trade, to give us his view on the matter. His reply was: “A bargain, take it. You will never get this again!” This was the clear cue we needed. But the decision to make an offer within two weeks created quite a lot of strain. The Lord however did not give us peace to leave the Mother City as yet. In fact, almost eighteen years later we are still living in the Vredehoek home that we then actually bought. A sequence of special circumstances made the purchase possible.

* * *
The Holy Spirit inspired the compassionate sister Eta Kleber, an aged member of our Panweg Fellowship in Zeist to bless us with funds to buy another vehicle. For R3,500 we could buy a 1981 Mazda that gave not only us five years of wonderful service, but we were also able to bless another couple in missionary service with the vehicle.

18. Taking back what Satan had stolen
The indifference of the churches for evangelistic outreach was a scourge all around the Peninsula. The situation in Woodstock and Salt River was of the worst in this regard. The two suburbs had become predominantly Islamic within a few years. The lethargic indifference of local churches was one of the main contributing factors.

Countering the Effect of Legislation and Vice
We got involved through a missions week with theological students at the Cape Town Baptist Church that Pastor Graham Gernetsky organized with students of the Baptist Seminary in March 1994. Reverend Gernetsky was open to the suggestion that we should do some prayer warfare with the students not only in nearby Bo-Kaap, but also in Woodstock in an attempt to take back what Satan had stolen through drug abuse, prostitution and gangsterism. The City congregation had been closely linked to two daughter churches in Roggebaai and District Six that had to be sold because of apartheid legislation. We prayed at the sites of the former Baptist churches that had respectively been in Jarvis and Sheppard Street.
The prayer walking in Woodstock was very significant. On our prayer walk with the Baptist students we heard of a young pastor, William Tait, who had started to minister in the area from 1989. (Two years later Pastor Tait was to play a pivotal role in prayer drives – led by Pastor Eddie Edson of Mitchells Plain - at various religious strongholds.) The nearby Presbyterian Church in Clyde Street (Woodstock), was not a ruin yet, but nevertheless quite dilapidated. The area had become completely Islamic after the Christians had moved out. The initial reason for the decay was the expected implementation of Group Areas legislation to this area. In the early 1990s the increase in drug addiction, prostitution and gangsterism were the causes for many Christians to move out of the area. Muslims invariably replaced them.
By 1990 Woodstock had become
the drug hub of the metropolis
The 1994 missions week was also the start of closer co-operation between the Assemblies of God fellowship65 and the small local Baptist Church. A student from Zambia, Kalolo Molenga, one of the participants in this week from the base of the Cape Town Baptist Church, was preaching in Woodstock occasionally until the adventurous Edgar Davids was called as their full-time minister. The notorious suburb hereafter slowly changed its religious complexion towards the end of the decade, as the epicentre of drug peddling and prostitution moved to more lucrative areas for their respective trades like Sea Point. Pastor Tait and his church was ably assisted by the small local Baptist Church under the inspiring and pioneering Pastor Edgar Davids.

The Change of the spiritual Climate
As we walked the streets, we prayed that the Lord would revive his Church, that the character of the suburb would change yet again, but this time in a positive direction. We discerned the same principle that saw vast areas of the world becoming Islamic. Just like the Middle East - where once biblical Christianity was thriving with leaders like Cyprian, Tertullian and Augustine - had been stolen by the enemy of souls through the slackness and indifference of the Church, satan had his way in Woodstock. Just as Communism and apartheid had been prayed down, I saw here another possibility of a visible example – while we continued praying for Bo-Kaap - to encourage believers to claim back the Islamic strongholds of the Middle East under the rule of the Messiah. The two buildings where the two Woodstock churches congregate, hereafter visibly demonstrated the change of the spiritual climate of the area.
On the final Sunday evening of the mission week that we conducted with the Baptist Seminary students in March 1994, some of the students gave short testimonies. We presented our slide series and I preached on John 4, Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman. This sermon was planned to be the first of a series of three on that chapter. The country was going through a traumatic pre-election period. I stated in my sermon that I sensed the same spiritual battle that we had experienced in Europe in 1989, reminding the congregation that what had been achieved there is primarily to be attributed to prayer. On this account I meant to encourage the believers. The Cape Town Baptist Church was only one of many around the country where regular prayers went up since the St James Church massacre. In many homes groceries and guns were hoarded in preparation for the worst scenario. A bomb scare at the German school and contingency plans for the expected emergency situation after the elections brought home the seriousness of the situation.
The Face of Woodstock changed
Towards the end of the decade, the notorious suburb slowly changed its religious complexion. The hub of drug-peddling and prostitution moved to more lucrative areas. Pastor Tait and his church were ably assisted by the small local Baptist Church under the inspiring and pioneering sickly new minister, Pastor Edgar Davids. Sadly, Davids died in March 1998 after his body rejected a transplanted kidney.
The two buildings where these churches met, visibly demonstrated the need for change in the area. Both structures had become quite dilapidated by 1995. The Baptist Church bought the ruin of the old Aberdeen Street Dutch Reformed Church, and soon they started to restore it with financial and practical aid from North Carolina believers in the USA.
The Fountain of Joy Assemblies of God initially rented a delapidated building which they subsequently tried to buy from the Woodstock Presbyterian Church in 1997. The Presbyterian Church found it difficult to survive in the deteriorating suburb. (Almost all their members had either left the area or passed away.) The Fountain of Joy Assemblies of God fellowship was in many ways an exception to the general indifference. From 1994, they conducted five o’clock prayer meetings every morning on weekdays.
Almost before our eyes we could see God starting to use these two fellowships of Woodstock - to gradually change the face of the suburb. The restored churches, respectively in Clyde and Aberdeen Streets, that once had been the shame of local Christianity, now stood there as a visible testimony to God’s renewal power in that suburb. We prayed that something similar would happen in the spiritual realm.

Involvement in Walmer Estate and Salt River
Our involvement in the adjacent suburbs of Walmer Estate and Salt River started with prayer walking. In the latter instance it became the prelude to a children’s club that we began with Marika Pretorius - a SIM Life Challenge missionary colleague - after our return from ‘home assignment’ in Europe in 1995. (Marika had been used by God to introduce us to families in Bo-Kaap, and as a link to the Alpha Centre in Hanover Park, where we also conducted children’s clubs from 1993 to 1995). In our absence she did further spadework work with a holiday club in Salt River in the Burns Road Community Centre.
At some stage Marika brought along her room-mate and co-worker from their Dutch Reformed congregation in Panorama, Jenny van den Berg. When Marika left for Germany to work among Turkish people, not only did Jenny become our valued co-worker in Salt River, but in due course she was to become one of the regular lecturers at the annual Muslim Evangelism course at the Bible Institute of South Africa that we started in 1996 under the umbrella of Christian Concern for Muslims (CCM). After we had handed the children’s work in Salt River to Eric Hofmeyer, Jenny van den Berg pioneered a similar ministry in Woodstock, based at the local Baptist Church, where she ministered until 2009.
More Lessons of March 1994
The mission week became one big lesson in spiritual warfare. One morning at the early time of prayer that started at 5 a.m. - Rosemarie shared what she had ‘discovered’ in Galatians 1:8,9 - viz. that even an angel can bring a false message if that would deviate from the original Gospel revealed in Scripture. This amplified to us the origins of the Qur’an, that Muslims believe was brought to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. It is well-known that the crucifixion of Jesus is denied in the Muslim sacred book. We were filled with more compassion towards the Muslims as we discovered that they and their religion's founder have been deceived unwittingly. This became to me the pristine beginnings of a major study of the Angel Gabriel in the Bible, the Qur’an, the Talmud and the Ahadith. (The latter are Islamic traditions of Muhammad’s words and deeds that are regarded as equal in authority to the Qur’an.) After studying the content of the ‘revelations’ that Muhammad was said to have received, it was all too clear that the Qur’anic Gabriel was not identical with the Biblical angel who had visited Mary and Elisabeth. The Nestorian Syrian monk Bahira who had purportedly suggested to Muhammad that he would be a prophet when he was a mere 12 years old, obviously did him a great disservice. This sent his originally Christian wife Khadiyah and her priest cousin Waraqah bin Naufal on a completely misleading path.
Another lesson of the mission week was quite painful to me. When I taught the students something about the history of Islam in the Western Cape, I broke down in tears. I had to discover that deep in my heart there was still resentment towards the Dutch Reformed Church. I suppose that it developed when I saw how the denomination opposed the government when Mr P.W. Botha and his Cabinet were ready to remove the law commonly known as the Mixed Marriages Act from the statute books. (That was the law which had caused my exile.)
Two of the student participants at the mission week were Kalolo Mulenga and Orlando Suarez, respectively from Zambia and Mozambique. The seed had already been sown in my heart to see South(ern) African Blacks as future missionaries. Now the increasing number of expatriates in Cape Town came into my vision as future missionaries to their own people just like the Samaritan woman of John 4. The lessons in cross-cultural outreach that the Master Teacher passed to us through this chapter, would guide us during the next few years profusely. I not only used the conversation of our Lord Jesus with a woman from another culture as a prime example for the outreach to Cape Muslims, but we were now concentrating on the local converts from Islam. We noticed how much more effectively they were reaching out to their own people.66
The consistent omission of the Cross
in the Qur’an could not be coincidence
The deeper I delved into the origins of Islam and the Qur'an, the more I discovered how deceptive the arch enemy was, that he has indeed been masquerading as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14); that the consistent omission of everything alluding to the Cross in the Qur’an cannot be coincidence.67 This discovery came about when I prepared teaching for a group of Muslim background believers and when I wrote the script for a radio series on great personalities of the Abrahamic religions.

Slaughtering of Sheep in Bo‑Kaap
During our sharing of the Gospel with Cape Muslims we felt like trying to hit a brick wall. We were reminded of the book Peace Child that we had been reading during our missionary orientation in Bulstrode, England. In this book Don Richardson, the author, had been praying for a key to the hearts of the tribal people they attempted to reach. We now also started to pray for a key to the hearts of the Cape Muslims.
Witnessing the Islamic slaughtering of sheep in Bo‑Kaap on two occasions was a real blessing to Rosemarie and me. The ceremony really brought to light the biblical prophecy of Isaiah 53 that I had learnt by heart as a child. To see how the sheep went to be slaughtered ‑ without any resistance ‑ reminded us of Jesus, whom John the Baptist called the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. We sensed that we had been given the key to minister to Cape Muslims. In subsequent years we noticed how many of them opened up whenever we shared from our experience at the slaughtering of sheep in Bo‑Kaap.
That Muslims commemorate the sacrifice of Abraham at their major Eid celebration, made me aware how near to each other the three world religions Christianity, Judaism and Islam actually are. The narrative of Abraham and the sacrifice of his son is central to all three faiths.
It surely was a blessing to discover somewhere along the line that according to the Jewish Midrash - so much part and parcel of the rabbinic oral teaching traditions - Isaac was purported to have carried the fire‑wood for the altar on his shoulder just like someone would carry a cross. The voluntary ‘binding of Isaac’ was another notable tenet among the many features of common ground. I learned that the Jews nevertheless still have a big objection: that human blood is not acceptable for purposes of sin atonement. For me as a Christian, this objection is sufficiently covered when I take into account that the prophecy of Isaiah 53 saw the suffering servant as a sheep brought to be slaughtered. (To us as Christians the suffering servant is a clear pointer to Jesus, the Lamb of God.) In the oral tradition of Islam the son to be sacrificed sadly became Ishmael.
Special Answers to Prayer
It was special to see how our prayers for the suburb of Woodstock were being answered. Soon after the mission week we heard that the local Assemblies of God fellowship under the leadership of their young pastor William Tait, had started with early morning prayer meetings. Every weekday, at 5 a.m., a few church members would intercede for a change in their crime-ridden residential area. The small Woodstock Baptist Church decided to call a minister. Edgar Davids, their choice, proved to be a real visionary and a devout man of God. The minute fellowship took the bold step in faith to buy and renovate the ruin of the old Dutch Reformed Church in Aberdeen Street.
There was also some fruit to observe in our ventures with Muslim background believers. We invited Zane Abrahams, Adiel Adams, Salama Temmers68 and Majiet Pophlonker to come to our home to discuss the possibility of starting a monthly meeting in Bo-Kaap as the forerunner to planting a church in the Muslim stronghold. The character of the planned meeting was completely changed when apart from Louis Pasques, one of the local Baptist church leaders, also two other ministers from that denomination turned up. Nelson Abraham belonged to the mission committee of the denomination and Angelo Scheepers was the regional coordinator. They had the idea that we should plant a denominational Baptist church in Bo-Kaap. Graham Gernetsky, the senior pastor of the local congregation, had already become excited when I pointed out during my teaching during the mission week that their former daughter churches in Jarvis Street in Bo-Kaap and Sheppard Street in District Six had been victims of the Group Areas Act.
Perhaps it might have been easier to try and start up a denominationally linked Baptist congregation in the former church building in Jarvis Street that now belonged to the Cape Town Photographic Society. However, I resisted the idea vehemently, thinking of all the Muslim background believers in the Cape who came from different denominations. Adiel Adams supported me in my views, but he then also suggested that we should start an over-arching ministry across the Peninsula. We subsequently pursued this idea.

The Birth of Friendship Ministries
The support of Adiel was important because the dynamic Angelo Scheepers, the Western Cape co-ordinator of the Baptist Union at that time, is his brother-in-law. I insisted that a convert from Islam should lead such an initiative. Before long Friendship Ministries was born under the leadership of Adiel Adams. The decision was however not strategic, because the emphasis was shifted from Bo-Kaap through this move.
My second sermon in the Cape Town Baptist Church on John 4 was held in May, just after the unique elections on 27 April 1994. I had invited Zane Abrahams to come and give his testimony at that occasion. Due to a misunderstanding and deficient communication, he didn’t come. I erroneously thought that I now had to make up for it time-wise. I shared far too much from our own personal experience. That was unfortunate. I had unwittingly offended some church members when I made a joke out of the fact that Rosemarie was expected to come into the country without her husband on our honeymoon journey. I was not asked anymore to complete my series of three sermons on John 4. An important reason for the indifference to Muslims hereafter was that the church leadership became embroiled in internal bickering. Interest in any outreach, least of all to the Muslims, waned in the months that followed. A week of early morning prayer with the evangelist Bob Bosworth, hyped up some excitement but the writing was already on the wall. There was no real unity left. The basic ingredient for any effective congregational outreach is internal unity.
Praying for the Conversion of Muslims
The miracle happened that has been documented in many books - peaceful elections countrywide. Nobody could deny that this was God’s supernatural intervention: the result of the countrywide prayer effort that had been ignited by the St James Church massacre. (This also happened in other African countries, notably in Kenya.)
A concrete positive of 1994 was a movement towards Christ in many Muslim countries. In 1992 mission leaders had decided to call the Christians worldwide to pray for the Muslim world during Ramadan. This was a natural follow-up of the call of Open Doors for ten years of prayer for the Muslim world in 1990. Everybody was still vividly remembering the spectacular result of the seven years of prayer for the Soviet Union.

Effects of the Jesus Marches of 1994
Jesus Marches were planned for a Saturday in June 1994 all over the world. In a letter from our friend and missionary colleague Chris Scott from Sheffield (England) he wrote about their preparations for a Jesus March in their city. Inquiries on this side of the ocean landed the co-ordination of the whole effort in Cape Town into my lap. I had high expectations when I co-ordinated about 20 prayer marches in different parts of the Cape Peninsula, liaising closely with Danie Heyns and Chris Agenbach, two Afrikaners, with regard to the northern suburbs of the city and the immediate ‘platteland’ (country side). Strategic contacts were forged at this time, notably to churches in Mitchells Plain and Logos Baptist Church in Brackenfell.
I hoped that the Jesus Marches would result in a network of prayer across the Peninsula. However, the initial interest that our second attempt that an updated slide series had stimulated, fizzled out. I deduced that we should do a lot more to stimulate the unity of the body of believers. In the run-up to the Jesus Marches I shared for the first time publicly what I had researched about the spiritual influence of the Kramats, the shrines on the heights of the Cape Peninsula.
A strategic contact of this initiative was Trefor Morris, who was closely linked to Radio Fish Hoek, a pioneering Christian Cape radio station. Trefor had been a regular of our Friday lunch time prayer meeting until his retirement. He had been a link to the radio station, when we were invited to come and give some advice and teaching to the ‘prayer friends’ of the station who had to speak to those Muslims who phoned Radio Fish Hoek. His radio series on old churches was valuable to me as an inspiration for further research. It was also a model for a series on biblical figures in the Qur’an and the Talmud that was transmitted via the radio station towards the end of 1997 and repeated in 1999.
Another important contact of this initiative was Freddie van Dyk, a link to the Logos Baptiste Gemeente in Brackenfell. Freddie van Dyk’s attendance at our Friday lunch hour prayer meeting led to very strategic hospital outreach.
Muslim Background Believers come to the Fore
At one of our first discussions with Manfred Jung, a missionary colleague, the idea came up to write down the testimonies of converts from Islam. In June 1992, Majiet Pophlonker and Zane Abrahams, two Muslim-background believers and their families, visited our home. After hearing Majiet’s moving story, seed was sown in my heart to write down the testimonies of converts from Islam.
I enjoyed collating the testimonies from some of the Muslim background believers, sometimes making notes at meetings and once I went with a tape recorder to a house. The result was ‘Op soek na waarheid’, a booklet that we wanted to launch at a prayer seminar in January 1995. Elizabeth Robertson - one of our regular prayer warriors - was on hand to draw a beautiful cover for the booklet that was later also translated into English. I had hoped that the publication of Search for Truth would become a CCM (Christian Concern for Muslims) joint venture. Knowing how volatile testimonies are, my missionary colleagues however all got cold feet. In the end we had to publish it under the name of WEC alone. Later I also wrote other testimonies of Muslim background believers for distribution as tracts.
Special networking however did take place when Pastor Johnnie Louw, a retired Bible School principal of the AFM, requested different missionary colleagues to write a chapter apiece for a booklet on sharing your faith to Muslims. Originally written in Afrikaans, he had it translated into English. Thereafter it was distributed in different countries. Elisabeth Robertson from our Middle East prayer group, made a drawing for the cover of Sharing your Faith with your Muslim Neighbour, as she had been doing for our booklet Op Soek na Waarheid / Search for Truth.

A special Object Lesson
The Lord encouraged us after someone had tried to steal a special plant from our garden. The plant had one beautiful flower on it. Rosemarie was awakened in the early morning hours by sounds outside the house. When we switched on the light, the damage was already done. The thief ran away, but this turned out to become God’s way to teach us an important lesson. The plant looked completely ragged and ruined after it had been uprooted. Carol Günther, a participant at our church home ministry group, gave us the valuable advice to put the plant back into the soil and tie a stick to it.
In her quiet time, the Lord ministered to Rosemarie: we had to be such a stick to the spiritual casualties. Unlike other Christians who would only judge and condemn our battered brothers and sisters, we had to support them. The object lesson turned out to be a special blessing to the suicidal Muslim background believer when we told him about the plant. He had really thought that there was no purpose in life left for him. He could see how the plant had recovered. It took a few years until he got back onto the road spiritually.
At this stage I also started to attend a prayer meeting of young Baptist ministers and theological students in Woodstock. The visionary Edgar Davids - who still was a final year seminary student, had been the initiator. I was excited, hoping that pastors would at last start to pray together for revival in the islamised residential area. Was God answering our prayer walking in and for the area with some of Edgar’s student colleagues the previous year?
The New Year 1995 started well. We received a substantial gift from Tante Helene Gösele, the godmother of Rosemarie, a retired dentist, which we saw as God’s provision to enable us to book air tickets for our four-month home assignment in Holland and Germany. Our home church is in the former country; Rosemarie’s family and other supporting friends are in the latter one. There were also sufficient funds for the printing of 500 copies of Op Soek na Waarheid.

The Friday Prayer Meeting a Blessing once again
June Lehmensich was one of the regular attendees at our Friday prayer meetings. She introduced various workers and believers at the Cape Metropolitan Council that went through a complete re-organization in 1997. Reggie Clarke became one of the new participants. Through him our contact to the Lighthouse Christian Centre of Parow received some more substance. This was one of the churches with which I had close contact when I co-ordinated the Jesus Marches in 1994. The early promise of this contact in 1994 unfortunately soon faded, but it was revived in 1997 through the involvement of Eben Swart, who belonged to the same congregation. I was happy to help facilitate the link to Eddy Edson, who had been the driving force of the meetings of ‘Coloured’ ministers. In October 1999 the Transformation video was shown there. This turned out to become a vital cog in the run-up to the Global Day of Prayer.

Snippets from our Hospital Ministry
The hospital ministry, led by Rosemarie and June Lehmensich, had interesting ramifications. At the Groote Schuur Hospital69 she and June especially started visiting the cancer ward. A very special case occurred when we heard about a patient, Ayesha Hunter, who had undergone surgery. Rosemarie understood that the ‘Muslim lady’ had more or less been sent home to die. This sort of situation was of course happening quite regularly from time to time in the cancer ward. The name wrung a bell though. We had heard from other Christians about her as a secret believer.
What a surprise it was when Reggie Clarke, a church member of the Lighthouse Christian Centre, mentioned at one of our Friday prayer meetings that Ayesha was to share her testimony at one of their church home cell meetings. It turned out that the Lord had touched her body, healing her. She was now ministering to patients on behalf of the Cancer Association. Soon a contact was established. In subsequent years the Lord would use Ayesha profoundly, notably in the radio ministry.

Other Attacks on spiritual Strongholds
We were rather disappointed at the visible results of our training courses in Muslim Evangelism at different venues. June Lehmensich was one of very few who started to pray and work with us committedly thereafter. We knew of course that God often works in mysterious ways. A special version of it happened when we conducted a ten week teaching course at the Logos Baptist church in Brackenfell. There appeared to be no immediate success. Not a single participant joined us as co-workers from that group. Yet, a few of the participants were deeply impacted. Among the participants there were for instance Johan Groenewald and his wife Christine, as well as Cheryl Müller, whom we picked up every week in District Six. The Groenewald couple took the message to the rural village of Eendekuil where he found a willing ear in Chris Saayman, the Dutch Reformed minister.

Spiritual Change ignited by Black Africans
The influx of exploited Black Africans who sometimes shared their accommodation with other refugees who work at night70 in Woodstock and Salt River, helped to change the spiritual complexion of the suburbs which had become Islamic in the early 1990s. Small churches with especially French speakers sprang up all over from Woodstock to Maitland and Observatory. These refugee believers brought into the area the practice of all-night prayer from Friday to Saturday, a phenomenon that had become common in Central Africa. The sad side of this is that the seed of Prosperity Theology that entered the country in the 1980s, manifested itself amongst the new small churches in the most wicked and evil ways. Eloquent ‘pastors’ sprang up all over who were merely seeking a convenient life-style, abusing the national or language affinity of their refugee compatriots. This made their days of fasting and all night prayer meetings hypocritical, the sort of thing that God hates (Isaiah 58).71
As the Black Africans moved into these residential areas, racist ‘Coloureds’ started moving out. Seed for a new South Africa was nevertheless sown. Tolerance towards our African brothers and sisters germinated. During the violence in 2008 there was not a single serious xenophobic incident in these suburbs.
19. Involved in doctrinal Apologetics

When I mentioned the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 60 that referred to the two eldest sons of Ishmael and the 'camels of Midian' in a Messianic context as part of a devotional in our Friday lunch-hour prayer meeting, the Lord spoke to a young woman, Gill Knaggs. Gill was merely attending our prayer meeting on a one-off basis. The Isaiah prophecy was to me personally a great encouragement to expect Muslims to come to the Lord in due course in a significant way. (We had started praying for the Muslim world as part of an Open Doors call to do it for ten years.) But this set her in motion to pray about getting involved in full-time mission work. Soon Gill was used by God to get YWAM in South Africa more interested in the Muslims. Concretely, an interest developed for Egypt, where the mission agency started to network with the Coptic Church in that country via the links through Mike Burnard of Open Doors.

Networking between various Mission Agencies and Churches
CCM (Christian Concern for Muslims), a networking organism of different mission agencies, churches and individuals was founded by Gerhard Nehls, a German pioneer missionary, with a few other role players in 1982. A result of this networking was MERCSA (Muslim Resource Centre of South Africa), which co-ordinated literature for Muslim Evangelism. The co-operation of different mission agencies became especially practical through the initiative to join forces in the training of prospective missionaries to Muslim countries. This started as an effort to bring teaching on Muslim Evangelism to the Cape Bible Schools and Colleges, a project in which SIM and WEC joined forces. Dr Roger Palmer of the YMCA and a board member of the Bible Institute of South Africa (BI) aired his vision to me – to get a centre for missions established at BI. I had already been in discussion with Manfred Jung of SIM to get a venture off the ground related to Muslim Evangelism training. I had already been phoning around various Bible Schools of the Cape Peninsula to find out what was taught at the in this regard.
After Colin Tomlinson, a missionary of MECO (Middle East Christian Outreach), returned from the field, the BI as venue was secured.

Was our Ministry a Threat?
One of the students at our first Bible Institute course for prospective missionaries in January 1996 was a staff member of Youth with a Mission (YWAM) with a link to the His People Church. She asked me to come and teach at the YWAM base in Muizenberg.
That our ministry could be presenting some threat not only in the spiritual realm, got home to us after Rosemarie and I had been teaching at the Muizenberg Youth with a Mission base in the first quarter of 1996. At this time Mark Gabriel,72 a former shaykh and academic from Al Azhar University in Egypt, had just come to Muizenberg to do a Discipleship Training School (DTS) there. He had to flee his home country after he had decided to become a follower of Jesus. Also in Johannesburg there had been attempts to assassinate him. The YWAM leaders requested us to host Mark for the practical part of his DTS. We gladly obliged.
The presence of Mark in our home turned out to be a very fruitful two-way experience; I learnt such a lot from him, for example when he referred to the Ebionites. My own ‘discovery’ that Muhammad, the founder of the religion, had been intensely influenced by the Ebionite Jews, led to more studies in Judaism and subsequently to my personal discovery of the Ebionite Jewish-Christian roots of Islam.
I proceeded to examine other roots of that religion in heretical Christianity.73 I detected very soon that Christianity had a much greater debt to pay in respect of Islam than I was aware. I learned that Muhammad had been misled by a sectarian view of Biblical belief. I discerned that this is only one of many causes of what I dubbed ‘the unpaid debt of the church’. I wrote a treatise with that title. How sad I was when I discovered how Islam adopted one doctrine after the other from heretical Christianity; yes, that even reputable theologians and church fathers like Augustine played a role in this development. And then there was the role of the emperor Constantine, driving a rift between the Jews and Christians when he gave special favours to the latter group. I was also reminded how paganism was made fashionable via the worship of the sun god, making Sunday a compulsory day of rest in 321 CE. This was destined to keep me uneasy for many years. When I shared this with Christians, there was surprise, but also opposition and denial. Like the harsh realities around the practices of apartheid in the not too distant past, it seems to be difficult for followers of Christ to swallow these hard truths.

Mark Gabriel on the Run again
Mark Gabriel’s presence was not without hiccups. He joined me on a preaching engagement at the Moravian Church in Elsies River on the last Sunday of July 1996 where our friend Chris Wessels was the pastor.74 There we offered copies of Against the Tide in the Middle East, Mark’s testimony and Search for Truth for sale. I made a serious blunder, omitting to warn the congregation to pray before they would pass any autobiographical booklet to Muslims. In the evening Mark shared his testimony at a youth service at the same venue, with young Christians from other churches of the area attending. Three days later, on Wednesday 31 July, it was clear that Mark’s life was in danger yet again. Heinrich Grafen, a German missionary colleague, phoned me to warn us that Maulana Petersen was looking for Mark. A few minutes later Maulana Petersen phoned me as well, enquiring after the whereabouts of the apostate from Egypt who wrote a booklet with very offensive material. (It was possibly not very wise of Mark to include a comparison of Muhammad and Jesus at the back in his booklet. He intimated in the monograph that Muhammad was inspired by the devil. We had another Salman Rushdie75 case on our hands; in fact, we had him in our home!)
The ‘co-incidence’ of a combined meeting of the home ministry groups at the Cape Town Baptist Church the same evening gave us the opportunity to share the need of a hide-out for Mark. That turned out to become a decisive stepping-stone for a committed Afrikaner believer, Debbie Zaayman.76 She offered her flat as a hiding place because she was going away for a few weeks.
The public execution of Rashaad Staggie by PAGAD (People Against Gangsterism and Drugs) a few days later on 4 August 1996 was the next major stimulus for prayer. It brought personal relief to us, because in the resulting turmoil the fundamentalist Muslims apparently forgot to hunt further for Mark Gabriel!

The unpaid Debt of the Church
Very soon I detected that Christianity had a much greater guilt to pay in respect of Islam than I was aware. I learned that Muhammad had been misled by a sectarian view of Biblical belief. I discerned that this is only one of many facets of what I dubbed ‘The unpaid debt of the church’. I wrote a treatise with that title, as well as one on the roots of Islam in heretical Christianity. How sad I was when I discovered how Islam adopted one doctrine after the other from heretical Christianity; I had to find out that even reputable theologians and church fathers like Augustine played a role in this development.
And then there was the role of the emperor Constantine, driving a rift between the Jews and Christians when he gave special favours to the latter group. In my private study the guilt of the Church through the estrangement between Jewish believers and other Christians because of the advantages given by Emperor Constantine had become quite significant. I was also reminded how paganism was made fashionable via the worship of the sun god, when the emperor made Sunday a compulsory day of rest in 321 AD. This was to keep me uneasy for many years. When I shared this with other Christians, there was surprise, but also opposition and denial. Like the harsh realities around the practices of apartheid in the not too distant past, it seems to be very difficult for followers of Christ to swallow these hard truths. All efforts to publish the treatises via established companies failed.77
Ishmael and Isaac: Sons of Abraham
As I studied different biblical figures in the Bible that are also found in the Qur’an - for use in our meetings with our Muslim background believers - a pattern became clear. I discerned that all pointers to the Cross of Calvary in the 'Old Testament' have been consistently omitted in the Qur’an. To double check my discovery, I also studied the same personalities in the Jewish Talmud. Here I was struck by a further tenet, viz. how close early Christianity was to Judaism. I thought that many Christians might have to be reminded forcefully that both Ishmael and Isaac were sons of Abraham and that Jesus was a Jew. I discovered furthermore that the traditional rivalry of Jews78 and Muslims has been depicted rather weakly in the Pentateuch: Moses was living quite peacefully among the family of Jethro, a Medianite priest. Even though I knew that one should not equate Muslims with Ishmaelites, it was nevertheless good to discover that the Midianites were regarded as Ishmaelites (Judges 8:24, Gen. 37:25‑27).
Someone pointed out to me that the descendants of Ishmael are actually referred to in the Bible much clearer than I had ever thought. In the context of Messianic prophecy and global salvation, Isaiah 60 speaks of various peoples who will come to God when they see His light. To some Christian people ‑ and very likely also to Jews ‑ it was discomforting that among those who will come to the glory of the returning (coming) Messiah will be ‘Midianites’, who are regarded by many as the traditional enemies of God’s people. In fact, Kedar and Nebaioth, the two eldest sons of Ishmael, are mentioned by name (Isaiah 60: verses 6 and 7). More and more I discovered that the enmity between the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac is definitely not deeply embedded in the 'Old Testament'.79 The tradition that Muslims and Jews have been eternal enemies and should remain so is obviously part of Satan’s strategy of divide and rule. Only many years later I would 'discover' that the two sons of Abraham actually buried their father together (Genesis 25:9), possibly reconciled to all intents and purposes. That Arabs and Jews who came to faith and Jesus are often praying and worshipping together in Israel opposes to the demonic tradition.

An 'ambivalent' View of the Nature of God
I detected ‑ as I was re‑reading a portion of the letter of Paul to the Romans ‑ that a biblical view of the nature of God does also include one that many knowledgeable Christians would normally describe as Judeo‑Islamic: the perception of a rigid almost harsh God who wills what he wants, who rules almost despotically. This is completely in line with portions of the 'OT' where God seems almost unjust, e.g. when
he required Abraham to sacrifice his only 'remaining' son. That Jeptha made a vow rashly which he honoured by sacrificing his daughter is another one of those difficult scriptural portions. Later I discerned that these sacrifices of children - were mere pointers to the ultimate divine sacrifice of God himself, allowing His only Son, the Lamb of God, to die for the sins of the world/
With this position that God is almost capricious or wanton, Christians might not feel very happy, but it is nevertheless vaguely present in the 'New Testament'.80 Both 'NT' and 'OT' agree: God does act sovereignly, but he nevertheless does not treat people like robots.
Jeremiah 18:7ff has special actuality for Capetonian believers. Evangelicals who think that God is obliged to bring to pass the many prophecies over the Mother City - without united repentance and prayer on our side - would do well to see that the Bible forces a good rethink on the matter: ‘...And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it’. The believers ‑ and I refer to Jewish ones in particular ‑ have a pivotal role to play viz. ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. South Africa saw in 1994 how God miraculously intervened after fairly wide-spread spontaneous prayer. The only flaw was that there was not a semblance of joint expression of gratitude for the Almighty’s sovereign deliverance from massive bloodshed afterwards. May we have learned from that experience, to improve on that performance in future!
I became convinced that if Christians were willing to accept corporately that we cannot put God into a box of Western Theology ‑ the Scriptures have originated in the Orient ‑ we might find Muslims and Jews more open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A more complete message seems to be: God is loving and forgiving, he is slow to anger but there comes a time when continued sinning will call forth his wrath.81 (Somehow quite the opposite came through to Islam. The Qur’an says that Allah is swift in taking account (Surah 24:39), quick in retribution (Surah 7:167). Furthermore, the verse from Jeremiah 18 quoted above repudiates the Islamic doctrinal tenet that God does not change His mind.) The Bible repeats more than once that the Almighty is in principle unchangeable and sovereign, but not arbitrary and aloof. Compassionate and remorseful prayer moves him, especially when it is done corporately. We note e.g. how the Ninevites averted the destruction of their city through corporate repentance as a result of Jonah’s preaching.

Moderate Cape Muslim Clerics
As we got to know Cape Islam better, we concluded that the ulema (Cape Muslim clergy in general) are not of the extremist type. I still believe that the vocal, violent expression ‑ e.g. of some Muslims who were taken on tow by the slogans of PAGAD (People Against Drugs And Gangsterism) ‑ represents a small minority of Cape Islam. This was demonstrated when the Cape ulema (Islamic clergy) strongly objected to the execution of the drug lord Rashaad Staggie by PAGAD on 4 August 1996. Islamic clergy even distanced themselves from PAGAD at a later stage.
I am grateful to a Muslim academic of Bo‑Kaap, the late Dr Achmat Davids, where I could always pop in for a chat about my research. I was positively impressed how he reacted to my criticism of some of the things that he and Professor Robert Shell had been writing. Dr Davids actually encouraged me to go ahead with an attempt at publication in the quarterly periodical of the South African library.
Increasingly, I got to understand the difficulties and the day‑to‑day struggle of Muslims in their search to please God. The example of one of their prominent Sufi leaders, the late Maulana Sulaiman Petersen ‑ became to me the background to discover the equivalent of a Muslim in the Bible: the Roman centurion Cornelius (Acts 10). The Roman soldier excelled through his giving to the poor and his regular prayers. God who sees the heart, responded to the alms to the poor and regular prayers ‑ which would be the equivalent of two pillars of Islam. Cornelius received a supernatural vision.
Unfortunately, the interaction with Maulana Sulaiman Petersen did not result in a positive outcome. After I had pointed out that whereas there might be different avenues to get to God, and that Jesus made it clear to which highway these minor roads should lead to, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes unto the Father but by me’, Maulana Petersen broke off the contact to me. The claim of Jesus might sound intolerant to some ears, but this is nevertheless the only way, the only door. It thus becomes a matter of take it or leave it. It would be fruitless to debate about the matter.
The net result of my research on Islam and the spread of this religion in the Western Cape has been a sense of tremendous guilt. I am aware that I cannot speak on behalf of all Christians, but I would please like to ask any Muslim readers to accept this as a personal confession. I pray that many other Christians will be able to ascribe to it in time to come.

Confessions and Apologies
I regard it as quite a shame on us as Christians, that after so many years of mutual contact, Muslims (and Jews?) at the Cape in general have still not heard clearly what Jesus Christ could mean to them. To all intents and purposes the vast majority have never come to understand the real, undistorted message of the Bible. Too glibly many Muslims have accepted the charge that the Bible has been changed.
Of course, it could be easily explained rationally in the South African context. In discussions that I have had with Muslims in the more distant past, it became quite clear that in their perception, Christianity was linked to the apartheid ideology. In my feeble attempts to speak about my faith, one argument that left me quite uncomfortable was the one that ‑ unlike Christianity ‑ there is no apartheid in Islam. I never tried to counter this allegation, even though I knew a) that Muslims also discriminate b) that the repugnant apartheid ideology was actually diametrically opposed to faith in the biblical Christ. It is fortunately common knowledge in the meantime that every attempt to justify apartheid with the Bible is tantamount to heresy. The bitter clashes between various factions of Islam are also no secret any more.
Another Brand of Apartheid?
We South Africans in general have allowed a sectarian brand of Christianity to cloud the issues. We have neglected to communicate the true message of the 'New Testament', e.g. that all walls of partition between human beings have been broken down through Jesus Christ. In fact, the first church in Jerusalem consisted of people from extremely diverse cultural backgrounds, although all of them were of Jewish extraction. Acts 13 shows however how various nationalities were represented in the leadership at Antioch, the first congregation that was formed after the persecution that scattered the initial Jerusalem church.
I had no good answer ready when one of my secondary school learners of Hanover Park asked me in 1981, 'Why do you have so many churches?' I have to confess that even at the present time Christians are still allowing doctrinal differences to confuse people of other religions. I call the disunity of churches a heresy82 ‑ another brand of apartheid ‑ because Jesus saw the unity of His followers as something of great importance. It is recorded in the Gospel (Injil) that He prayed for all those who would follow Him, to be one (John 17:21-23). John 17:23 is still valid, viz. 'that they may be brought to complete unity.'
Paul evidently also regarded this as of great importance. He taught not only about the different parts of the body (Romans 16 and 1 Corinthians 12), but he also wrote ‘Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit’. Paul evidently knew that unity is something to strive for and to work at. Earnestly he appealed to the bickering church in Corinth where factions had developed. He reprimanded even his own fans for hero‑worshipping him or the followers of Apollos and Peter, pointing to God alone who can give spiritual growth. His letter to the Corinthians included a moving plea: ‘I appeal to you brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ... that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought (1 Corinthians 1:10‑13 and 3:1‑5). Unanimity is by no means implied. In Ephesians 3:10 Paul taught that God's 'multi-coloured wisdom' is demonstrated into the spiritual realms through the church.

Unity as a biblical Priority
The teaching of unity as a biblical priority has been grossly neglected. Religious leaders through the ages fell into the trap of allowing themselves to be hero‑worshipped. They often caused splits and division through a strong emphasis on some doctrinal tenet. To our own detriment we lose out and miss the blessings God wants to give, where he is eager to command his blessings when there is unity.
In our own days we have seen prominent Christian leaders become victims of fame. In a subtle way the heresy of apartheid caused some believers to lose their sense of biblical priorities. Quite a few church leaders, who started off as committed believers in Jesus, were side-tracked in the struggle against apartheid. Many a pastor lost his passion and urgency to reach the spiritually lost. I was one of those who nearly lost my way in this regard.
I was deeply moved when I discovered that the theological issues with which Muslims have major problems (the Deity and Sonship of Jesus, as well as the Trinity) had been the very doctrines over which there has been such a lot of bickering among Christian theologians. Yes, even to‑day Christians often oppose each other on petty denominational and doctrinal issues, on wrong grounds. Shame on us! When are we going to learn that division and splits caused by competition and rivalry are diabolic and therefore demonic?
Thumbs down to hierarchical Church Structures
In the course of my studies in church history I became very much aware how demonic hierarchical structures really are. In the ‘NT' church plural non-hierarchical leadership seems to have been the norm. Presbyters and deacons were not regarded as titles but given respectively as a token of respectful honour and a function in serving. Pastors, teachers and evangelists were on a par as part and parcel of the four- or five-fold ministries. Likewise apostle was a function, those sent from the bosom of the church from which the word missionary was derived via the Latin missio.
The biblical model of mutual fellowship has hardly been practised better ever than among the Moravians of Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) in the ‘new world’ in the 1750s. ‘Seldom has even the most easy service executed with such holy reverence... a brother in the stable or in his manual work can ever think that he does nothing for the Saviour; whoever is faithful in the outward (things) is just as well a respectable servant of Christ as a preacher or a missionary.’ The joy with which they performed mundane tasks, intersperse with love feasts, could make one jealous. Even at work they would sing. Thus Spangenberg could write: ‘In our economy the spiritual and physical fit together like the body and soul of man...’

The Yoke of ritual Bondage
I refused to allow the hardening of attitudes e.g. in the wake of the PAGAD (People against Terrorism and Drugs) saga, to deter me from continuing my friendship to all and sundry ‑ more especially also to Muslims. I continued to pray that I might resemble Jesus more and more who gave His life for me, so that others also want to become followers of Jesus. As the years went by, we saw how many a Muslim was struggling under the yoke of ritual bondage. The question became even more pressing: How will those people who are still veiled ‑ for the ladies sometimes in a double sense ‑ ever get rid of the bondage? When my wife and I were reading 2 Corinthians 3 once again in 1996, we were reminded that Martin Luther only got into the freedom of Christ when he discovered that he needed a Saviour, i.e. after he got a deep sense of urgency about his sin. This is something that only God can sovereignly accomplish. Luther discovered that the law can drive one to Christ. Our Almighty God does not need us, but we can be instruments in His hands to change the world, especially through prayer. We had to spread the Word that Christians should especially pray that Muslims all over the world will start recognising that they have been demonically deceived, that the God of the age – satan himself – had been masquerading as an angel of light when Muhammad thought that an angel had inspired him.
The Lord encouraged us as we heard of Muslims coming to the Lord after receiving dreams and visions. I wrote down some of these stories. By 2002 Search for Truth 2 was ready to be printed. Also in Bo-Kaap there was movement, albeit nowhere the breakthrough we had been praying for. We had to come to grips with a strange phenomenon. The former morally sound area where there had been no known and open vice like gangsterism and prostitution started changing its complexion. An informal settlement had started by the end of the century and young girls would be fetched over the week-ends to augment family income with the approval of parents. We saw however only one Muslim lady from the stronghold coming to faith in Christ, a HIV patient who subsequently went to be with the Lord.

Outreach to Students
Evangelistic work on the campuses of the tertiary institutions by the Student Christian Organisation, which merged after the apartheid separation in 1965 (SCA, CSV and VCS), to a lesser extent the YMCA, but especially the work of His People Ministries and Jubilee Church may still see new missionaries in due course from an Islamic background going out of this country. The link to local missionaries among Muslims was forged after one of the members of His People Ministries had attended the two-week intensive course for prospective missionaries to Islamic countries at the Study Centre in Kalk Bay.
His People discerned that their evangelistic methods were causing tension between Christians and Muslims, especially on the UCT campus. This was aggravated by the strong presence of the radical Islamic group Qibla, which was also operating on the campus. In August 1998 someone from His People Ministries approached me to come and assist them to break down the unhealthy tension on the campus between evangelical students and radical Muslims. This resulted in negotiations for the training of students in non-threatening low-key evangelism.
In a sequel to a teaching stint at the Cape School of Missions in Ravensmead at the end of the millennium, I was introduced to Tim Makamu, a brilliant engineering student at the Cape Technikon. He was connected to His People Ministries. At that time I had been considering seriously to resume academic studies on a University campus, in interact with Muslim students in a natural environment. I was thus quite happy that my friendship to Tim Makamu ultimately led to me speaking at a lunch-time event in mid-2001 on the UCT campus that was attended by quite a few Muslim students.
The exposure of the true nature of the supernatural figure that gave the first Qur'anic revelation to Muhammad must have been quite a challenge to the UCT Muslim students, but their leader was nevertheless open to engage in comparative studies with me, along with interested Christian students. Quite a few Muslim students attended. A promising relationship was forged with the Islamic group on the campus. But then came the 11th September 2001 event in New York, which completely torpedoed the promising initiative. The Muslim students felt themselves beleagured and totally unsure, not willing anymore to engage in religious studies with Christians. This caused that initiative to crash.

Riding the Camel
Around 2006/7 a new evangelistic method came to our attention via Cobus Cilliers, a Cape missionary colleague. The Camel Method was devised in Bangladesh and published in the West as The Camel by Kevin Greeson, an American missionary. A Bangladeshi Muslim-raised follower of Jesus who had seen 20,000 Muslims coming to faith in Jesus, at the time had discovered that Chapter 3 of the Qur'an (Surah Imran) contains common ground with evangelical Christianity and popularised by the acronym CAMEL. That chapter speaks about Mary being Chosen by God for a special purpose and a special message of the virgin birth brought by Angels. This Miracle is followed by and more miracles in the later life of the baby to b born. He would lead the way to Eternal Life.
We only really started to use this method ourselves in evangelism after buying Greeson's book during our All Nations CPx training in the first term of 2008. In the aftermath of the visible mob xenophobia of that year I used it quite a lot in the Wingfield refugee camp. I soon discovered that the 'method' had to be used very cautiously. Those Muslim refugees with whom I had spoken there hereafter clearly avoided or me. The challenge was obvious. The limitations of the method became very clear after we had taken a young woman into our home who had been human trafficked to the country. Her conclusion was that the Bible and the Qur'an is the same. Nothing is less true because that very chapter highlights a major difference between the two religions, merely highlighting the dubious origins of the Qur'an. Surah Imran 3:45 speaks of angels (plural) bringing a message to Maryam whose name would be Messiah Isa, son of Maryam. In words very similar to those in Surah 3 The Angel Gabriel announces in Luke 1:31
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
But then it continues in verse 32
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: This would be completely contradicting view of Islam that Allah does not have a son.
19. Whippings and Lashes

Just after the Summer school holidays we had a Muslim seminar lined up in Rylands, a predominantly Indian residential area. That we could stage the seminar in a Muslim stronghold was already significant. For the rest, the seminar was not a resounding success. Our time schedule for the publication of Op soek na Waarheid, the testimony booklet, was much too tight. But this was only the start of many disappointments and attacks. It was clear that the booklet of testimonies was strategic in our spiritual fight against the arch enemy’s hold on Cape Muslims.
Just prior to the seminar I got to know Gerda Leithgöb, an intercessory leader from Pretoria. In preparation of the prayer seminar, I gave to Gerda , at that time still an unknown intercessor from Pretoria, some of my research on the establishment and spread of Islam. Among other things we interceded for a prayer network throughout Cape Town that could cause a breakthrough in the hearts of Muslims.

Spiritual Forces Unleashed
We still had little clue of the spiritual forces that are unleashed during the Islamic month of Ramadan. We still had to learn that because we had been thrust into the front line of the spiritual battle at the Cape. We needed a lot of prayer covering.
The battle really heated up during Ramadan 1995. Our nerves were tested in the extreme when our two-monthly missionary allocation did not arrive. It left the bank in Holland all right, but inexplicably it never arrived in the FNB bank account of our mission headquarters in Durban. In the meantime we started using the money that was scheduled for the air tickets for our home assignment in Holland and Germany. Some tense weeks followed when the airline with whom we had booked but not paid, cancelled our seats. (Cape Town was fast becoming a favourite destination for tourists in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup in our country.) The tension in the family to get seats became so bad that everyone in the family forgot our 20th wedding anniversary on 22 March.

A Red-letter Day
The wedding anniversary - twenty years after the special ceremony in the Moravian Church of the Black Forest village Königsfeld - nevertheless turned into a red-letter day. On that memorable Wednesday morning we baptized five converts who came from Islam, including Shahida,83 a female convert from Hanover Park and Nasra Stemmet from Woodstock. At that occasion we also heard about Johaar Viljoen, who had won over many Christians to Islam in his Islamic hey-day. (The former imam came to faith in Jesus in the prison of Caledon. His conversion in 1992 - a demonstration of the power of prayer - shook many Islamic inmates who regarded him as their imam.)
On the evening of 22 March 1995 the home ministry group of our fellowship sprang a big surprise on us. We had no clue what they were up to when the group came to our home for a special farewell. Everybody in the family had forgotten that it was our wedding anniversary, but Carol Günther did not. She arranged with the participants to bring along some eats to make it a very special celebration. The day became perfect when the gentleman of Club Travel, who had been working overtime, phoned at approximately 21h that he could secure seats for all of us. This was thus only a few days before our intended departure! The three older children could fly on a youth fare of Lufthansa, with the rest of us flying Air France.
Ministering to the Alien in our Gates
Our Friday lunch hour prayer meeting became the start of yet another venture after Daniel, a believer from Eerste River, a distant suburb in the north of our city, who had been a regular participant in the beginning of these prayer meetings in 1992, popped in again one day. He challenged us, mentioning the many French-speaking Muslim street traders from West Africa, who have been moving into the city: ‘Have you ever considered doing something about bringing the Gospel to them?’
In the meantime Louis Pasques, who was raised in an Afrikaner environment, had become the senior pastor of the Cape Town Baptist Church. He had not only been a regular participant at the Friday prayer meeting in the Koffiekamer, but he also speaks French. Due to this fact and possibly also because of a brave sermon in which Louis confessed on behalf of Afrikaners for the hurts to people of colour during the apartheid era, a few 'White' people left the church. More and more however, those from other races started attending.
We started to pray about the possible outreach to foreigners at our Friday lunch-hour meeting Koffiekamer. God surely used these occasions to prepare Louis Pasques’ heart. When the destitute Congolese teenager Surgildas (Gildas) Paka pitched up at the church, Louis and his wife Heidi sensed that God was challenging them to take special care of the youngster. When Louis and Heidi had their parents over for a weekend visit, they asked Alan Kay, an elder in the church, to take over the care for the Congolese teenager. Gildas crept into Alan’s heart. This was the catalyst to an extended and unusual adoption process. He and our son Rafael, who was now 17 years old, became quite close friends.

Start of new facets of ministry
At one of the first Friday lunch hour prayer meetings of early 1996 Freddie van Dyk, a brother from the Logos Baptiste Gemeente in Brackenfell joined us. I got to know him when we were planning the Jesus marches in 1994. At this Friday lunch hour prayer meeting we prayed about our vision to get into the hospitals to visit people outside of the regular visiting hours. Freddie mentioned a training course in pastoral counselling that his wife had attended. When we followed this information up, it resulted in Rosemarie attending such a course along with other befriended ladies. June Lemensich and Arina Serdyn, who had been regulars at our Friday prayer meeting, as well as Renate Isert, our SIM missionary colleague, attended the course. Dr Henry Dwyer, who heads up the pastoral work at the hospitals in the Cape, was an old friend of mine from our connections in the VCS, the student Christian movement in the 1960s.
Renate was quite impressed by the commitment and quality of the participants at the course. Then she came up with the bright idea of having a teaching course in Muslim Evangelism at the same venue in Lansdowne. Dr Dwyer welcomed the idea of giving me a slot at one of his teaching sessions to invite the participants to our proposed course. We made a terrible mistake with the name of the course, calling it ‘Sharing your faith with your Muslim neighbour’. This was possibly the reason for the church building, where we were going to have the course, to be arsonized.

When Edgar Davids became ill – his remaining one kidney started giving problems – I preached more regularly at the tiny Woodstock Baptist Church. Through a devout late member of this fellowship we heard about Munti Krysler, a Muslim nurse who had been divorced from a Swiss medical doctor. Through Munti we not only got to know a Bo-Kaap family in Bo-Kaap, but also her brother, the late Muslim leader, Maulana Sulaiman Petersen.
Via our friendship to a member of the Bo-Kaap family, Rosemarie got into a women’s craft club in the Muslim stronghold. Thus she got to know a few influential Muslim women of the Islamic stronghold quite well. Our ministry is very much based on friendships that we pray will become the basis of a church to be started in God’s time. Soon Rosemarie was going there every Thursday. This was really not much of a sacrifice to her. Home craft had been one of her hobbies that she had to stop reluctantly because of duties at home and other facets of our increased common ministry. It is wonderful how the Lord can use our skills and even our hobbies!

Two F’s - Frustration and Fight
The WEC conference of May 1996 was memorable in more than one sense. At an international leadership conference in 1994 the various sending bases were challenged to look at the remaining unreached people groups in terms of the gospel in their geographical areas. As I had already given much thought along those lines, e.g. through my document around South Africa as a goldmine for missionary recruitment, I took on the challenge to research the topic before the next conference for Southern Africa. I expected to be given the opportunity to share the result of my research with the rest of the conference in May 1996. Here however I experienced one frustration after the other till I had to leave by bus again on the Friday, without being given the opportunity to report back after many hours of research that I had engaged into on the RUPA’s, the Remaining Unreached People Groups of Southern Africa.
The same conference in early May 1996 had an interesting aside when we heard that Ahmed Deedat, the well known Muslim apologist, was admitted to hospital. With a missionary colleague from Brazil I went to the hospital where we prayed for Deedat, who was however in a coma.
Deedat had gone one step too far though. Local Christian clergymen including the missionary Dave Foster of AEF, requested Deedat to retract the offensive remarks he had made in a large advertisement in a Durban newspaper. They warned the well-known Muslim leader that he would have to reckon with God's wrath in the case of his refusal. True to his reputation, Deedat refused to do anything of the sort. Promptly he was knocked down by a stroke. An instance of divine wrath would have been a logical conclusion. But even after his partial recovery he gave no indication of repentance. For many years Deedat remained in a condition that resembled a coma, completely out of action.

Intercessors from different Areas
June Lehmensich, a regular at the Friday prayer meetings and an office worker for the City Council, had taken the pastoral clinical training course with Dr Dwyer in Lansdowne. She also attended the ‘Love your Muslim neighbour’ course at St James Church (Kenilworth) in 1996. Subsequently she became a pivotal figure as she spread the vision for prayer, taking it right into the Provincial Chambers and the National Parliament. June was simultaneously the personification of faithfulness and perseverance, as well as a link to a prayer group with a long tradition at the Cape Town City Council.
I organised the launch of the 30-day Muslim Prayer Focus booklets in the historic St Stephen’s Church of Bo-Kaap for November 1996 . Bennie Mostert arranged the annual countrywide distribution, ensuring that the vision of countrywide prayer for Muslims once a year was guaranteed. However, the bulk of agencies linked to Christian Concern for Muslims (CCM), which were in some way involved with Muslim outreach, never fully adopted the vision. Intercessors were coming together from different places once a month at the Sowers of the Word Church in Lansdowne, where the veteran Pastor Andy Lamb was the leader.
Sally Kirkwood, a Cape intercessor of note, had already been prepared by the Lord. She had started a prayer meeting at their home in Plumstead at her home for Cape Muslims in the mid-1990s with Arina Serdyn, an Afrikaner retired teacher. Along with other intercessors she became God’s instrument for increasing prayer awareness in the Mother City. Cynthia Richards from Africa Enterprise, and later a pastor of Camp Bay United Church, was another important cog in this regard. She visited the various Ministers Fraternals of the Peninsula, organising prayer meetings in preparation for an evangelistic campaign with Franklin Graham, the son of the renowned evangelist Billy Graham (I had given Cynthia the phone numbers which I used for the Jesus Marches of 1994). The Franklin Graham campaign was scheduled for April 1997.

Ramadan Attacks
In previous years we were on the receiving end of major spiritual attacks during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. In 1994 I twice had the experience that our car had to be towed away, but no fault found afterwards at the garage. The year thereafter Rosemarie was almost killed in a car accident and during the same period we were together in a car that skidded on the high way and miraculously we came out of the incident unscathed. In 1997 we experienced it almost as a satanic taunt when Rosemarie had symptoms of being pregnant just after Ramadan.
Prior to this we were quite happy when a daughter of a befriended Bo-Kaap family brought Rosemarie in touch with a home-craft club in the Muslim stronghold. A pregnancy would have meant an abrupt end to her involvement with the new friendships. A subsequent scan did not show any foetus. A month or two later, when she was admitted to hospital for a suspected miscarriage, there was no trace of any pregnancy when the gynaecologist scraped the womb. What was this all about? It was too strange to be mere chance.

The Start of new Facets of Ministry
At one of the first Friday lunch hour prayer meetings of early 1996 Freddie van Dyk, a believer from the Logos Baptiste Gemeente in Brackenfell, joined us. I got to know him when I was organizing Jesus Marches in 1994. At this Friday lunch hour prayer meeting we prayed about our vision to get into the hospitals to visit people outside of the regular visiting hours. Freddie mentioned a training course in pastoral counselling that his wife had attended. When we followed up this information, it resulted in Rosemarie attending such a course, along with other befriended ladies. June Lehmensich and Arina Serdyn had been regulars at our Friday prayer meeting. Dr Henry Dwyer, who headed up the pastoral work at the hospitals in the Cape, was an old friend of mine from our connections in the VCS, the student Christian movement in the 1960s.
Rosemarie was quite impressed by the commitment and quality of the participants at the course. One of the ladies aired the bright idea of having a teaching course in Muslim Evangelism at the same venue in Lansdowne. Dr Dwyer welcomed the suggestion of giving me a slot at one of his teaching sessions to invite the participants to our proposed course. However, we made a terrible mistake with the name given to the course, calling it ‘Sharing your faith with your Muslim neighbour’.

A Lebanon Scenario?
The PAGAD issue highlighted the fear of and resentment (sometimes even hatred by some Christians) towards Muslims. The veiled threat of a Muslim state was now mentioned more often than was healthy for good relations between the adherents of the two major religions at the Cape. On Friday 16 August 1996, unknown arsonists broke into the Uniting Reformed Church in Lansdowne. The arson attempt on the church building was thankfully downplayed in the press. Satanists were accused of the arson attempt. Thankfully the damage was not too extensive.
When Pastor Walter Ackermann phoned me after reading the article in the newspaper, we were seriously challenged because a course one evening per week was to have started at that church soon hereafter on the 27th of August, 1996. We had unwisely called the course ‘Sharing your faith with your Muslim neighbour’ in the pamphlets that we had printed to advertise the course. It could not be ignored that some intolerant Muslims tried to destroy the venue and thus to intimidate us. This was possibly the reason for the church building, where we were going to have the course, to be targeted for an attack.
We were unaware that Lansdowne was actually a PAGAD stronghold! With the arson attempt occurring only two weeks after the Salt River execution, the frightful possibility of a Lebanon scenario where the Christians and Muslims would fight each other drew scaringly close. It challenged followers of Jesus to get their act together. A wave of prayer followed, after which we decided to put out another ‘fleece’. It was decided to test the famous but ill-fated St James Church that had been attacked in July 1993 as a possible venue for our course, instead of cancelling it outright.84 The name of the 10-week course (one night per week) that eventually did take place at the St James Church in Kenilworth, was changed to ‘Love your Muslim neighbour’.

Some Fruit of Convert Care
We continued having meetings with a few converts from our area at our home on Sunday afternoons, trying to revive the little prayer cells we had envisaged, e.g. in Hanover Park when our vehicle was stolen. In the meantime we were able to buy another Microbus that we not only needed for the transportation of the family (We tried to go to Elim as often as possible to visit my parents), but also to bring people to the various meetings. One of the Muslim background believers was Alec Patel, who was still attending the remnant of the Moravian Hill congregation. (He was also a member there when I attended the seminary).
Alec Patel and his family were among the few Christians in Walmer Estate who succeeded in escaping the evictions in the wake of the Group Areas legislation. What a surprise it was when a young man present at Alec Patels 60th birthday celebration at their home in Walmer Estate mentioned that he had been at our house in Holland. Elroy Lawrence was one of the Spes Bona High School Students who attended the MRA conference in Caux in 1977. He was now a teacher at Salt River High School.
When I dropped Mark Gabriel one evening at their home in Salt River I was not aware that his wife Berenice was a teacher at St Paul’s Primary School in Bo-Kaap. Berenice Lawrence was deeply moved by Mark’s testimony. When I picked him up, she asked whether he could come to their school to share at the chapel hour. This was to us a special opportunity to impact the prime Islamic stronghold of South Africa. When the school principal turned out to be Jacques Jepthas, with whom I camped at Genadendal many years ago, the access to St. Paul’s seemed to have been prepared.
In September 1996 we suddenly got access to St. Paul’s Primary School through Berenice Lawrence. Berenice came up with the question whether I could bring people from other countries along to their school. I jumped at this idea to broaden the minds of the children, to open them up for the gospel in a non-threatening way. Soon I became well known to the kids as I brought Christians from all parts of the world to the school assembly.
Another result of the convert meetings was the maturing of Salama Temmers and her husband Colin who moved to the Good Hope Christian Centre after they left their church. Beleivers' Baptism had become an issue in their previous fellowship.

Formal Studies once again?
At the beginning of our stay in Tamboerskloof I joined the SIM (Society of International Ministries) Life Challenge team of Manfred Jung in Bo‑Kaap, Walmer Estate and Woodstock. I soon felt very uncomfortable with the method of knocking at strange people’s doors to speak to them about my faith.
A positive result of the door-to-door ministry was that I discovered that my knowledge of Islam was completely inadequate. I got permission from our leaders to do a post-graduate course in Missiology at the Bible Institute of South Africa (BI) in Kalk Bay with a special focus on Islam.
Things were nevertheless auguring well for the future. Our friend Jattie Bredenkamp, who had visited us in Zeist a few times and whom I had assisted to get some archive sources in Utrecht, had become professor of History at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). He assisted me in my research on the establishment and spread of Islam at the Cape for a study assignment. When I shared with him some of my discoveries, especially with regard to the misrepresentation of missions in the available literature - notably in the writings of Professor Robert Shell and Dr Achmat Davids - he encouraged me to publish my findings. Professor Bredekamp arranged with the South African Library to have a shortened version of my assignment printed in their quarterly journal. The idea was to let my article coincide with the tercentenary of the arrival of Sheikh Yusuf, but I could not meet the deadline. The research became the basis of a treatise which I called The Cinderella of Missions, highlighting the neglect of missionary work to Muslims and Jews.

The Struggle against the Giant Islam
A few more treatises were thereafter predominantly connected to the struggle against the ideological giant Islam. As I studied different biblical figures in the Bible that are also found in the Qur’an for use with our meetings with our Muslim background believers, a pattern became clear, namely that the cross is consistently left out in the Qur’an. To cross-check my discovery, I also studied the same personalities in the Jewish Talmud. Here I was struck – which of course should have been quite natural - how close early Christianity actually was to Judaism. I was very much aware that my critical writing about the Sabbath doctrine, i.e. the changing of the day of rest by the Emperor Constantine in 321 CE, could bring me into disrepute not only with all the mainline churches, but also with the evangelicals. I nevertheless used the results of my studies – I called them Pointers to Jesus - carefully in a radio series of the local CCFM in 1997, where we used another person as reader. I also used the material in our teaching courses in Muslim Evangelism. I read a more daring version of the series myself on radio in 1999 as midday devotionals. Fortunately there were no repercussions. This series was running concurrently with the Friday evening programme God Changes Lives where I was interviewing people from different religious backgrounds who came to faith in Jesus. I
The studies also sent me in search of the roots of Islam, when I discovered that virtually every single Islamic doctrine had a Judaic-Christian background. More work on manuscripts followed to which I gave the titles ‘The unpaid debt of the church” and “Is Islam a Christian sect?”85

A difficult Month
Personally I had to discover anew that a revival in the Mother City of South Africa would be God’s sovereign work. Our own experiences highlighted the need for more prayer. The necessity for the unity of the Body of Christ became even clearer to me.
The month of October 1996 was one in which we were tested in many ways, when we were very much involved in spiritual warfare. I started keeping a diary that went as follows at one time: ‘the attack starts not only very early in the month, but also early in the day. Neither Rosemarie nor I was able to sleep properly. For Rosemarie it was the second sleepless night in a row. She shares her concern that we were getting nowhere with our ministry: “For almost five years we have toiled here in Cape Town. And what have we achieved? Almost nothing! We might as well go back to Holland.” I concede that I also feel completely depressed.’
Rosemarie and I were prayer walking through Bo-Kaap in October 1996 once again when nobody else joined us for the Friday lunchtime prayer. We discerned how the churches around the Muslim stronghold had been ransacked in the period before that. We were blessed to see how the Lord brought some spiritual restoration in some of the local churches, but we still did not see it as our duty to get more involved in an attempt at the unification of the body of Christ. This only started to happen slowly at the end of 2003. But we made very little progress. The most progress in this regard was in the run-up to the Soccer World Cup in 2010, but thereafter it petered our again. Towards the end of 2011 I was reminded anew that I would toil in vain, unless the Lord builds the house (Psalm 127:2).

A significant evangelistic Campaign
Pastor Walter Ackerman from the Docks Mission Church in Lentegeur was one of few pastors I knew at this time who had a very broad vision for both missions and prayer. I could call on him on short notice for assistance, for example when a friend from Holland wanted to be baptised in the middle of winter (It was Pastor Walter Ackerman who phoned me, after he had been reading in the Week End Argus of the arson attempt of a church in Lansdowne in August 1996).
It was really significant for the Cape Town metropolis in April 1997 when churches across the Cape Peninsula and from almost every denomination joined hands for a big campaign on the Newlands Cricket Stadium with Franklin Graham. Pastor Walter Ackerman from the Docks Mission Church in Lentegeur and Pastor Elijah Klaassen from a Pentecostal fellowship in Gugulethu/ Crossroads, worked tirelessly to enlist people from the Cape Flats and Black churches respectively for this event. Transport from the townships was provided free of charge. This thus became the model for the Transformation stadium events of the new millennium.
I had met Elijah Klaassen the first time in 1981 when I was part of a church delegation in Crossroads when the government wanted to send women and children back to the Transkei. I met up with him by chance again in 1992 when he was addressing a group on the Grand Parade, an effort to challenge banks to give loans to Black entrepeneurs. My attempt to use him to rope Black pastors into a prayer network for the Peninsula was however not successful.

Regret expressed for Christian Folly?
It had come really as a special boon that Christians overseas started organising a Reconciliation Walk in 1996 following the path of the Crusades. Bennie Mostert of Jericho Walls faxed the lengthy confession of the organisers through to our Western Cape CCM (Christian Concern for Muslims) Forum on the very day that we had one of our meetings. It looked to me as if God had his hand in it. But it was not easy.
The lengthy confession was rejected
In our Forum meeting the lengthy confession was rejected because it was regarded as not relevant for us in South Africa. I managed to salvage the idea, suggesting that we should write our own confession. At our Easter CCM Conference 1997 at Wellington I had to remind the missionary leader colleagues about the confession. They were clearly not keen, promptly giving me the homework to write a draft and then pass it on to all the colleagues in preparation for our leaders’ meeting in October 1997. It was obvious that they were just procrastinating, but I did not want to let them off the hook so easily. To me the matter was much too important.
What a difference I experienced at the prayer seminar led by Gerda Leithgöb at the former Cape Evangelical Bible Institute (CEBI) soon hereafter, still in April 1997. The news of the sale of the former CEBI to Muslims coincided with the prayer seminar. What a sense of unity we experienced in spite of the proverbial 'Sword of Damocles' hanging over us as we gathered there!
The CEBI moved into bigger premises in Steurhof, the former Eton Convalescent Home. Financial constraints and dwindling student enrolment forced them to relocate to the former Landdros Hotel, that had become the property of HELP Ministries in rare irony. Rev. Colin Begby, the leader of this agency, had been a prime evangelical mover at the Cape in the early 1990s when he was pastor of the adjacent Surrey Estate Methodist Church, had sought to buy the CEBI buildings when he was outwitted and outbid by the Muslims.

Stemming the Islamic Tide
Pastor Danny Pearson, who led the believers of the fellowship at the premises for church services temporarily in the transition period of the sale of the former CEBI, also organised prayer walks in the area. That was definitely a seed that thwarted the march of Islam, which seemed to continue unabatedly. Muslims were buying up one property after the other all over the Peninsula.
Looking back, the sale of CEBI to Muslims was a defining moment, a major skirmish in the battle for the hearts between Islam and evangelical Christianity with serious losses on both sides. It ushered in the stemming the tide of rapid Islamic grow in the of the mid-1990s on the one hand, but it also signalled the decline of Bible Schools and missionary work in general at the Cape. The visit by Cindy Jacobs, an intercession leader from the USA, brought a significant number of ‘Coloured’ and White intercessors together at the Shekinah Tabernacle in Mitchells Plain at this time. She confirmed the need for confession with regard to the troubled District Six. Sally Kirkwood played a pivotal role, taking this burden on her shoulders. When she approached me in October 1997 in this regard, I had just started preparing a visit by a group of intercessors. The group was scheduled to come to the city the last week of that month. (This was included in the two-yearly initiative of intercession for breakthroughs in the so-called 10-40 window.)
At the sending of prayer teams to different spiritual strongholds in 1997, a team from the Dutch Reformed congregation Suikerbosrand in Heidelberg (Gauteng) followed the nudge of NUPSA to come and pray in the Mother City. This was spiritually significant because Heidelberg had once been the cradle of the racist and right-wing Afrikaanse Weerstandsbeweging (AWB). That the AWB town was sending a team to pray for Bo-Kaap, might have hit the headlines had it been publicised! But all this was undercover stuff. This was transpiring at a time when PAGAD (People against Terrorism and Drugs) was still terrorising the Cape Peninsula. The Bo-Kaap Islamic stronghold was not geographically situated in the 10/40 window, but Bennie Mostert correctly discerned that it was the case ideologically. It had become a Muslim bastion because of apartheid.
The Abidjan experience of February 1990 helped me to hang in there in later years thereafter. It was not easy to experience again and again how churches failed or refused to take up the challenge to reach out in love to their counterparts of the Abrahamic religions.

Time for Confession?
I thought for a long time that it was high time that we as Christians should begin paying off the debt with regard to Islam and Judaism. Remorseful confession would be the right way to start, followed by concrete steps of restitution. (Through my studies and research I discovered that the establishment and spread of Islam in South Africa could really be described as a part of the unpaid debt of the church.) But how could we convey the need for confession to the church at large? I knew that we had (and still have) to be patient. Remorse is not something which we can bring about through our efforts. Only God can do that.
Yet, I deemed it quite important to disseminate the results of my studies so that clergy and missionaries could discover the need for confession. But ‘doors’ would just not open. Or was I not persevering enough? Or was the timing not correct? I had no answer to these vexing questions.
Normally I would not have regarded attending the CCM leadership consultation in Johannesburg as a high priority. To incur big expense to attend a conference of which the purpose and sense was not so clear to me, seemed to me a luxury we could ill afford. The optimal use of my time was also part and parcel of stewardship to me. A major draw-card for the visit to Gauteng was the possibility of seeing our son Danny, who was with Trans World Radio (TWR) in Pretoria for a missionary year.
The final nudge to go to Gauteng was the contact to the Dutch Reformed Suikerbosrand congregation in Heidelberg (Gauteng). A delegation from that church wanted to undertake a prayer journey to the Mother City, to come and pray for the Cape Muslims as part of the 1999 prayer effort of the parying through the 10/40 window, although the connection was not so obvious. I decided to attend the October 1997 CCM leadership consultation on the Reef and visit Heidelberg thereafter.
Instead of gaining support for the idea of a confession to be done in conjunction with churches throughout the country at the beginning of 1998, I was deflated. I sensed that even if I had succeeded in gaining support, it would not have been from the heart. Very few colleagues had remorse with regard to the guilt of Christians and Christianity. Basically only God could do that, but I would have to disseminate my research in a way that the Holy Spirit could use to good effect. What an awesome task!

No Murtat is welcome in my Home!
From time to time I had some interesting altercations with Maulana Petersen, resulting in a challenge to bring along anybody to discuss the Bible and the Qur'an. I regarded him as open for anything and was able to arrange a date for such a discussion. Majiet Pophlonker was all set to join me for this date. On the evening of the scheduled visit I got a very angry Maulana Petersen on the phone line when I mentioned the name Majiet. He was very upset that I wanted to bring along a convert from Islamic background. How could I dare to bring along an apostate? 'No murtat is welcome in my home!' I was quite taken aback because I thought that he as an academic would be open for such a discourse. I knew now that he would have never be ready to meet Mark Gabriel, the former Egyptian lecturer of Al Azhar University in Cairo.

The Penny Drops
The end of the 1997 Ramadan was special. When I heard that our friend Maulana Petersen had been admitted to the nearby City Park Hospital,86 I was in the position to visit him there fairly promptly outside of the visiting hours. I was thus all alone with him. He was terminally ill with a serious heart ailment. Being alone with him there in the ward, I got a terrible shock when he reacted fiercely when I quoted the words of Jesus in John 14: 6, I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.
Fortunately for me the worst did not happen. I prayed in the name of Jesus. After a week he had recovered sufficiently to be discharged. Soon thereafter - on Labarang/Eid ul Fitr, the day after the new moon had been sighted to signal the end of the fasting month, I ministered with Rosemarie and our colleague Joyce Scott at a Bible School in Strandfontein. On the way back we popped in at the home of Maulana Petersen. At some point he suggested that there are different ways to get to God. I was given some divine wisdom to reply more or less as follows: 'Indeed, we are all unique. No two people are the same, not even identical twins. But our different ways to God must converge because didn't Jesus say I am the way the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.' It was striking to see how the penny dropped. Maulana Petersen understood the uniqueness of Jesus as the one who leads the way, who is the door to eternal life. But the price would be very high for him as a high-profile Cape Islamic cleric – complete ostracism at the very least! This price was too high as he counted the cost. In stead, he hereafter indicated that I was not welcome in his home any more.

Assisting a pregnant young Woman
The request to help Nadia,87a pregnant young woman who was expecting a child from a nominal Christian, seemed to be a pretty straightforward case. We fairly promptly visited the eloquent Muslim young mother of two other children. After hearing that she had already been divorced twice, we could never advise a marriage. The recipe for disaster was there for the taking. Rosemarie and I were almost on our way leaving the house where she was renting a room, when the conversation took another turn. A religious topic was mentioned and we were able to share the Gospel in some way.
We combined the next visit to her with the collecting of Mark Gabriel, our friend from Egypt, from the airport. The original idea was merely to pop in, but soon Rosemarie and Nadia were deeply involved in a discussion so that we decided that I would go and pick up Mark at the airport in the meantime while they would conclude the conversation. When we returned, Rosemarie and Nadia were still very much in the middle of their conversation. Utilising the story of the adulterous woman of John 8 intelligently, Mark was divinely used to bring Nadia under evident conviction.

More Knocks, almost knocked out
Just prior to the Easter Christian Concern for Muslims (CCM) conference we received a phone call from my brother in Elim that our Dad had been admitted to the hospital in Bredasdorp. Preparations had been made for him and our Mom to be admitted to an old age home in Grabouw, where my brother Windsor and his family stayed. A second phone call notified us that he had taken a turn for the worse and that his passing on was anticipated. Rosemarie and I drove straight to Bredasdorp. When we arrived there, he had already passed on. A few days later we buried Daddy on the Elim Mission Station.
We were still recovering from this shock when Rosemarie had some pre-monition as she was doing a chore in the kitchen that her mother was passing away. She was not surprised when her sister phoned hours later that this was indeed the case. Rosemarie flew to Germany for the funeral of her mother.

Crises in the Ministry
I had to learn the hard way through experience once more that we should not give satan too much honour. Soon we discovered that the deceiver was actually attacking our marriage relationship once again. A tension developed as Rosemarie could not accept the validity of my part of the ministry, including research and writing. Indeed, I was far too much on the phone, organising teaching courses and working behind the computer. This was happening at the expense of person-to-person contact. Communication between the two of us was completely insufficient. The Lord used the crisis to help me regain sight of the priority of personal outreach to the lost and the needy.
Another 1997 version of the Ramadan backlash appeared not as obvious. The trauma was nevertheless very real when the sale of the CEBI Bible School to a Muslim buyer came up during a prayer conference with our friend Gerda Leithgöb of Herald Ministries. This was the very same building complex at which we had been called into Cape Muslim Outreach in January 1992.

Clever Manipulation
While Rosemarie was in Germany for the funeral of her mother, I spoke to Nadia, the pregnant Muslim lady telephonically. She manipulated cleverly, so that I soon felt compelled to arrange with Rosemarie on the phone that we would take Nadia into our home after her return from Germany. Louis and Heidi Pasques, our pastor and his wife, agreed to accommodate Nadia until Rosemarie would be back.
After Rosemarie's return from Germany, Nadia moved into our home, soon joined by her two children. This was accompanied with a lot of turmoil and stress. Completely exhausted physically and emotionally, we arrived home from the funeral in Wellington.

Rosemarie burnt out
I was encouraged when I visited my dear friend Jakes over the Easter week-end, breaking away for a few minutes from the CCM conference in Wellington about 60 kilometres from Cape Town. Thee he shared his resolve to retire after his 60th birthday. Thereafter he wanted to get involved with Muslim outreach again.
That was not to be. A little more than a month later Jakes suffered a stroke. When I prayed with his wife Ann in hospital, Jakes was in a coma, with little hope given that he would survive. The next day he passed on to eternal glory.
When Rosemarie and I arrived at the church for the funeral, there was not a single seat available.
I did not mind at all to sit on the wooden step just next to the coffin, which contained my deceased best friend.
Back in Vredehoek Nadia manipulated in such a way that Rosemarie finally agreed to drive her to friends in Silvertown, a township 15 Kilometeres away. Joyce Scott, our missionary colleague from England, accompanied her to (Photo: Rosemarie with Joyce Scott, our missionary colleague from England) Silvertown. When she arrived home from there, Rosemarie collapsed. She had symptoms of having been inflicted a serious stroke (Temporarily she could not see anything. We feared that she had become blind.).

Assistance from Nearby and from Abroad
We phoned Ekkehard Zöllner, a befriended physician and the father of children who also attended the German School. (With him, his wife and other parents we had been praying about twice per quarter for the German school while we had children there.) Ekkehard referred us to a Christian specialist, who diagnosed that it was a nervous breakdown caused by stress. I was very near to burnout myself, battered and bruised by the circumstances of the weeks prior to my best friend’s funeral. The specialist, to whom we were referred, ordered us at least two weeks’ rest. It was so good that Joyce Scott, our missionary colleague from England, a nurse, was on the spot. She spoilt our children to the hilt while Rosemarie and I left for a few days for Betty’s Bay, going to the holiday home of the Edwards family from our church.
Soon thereafter, Maria van Maarseveen, a member of our home church in Holland, came to do her Bible school practical from the Africa School of Missions with us. With Nadia in the very late state of her pregnancy, it was handy to have Maria, a qualified midwife, with us. During this period Maria sensed a call to come and join us in ministry after completing her Bible School training.

Radio Opportunities
As a parental couple we would have loved to attend the GCOWE conference in Pretoria in July 1997, if only it were to utilise the opportunity to visit our son Danny. He was doing a year of orientation with Trans World Radio before the start of his tertiary studies in Electrical Engineering. But the ‘door’ never opened to enable us to go to Pretoria. After the experiences of March to May of that year, we understood why. However, the Lord did something in a sovereign way. Shortly after the GCOWE conference, we received a phone call from the Cape Community FM (CCFM) radio station. Avril Thomas, the directress, had been challenged at the conference to look at ways and means to spread the Gospel via the radio responsibly, also to other religious groups. Elsa Raine, the CCFM worker responsible for the prayer ministry, faithfully passed on to us all Muslim-related calls for follow-up.88.
Avril Thomas offered us a regular weekly slot on the station. However, with our full agenda I did not see my way clear to commit myself. But Rosemarie challenged me. How could we let such an opportunity slip to 'enter' many homes? After further thought, I envisaged adapting my series of the lessons of Jesus on cross-cultural communication. I had been using this as a sermon series on the revolutionary conversation of Jesus with the Samaritan woman in John 4 and as devotionals at various training courses.
However, after more thought and prayer, Rosemarie and I felt that the series was not suitable for radio devotionals.89 Instead, I would prepare a series on common personalities of the Abrahamic religions, which I had been using at the cell meetings with male Muslim background believers in Hanover Park. The result was ten talks about biblical figures such as Moses and Abraham, using further private studies of the Qur’an and the Talmud. The proximity of quite a few theological libraries at tertiary institutions, 90 apart from the Cape Town Campus of the South African Library, made it so much easier for me in terms of research facilities.

A closer Link with Radio CCFM
Radio Fish Hoek was renamed to Radio CCFM (Cape Community FM) in due course. At the GCOWE conference in Pretoria in July 1997, Avril Thomas, the Directress of Radio CCFM, was challenged to use the station to reach out to Cape Muslims, the main unreached people group of the region in terms of the Gospel. She phoned the author, offering airtime for a regular programme to this end. We had to warn Avril of the unsuccessful arson attempt on the Lansdowne church building where we wanted to stage a Love your Muslim Neighbour course the previous year. She and the CCFM Board were prepared to take the risk for the sake of the Gospel.
I wrote a radio series on biblical figures in the Qur’an and the Talmud, which was transmitted towards the end of 1997. The consistent denial of the Cross in the sacred book of the Muslims had struck me. It was more than compelling. It was just too subtle to be man-inspired. Knowing the history of the compilation of the Qur’an, the question was how I could share this potentially devastating information in a loving way. The fact that I would possibly be addressing Christians and Muslims via the radio simultaneously would of course not make things easy.
During one of our prayer walks in Bo-Kaap it became clear to me that I should not speak over the airwaves myself. I preferred to remain behind the scenes, with someone else reading my script. CCFM agreed to the suggestion. After a gradual increase of occasional programmes geared to address the Cape Muslim population, we felt challenged to start utilising the CCFM offer to use the medium on a regular basis.

A regular Radio Programme
The contact to CCFM turned out to be quite strategic. After the initial radio series we felt that we should switch to a regular programme. We were praying about the format when we heard that Salama Temmers, a MBB, had resigned her full-time post at Standard Bank. Along with Ayesha Huner, we had two capable presenters from Muslim background for our envisaged programme. When we spoke to Avril Thomas about our plans, we heard that Gill Knaggs had volunteered to assist just prior to our meeting with her. (Gill had been our contact in Muizenberg for a few years, but we were not aware of her prior experience in secular radio work).

In AWB territory
I would have left Gauteng a very frustrated and despondent person if I had to come back to the Cape straight from the CCM leadership consultation of 1997. Instead, I returned from there overjoyed. The big difference was the visit to Heidelberg in Gauteng, where I met the group of believers that was to leave for the Cape the very next day. At the occasion of the sending out of prayer teams to different spiritual strongholds in 1997, a team from the Dutch Reformed Church Suikerbosrand congregation of Heidelberg (Gauteng) followed the nudge of Dr Bennie Mostert of Jericho Walls fame to come and pray in Bo-Kaap. In the spiritual realm this was significant because Heidelberg was the cradle of the racist Afrikaanse Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) when the town belonged to the Transvaal province of the old South Africa.
While still in Heidelberg, I heard telephonically that one of the Muslim background believers, Fatima H, our factory contact, was about to lose the house that she had inherited as only daughter. Just prior to this she resigned her work at the factory where we had ministered to her during lunch times, to care for her ailing mother. When the mother died, her family was pressurizing her to return to Islam if she wanted to keep the house. A Muslim lawyer would see to it that she would get the house on this condition. We were over-awed how she was very determined in her new faith, even if that would mean losing the house. The believers in Heidelberg joined in prayer for this emergency.

Dropping our low Profile?
Up to this point in time, our involvement with Muslims and the converts coming from Islam was very low-key. We thought now that the moment had arrived to go public with the unjust way in which Fatima was treated. But this could have entailed losing the low profile that has been so beneficial for our ministry.
The Lord intervened. It turned out that her mother did not sign the last will and testament, which stated that Fatima was disinherited because she had left their religion. The document was declared null and void. Being the only heir, the house was now awarded to her.
Traumatic experiences around Nadia and another Muslim background believer that we had taken into our home amplified the urgent need of a discipling house, where people like these can be assisted more effectively. Also with Fatima it was touch and go or she could have landed up destitute.

A scintillating Week of spiritual Warfare
A few weeks before I left for the Reef, I had to prepare the visit of the group from Heidelberg (Gauteng) to the Cape. Sally Kirkwood phoned me at this time because she was burdened with the barrier of guilt over the City with regard to District Six, the former slum area that had been declared a 'White' residential area. Intercessors had discerned that Cape Town was like a sleeping giant that was tied by its shoulders. I took Sally to Bo-Kaap where we prayed. There the Lord reminded her of a prophetic word that was originally given for Jerusalem, but which she sensed that she had to apply to the ‘Mother City’ of South Africa. The afflicted city would be spiritually rebuilt with beautiful gem stones. (We were blessed so much during our visit to Jerusalem in 2011 to witness how the prophecy became reality. Rosemarie saw the big difference, having last seen it in 1973.)
The dramatic weekend on the Reef was followed up by a scintillating week of spiritual warfare, including an unforgettable day of repentance and reconciliation.
As part of this visit from Gauteng intercessors, a prayer meeting of confession was organized for November 1, 1997 on a gravel patch near to the former Moravian Church in District Six. Sally Kirkwood, who hosted a prayer group for the Cape Muslims at her home in Plumstead in the mid-1990s, played a pivotal role in nudging me to organise this prayer event.
Moravian Hill hosts a strategic Meeting
As part of this visit from Gauteng, a prayer meeting of confession was organized in District Six for November 1, 1997 in front of the (former) Moravian Chapel91 Sally Kirkwood not only had a vision for the desolate District Six to be revived through prayer, but she also informed Richard Mitchell and Mike Winfield about the event. Our contact with Gill Knaggs increased at this time. She brought along Dave and Trish Whitecross (Dave Whitecross had been helping Mark Gabriel with the editing of manuscripts). Through this event the citywide prayer movement got a significant push because I had asked Eben Swart to lead the occasion in District Six. That turned out to be very strategic. Hereafter also Sally Kirkwood came to the fore with a more prominent role among the Cape intercessors. Eben Swart’s position as Western Cape Prayer Coordinator was cemented since he was now able to link up with the pastors’ and pastors’ wives prayer meeting led by Pastor Eddie Edson. The ceremony on November 1, 1997 saw tears of remorse flowing freely. English-speaking South Africans, Afrikaners and foreigners repented of their respective roles in exploiting the apartheid situation. The event on Moravian Hill in District Six attempted to break the spirit of death and forlornness over the area, so that it would be inhabited again. However, it would take many years before that dream started to materialise (and abused for election purposes a few times). Fourteen years after 1997 not much has happened in terms of new inhabitants coming to District Six.
November 1997 was a watershed for quite a few participants. Afterwards Gill Knaggs, Trish and Dave Whitecross became burdened to become missionaries in the Middle East. Richard Mitchell, Eben Swart and Mike Winfield linked up more closely in a relationship that would have a significant mutual effect on the prayer ministry at the Cape in the next few years, and on transformation in the city at large.
Mike Winfield belonged to the Anglican congregation in Bergvliet, which had Trevor Pearce as their new pastor. Trevor Pearce later took a leading role in the attempts towards the transformation of the Mother City through the prayer rallies at the Newlands Rugby Stadium in 2001. The confession ceremony in District Six closed with the stoning of an altar that Satanists or other occultists had probably erected there.
The confession ceremony in District Six could be regarded as an important foundational event in the run-up to the Global day of Prayer in 2005.

1997 as a Year of intense spiritual Warfare
During the year 1997 I had to see many of my hopes and dreams being dashed. All our efforts to see the strategic old CEBI Bible School saved for Christianity, failed. It had been my dream to see this building used for the initial language teaching of future missionaries. We had to take that disappointment in our stride. Looking back at the year, we noticed that it was one in which there was intense spiritual warfare. The gain of the strategically situated Bible school gave Islam probably the edge in the battle for the hearts of people at the Cape.

A positive Change towards Refugees
The attitude in the church hereafter gradually began to change positively towards refugees. West and Central Africans started attending the church. Before long, quite a few of them attended our services, especially when special French-speaking church services were arranged. (I got in touch with French speaking missionaries - June Domingo and Maria van Maarseveen from our mission, Ruth Craill from SIM along with Alain and Nicole Ravelo-Höerson from TEAM. Freddie Kammies, who had been working with his wife Doris in Canada as OM workers, later also joined in.) Hereafter special French-speaking services were arranged initially monthly and later twice a month as an effort to equip the French-speaking believers for loving outreach to the Muslim French-speakers from our continent. Because many Portuguese-speaking Africans from Angola and Mozambique had moved to our city, with a Bible Study in their language was also started at the Cape Town Baptist Church. This first happened monthly and later twice a month as an effort to equip the French-speaking believers for loving outreach to the Muslim French-speakers from our continent. The word spread, so that in due course also other churches started opening their doors to refugees.
The need for refugees to get employment was the spawn for the English language classes at the church to be resumed. (Carol Günther, an American missionary, and Heidi Pasques had been giving English lessons to paying foreign students.) The simultaneous need for a discipling house for Muslim converts and a drug rehabilitation centre gave birth to the Dorcas Trust.
Soon the English language classes at the church were revitalised to help the refugees to get employment. This became the catalyst for the erection of the Dorcas Trust that I envisaged as a funding vehicle for projects by the churches of the Mother City. Our intended Discipling House and the need for a rehabilitation of drug addicts were long burning issues in our ministry we longed to see owned by the body of Christ in Cape Town. English languages classes were added and taken on by the Cape Town Baptist Church with verve. I hoped that the city churches could take ownership of these ventures. That turned out to be easier said than done. Yet, the Dorcas Trust was ultimately finalised in 1998. Tafelberg Dutch Reformed Church had a small contribution for theological training to siphon towards the language classes. The Strand Street Lutheran Church bought into the support for the Discipling House. No other churches however joined the Dorcas Trust initiative.

Start of Citywide Prayer Events
1998 brought significant steps towards more unity in the body of Christ city-wide through the initiatives of NUPSA and Herald Ministries. Eben Swart came more prominently into the frame. Prayer meetings took place at the Mowbray Baptist Church, with believers coming from different parts of the Peninsula, and from diverse racial and church backgrounds. The meetings carried a strong message of the unity of the Body of Christ. The Mowbray exercise brought together two racial groups for prayer and thus this became the forerunner of citywide events.
A prayer event on the Grand Parade
almost floundered after a bomb threat
A well-publicized prayer event on the Grand Parade almost floundered after a bomb threat. Prior to this, churches across the Peninsula had initially been requested to cancel their evening services on Sunday, 19 April 1998 and join this event. In sheer zeal, a Christian businessman ordered thousands of pamphlets to be printed and distributed.

An Attempt at the Renaming of Devil’s Peak
Possibly because of his own background in drug addiction, Pastor Richard Mitchell had an antenne for spiritual warfare on the heights of the city. The unofficial renaming of ‘Devil’s Peak’ to ‘Disciple's Peak’ - was initiated by Pastor Klopper of the Vredehoek Apostolic Faith Mission Church in the mid-1990s. Regular prayer events at Rhodes Memorial by Pastor Richard Mitchell and a group of intercessors fitted into the pattern of spiritual warfare. At the former occasion a big cross was planted on the summit, over-looking the city. These venues have been strongholds of Satanists.
The unofficial renaming of ‘Devil’s Peak’to ‘Disciple's Peak’ - led by the pastor of the Vredehoek Apostolic Faith Mission Church - and regular prayers at Rhodes Memorial, fitted into the pattern of spiritual warfare. At the former occasion a big cross was planted on the summit, over-looking the city. These venues had been strongholds of Satanists.
A mass march to Parliament on 2 September 1998 in response to the perceived government attack on community radio stations was followed by a big prayer event a few weeks later. At the big prayer rally on September 26, 1998 thousands of Christians prayed over Table Mountain in an effort to rename the adjacent reviled peak ‘God’s Mountain.’ The event inspired a new initiative, whereby a few believers from diverse backgrounds started to come together at 6.a.m. for prayer on Signal Hill on Saturdays every two weeks.92
After we had joined them in prayer at Rhodes Memorial, Pastor Richard Mitchell and his wife Elizabeth were instrumental in the resumption of these meetings on Signal Hill. Quite a close relationship developed between us and Richard Mitchell and his family. When the ‘door’ opened for a regular testimony programme on Friday evenings on Radio CCFM, Richard Mitchell was a natural choice as presenter. The programme ‘God Changes Lives’ was also used to advertise citywide prayer events such as those at the Lighthouse. These events played an important part in the run-up to the big Newlands Rugby Stadium prayer occasions in the new millennium. In due course I also produced a programme for the midday devotions every Tuesday with a link to Islam.

Intimidation and Deaths
A PAGAD member apparently regarded this pamphlet as an invitation to disrupt the meeting, passing on a threat to that effect. The event was subsequently announced as cancelled, but a few courageous believers nevertheless showed up. These included the late Pastor Danny Pearson, who had been deeply involved with the preparation of the prayer occasion. He believed that we should not give in to the intimidation, and that, if need be, Christians should be willing to die there for the cause of the Gospel. The meeting proceeded on a much smaller scale than originally planned. I led the confession for the sins of omission to the Cape Muslims and to the Jews. And there was no PAGAD disruption of the meeting! (It was however sad that certain City Bowl churches were not prepared to close their doors even on a one-off basis for this event.)
Both Maulana Petersen and Achmat Davids – the only two high-profile Muslims with whom I had close contact - died in 1998; the latter only a day after I still had an interview with him at the studio of Radio Voice of the Cape. After all our experiences, I knew that only prayer could make the difference. I still hoped to get into dialogue with young Muslim academics, who might be more open to listen to the credentials of the Gospel. I started learning Arabic in 1999 - through private lessons by a student from Tunisia. In this way I hoped to get the necessary grounding to start as a student at the University of the Western Cape the following year. Unfortunately my full schedule did not allow me to persevere with the lessons.

More Prayer Efforts in the City Bowl
A few churches in the City participated in a forty-day period of prayer and fasting from Easter Sunday to Ascension Day 1998. Rev. Louis Pasques of the Cape Town Baptist Church spearheaded this endeavour. A weekly meeting with a prayer emphasis gained ground slowly after the 40-day effort from April to May 1998. Later that year, combined evening services were held once a month in the City Bowl in participating churches, with the venue rotating every time.
A corresponding period of prayer and fasting in 1999 - this time for 120 days - was concluded in the Western Cape in the traditional Groote Kerk celebration of the Lord’s Supper when pastors from different denominations officiated. This was a visible sign of a growing church unity. At that Ascension Day event, Dr Robbie Cairncross was divinely brought into the situation. He came to the Mother City with a vision to see a network of prayer developing in the Peninsula. His prayer for an office for his Christian Coalition/Family Alliance near to Parliament was answered in a special way when he moved into the premises of the South African Chamber of Commerce (SACOB), a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament. Cairncross’ plan became quite strategic when Islamic convert Achmed Kariem joined the SACOB staff with a vision for distributing prayer information. Cairncross’s vision bore fruit.
After he had listened to me speaking at the Groote Kerk, I could link Robbie Cairncross up with the Cape Peace Initiative. At the initiative of Pastor Eddie Edson of Mitchells Plain, occasional all-night citywide prayer events started, one each on 25 June and 15 October 1999. Towards the end of 1999 the various mission and prayer initiatives seemed to converge.

The Need of a Discipling House amplified
We were confronted with the drug scene in a very real way when Ayesha Hunter approached us with regard to a young woman whose life was threatened. Kevin,93 the husband of the young woman, was a gangster who had been involved with many atrocities. Kevin had been abusing Shehaam94 almost in every way possible. She was a new Muslim background believer. Apparently Kevin had also committed his life to the Lord, but he was still abusing her.
After praying about the matter, we had peace to take Shehaam into our home. Only later we fully comprehended the risk involved when Kevin shared that he was so angry that he wanted to kill me. The experience with Nadia had made us wary to jump into something that could bring us into such serious trouble again. But we were now encouraged to take steps of faith again which involved big risks.
What a joy it was to see how the young woman grew rapidly in her new faith. I was moved intensely to hear Shehaam sharing the burden she had for the residential area where she grew up. In Woodlands, a part of Mitchells Plain, drug addiction and gangsterism was a way of life. But Shehaam knew that she first had to become spiritually strong and mature.
Soon we were counselling her together with Kevin. Far too soon we allowed them to resume living together again. The end result was final separation. Thereafter she returned to her earlier life style. It was little consolation that Kevin seemed to grow spiritually. We were disappointed, having to face the fact that Shehaam was the third failure with a Muslim background believer, into whose life we had invested quite a lot of time. We were thrown back on the grace of God. The need for a discipling house where we could have these new Christians nurtured for a longer period, was amplified once again.
We had hardly recovered from this disappointment, when we were confronted with a similar case. Nazeema95 had been a Christian for quite a few years but she was still very immature spiritually. For years she had been abused by her husband Keith,96 more than once she was almost killed. In spite of a few interdicts against him, he refused to leave her alone.
The police in the area where they had been living, knew him well. He had worked there as a reservist before he was sacked. Nazeema told us about a recent instance when he shot her in her leg. A few policemen came to her aid, but they had to unleash a dog to get Keith under control.
Soon after the first interview we had with her, she phoned us. Her ex-husband Keith had tried to choke her, when she succeeded to run away to a befriended family from where she phoned us.
In the court case Keith succeeded in turning things around, because the police dog had bitten him. He walked away free as a bird. We don’t know if our report to friends overseas about our latest guest was the trigger to get things in motion. But both in Holland and Germany believers started raising funds for a discipling house. Especially in Holland our friends were engaging in all sorts of activities to that end.

Need for House Parents
It was quite a disappointment to us when Dave and Trish Whitecross decided to leave for Egypt to assist the Coptic Church there. (With them we had been looking at property for that purpose). That meant that they were not available as house parents for our discipling house.
The actual buying of property for the discipling house was quite traumatic as we experienced one disappointment after the other. But we saw how God still had his hand when He turned the saga around, using a container with furniture for the discipling house that was sent by our friends in Holland.
With a building coming into the frame for use as a discipling house - but no house parents available as yet - we approached Dean and Susan Ramjoomia, hoping that they could start it off until such time when they would go to Durban for the WEC candidate orientation. Dean is a Muslim Background follower of our Lord who had close knowledge of and links to the drug and gangster scene. They were also ready and eager to go to Birmingham in England for training in the Betel ethos for drug rehabilitation.
Convert Care
Already in our first year of ministry at the Cape Rosemarie and I discovered how important it was to support converts coming from Islam. We were so grateful when a few of our friends took this lesson to heart. Best of all from this category was possibly Magdalene Overberg from the Docks Mission Church in Fractreton. She not only invited the converts to their church, but she also showed a personal interest in their whereabouts like very few other Christians.
When Esmé Orrie was about to celebrate her 50th birthday, Magdalene approached us with the request whether we could do this at our home. (Esmé had not only been persecuted out of her home in Mitchells Plain and terribly harassed by the family, but she was also completely ostrasized by her mother and children). The other converts and friends in our ministry had become her new family.
Things started to happen in a big way when Zulpha Morris, a Muslim lady from Mitchell’s Plain, became a Christian through divine intervention in July 1998. Through a further vision she was challenged to convert her home into a shelter for abandoned babies and abused women. In spite of many attacks and difficulties – also from the side of the government – she persevered. Miraculously her Muslim husband sacrificed his house and even his garage for the venture. She received assistance from many churches – also from overseas. Soon the Heaven’s Shelter of Rambler Road in Beacon Valley (Mitchells Plain) not only received visitors from all over the world, but many Muslims also came there for prayer, knowing very well that the prayer would be offered in Jesus’ name.
Rosemarie did regular Bible studies with a few Muslim background women in Mitchells Plain. This became very fruitful when Zulpha and her husband decided to start a weekly cell group of Muslim background believers from the Mitchells Plain area. Soon quite a big group was gathering at their home every week, often including more than 20 Muslim background believers. After a few years, also Abdul, her husband, decided to become a follower of Jesus.


21. The strong Wings in Operation

The booklets that I had written with stories of Cape Islam converts, Search for Truth, as well as tracts with testimonies narrating how they came out of Islamic bondage, was eroding a prevalent Cape Muslim notion that if one is born a Muslim, one must die one. Via our WEC colleague Pam Forbes some of these tracts found there way into the prisons.
In the beginning of 1999 PAGAD (People against Gangsterism and Drugs) was still terrorising the Cape Peninsula, part of a sinister plan to islamise South Africa. PAGAD attempted in this way the violent overthrow of the government in the Western Cape where the bulk of the Muslims in the country are living.97 Gangsters and other criminals gladly got on board with high-jackings, drive past shootings, rape and all sorts of crime to make the Western Cape ungovernable. Some of them enjoyed the anarchic conditions created, starting to take protection money, not only from shop keepers. They even dared to request this in individual cases from churches.

Almost bereaved as a Family
It was touch and go or we as a family were also bereaved at this time. I was having a week-end retreat in the little village of Macgregor with our friends Elma and Freddy van Dyk who went there after Freddy’s retirement. Telephonically Rosemarie reported a traumatic experience. In the era before the use of cell-phones became a common phenomenon, she was taking our daughter Magdalena to one of her friends in Sea Point. After using a telephone booth to find the exact location of Magdalena’s friend, she returned to our VW Minibus, which still is very much of a favourite vehicle for use as township taxis. She was about to drive off, when her head was supernaturally turned to the right, just in time to notice a man with one hand going for the vehicle handle next to her. In the other hand he had a pistol. Reacting instantly, she pressed down the locking knob, driving off without looking into the rear view mirror. This caused some consternation in the traffic situation, allowing the potential high-jacker to flee. Not only Rosemarie and Magdalena were thus spared a very traumatic experience.

(Former) Gang Leaders shot
Rashied Staggie, the former Cape drug lord and leader of the Hard Livings Gang, had become quite well known with frequent media appearances. Two weeks before Easter, Staggie was shot and hospitalised, with PAGAD almost sure to be behind the assassination attempt. He made the news headlines soon hereafter from his bed in the Louis Leipoldt Clinic in Bellville by way of this public confession of faith in Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. He recovered miraculously.
Shortly after Rashied Staggie also Glen Khan, another Hard Living gang leader and drug lord, was impacted at the Shekinah Tabernacle in Mitchells Plain. My friend Eddie Edson was the pastor at the time. Glen Khan had become a Muslim after his marriage to Lameez, who was already a secret believer by now. She had been counselled by Ayesha Hunter, with whom we were closely linked. Glen Khan secretly heard the Gospel in this way, committing his life to the Lord subsequently.

A High followed by a few Lows
We returned from the Easter CCM conference 1999 in Wellington in high spirits. For the first time WEC was represented there with a substantial contingent. My efforts, which started already in 1996, to nudge the umbrella organisation to possibly give guidance to the church at large to start confessing our collective role in the establishment and spread of Islam, looked promising at last.
We were however thrown into the spiritual battlefield on another level much sooner than we could anticipate. Our spirits were already dampened the same afternoon when the bag of Maria van Maarseveen, our Dutch colleague, was stolen from our minibus in front of our house while we were drinking coffee and before we could take her to her flat nearby. In broad daylight the vehicle was broken into.
Only a few hours later, we were shattered when Ayesha phoned, telling us that Glen Khan had been shot and killed. The next morning we left for Mitchells Plain to assist with the funeral arrangements because a crisis had arisen. The Muslim family was claiming the corpse for an Islamic funeral that was to happen within 24 hours! Lameez, the young widow and still a secret follower of Jesus, was very brave to refuse to release the body of her late husband for such a funeral. She knew of course how he had just recently made a public commitment, indicating that he wanted to follow Jesus. Lameez insisted that he should have a funeral from Pastor Eddie Edson's Shekinah Tabernacle.

PAGAD marginalised
When ‘Brother Rashied’ was called up to give a tribute at the funeral service, it caused quite a stir because the media had evidently been tipped off that the changed drug lord would be there as well. Almost overnight he had become a celebrity of a different sort. The new babe in Christ gave a powerful message to the packed church. Many were listening outside to the service that was relayed via the public addressing system. The funeral audience included a significant contingent of gangsters. Staggie, who had been avidly reading the Bible in the preceding weeks, challenged his followers present, quoting from Scripture that the Lord was the one to take revenge: ‘My kom die wraak toe’. He emphasised: 'We are not going to retaliate!' Coming from someone who had virtually escaped death after an assassination attempt, the message could hardly miss the mark.
In the wake of Glen Khan’s assassination and Staggie’s powerful testimony at Khan’s funeral, a trickle of Cape Muslims started turning to Christ. Suddenly PAGAD felt themselves threatened. This was an answer to the prayers of the warriors around the country who had been interceding for the proceedings. To all intents and purposes PAGAD sensed that they had suddenly been marginalised.

A traumatic Incident during our Absence
The pattern of traumatic incidents happening at home during my absence continued when Rosemarie and I attended our WEC conference in Natal in October 1999. When we phoned our home we heard that our 21-year old son Danny had to counsel Nazeema, the Muslim background believer that we had taken into our home. She threatened to commit suicide.98 He husband retaliated
Her husband realtiated by spreading a rumour: 'You must watch our for Rosemarie and Ashley. They want to convert all of you.' This didn't work at all. In fact, we expereinced protection from our friends there who always made a point to introduce us to others as 'our born-again friends'.
Shortly after our return from our conference in Natal, I received an invitation to attend an international conference on Muslim Evangelism in Nairobi, Kenya, as the South African delegate, with all expenses to be paid by TEAR FUND, a British development and charity agency. I was less excited about the invitation when I discovered that my departure would coincide with the return of our second eldest son from Germany. (Rafael had been evangelising with Youth for Christ in a mobile bus for the greater part of the year.)
I had furthermore just heard that I would lose my Dutch passport unless I interrupt my residence in South Africa before January 2002.We thought that a guest lecturing period at the Cornerstone Christian College, a WEC institution in Holland, could be the solution. We thought that it would be good to go and discuss the matter en route to Nairobi.99 Knowing that travelling in Africa by air is very expensive, I enquired how much a ticket to Nairobi via Europe would cost.
Rosemarie pointed out to me that a visit to Madrid would be more important to get some movement towards the Jesus-centred Cape drug rehabilitation issue for which we had been praying so long. The international Headquarters of the WEC-related Bet-el Ministries is in Madrid. Without much more ado the itinerary was finalised. I was to fly with the Royal Dutch Airlines KLM to Nairobi via Holland and Spain.
Making extensive use of our new communication medium, the e-mail, it was soon finalised that I would be stopping over in Amsterdam en route to Madrid and Nairobi. The first and third venues turned out to be quite strategic for our ministry on the short term.

Our Son Danny rushed to Hospital
The Nairobi conference was linked to a traumatic event at home. While I was still in Spain, our son Danny had to be rushed to Somerset Hospital after his appendix had burst. He turned out to be allergic to the medication given to him. He was in a critical condition.
This was happening on the eve of the World Parliament of Religion in Cape Town. Rosemarie sensed that this was an attack from the enemy while I was away. She alerted prayer warriors at home and abroad. I received the news at a strategic moment in Nairobi. We could not make headway to get a draft on paper which we could report back to our respective sending bodies.
When someone at the conference tried to share something about the reality of spiritual warfare in Muslim Evangelism, I had the opportunity to chip in. The impact was tangible when I reported how I had just heard how our son escaped death by a narrow margin. In the months hereafter we heard from different people how they had been praying to save Danny's life.
I discovered that the invitation to the international conference in Nairobi was God’s strategy not only to keep me in low profile at the occasion of the praying around the World Parliament of Religion, but even more important – the detour via Holland and Spain was to be pivotal in getting funds for our discipling house. The Spanish part of the trip did not deliver the goods on the short term, but seed was sown. 100 We were encouraged when Abass Buffkins, a Muslim drug addict, was not only supernaturally delivered from drug abuse, but he also became an avid student at an evening Bible school. His prowess was such, also in his church, that we had liberty to use his testimony in a tract just like we did with that of Zulpha and Abdul Morris in 2002.
On home soil the news of Danny’s fight for life brought home to some Christians the simultaneous urgency to prayer for the World Parliament of Religions. Thus God turned the attack on Danny’s life and on our ministry around for his sovereign purposes.
Strategic Days in Holland
My two days in Holland were very strategic. An evening was organised there on short notice to speak to some of our friends. As a sequel to the visit in Zeist, where I showed a picture of the house that we intended to buy for use as a discipling house, someone offered a substantial interest-free loan. Martie Dieperink, one of our faithful prayer partners, lost her mother soon after my visit. Martie was one of the people who attended the meeting.
Shortly after having heard of the need of a discipling house in Cape Town where new believers coming from another faith could be nurtured, she immediately offered to help us with a substantial amount as a gift and another amount as an interest-free loan, to be paid back over a period of five years. (Later she turned that loan into a gift as well). This set in motion the run-up to what became a strategic building. (The furniture from the house of her mother was part of the content of a container that was sent in 2001.)

New missionary Colleagues
Rosemarie and Maria van Maarseveen, our Dutch colleague, were in the meantime frantically looking for accommodation for our new missionary colleagues from Indonesia. The couple were the fruit of about five years of praying for workers from the most important country from where slaves, the ancestors of the Cape Muslims, came. A German missionary friend who was at that time a leader of the sending base of a mission agency in Indonesia started this prayer project when she visited us in Cape Town in the mid 1990s.
The new workers who settled in nicely into our evangelistic team, brought valuable additions to our ministry. Our Indonesian colleagues made contact with some Cape Malay families, and also brought us in touch with a Uygur MBB, with whom the wife had come into contact in China. After a special sequence of events, the couple came to Cape Town in December 1999. In due course the brother was to get involved in ministry to students. His wife would initially have more than enough to do with two year-old twins.


22. Counters to anarchic Conditions

A new type of prayer initiative – that seemed to have started in Jerusalem in 1987 under the leadership of the American Tom Hess, started emerging worldwide from 1999. God started to speak at various places about 24-hour prayer watches. We felt that this was something that Cape Town needed more than anything else.

Towards a 24-hour Prayer Watch
What better place for the 24-hour prayer was there than the Moravian Hill Chapel in District Six that now belonged to the Cape Technikon? Murray Bridgman, a local advocate and prayer warrior, had similar ideas. He thought that I should take on the responsibility to initiate it, but I was not very keen in view of so many other responsibilities. Our friends Charles Robertson, a Cape Christian businessman with a heart for prayer, along with his wife Rita, generously donated property for a venue for the work of NUPSA in the Western Cape. „Sooispit” - the turning of the soil – in preparation for the building of a prayer room in the Western Cape, took place on February 9, 2000. The premises in Bellville were earmarked to become a 24-hour prayer room for intercessors from the entire continent. We still felt though that we should also have something in the City Bowl.
In February 2000, Susan and Ned Hill, a couple from Atlanta (USA) linked to the Blood ‘n Fire Ministries, visited the Mother City on an orientation visit after they sensed a call to come and minister to the poor and needy in South Africa. When they visited the District Six Museum – at that time temporarily housed in the Moravian Chapel – they learned of the tragic story of the former cosmopolitan slum area of the Mother City. Susan Hill had a clear vision for prayer. It was only logical to link them to the prayer idea. Susan came into the picture as a possible coordinator for a prayer watch to be started in the City Bowl. During 2002 and 2003 she organized prayer events at the Moravian Church every third Saturday of the month.
Rev. Trevor Pearce was instrumental in bringing the Sentinel Group, Sharing of Ministries Abroad (SOMA) to Cape Town. This included George Otis, the initiator of the well-known Transformation videos. The group staged a three-day conference at the Lighthouse Christian Centre in Parow with international speakers from 3 November 2000. This was followed by a citywide prayer meeting at the UWC Athletics Stadium in Bellville on Sunday, 5 November. The meeting became very strategic when Mamela, a gifted Xhosa believer got involved with translation. The meetings in Parow and Bellville were preceded by prayer events that not only coincided with a round of spiritual warfare against the occult satanist Halloween celebrations, but they were also part of a country-wide 40-day offensive of prayer and fasting for the continent.

The Body of Christ made visible
At this time Cees Vork and Pieter Bos101 started corresponding with our friend Henry Kirby, a medical doctor at the Tygerberg Hospital, about their intentions to visit Cape Town. The evident spiritual warfare around the World Parliament of Religions that was scheduled for December 1999, was the fuel to set up an all-night prayer meeting on the Grand Parade on short notice. It was clear that God was at work orchestrating things. Mike Winfield and others were simultaneously busy with a ‘Closing the Gates’ project. In this regard we prayed around the immoral roots of our society. The unity of the Body of Christ became visible to some extent at a mass half-night of prayer on 18 February 2000 on the Grand Parade, an event organised at short notice. On the same weekend Pieter Bos and Cees Vork, representing the prayer movement in Holland, joined local Christians in confession and in praying against anti-Christian spiritual strongholds in the Cape Peninsula. Four thousand Christians from a wide spectrum of denominations gathered there.
Denominationalism, materialism
and other evils were confessed
Denominationalism, materialism and other evils of South African society in which the Church had played a role in the past, were confessed. In a moving moment just before midnight, Pieter Bos and Cees Vork confessed the catastrophic contribution of their forefathers to the evils of Cape society.
A prayer network evolved towards a preliminary climax in the half-night of prayer on the Grand Parade. Since then, prayer events proliferated countrywide through the prayer watches. Here the electronic media played a big role. What a blessing it is to see how the ‘seeds’ that we have been sowing from 1992 at the Cape were starting to germinate.
The event on the Grand Parade was followed during the next days by strategic ‘Closing the Gates’ prayer occasions. Other meetings like a combined church service on the Bellville Velodrome gave the impression that revival was in the air.

Another Season of spiritual Warfare
The moving confession of Pieter Bos because of the Dutch colonial guilt at the shrine of Sheikh Yusuf at Macassar, the pioneer of Cape Islam, moved many participants deeply. At Vergelegen, a participant from Indonesia shared how he harboured hatred towards Dutchmen. This gave the occasion a special touch. We had the feeling that we were on the verge of revival.
At this time Keith,102 who had assaulted his ex-wife Nazeema, one of the Muslim background believers, was discharged from prison much sooner than everybody expected. As a former policeman he had spurious contacts to the police force. It seemed as if a new period of spiritual warfare started in the Cape Town City Bowl. In spite of a conditional suspended sentence on a charge of abusing his ex-wife, he continued to harass her. After another assault on her, the police appeared to disregard the charge. The month of May 2000 seemed pre-destined to become the start of another season of spiritual combat, with the police force not only in disarray, but also frustrated by a corrupt judiciary.
We felt the pinch personally when some mysterious phone call came through in the early hours of the morning. When nobody replied on the other side of the line, we suspected in this behaviour intimidation from Nazeema’s husband Keith. Once when we had this again, I got quite annoyed when my sleep was broken for a second time within a few minutes. When this happened once more, I was ready for the secret caller with a biblical injunction: ‘Whoever you are, I bless you in the name of Jesus!’ Thereafter we never had trouble along those lines.

Assistance in the Ministry
When Valerie Mannikkam, a young Indian Christian lady from Durban joined our team for practical experience in preparation of missionary work, she had a passion for a rather unusual combination, namely for the aged and for youth. Both of these were age groups we had been neglecting in our ministry. In the case of the former, this was only covered through our hospital ministry and occasional visits to the homes of patients. The latter – the youth - we left over to Eric Hofmeyer in Salt River in 1998 when we went overseas for a period of home assignment in Holland and Germany.
Valerie joined Rosemarie in many a venture, not only at the home craft club in Bo-Kaap. She turned out to be a valuable assistant and extra daughter in our home. This was especially evident when we celebrated our silver wedding. Together with our children she helped prepare a wonderful and memorable occasion on 22 March 2000.
During 2002 Valerie assisted Rosemarie to counsel a secret believer. Faldiela103had phoned the CCFM radio station as a Muslim in search of the ultimate truth. She wanted to study the Bible. The young lady had been thrown into spiritual turmoil when her boyfriend was willing to sever the relationship after he had become a follower of Jesus. Rosemarie and Valerie did Bible Study with her until she finally came to believe in Jesus as her Lord. In the latter stages of this process, and especially after Faldiela’s conversion, Valerie proved a valuable assistant to strengthen the Muslim background believer in her new faith. Rochelle Malachowski, a new YWAM-linked worker from the USA, took over from Valerie in 2003 when the latter went to Durban, until Faldiela finally married the boyfriend who caused her to start searching for the truth.

An unexpected Trip Overseas
Mark Gabriel repeated an invitation to us to come to the USA and assist him in itinerant work. This looked to be just the right thing to get out of the traumatic situation for a while. The thought also came up to try and promote two of my manuscripts in the USA for which there was – and still is - no market in South Africa. The visit and itinerary could however not be finalised.
The trip was planned in such a way that we would stop in Germany and Holland en route. But then we had to cancel the plans. When our friends in Holland heard of the cancellation, they invited Rosemarie and me to come to Europe because they knew that we so desperately needed a break and that we would have the time available.
This visit to Europe turned out to be quite important for our ministry. While in Holland, Fenny Pos taught Rosemarie how to make three-dimensional cards that they were selling in old-age homes as part of fund-raising for missionary work. Back in South Africa, Rosemarie was to teach the skill to a few unemployed Muslim background women who had experienced problems because of their faith. Although the income was minimal, it made a big difference to families where there would have been no other income, and it provided regular fellowship for a few women to grow in their new faith.

Rumblings at the Moriah Discipling House
An inappropriate reaction from our side to a manipulative phone call from someone in the Moriah Discipling House on my birthday in 2001 set off a negative chain reaction. During the next two and a half months the stress levels in our team remained extremely high througout. Carelessness on my part, by just continuing with ministry on Friday, 15 March 2002, after travelling by bus throughout the night from Durban, sparked off a stress related loss of memory the next day.104 After a day in hospital and further medical treatment, I was cleared. I was requested however to come back after a year. We soon discovered that there were major spiritual forces involved to eliminate me. But we were carried on the strong Eagle's wings.
The rest of the year 2002 was very stressful in the ministry at the Discipling House, bringing us to the brink of throwing in the towel more than once. It was a special blessing when the relationship to Dean and Susan Ramjoomia could be restored at the wedding of Shubashni, one of the former occupants, in October 2003.105 (Valerie Manikkam, a WEC colleague, who initially worked with us in preparation of work in a Muslim country, took over from the Ramjoomias at the Discipling House.)

A new Pattern of Crises
As the years went by Rosemarie and I befriended Louis and Heidi Pasques quite closely. On many a Monday we would go to some place or have a picnic together. Not very long after our return from Europe in 2000, a new pattern of crises had become evident. Louis took me into his confidence that there was a crisis in their marriage. Disunity within the church executive started to enter the mix. I withheld some information from Rosemarie on purpose to spare her unnecessary disappointment. From our side, we did share discreetly some of the frustrations we experienced in our ministry with Louis and Heidi, notably those from the Discipling House. Invariably we would also pray with each other for family matters.
Alan Kay had been studying part-time, ultimately graduating at the Baptist Seminary. After he left the Cape Town Baptist Church, he linked up with the Salvation Army where he soon accepted a pastoral post. He also attended a newly formed fellowship of the Calvary Chapel in the hall of the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Demitri Nikiforos, the pioneering pastor, had married Karen, the daughter of Graham and Dawn Gernetsky, who had been the pastoral couple at the Cape Town Baptist Church. (There Demitri was significantly impacted through the surfing ministry under the leadership of Roy Harley).
Alan had been very much involved with the ministry to foreigners. It was almost natural that some of them left Cape Town Baptist Church at this time. Anaclet Mbayagu from Burundi, was one of them. He later became one of the stalwarts of the Calvary Chapel fellowship and still later joined us in Friends from Abroad.

A ‘global Church’ in the City Bowl
Jeff and Lynn Holder, who had been missionaries in Botswana on behalf of the Southern Baptists of the USA, came to Cape Town as the co-ordinators for Southern Africa in 2002. The multi-national character of the Cape Town Baptist Church appealed to them. Despite a leadership crisis there, they decided to join our congregation, rather than another fellowship only a few blocks from their home in the suburb of Claremont. Due to Jeff’s dedicated ministry, our congregation became in due course the catalysts for new missionary work to the Northern Cape and ‘forgotten’ tribes of Namibia. How wonderful it is that the Lord in his mercy allowed me to see some of these Remaining Unreached People Groups now getting evangelised.1
When I preached at the Cape Town Baptist Church one Sunday at the beginning of the new millennium, I asked those in the congregation to raise the hand who was not born in South Africa. I was surprised how many hands were raised. By this time there were quite a few ‘Blacks’ attending the church. Apart from a substantial group from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (DRC) the former Zaire and Congo-Brazzaville, there were also quite a contingent of Angolans. We also have had individuals from other nations attending regularly.
A group of young people from Botswana came to study in the City, staying in a hostel near to the Baptist Church. This was of course up the ally of the Holder couple who had ministered in Botswana in earlier years. Soon a whole bunch of Tswana-speaking youngsters were attending the church, some of them getting special teaching from Jeff and Lynn, who used the Experiencing God material of Henry Blackaby.
Our son Danny was the leader of the worship team at this time. He intertwined songs from the other cultures and languages. In due course the fellowship became one of the first churches in Cape Town - perhaps even countrywide - with adherents and visitors from many nations on any given Sunday.

A Ministry to Foreigners
During 2003 it seems as if the Lord was leading us more and more to a ministry to foreigners. While Jeff Holder preached one Sunday, Rosemarie received a vision of our Moriah Discipling House to be used for refugee-type foreigners. In our recruiting for a couple as house parents of the place, the Lord had to correct us because we thought that a Cape ‘Coloured’ couple would be the ideal because we perceived that they understood the culture of the Cape Muslims best.
Around the turn of the millennium Rosemarie was battling with the discipling of new Muslim background believers (MBB’s) and general convert care. The bulk of them were females who had been Christians before their marriage to a Muslim.
We were glad that we could hand over the responsibility for the medical/hospital side of our ministry to Maria van Maarseveen, our Dutch colleague. At the end of 2002 we were praying fervently again that the Lord would give us more assistance for the general convert care. Unbeknown to us, Lynn Holder had been praying how she could get involved involved in practical ministry.
I approached the Atlantic Christian Assembly (ACA) as part of an effort to promote the hand-made 3D cards, which the MBB’s had been making. The Lord had undertaken wonderfully so that we could pay these ladies, giving them some regular income, although we hardly sold cards.
Pastor Anthony Liebenberg, the minister, had good memories of the time when he was youth pastor of the ACA. Our son Danny had joined his cell group and he also played in the music group of their church on Sunday evenings. The prophetic word spoken about Danny to be a link to other believers on the day we had our valedictory service in Holland, had obviously already been partially fulfilled because the Lord had already used him wonderfully at the German School to bring new life to the Christian Union there, especially when a youngster, Chris Duwe, came to the Cape in 1996 during their Abitur (A-level) year. (Subsequently, our sons Rafael and Sammy also became leaders of the Christian Union at the German School.)
By 2003 Anthony Liebenberg had become the senior pastor of the the Atlantic Christian Assembly. Because of some internal precedent the congregation was rather hesitant to allow people from outside to come and promote their ministry during a slot in their services. Anthony himself would however advertise our material on our behalf. Because of the good rapport we had with him and the link via our son, he did it much better than I could have done. Anthony also spoke a prophetic word over us, that we would get assistance soon. This was fulfilled when Lynn Holder joined Rosemarie with the making of the 3D cards, to be followed soon thereafter by Rochelle Malachowski, a missionary from the US with ministry experience in Palestine.


23. The last Lap?


During a time of holiday as a couple in July 2003 at Carmel Christian Farm near George106 we had been taking some photos of beautiful waves at Sedgefield and Knysna. Somewhere we found Psalm 93:4 engraved on a stone. That was exactly the Bible verse that Rosemarie received on the day of her confirmation in the Andreaskirche of Mühlacker way back in the mid-1960s. ‘Mightier than the thunder of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty! (Psalm 93:4). A mighty wave was rolling into our lives.

The Going gets tough
A medical control was due a year after my stress-related temporary loss of memory in March 2002. This led to a period that seemed to lead to the last lap of my race on earth.
I went to the doctor, Dr Woolf, for a rather belated check-up at the end of September 2003. He suggested a PSA blood test because of my age, although I had none of the symptoms or any complaint to suspect a cancerous prostrate. When the result came out, the physician pointed out that the PSA count was minimally above normal – a higher count would have pointed to cancerous activity.
Perhaps the arch enemy tried to knock me out. I was so confident that the result of a subsequent biopsy would be negative because I had no physical discomfort up to that point in time and neither of the two physicians involved discerned any initial reason for concern. There could have been other causes of the count - like infection.

Cancer Diagnosis
Dr Woolf referred me to an urologist, Dr Aldera, who did a biopsy on 7 October 2003 – just to make sure as the urologist put it! The word biopsy used by him could have given me some sort of fright. The casual way the physicians spoke about the PSA count put me at ease somehow. The next morning, I read the ‘Watchword’ - as the Moravians have been calling the 'Old Testament' Scripture for the day traditionally - with our two youngest children before they went to school and college respectively (Sammy was studying Sound Engineering): ‘I will not die but live and proclaim what the LORD has done’ (Psalm 118:17). I was really encouraged by the words, casually saying to them something like ‘even if I would die, I am ready. I have had such a full life.’ I spoke along similar lines when I conducted the devotions with my missionary colleagues in the afternoon.
Yet, when a phone call came from the hospital early the next day, on Thursday, 9 October 2003, I was caught off-guard. My request to speak directly to the urologist, Dr Aldera, could however not be honoured. I could only come to see him at 13.30h. I drove there directly from a Bible School where I had been teaching. Without any ado he shared the result of the biopsy: I had contracted prostrate cancer, the big killer of men over fifty years old. But it was still in an early stage. However, through an extra-ordinary set of circumstances, the Lord prepared me for the diagnosis.

Another attempt at United Confession
In a very surprising development – we believe in answer to prayer - my PSA count of cancerous activity in my prostrate gland went down in the following weeks. The two decreases of the PSA blood count indicating a very unusual reduction of cancerous activity, encouraged us to expect supernatural healing which would have made an operation redundant. This encouraged me to attend the CCM Leaders’ Consultation in Paarl. It was to me a special blessing when at the conference itself there was not only much prayer, but there also came an opening for a confession on behalf of Christians to be drafted. These two issues – prayer as such and united confession of Christian errors in the past in respect of Islamic doctrine as a priority - had been bugging me in earlier years, even to the extent that I almost took WEC out of CCM because of the indifference and obvious procrastination of my missionary colleagues on that score.
In an aftermath of the National Leadership Consultation (LC) of CCM (Christian Concern for Muslims) in November 2003 in Paarl which I attended just prior to my operation, a breakthrough appeared imminent on the issue of confession – a proposed attempt to assist the Church to repent publicly for the guilt of Christians to Muslims. A working committee was chosen at which we drafted a manifesto in which the word confession was substituted by regret. Before the Leadership Consultation of 2004 in Natal the manifesto was diluted further. In the draft declaration the the following sentence appeared in the preamble: 'The declaration is not a paper of confession over past sins committed'. That is definitely not what I had initially intended, but I was prepared to settle with the compromise for the sake of unity. Subsequently however, at the Leadership Consultation of CCM in 2004, even that declaration alias manifesto was trashed. CCM was not prepared to make public statements on the matter. To my deep disappointment CCM and the Church in general went silent on the matter hereafter.

An increased PSA Count
When a further PSA test on 23 November showed a new increase, we sensed that we must not play around with the cancer, although I dearly wanted to participate in the continental prayer convocation with the American Tom Hess that took place in Cape Town from 1-5 December 2003.
I immediately booked myself in for the operation, undergoing surgery on 3 December. When the post-operative pathology report came through, we were overawed once again. The cancerous growth had come to only 1mm away from the membrane of my prostrate gland. The timing of things gave me so much reason to thank the Lord. The compulsory rest in the wake of the operation was just the opportunity to follow through on the injunction of Psalm 118:17, viz. to ‘proclaim what the LORD has done.’ Any penetration of the membrane it could have become fatal. We had so much reason to praise the Lord!

A Wave of Opportunity
In October 2003 Rosemarie had a strange dream cum vision in which a newly married couple, clad in Middle Eastern garb, was ready to go as missionaries to the Middle East. Suddenly the scene changed. While the two of us were praying over the city from our dining room facing the Cape Town CBD, a massive tidal wave came from the sea, rolling over Bo-Kaap. The next moment the water engulfed us in her dream, but we were still holding each other by the hand. There was something threatening about the massive wave, but somehow we also experienced a sense of thrill. Rosemarie woke up, very conscious that God seemed to say something to us through this vision-like dream.107 What was He trying to teach us?
The day after Rosemarie’s dream we heard about a conference of Middle Eastern businessmen in the newly built International Convention Centre of Cape Town. We decided on short notice to take our Friday prayer meeting there instead of having it in the regular venue, the Koffiekamer of Straatwerk. When I returned a few believers to the Koffiekamer with our Microbus, Rosemarie, Rochelle, Denise Crowe, one of our co-workers and Shamielah, a Muslim background believer, went into the Convention Centre where they surprisingly got access to the interior of the building without any security check. They walked around, praying for the delegates to the conference and for the building.
The same afternoon Rosemarie and our YWAM colleague Rochelle went to the nearby Waterfront Mall where they now literally walked into a bunch of ladies in oriental garb. The rather extrovert Rochelle had no hesitation to start a conversation with one of them. Having resided for a period among Palestinians in Israel, she speaks some Arabic. Soon the two Christian ladies were swarmed by Arab women, who were of course very surprised to be addressed in their home language by a White woman with an American accent. A cordial exchange of words followed.
We sensed that God might be sending a wave of people to Cape Town from Muslim countries. We should get ready to send young missionaries to the Middle East when it would open up to the Gospel.
On the personal front, we thought that the Lord was confirming a ministry to refugees and other foreigners. In November 2003 we baptised a Muslim background refugee from Rwanda. Shortly thereafter, the Lord also brought to our attention various groups of foreigners who had come to the Mother City, including a few Uyghur, a big Chinese minority group.

A Change of Ministry?
In 2003 Rosemarie and I were seriously praying about a change of ministry. After almost 12 years at the Cape in the same ministry, we thought that we should have a change for the last stretch before retirement. With our youngest daughter about to finish her schooling at the end of 2004, we also considered relocating. But no ‘doors’ opened with regard to a move elsewhere. Instead, we felt increasingly challenged to reach out to refugees and foreigners at the Cape, for example by using English language tuition as a compassionate vehicle. We prayed that the Lord would give us more clarity with regard to our future ministry by the end of 2003.
Looking back over my life, it seems as if I cheated through my (semi-)academic studies and other activism, which did not seem to lead anywhere. But the Lord gave me a ‘second wind’ after the successful prostrate operation in December 2003 similar to the one as a teenager at Vasco High School after I had cheated. I had been using the example a few times in sermons to explain that the Lord gives us a second wind when the going is tough. I experienced that very practically. I knew that I had received a new lease of life. The Lord also blessed Rosemarie and me to discern some of the pieces in the mosaic, the puzzle of our chequered lives that were fitting so perfectly into each other…

No Relocation
During the time in hospital and the period of recuperation I was also challenged anew to become instrumental in the formation of a 24-hour prayer watch in the City Bowl. On Sunday 28 December 2003 we visited the Calvary Chapel service when we bumped into Heidi Pasques. (Demitri Nikiforos was the pastor there. He had married Karen, the daughter of Graham and Dawn Gernetsky, who had been the pastoral couple at the Cape Town Baptist Church. At that time Demetri was also the Sunday school teacher of our daughter Magdalena). Heidi Pasques hinted that she and Beverley Stratis, another good friend who has a prayer burden for the city that stretched over decades, had special news for us. They could hardly wait to see us in the evening for our prayer time with them and Hendrina in Heidi's little flat. There they told us that the Lord had made it clear to them that Bo-Kaap was a strategic stronghold. We were ourselves rather surprised, that the penny took so long to drop with them. After all, how often had I not been inviting the congregants in the Baptist Church directly and indirectly to come and join us in the prayers for Bo-Kaap. But we were nevertheless extremely blessed. They also shared the same evening that the Lord somehow impressed on them very starkly that the Bo-Kaap and the disunity of the churches in the City Bowl were two strongholds which prevented a spiritual breakthrough. On the other hand, we were encouraged that the Lord now used them to confirm that we should not relocate as yet.
Hereafter the three prayer warriors became part of the core group of our monthly Signal Hill Saturday morning prayer until the end of 2004 when Hendrina's earthly life was terminated, to be with her Lord. Trevor Peters, at the time the tour guide of the Groote Kerk, became a regular at the local police station prayer event every Wednesday morning from 2005 and also on Signal Hill.108

The Unity of the Body – a Matter of Priority
A new lease of life meant that we could now tackle the two issues that had been concerns for us so long with more urgency, viz. church unity and a ministry to foreigners. While I was in hospital I was challenged anew to regard the City Bowl 24-hour Watch as a matter of priority for the first half of 2004. The unity of the body of Christ, i.e. believers in the crucified and risen Saviour, had been very much on our hearts. We believed that the prayer watch could be a decisive vehicle to make this more visible - to be used as a powerful means to take the city for God. This had the potential to ignite renewed countrywide prayer.
When Rosemarie challenged me about my indecisiveness in certain matters, I was just busy revising a manuscript Some Things wrought by Prayer. Satan lost a bout when I now proceeded to get Search for Truth 2 printed. The manuscript had been almost finished on my computer for a long time. (In subsequent years that booklet would find its way into many a Muslim home, making many of them unsure as they discovered the doubtful roots of their religion.) The extra weeks gained through my hospitalisation and recuperation after the operation helped me also to affect a few changes to Search for Truth 2 to get it ready for printing. (Our son Rafael was also available to make Part 2 of the booklet more readable for the rank and file reader). Rafael was on the verge of returning to Germany after finishing a Cambridge English Language Teaching course (CELTA). We were so thankful that he could give some guidance and leadership to our language teaching programme at Cape Town Baptist Church where a few teachers from other denominations assisted.
When I phoned Reverend Rica Goliath, the leader of the Moravian Church shortly after my discharge from hospital, she gave me the good news that we could have regular convert meetings in the Moravian Hill Church and use the complex as a possible venue for the start of a 24-hour prayer watch. However, the latter did not come off the ground at that time.

The travelling Bug in the Family
The travelling and missions bug seemed to have bitten all our children. Influenced by Siggi Steger, a German national who studied and ministered successively at the Cornerstone Christian College and the German Stadtmission, our son Rafael opted to do his post-Matric year with the Teemobil, an evangelistic vehicle of Youth for Christ in Germany in 1999. After graduating at Cornerstone, he went to the USA for cross-cultural experience, jobbing there. This was followed by a stint in East Germany. This nudged him to return ultimately to Chemnitz, where he subsequently went to teach English, while ministering with a very interesting combination of the Salvation Army and the Jesus Freaks.
Our eldest son Danny had an initial stint with Trans World Radio in Pretoria in 1997. After his university studies he worked for a few years as an electrical engineer with a German firm in the Cape suburb of Diep River. He then applied to join Operation Mobilisation (OM) in Germany. Subsequently he did a year of volunteering there. In the OM headquarters in the Southern German town of Mosbach he was especially engaged in the preparation of the massive 2003 European operation of Teen Street, leading an outreach team thereafter to Slovenia.
Our daughter Magdalena went to the USA and Vavoua (Côte d’Ivoire) for her post-matric year. (She served as short-termer in the same Boarding School where I would have taught in the early 1990s. It was so fitting that one of our children served at the institution which ushered in our missionary career in Africa and our subsequent return to South Africa.) Sammy chose to do a year of studies in sound engineering after Matric, arguing that he did not do the German Abitur (A levels) as his two older brothers had done at the German school. In 2004 we allowed him to do a DTS with the Media Village of YWAM in Kalk Bay during the first half of the year.

Strategic ‘Home Assignment’
Another family wedding, that of our nephew Johannes, was scheduled for mid 2004 in the Southern German village of Lienzingen. I did some ‘home assignment’ alone, sharing at various occasions. Rosemarie and our two remaining children at home were to join me later.
During the four months of May to August 2004 the Lord in his mercy wonderfully enabled us to fill the threatening empty nest gap. After speaking to Susanne Koch in Eppstein at the German WEC Headquarters, the possibility of Trekkers (Short-termers) came into our frame once again. Some correspondence started with a young girl Hannah Noelle, who was finishing Abitur, the German school-leavers’ year. She wanted to join a mission team for three months. We had already decided in our team that we could only engage short termers that are prepared to stay for a minimum of six months. She agreed to that.
Traumatic weeks followed while I was in Eppstein and thereafter lodging with Klaus and Luise Hinkelmann in South West Germany. First of all I had to contend with a phone call from Rosemarie with regard to a notice from the South African revenue service that we were not exempted from tax anymore.109 We were required to pay a big amount, going back to 2002. Rosemarie also informed me telephonically that the request of Tabitha for a Dutch passport led to a threat from the consulate to the effect that my dual nationality was questioned. This would also have affected our other children who also had two passports. My blood pressure, that had become quite stable, shot up once again because of the double blow!
After reading one of our newsletters, in which we expressed our need for someone to disciple the converts and to work with the international students, Allmuth Hinkelmann, the daughter of Klaus and Luise, with whom I had also done some deputation work in prior weeks, responded to that. This set in motion a process whereby she ultimately joined us in Cape Town in 2005. We made a visit to Brigitte and Michael Wiedenhoff, our German contact persons in Essen, to coincide with our meeting Hannah Noelle, who started to get ready to join us in October 2004.
The interview with Gottfried and Susanne Schittek, another German couple that wanted to come to Cape Town, brought us together with Susanne Koch once again. At this occasion we heard about Christiane (Chrissy) Schlue, another short termer. She originally wanted to join the WEC ministry with children in crisis in Brakpan near Johannesburg. On our last Sunday in Lienzingen Chrissy happened to come to nearby Mühlacker for a valedictory missionary service of a friend. She ultimately not only joined our team for a stint of nine months in Cape Town but she also joined our son Danny’s worship team in the church. The end of the story was that Danny followed her in 2005 to Southern Germany to do a year of Bible School training in Kirchberg, where Hermann (Harry) Beck, my room mate of 1969/70 in Stuttgart was the pastor. They ultimately married on 28 July 2007. During this time our daughter Tabitha also started emailing a certain young man with the name of Michael Mee in Cape Town very intensively.

Diverse Outreach to Foreigners The movie The Passion of the Christ was supernaturally used by God to prepare hearts to believe in Jesus as their Saviour. One of the first occasions for outreach with this tool occurred when we invited two Uyghur ladies who had come to Cape Town, to watch the video in our home with a missionary colleague. The English of both was quite poor but one of them, Zuniba,110was quite fierce in opposition. (We already had contact with another convert from their nation and tribe since 2000.)
A special opportunity arose when we were involved in an Eid ul Fitr celebration at the end of Ramadan for about ten compatriots. One of them, Kadar,111who knew English quite well by that time, showed interest to learn German when he heard that Rosemarie came from that nation. This set off an interesting dynamic after we had followed this up with a Christmas event where we also shared our personal testimonies of faith.
This sparked in Zuniba an intense questioning of her religion. She sensed some contradiction between Jesus and Muhammad. She prayed to Allah to show her who was the right one of the two prophets. She sensed that she had to make a choice. Promptly Zuniba had a dream in which Jesus appeared to her. She sensed her sinfulness, asking Him immediately to forgive her. The subsequent peace she experienced was all too clear. When we invited her to have lunch with us for Christmas, Zuniba gave us a wonderful gift when she shared that she had decided to follow Jesus.
After the first German lesson in our home, we invited Kadar to stay for supper. We had not yet finished supper properly when young people from different nations started coming for the group linked to our church fellowship that our son Danny was leading that Wednesday evening with young adults. The group also included Hannah and Chrissy, the German short termers that were living with us. Kadar was apparently somehow touched to see young people coming voluntarily and speaking frankly about matters of faith. He had been prepared in his home country by a fellow female student from his Muslim tribe who boldly testified about her belief in Jesus in the classroom.
Of his own accord Kadar soon bought himself a contemporary edition of the Bible hereafter ‘to improve his English’. He shared this with us when he came for his next German lesson. Hereafter I would always enquire what he had been reading from his Bible. Soon this part of the German lesson became longer and longer. As a matter of course he would hereafter stay for supper and the meeting with the young adults.
At this time we also decided to increase our involvement with Somalians in Mitchells Plain, offering to teach English to them. We had hoped that local Christians could take this over from us in due course. This hope proved futile when we had to discover that resentment towards foreigners was growing dangerously in the townships.
An interesting encounter took place when Rosemarie discovered that one of the veiled 'Somali' ladies was actually a local convert from Christianity. Her maiden name had been Joorst and she had Moravian roots. (My grandfather was Daniel Joorst. The surname Joorst is still uncommon in our society.)
Our hope to reach out in love to Somalians evolved into a rather traumatic experience. We would later drive the almost 40 kilometres only to find that not a single one of them 'wanted' our lessons. When they discovered that we were Christians who took our faith quite seriously, we were not welcome any more.

Brought to complete Unity?
I discerned how radical I had been in earlier days and how lukewarm I had become. The issue of worship on a Sunday with its pagan background that had estranged Christians from their Jewish roots, bogged me once again. I was ready to be radical to resign from the Cape Town Baptist Church, but not ready to join another church fellowship. The unity of the body of Christ was the issue which held me back from taking a drastic step. I did not want to engage in anything which could rock the boat of the body of Christ in the Cape Town City Bowl.
The well known Chinese Brother Jun spoke at the Lighthouse Christian Centre in Parow in the last quarter of 2004. (During our visit to Europe earlier in the year someone blessed us with his autobiography The Heavenly Man) I was deeply moved at the Parow event that highlighted for me Jesus' prayer in John 17:23, ‘…may they be brought to complete unity.’ Aware that the house church movement in China is the closest to 'New Testament' Christianity in our day and age, this now became my model. Yet, I was wary to start yet another church fellowship. I preferred to procrastinate on this issue, to the frustration of Rosemarie.

A Policeman invites Church Leaders
There were indicators that God was bringing things together at this time. A new man on the block at the Central Police Station in Cape Town was Superintendent Scanlen. He invited church leaders to an information session on Wednesday, 3 November, 2004. The aim of this session was 'to inform Christian leaders in Cape Town about the crime situation and to move forward to find a solution through ideas that will be tabled during the mentioned information session.' It augured well that the email was titled PROJECT PRAYER AGAINST CRIME. It reminded me of the situation in Hanover Park in 1992 when the police also called the churches to assist them. (When Operation Hanover Park was put into place, the effort had prayer as its pivot. Within three months, conditions changed drastically in the crime-infested township at that time.) Would the city churches rise to the challenge in a similar way? That was still the question as 2004 approached its end. In the run-up to the Soccer World Cup outreach a few years later, things changed minimally city-wide. This culminated in a thanksgiving service at the Strand Street Lutheran Church on 15 August 2010.

A former Freemason Lodge to become a Prayer Room?
When we were still wondering whether it was feasible to go ahead with plans to have a week of prayer in the City Bowl at the beginning of February 2005, Trevor Peters, who prayed with us at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at a half-night of prayer, phoned me. This was just the nudge I needed, just as my own faith in the matter started to wane.
At the monthly prayer for the City on Saturday 8 January (2005), it was decided to press ahead with another week of prayer from 30 January to 6 February as the next step towards the goal of a 24-hour prayer watch in the City Bowl. Trevor Peters, who had contact with Rev. Angeline Swart with regard to the use of the former Moravian Hill manse as a venue for a drug rehabilitation centre, could find out whether the venue was available for the week of prayer. Our friend Beverley Stratis was requested to get in touch with police Superintendent Fanie Scanlen, to see if a room in the Central Police Station in Buitenkant Street was available as an alternative plan.
One thing led to the next within a week, until it was finalized that the week of prayer would be held at Moravian Hill. This would be followed thereafter with weekly prayer at the Central Police Station. Superintendent Scanlen put at our disposal a room called Die Losie, a former Freemason lodge in the complex. This was a significant step. On Sunday 23 January, 2005 the station was anointed and prayed over, signalling - as we excitedly thought - the ushering in of the victory of the Lord in the Mother City! (Until about 2003 the command structures of the notorious Caledon Square Police Station had been firmly in the hands of freemasons.)
We prayed at the police station, proclaiming in faith the ultimate victory of the Lord in the Cape Peninsula.112 In fact, at the beginning of 2005 there were quite a few police stations at the Cape where there was a committed Christian in command. This was a situation which must have enraged the arch enemy. In due course this situation was reversed. Riaan Booysen, the station commander at Buitenkant Street, was suspended in 2007 after concocted and fabricated allegations of fraud and corruption had been brought in against him.113He received special divine grace to forgive the perpetrators.
As we were interceding in the third story board room of the police station, I suddenly saw the Tafelberg Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) diagonally opposite me. I was reminded that this was the church from which Dr Koot Vorster, a DRC minister, the brother of a Prime Minister and a high-profile Broederbonder,114 operated. I had heard that he was the person responsible for certain requests to the government of the day, such as the one to get the prohibition of racially mixed marriages on the statute books.115 When I vocalised my discovery up there in the ‘blue room’ of the police station, I was asked to pray for that congregation. I knew I had to express forgiveness in a prayer once again. In my heart I sensed hereafter release from some secret grudge which I had still been harbouring inadvertently. It was very special to me when Dr Chris Saayman, formerly the Dutch Reformed minister of Eendekuil, was called to Tafelberg DRC at the end of the following year. As the sole denominational City Bowl minister with a heart for Bo-Kaap, he subsequently visited and prayed in many a Muslim home there.

Two Baptisms At about the same time as Zuniba, Kadar had a dream similar to the one she had, without them knowing it from another. One evening after our 'German lesson', I put my usual question to him: 'What did you read?' (I knew hat he loved to read the stories in the Bible about Moses.) I was thus not surprised at all that he had been reading the stories about the plagues in Egypt. With some nudging I reminded him of the last plague, the instruction to apply blood on the doorposts. Yes, he knew how the angel of death would pass over those doors where the blood was applied. I explained John 3 verse 16 from here, viz. that if one believes that the blood of God's Lamb was slain on Calvary for you sins, you are saved from eternal damnation. I could literally see how the penny dropped with Kadar.
I did not want to force the issue however, allowing Kadar to go to the kitchen where he would enjoy the interaction with Rosemarie and the two German young girls, Hannah and Chrissy. I retreated to our bed-room where we had our TV set. I went enjoyed a few minutes of the one-day cricket international between England and South Africa before supper when there was a knock on the bed-room door (Kadar had difficulty calling me by my name. He started calling me 'Mr Ashley'):
“Mr Ashley, could you please lead me to the Lord?” Over the years I have been blessed to guide many people to faith in Jesus, but that was the only occasion when someone came to me with such a request. Of course, I gladly obliged. We baptised him and Zuniba one Sunday afternoon in our pool. (Subsequently we baptised quite a few foreigners in the pool, some of them coming from Muslim background.

The ‘empty Nest’ Syndrome
The flip side of the travelling and missions bug in our family was the ogre of the empty nest syndrome which was looming very ominously since 2003. Sammy had been considering seriously to proceed to Holland for tertiary studies and Danny wanted to go to Germany on a missions rendezvouz with OM, or a year of Bible School in Sweden. Magdalena had her sights on travelling the world after completing her Social Science university degree, but she did not want to use this in South Africa. She followed the studies up with a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) diploma, with which she wanted to make a living overseas. Rafael was on the verge of returning to Germany after finishing a Cambridge English Language Teaching course (CELTA) and Tabitha’s post matric year was due for January 2005. We just marvelled how the Lord provided funds for all these ventures. (The children funded much of their endeavours themselves through jobs during vacations).
On 28 December 2003 it was merely confirmed that we should remain in Cape Town, not to relocate to some other country. The prospect of not having a single child at home was daunting, hitting us very heavily indeed. It was only a minimal reprieve when Sammy decided to study at UCT and not in Holland.
In mid-2004 almost the whole family was present at the wedding of Johannes, another nephew of Rosemarie. Sammy stayed on in Europe, doing some casual work in the second half of the year and earning the funds to go and assist missionaries in Kazakhstan in December 2004 for a month. Rosemarie and I were very uptight with this idea, remembering how we had almost lost him due to double pneumonia after our return to South Africa in 1995. We knew that winter temperatures in the part of Central Asia where he would be heading, could easily drop to minus 40 degrees. However, Sammy was adamant, insisting that he saw that as a divine commission. He was vindicated. During the month he was there, the temperatures were quite moderate. It turned out that he was assisting to prepare Gospel material for an unreached people group that the Lord had just started to bring to Cape Town. It was very special when he brought audio-visual resources along, which we could pass on to persons from that people group with whom we had come into contact while he was in Kazakhstan.
Tabitha, the youngest of the siblings, was very unfortunate. The expectation of her post-matric year were not met. For her first choice, a Discipleship Training School (DTS) of Youth with a Mission (YWAM) at Muizenberg, she was turned down because the course was already full when she applied. After a burglary at the new DTS in Durban for which she could still enrol, she was told a few days before the course was due to begin, the leaders had decided to postpone the start there. She ultimately landed in a less well-run DTS in Jeffrey’s Bay. There the outreach side of the training, namely the proposed trip to Brazil, could not take place due to bungling by the immature team leaders.

The Fight against ‘TIK’
An interesting dynamic took place in two Cape townships, Hanover Park and Parkwood, in the run-up to and in the aftermath of the First Global Day of Prayer in May 2005. At the Newlands event on Pentecost Sunday, I was asked to share. I chose to highlight the 1992 Operation Hanover Park, challenging the participants to get serious about the abuse of the drug ‘tik’; to pray and get involved in the fight against ‘tik’.
Initially there was no response. At that time we had been corresponding with WEC International with regard to Ewa Hus, a Polish missionary, to come and assist us. She showed interest to come and join our team in the Cape. We decided after some deliberation that she would be given Hanover Park as responsibility, to work there with young people and children. After her experience in the Rainbows of Hope Ministry of WEC in an informal settlement near Brakpan, this was the catalyst for our WEC evangelistic team to start praying seriously about resuming ministry in Hanover Park. (Ewa subsequently married someone from Blomvlei Baptist Church, the fellowship where I had worked closely in the Operation Hanover Park.)
At a meeting of Muslim background believers in August 2005, Shahida,116 the mother of a young man who was addicted to drugs, pleaded with us to come and minister with children in Hanover Park again. This ‘Macedonian Call’ (‘come over and help us!) was to us confirmation to resume involvement there. To us the cry had a personal touch because her son, the young man Muhammed117 had been a serious follower of Jesus while attending our children’s club there in the mid-1990s. A pleasant side was that Lance Bowers, who had been a participant of the youth club a decade earlier, joined us in due course as part of the ministry team.

Multi-cultural Missionary Colleagues
A special enquiry from the USA ushered in a new category of missionary colleague, viz. short termers coming from a different culture than German or Dutch. Californian Stephanie Lue was a sixth generation Chinese background Presbyterian who had already done short term outreaches in the Phillipines and Kenya.
From Almuth Hinkelmann we knew that she was born and bred in Indonesia as a missionary kid from German parents. Kinga Radulski came into our lap as Polish-born and bred, but raised in Germany.
Stemming from Poland, Ewa Hus did short term candidate orientation in England before joining the WEC Rainbows team in an informal settlement near Brakpan for children in crisis. She came to us from Canada where she had gone to improve her English and to get prepared to return to South Africa as a career missionary.
In between there was also an enquiry from OM whether we could give Jürgen Seifert (??) from Germany some missionary experience. After doing missionary training in Pretoria, he linked up with the team of the Doulos in Durban before coming to Cape Town in September 2005. We also hosted a Puerto Rican and two Bible School students from New Zealand on orientation at this time. On top of this, there was also Shipley Jacobs (??), a South African missionary from OM, who started to attend our prayer meetings with the request to work more closely with us. We had no objection.
We had also been assisting in the recruiting of Dorien and Daniel Langstraat, a Dutch couple to come and study at the Cape Town Baptist Seminary. We profited ourselves when Dorien subsequently assisted us in the children's ministry in the Cape township Parkwood. Tina Rasendrasoa from Madagascar, who had also been ministering before in Woodstock, also assisted in the children's club in Parkwood. Dorien continued with the ministry in Parkwood throughout her time of study, only interrupted by the birth of their son Simeon. Tina, who married Willie de Klerk, a South African in 2010, persevered faithfully for many years thereafter in Parkwood.
The influx of new workers within a matter of weeks turned however to be even for us as seasoned cross-cultural workers too much. We just could not cope to give sufficient attention to every one of them. This triggered a tragic saga, which ultimately led to our resignation as WEC team leaders after a few months.

Disappointments at Church Networking
Things followed each other up in quick succession thereafter. I was phoned on Thursday, 23 September after an enquiry to the CCFM radio station, with the request for training people in Muslim Evangelism. At further meetings with other local Parkwood pastors, we expressed our intention to work closely with Pastor Faiez & Jenny Abrahams of Victory Lifestyle Centre in Mitchell’s Plain. They had been running Victory Drug Camps, where quite a few drug addicts had already been impacted.
After a major disappointment in Parkwood in an attempt to get the churches there to work together, we were forced back to the drawing board and challenged to pray more. Also in Hanover Park there was still little sign that the body of Christ would start operating in unity. I was personally challenged anew that our Lord himself has left us the prayer legacy: ‘May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me…’ (John 17:23). Furthermore, Ephesians 3:10 came to the fore again in my quiet time where Paul, the apostle, states clearly that it is God’s intent that His manifold, multi-coloured wisdom should be demonstrated to the rulers and authorities in the heavenlies by the Church, the body of our Lord. I challenged church leaders that it should be a priority to operate together visibly and prayerfully, also locally in Hanover Park. But the response was very poor.

A Prayer Venue at the Civic Centre
In due course Die Losie of the Central Police Station in Buitenkant Street became our regular prayer venue. The preparation for the 2006 Global Day of Prayer, prayer drives were organised during which participants prayed Scripture. The prayer drives converged at the Central Police Station. God used this event to touch at least one person in a special way. Wim Ferreira had been a transport engineer working with the City Council. He was challenged to resign from his position to concentrate on prayer for the City. He was hereafter invited to work with the Deputy Mayor of the metropolis.
When all the groups had arrived at the former freemason lodge, Daniel Brink, the co-ordinator of the event, asked me to share briefly how God had changed things at the police station. I became too emotional. However, at this moment, Wim Ferreira was deeply moved. He promptly requested a room for prayer in the metropolitan Civic Centre where he had just started to work. This was another divinely orchestrated move. The Lord also challenged Wim Ferreira to start a 24-hour prayer facility at the Civic Centre premises. Soon a prayer room near to the parking area on the ground floor was frequented by many people throughout the day. The foundation towards 24/7 prayer in the CBD of the metropolis was laid.

Time to move on?
We felt quite uncomfortable at the Cape Town Baptist Church because of different issues in 2006. The main reason was the failure of the church leadership to act on suggestions after church members made many good suggestions after an Experiencing God week-end earlier in the year. (That was not the first time that good suggestions by church members were not taken seriously..) This was especially so after the Holder family had returned to the USA. Yet, we hung in there, especially because we still had two children in the fellowship by the end of 2006. It did not seem as if the promise of the ‘Experiencing God’ event of February 2006 in that congregation was to be fulfilled. (In fact, the insensitive handling of suggestions was a cause for the disintegration of a vibrant group that our son Sammy had been leading with two other young adults.) Rosemarie and I failed in our duty to warn the church leadership when we saw this happening.
Towards the end of 2006 both children decided to leave the church. For Rosemarie and me prize one changed minimally with regard to ministry. We continued to pray for a breakthrough in Bo-Kaap, but now even more urgently for a fellowship to start there that would consist predominantly of MBBs from the area and believers from the nations.
I still had my reservations about monologue-type sermons, and still have them. This withheld me from fully committing myself to any fellowship, especially when Rosemarie and Tabitha started to attend the Calvary Chapel fellowship occasionally. This was painful to all of us, because we felt that it is compromising the unity of the body if we as a family could not worship together regularly. After a few months I joined them but Tabitha then decided to rather start attending the Methodist church in Piinelands where her boyfriend Mike Mee was the youth pastor.

Mountain Top Prayer Revived
We hoped that other Christians would also join the Signal Hill prayer initiative every first Saturday of the month, but initially we reaped only disappointments. I emailed many pastors and City Bowl Christians. However, only the faithful few, Heidi Pasques and Bev Stratis, along with a few believers from Melkbosstrand - spear-headed by Celia Swanepoel and her husband Abrie - responded. Murray Bridgman, a City advocate, attended occasionally. He would faithfully at least render an apology at other occasions. I was quite happy to hear after a few months that Pastor Brian Wood of the Cape Town Baptist Church started prayer meetings for his church leadership on Saturday mornings, but I was disappointed that he organised this to happen also on the first Saturday of each month. Likewise, I was ambivalently excited to hear that Calvary Chapel was also starting with prayer on Signal Hill every second Saturday of the month. We joined them there in March 2007 with the intention of doing it as often as possible. My joy was tempered by the fact that we still seemed to fail to get City Bowl believers to act together. It is so sad that we could not even get believers to pray together for our city!
Of course, I am also very much aware that denominational disunity is very much of a demonic stronghold against which we have to take up the prayer cudgels. When will the Cape Town pastors see this as a priority? We continued to pray for a breakthrough.

Renewal of an old Link
We all know that God moves in mysterious ways. We initially met Andy and Lizelle Draai, a young couple from Green Point via our CCM-related events in the 1990s. They subsequently started praying with us both in the Koffiekamer and at our once a month prayer meetings in Bo-Kaap from the beginning of the millennium. But then they stopped coming and we lost contact with them.
We heard about a new church plant of His People Ministries at the IMAX complex of the Waterfront. When we attended there soon thereafter, our friend Tim Makamu was the preacher. He had become the senior pastor in the vibrant denomination that had planted a few churches in the Western Cape and elsewhere. He immediately spotted Rosemarie and me in the audience and promptly called me to the front. I utilised the occasion to challenge the obviously upper class congregation to get involved with outreach to the refugees at the near-by Home Affairs premises and to come and join us in praying for the Bo-Kaap. After the church service Andy and Lizette Draai came to speak to us.
In the meantime Bev Stratis suggested that we perform a Jericho stint in respect of Bo-Kaap. We got ready to pray up and down Buitengracht Street along the border of Bo-Kaap on six days and doing it seven times on the seventh day.118 I had mentioned this in my short challenge at the IMAX service. On one of the prayer walks during the week we were joined by Andy and Lizette Draai.

A ‘new Thing’ sprouting
Towards the end of 2005 Rosemarie and I went through a very traumatic period as a couple. We knew that we could not cope adequately with the influx of new inexperienced workers. The unfair attacks of co-missionaries became too much for us! We decided to resign as team leaders of the Western Cape WEC International evangelism team. We were however personally encouraged subsequently by Isaiah 43:18, to forget the past and to expect a ‘new thing’ that was sprouting.
During the first term of 2006 Shipley Jacobs, an Operation Mobilization (OM) missionary started to work more closely with us. He also hoped to minister to foreigners. In the course of looking for a neutral venue where we could assist the sojourners from other countries with English lessons, Shipley suggested that we pop in at the home of Pastor Theo Dennis, one of the OM leaders in the Western Cape.
I experienced a sense
of home-coming once again
When Theo shared about their ministry in Coventry some years ago in the UK119 with the title Friends from Abroad, I experienced a sense of home-coming once again, especially when Theo mentioned that the group no longer operated in the UK under that name. I was reminded of how I was blessed in Holland while ministering in a group called Gospel for Guests. (Ever since our return from Holland in 1992 I had been hoping to be a blessing in a similar way to foreigners who came from other countries. I had been impacted myself while I served there during my period of exile.)
The very next day I took Rosemarie along to the Dennis home in Maitland. We started discussions for the establishment of an alliance with other mission agencies and local churches to be called Friends from Abroad. Both Rosemarie and I felt that this was the new thing that had been sprouting, a renewed challenge to get more intensely involved with foreigners.
We however did not close ourselves to the possibility that the ‘new thing’ could still happen within WEC confines. We remained committed to operate in a positive frame of mind until the end of July, while we prayed for clarity about what God had in store for us. We were sure that our ministry in Cape Town had not been completed yet. A major confrontation with the new national WEC leadership followed. They could not see us combining our work as leaders in a new format Evangelism Team at the Cape – in a leadership team - with the challenge to reach out to foreigners. Months of extreme turmoil were to follow with many a tear shed on our pillows. Our colleague Rochelle suggested that we get counselling. She suggested Dave Peter, a YWAM missionary whose advice, counselling and ministry helped us to remain sane. We basically went through the motions towards the end of July – what looked like our final weeks in WEC, along with two short-termers who were staying with us. They were Stephanie Lue from the USA and the Polish background Kinga Radulski from Germany. What a blessing Dave Peter of YWAM when we were on the verge of burn-out yet again!

When we heard that Floyd and Sally McClung were coming to Cape Town - hoping to establish a training and outreach community that would impact Africa from Cape Town to Cairo and the vision ‘for a multi-cultural community that exemplifies the kingdom of God’ - we were quite excited. This was more or less what we wanted to see coming to pass, albeit that our vision was somewhat wider, viz. also for countries outside of Africa to be impacted from Cape Town. The Lord had already brought a few Asians into our sphere of influence. Getting the vision over to local Christians and pastors was the big challenge!

More Traumatic Months
We were not happy at all when our daughter Maggie indicated that she wanted to travel the world, returning to Europe to earn a few British pounds at first. When she phoned from the north of Spain a few months later where she was learning Spanish while selling fruit and vegetables, we were still not worried. But we were not happy at all with her choice of a roaming life style. Her next port of call was to be the UK again, moving over to Scotland. Our son Rafael was ministering with the Salvation Army in Eastern Germany at this time bi-vocationally, also teaching English (He had completed the Cambridge University-related CELTA course here in Cape Town.)
In a phone call with Rafael who had been visiting our daughter Maggie in Scotland, he vaguely intimated that something was not in order with her life-style. We had already picked up that she was spiritually back-slidden and not attending church any more. In a phone call she told us that she would go to Holland soon. She congratulated Tabitha on her birthday, the 25th of April, but Tabitha did not read this on her new changed email address.
When we heard nothing from Maggie on Mother's Day, 14 May, we became really concerned, informing our friends in Holland to try and find out what had happened to her. For weeks the uncertainty kept us on edge. We had no clue of her whereabouts, fearing that she might be dead. After a few more days of terrible inner turmoil and wet pillows, Tabitha one day looked into her old email inbox. There was Maggie's birthday wishes. What a relief this was to us, encouragement that she might still be alive!
This coincided with our last months in WEC International that were quite traumatic as well. We had already more or less decided to resign, but we still kept things open, hoping that matters could perhaps be resolved in a way which would enable us to continue. But this was not to be the case. In fact, on the last minute we decided to stay away from the annual conference that was held at nearby Simonsberg, near to Stellenbosch. But it all was of no avail. We started to make travelling arrangements to go to Holland to have our final talks with our sending base leaders in August.
And then there was that unforgettable Sunday afternoon in mid-July 2006! A phone call from a very tearful and repentant Maggie, phoning from Holland informing us that she was pregnant. She had been living for many months with Jose, a Spaniard - also in Scotland. This is what Rafael had seen, but which he did not feel free to divulge. Our deep disappointment was strangely enough mingled with relief that our daughter was still alive. The sense of shame was nevertheless very deep because our family had been talked about as the near-perfect missionary family, where all the children got involved in Christian ministry of some sort. Also Maggie had been doing a short term missionary stint.
After working through the trauma which followed many tears, we decided that we would just love our daughter and not allow her wayward behaviour to damage our relationship to her more. We had been asked to go and discuss our resignation from WEC with our Sending basse in Holland. We were very thankful that we could still change our travelling arrangements in such a way to be in Valencia (Spain) for the birth of our first grandchild on 22 September, 2006.

Throwing the Net to the other Side?
Another word from Scripture came to the fore in the last quarter of 2006. We felt challenged to throw the net ‘to the other side’. But what would this imply? When Ds. Richard Verreyne, pastor of the Soter Christelike Gereformeerde Kerk in Parow, invited me to a meeting of the Consultation of Christian Churches (CCC) in February 2007, to prepare a big event where Floyd McClung was to be one of the speakers, I was in two minds. Through their networking with the Western Cape affiliate of the South African Council of Churches (SACC), the impression had been quite wide-spread that the CCC was also propagating inter-faith notions and supporting the law allowing same sex marriages that took effect on 1 December 2006. I was not prepared to be a party to this set-up. On both scores we were re-assured that – at least what the Western Cape sector of the CCC was concerned - its leadership structure and membership was clearly evangelical. We agreed to participate in the proposed CCC event on 20/21 March, 2007.
We wanted to make sure however that the CCC folk would also hear about present efforts to reach the continent with the Gospel. To achieve this purpose, I roped in Bruce van Eeden from Ten Forty Outreach and Raymond Lombard from Wheels for God’s Word.
At the end of January 2007 it was clearly confirmed that our ministry days in WEC International (South Africa) were finally over and we duly resigned. (Our hearts were aching however, as we still experienced affinity to the ethos of the mission agency.)

The Launch of Friends from Abroad
We attempted to get believers and churches together at the launch of Friends from Abroad (on Saturday 17 February 2007) and in prayer during a week of prayer from 19 to 25 February 2007, which was to coincide with the Jericho Walls initiative, to encourage Christians to pray for the continent. The launch of Friends from Abroad on Saturday, 17th February was rather disappointing. There was a complete lack of support and involvement from City Churches at this occasion. Also on the other score the response was very poor. I experienced a major feeling of failure. I had been toiling so hard! This brought back the circumstance of the fishermen disciples, who had to report to the Lord that they have not caught any fish after fishing the whole night. This continued to mill through my head. How should I apply the Lord’s injunction to throw the net into the water on the other side? We continued to grapple with the issue at hand as we attempted to enjoy occasional fellowship meetings at events with believers from different church backgrounds, at grassroots level in homes and public places.

Vibes and Bribes
It was more or less an open secret that the South African Ministry of Home Affairs was one big mess. The government more or less conceded that but a correction to the system looked to be as far away as ever when Rochelle Smetherham-Malachowski120 asked at our prayer meeting in the Koffiekamer on Friday 30 March 2007 whether we could not go and pray at the Foreshore Home Affairs premises. Perhaps she thought about the memorable precedent of October 2003, the praying at the Convention Centre, that ushered in the start of outreach to foreigners. Operating with Rosemarie at our Tuesday workshop with refugee-type ladies, she could of course hear the vibes of the bribes at that institution all the time. Talking about their experience, refugee women were speaking of how much the highly valued paper ‘costs’ which would take them out of illegality. (For a thousand Rand one could get the document the same day. For half the price one would have to wait for three weeks and without paying a bribe, you might as well forget about getting the highly valued paper.) Also at our English classes we heard the sad stories of people who had to wait for days before even speaking to an official and hearing about many irregularities. Without any discussion, we agreed to go and pray at the Foreshore Home Affairs. There we saw some of the vibes confirmed, but we were also deeply challenged about involvement practically.
Could this involvement be the other side of the net? After some collaboration with Theo Dennis, we decided to approach a few City Bowl pastors regarding a common effort. Initial responses were positive when I asked them to pray about possible involvement. But we were wary of getting too excited prematurely. Haven’t we been disappointed more than once when we attempted to get churches of the City Bowl to do something together? Perhaps this was just God’s time. Could the plight of the destitute and exploited foreigners possibly be the vehicle to bring about the revival we have been praying for so long?
After the prayer session there on Friday 13 April, we decided to start feeding the refugees and other foreigners there once a week in conjunction with Straatwerk and local churches. This looked to me to be another wonderful opportunity to get local churches involved in a combined effort, demonstrating the unity of the Body of Christ. With Straatwerk we networked excellently, but from the churches’ side only the German Stadtmission came on board with two volunteers. (It still troubles me that churches seem to stick to their little cocoon, with so little vision for the bigger Body of Christ). We stopped our 'feeding scheme' when the refugees got served at new Home Affairs premises in Nyanga. But the question was: When should we throw our nets out again? And what was ‘the other side’? We grappled with these questions, praying that clarity would come soon.

Equipping and Empowering People from the Nations
One of the new ventures of Friends from Abroad with which we started before we left for Europe in 2007 for the wedding of our son Danny and Chrissy was fortnightly fellowship of Bible Study and prayer with Asians. (One of the visions of our new endeavour was to equip and empower people from the nations to serve their own people, similar to the way I had been impacted while in (in)voluntary exile in Holland.)
We resumed our contact with Bruce van Eeden, the former pastor of the Newfields EBC, with whom we had started children’s work in 1992. (In 1995 he initiated a Mitchell’s Plain-based mission agency called Ten-Forty Outreach.) We thought that his ministry could be a valuable complement to our Friends from Abroad concept, which was to make use of indigenous Christians.
Through Pastor Theo Dennis we linked up with Ds. Richard Verreyne, pastor of the Soter Christelike Gereformeerde Kerk in Parow. Pastor Deon Malan and his wife Iona, a couple with mission ministry experience in North Africa and our colleague Rochelle Smetherham-Malachowski were members of our core team of Friends from Abroad (FFA) co-workers. Rochelle Malachowski and Tricia Pichotta assisted to start up English classes at the Soter Christelike Gereformeerde Kerk in Parow. It was an added blessing that we had at hand Caroline Munz, a short-termer from Germany, who attended to the children. This was a forerunner towards a weekly children’s club there with refugee children. Our daughter Tabitha not only assisted there, but she also ran the club on her own long after the German short-termer had returned to her home country. A jewellery workshop for refugee ladies replaced the card-making workshop that was not sustainable. Finding a market for the cards was too difficult. to help them earn a few cents and teach English to quite a few of them - was part and parcel of the FFA ministry to foreigners.

Encounter with Corruption
During our outreach at the Foreshore Home Affairs premises, we soon heard from our contacts among the refugee foreigners whom we served with sandwiches and at our workshop at the Discipling House of the intense corruption at the venue. Mr Mvuso Msimang became the new national Director of Home Affairs, a government department that was notorious for corruption. As the person who engineered wonders in another government department, much was expected of him.
When it came to our attention that Mr Msimang humbly invited people on grassroots level via TV to assist, I volunteered on behalf of Friends from Abroad. In a series of emails I repeated our wish as team to meet him or a representative to give some suggestions on how we think matters could be improved. I was subsequently invited to come to Pretoria for an interview.
Protests by PASSOP (People Against Suppression, Oppression and Poverty) against the undignified treatment of refugees at the Foreshore Home Affairs premises where many refugees were now also sleeping, highlighted their plight.
We gladly endorsed the vision
to oppose xenophobia and
to fight corruption
I regarded a trip to Pretoria as superfluous when we were invited to meet Ms Martha Mxagashe, the new Acting Home Affairs Provincial Manager of the Western Cape. We gladly endorsed her vision to see the Western Cape take the lead countrywide to oppose xenophobia and fight corruption.
I linked up with Braam Hanekom and other refugee ‘stakeholders’ in an attempt to address the rampant corruption at the Home Affairs offices. We were very frustrated by the reaction to our suggestions to bring down the back log of asylum seekers through their inefficiency. We were so thankful when the national head office of Home Affairs sent Mr Dean Pillay to come and assist with this very task. How we rejoiced when corruption at the expense of the refugees seemed to have been rooted out within a matter of months. In due course I took a leading role within the group of stakeholders more or less by default along with Braam Hanekom, the leader of PASSOP, after some of the agents who had set out to assist refugees became corrupt themselves. We continued to monitor corruption at the Refugee Centre.

Prayer Warriors invade Chambers of Government
Other interesting things had also been happening at the Cape. After Pentecost 2007, I joined Wim Ferreira and other prayer warriors in a board room at the Cape Metropolitan Civic Centre for prayer every Friday. This venture lasted only for a few months but it forged a closer link to Pastor Barry Isaacs.
The Lord put the unity of
the Body of Christ on our
prayer agenda once again
The Lord put the unity of the Body of Christ on our prayer agenda once again. We continued with efforts to get Capetonian believers to pray together. This was to us an important step towards the revival we yearned after.
Wim Ferreira linked up with Pastor Barry Isaacs, the new co-ordinator of the Transformation Committee. As a result of their deliberations, prayer meetings started in October 2007 at the Uni-City Council Chambers on the third Saturday morning of every month at 5.30 a.m.121 Wonderful answers to prayer were subsequently experienced month after month. At one of these occasions, the lack of the availability of the Civic Centre Banqueting Hall for a combined prayer event on Ascension Day 2008 touched Peter Williams, the secretary of the Provincial Parliament. He promptly extended a provisional invitation to the group to come and pray there as well.
On 31 May 2008 more than 100 believers gathered in the legislative house of the Western Cape for prayer at 6 a.m. Three days later there was a hush – and no mocking - as two Christians shared their biblical convictions, as part of normal parliamentary procedure. Peter Williams shared this at the next occasion as a direct result of the united prayer at that venue!

Disasters shake young Christians
Towards the end of our stay in Germany in July 2007, where we had gone for the wedding of our eldest son Danny, we received an email from Sammy, who had returned from Germany earlier than us. The subject of the email was ‘pray’. Sammy shared that Rüdiger (Rudi) Hauser, his close German friend who had gone to Austria to study, had been killed in a mountain cabin with some friends the day before, when a gas explosion collapsed the house. Rudi and another friend died on impact. The incident shook Sammy very intensely. He had been leading the Bible group at the German High School with Rudi.
Students were moved to
contribute sacrificially towards a
deposit for a children’s home.
At a ‘Simply Worship’ event shortly hereafter, the Holy Spirit ministered to Sammy and Brendan Studti,122 another student friend, independently of each other. They were moved to contribute sacrificially, to give savings and a bequest towards a deposit for a children’s home.
A group of UCT students now started to come to our home quite regularly on Fridays, as they prayed and organised on behalf of such a children’s home.123

Kindred Spirits
My wife Rosemarie and I were encouraged by the arrival of Floyd and Sally McClung at the end of 2006, especially because we detected kindred spirits when we got to read their reasoning for coming to the Cape. We now started to endeavour even more to see a church planting movement established among those foreigners who have come to the Mother City of our country. We longed intensely for the metropolis to become the Father's City at last. With the McClungs, leaders of the relatively new mission agency All Nations International, we had a common experience of seeking God’s will for the next step in our lives. Floyd and Sally had come to a dead-end in the church in Kansas City (USA) that they had been leading. We felt the same way with our mission agency here in Cape Town in respect of outreach to foreigners.
After their arrival, Floyd and Sally linked up with two YWAM missionaries. Soon YWAM and All Nations International joined hands in prayer walks in the two nearby townships Ocean View and Masiphumelele. Many different groups had been involved in the latter township, notably the King of Kings Baptist Church with their various Living Hope projects. Pastor John Thomas and his congregation had been ministering there for over two decades.
One thing led to the next until Rosemarie and I joined the Church Planting Experience (CPx) course at the beginning of 2008, with the intention of becoming members of the All Nations International family. Along with our Friends from Abroad colleagues we now started to partner with local fellowships, to get believers in home groups from the nations equipped, hoping and praying that they would minister in their countries of origin in a similar way in the future.

CPx Pioneering in Africa
CPx teaches a new dimension of church - whereby simple non-denominational independent fellowships are planted that attempt to come as closely as possible to the practice of the first generation of ‘New Testament’ followers of Jesus. The first CPx of All Nations in Kommetjie broke new ground in many a way. We were very much privileged to be on that course and we enjoyed it more than any other one we had ever attended up to that point in time.
A special personal highlight was when I discerned where my over-reaction to injustice came from. Childhood experiences in District Six which I always regarded as unimportant had been the cause of hurts about which I never spoke with anyone.
When I befriended Munyaradzi Hove, a lone participant man from Zimbabwe, a relationship started that would affect the whole All Nations family in due course. He was not only a member of our group but also a member of the small team that Rosemarie and I led for the outreach phase. Munya was a member of this team along with two couples from Cameroon and Nigeria respectively. Their outreach at Green Market Square would have major ramifications when a little 'simple church' could be started there. One of the participants there, Valentine Chrume, also hailed from Zimbabwe. He would be the link to a few others from that nation to be impacted, notably in the wake of the xenophobia mob violence that rocked our country from May 2008.
Munya personified the vision and philosophy of Friends from Abroad more than any body else before or after him. After he returned to his home country, initially as a part of teams that he led, he and other All Nations young people led many people in Victoria Falls to faith in Christ. Thereafter, when he returned their permanently in 2010, he gathered the new disciples of our Lord in discipleship groups and simple churches. We were blessed to see also others impacted at the Cape who would return to their home countries or who went to other countries to share the Good News of Christ.
The only negative of our link to All Nations was that an interest in the strongholds of Bo-Kaap and Sea Point never seem to take off. In fact, interest in loving outreach to Jews was still almost non-existent at the end of 2011.

New Involvement with Somalians
The next chapter with Somalians came indirectly via our son Sammy who became involved in the start of a prayer facility at UCT after he had a very emotionally meaningful spiritual encounter with the Lord. He had become intensely involved with the start of a children's home and the UCT 24/7 prayer group. As a result, various UCT students including Sheralyn Thomas, the daughter of John and Avril Thomas, the pastoral couple of King of Kings Baptist Church, started visiting us in Vredehoek quite regularly. Sheralyn had been negotiating in the talks between Somalians and Xhosas the previous year.
We were not very keen to minister to Somalians as such when Rosemarie had a recurring dream one morning which seemed to indicate that we should resume outreach to Somalians. Our previous experience with some of them in Mitchells Plain in 2004/5 ended on a rather disappointing note. By October 2007 we had been linked to Floyd McClung ans his All Nations International team for a few months already. They had been doing intensive outreach in Masipumelele near to Fish Hoek already for months. The very next day after the dream of Rosemarie, a discussion with the MOB Team (MOB became our abbreviation for Masiphumelele, Ocean View and Beyond) seemed to confirm our intensified involvement in the Black township where a major clash between Somalians and indigenous Blacks had resulted in 50 people killed in 2006. That was the time when sheraly had been invovled in the mediation process.
When Kader, the Uyghur student from abroad with whom I did Bible Study every week, phoned to cancel because of a test, I thought I would have a free evening. But then the bell rang. It was Sheralyn Thomas. She told us about a believer from the notorious East African country who had just been baptized in Bellville. I needed no encouragement to phone the pastor of the Baptist Church there. I knew that Dave Stemmet had a heart for foreigners. It turned out that Ahmed, who subsequently changed his name, had been baptized at that church on October 7. We had started with 'international Bible Study' on Saturday afternoons, intended as foundational teaching for new believers from the nations.

A Second Somalian?
Soon hereafter I received a phone call from a pastor in Sea Point with regard to a second Somalian, who has been coming to faith in Christ from Islam. This sounded to me too good to be true; the second Somalian believer within a matter of days? Initially we were thus rather sceptical about the story of the young man who had in our view purportedly fled his country. (His father probably killed his mother because she came up for the teenager after he had become a Christian. He suspected that he would be the next one to be eliminated.) In South Africa he was fleeing from other Somalians because he had heard that his father made a big reward available for anybody who would help reduce the shame because of his son's conversion to Christianity, by eliminating the renegade who had left their religion.
On the other hand, our 'Christian' conscience could not be callous and indifferent to the plight of someone so clearly destitute. He was suicidal. But I still had serious doubts whether all this was genuine. (Over the years we had a few cases of people who only wanted money, coming with impressive 'conversion' stories.) After further checks and balances, we decided to let him sleep in my office. (Marthinus, a missionary colleague of our previous mission agency, who was on leave of absence. He was living with us for a few months, teaching English to foreigners from an internet facility.) We saw this co-incidence as a special divine gift because Marthinus speaks - next to a few Western languages - also Xhosa and Arabic. The somallian changed his name to Joseph.
The English of our new Somalian brother was still very poor. Thus it was very special to have Marthinus available, who could communicate via Arabic. During the next few days we could not only convince ourselves that Joseph was sincere, but we could also witness how his English improved and how he grew spiritually.

The City Bowl Ministers' Fraternal Saga
When I went to the City Bowl Ministers' Fraternal on Thursday 4 October 2007 I actually intended to go and say good bye to the colleagues. I had by now finally given up that networking was possible with those colleagues. Since 1995 when I joined the prayer times as the initiative of the late Edgar Davids and together with Louis Pasques, we saw it growing initially into a healthy weekly fellowship of evangelical pastors. But then it dwindled, not only in numbers. Not even the annual Carols by Candlelight could be organised as a joint event. The Groote Kerk had been a major stumbling block in networking over the years. They would not join our monthly combined services and only hesitantly opened their traditional Ascension Day service for the closing of the 120 days of prayer in 1999. ( I was allowed to speak on condition that I limit myself to seven minutes and give them the script of my message beforehand. For the sake of the Unity of the body I agreed to these rather distrustful conditions.)
The Lord humbled me when the Groote Kerk ministers suggested intensifying networking – they wanted to open up their Robben Island monthly services for ministers of other denominations. This took me really by surprise. In the Winter of 2008 Rosemarie and I went there, taking along our son Sammy and his fiancéé Sheralyn.
Even though this was not more than a service with one family there, we were blessed. In the run-up to the 2009 Pentecost Global Day of Prayer and the implementation I was once again very disappointed by the participation of local colleagues, but in the preparation of the event I had started working more closely with John Kadende, a Rwandese pastor and his refugee church.
24. The last Lap to (autobiographical) Publications?

When the result of my operation in December 2003 came through, we were overawed. The cancerous growth in my prostrate had been only 1 millimetre away from the membrane around the organ. (Once the cancer breaks through the membrane, it invariably spreads quite quickly to other internal organs). The timing of things gave me so much reason to thank the Lord. The compulsory rest in the wake of the operation was just the opportunity to follow through on the injunction of Psalm 118:17, viz. to ‘proclaim what the LORD has done.’
An autobiographical title, JUMPING OVER WALLS, highlights my personal involvement in the battle against different ideologies and traditions, notably Apartheid, Materialism, Communism and Islam: JUMPING OVER WALLS. I perceived the achievements of surmounting hurdles and walls as having been done ‘by my God’.124 I remained cautious however, not wanting to take any honour due to God who had so obviously been using me. I was merely an instrument in so many ways over the years, in answer to the prayers of many people.
I also started to update material that I had written on the occasion of my wife’s 40th birthday under the title ‘On Eagles wings’. This became the basis for the present book. Before I could get anywhere near to complete it, the idea came up to bless Ann Jacobs, the widow of my best friend, the late Ds. Esau Jacobs, commonly known as Jakes. He would have turned seventy on the 6th of December, 2006. I was soon working full-steam to finish I was like Jonah in time for that occasion.

Is my Writing Activity Idolatrous?
In the early morning hours of 1 December 2006 Rosemarie noticed that I was awake. She could not sleep for a while herself. She felt compelled to challenge me with the question whether my writing activity was not an idol just like I had been addicted to sport as a teenager. I knew she was right. I was going overboard – attempting to get the manuscript I was like Jonah printed in some form before 6 December, the (posthumous) 70th birthday of my late friend Jakes.
I was used to get up very early in the morning, have my quiet time and continue working on the book. Now I had to go to the Lord in travailing confession. After an inner battle I was ready to stop with everything, at least for a period. I discovered that HIS(s)tory at the Cape should come to the front of the queue of unfinished manuscripts, to be pasted to the website for which we had just started to do some preparatory work. (This ultimately became Seeds sown for Revival, which was completed in May 2009, with a few copies available for perusal and ordering at the Global Day of Prayer in the Groote Kerk on Pentecost Sunday. But as yet there was still no confirmation of any publication.)
God used Rosemarie to correct me to apply the brakes when I wanted to rush ahead with I was like Jonah. I discovered that HIS(s)tory should come to the front of the queue. On Eagles' wings is His story with us, how the Lord carried us through so wonderfully now almost 37 years. (The idea of a website was likewise not confirmed, and subsequently shelved).

A Nudge from Rosemarie
Rosemarie however nudged me once again in the beginning of 2007 to get my manuscripts to other people. The idea of a private website started to surface again. Parallel to this effort I also sent my manuscript of A Goldmine of another Sort with the subtitle 'the New South Africa as a base for Missionary Recruitment’ to my former seminary colleague Karel (Kallie) August. When I heard that he was involved with preparations for the 550-year celebration of the Moravian Church in 2007, I set about to update and edit A Goldmine of another Sort with the subtitle the New South Africa as a base for Missionary Recruitment.’
When I returned books of the Moravian Seminary in February 2007 I met (Bishop) Billy Temmers there.125 After a short chat with him and Rev. Brian Abrahams, the director of the institution, it surfaced that they were open to read my manuscript A Goldmine of another Sort, about how Zinzendorf and his 18th century Moravians had implemented the evangelistic principles that Jesus taught in his conversation with the Samaritan woman. A radio series that I had recorded before Christmas around the Samaritan Woman was running at this time every Tuesday on CCFM, a local radio station that broadcasts peninsula-wide. (The series refers next to John 4 also to Muslims, Jews and the missionary work of the Moravians.)

Waiting on God’s perfect Timing
When no success ensued in respect of publication, I irritated Rosemarie once again with my constant defence that I wished to continue waiting on the Lord to open the door regarding the publicationof manuscripts. I did not want to fall back into activism, but she thought that satan was robbing me of my health, because I was constantly yawning, giving the impression that I was always tired. The Father seemed to vindicate my view when our friend Dr Mark Gabriel phoned from the USA. He wanted to start a publishing company, requesting the first option on our story. I took for granted that Mark meant the manuscript On Eagle’s Wings. Was this God's perfect timing for going public with our story?
Mark’s plans to start a publishing company was however aborted when he was advised against it. (I am still wary of drawing more attention to me and my family than we would be able to handle. I also detest seeing books published which would only gather dusk on library shelves.) I continue praying for a new miracle, that a culture may develop so that (South) Africa can be blessed by the reading of good literature.
A nudge to attempt to get academic recognition and using research for my manuscripts led to my giving a CD with manuscripts to Professor Ernst Conradie of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) with some of the titles towards the end of 2006. When no reply came, I took this in my stride as a cue that academic pursuit was not the route to go for that moment.

Books finally printed
Dr Mark Gabriel invited me and my wife Rosemarie to participate in a 10-week teaching course that started in Orlando, Florida (USA) on 11 September 2007. Unfortunately Rosemarie could not join me during the two weeks that I was able to be the guest of a non-denominational congregation, Northland - A Church Distributed. The idea of co-authoring and revamping THE ROOTS OF ISLAM was given by Ms Debby Poulalion, the editor of five other books of Dr Gabriel, during this my first visit to the USA. The printing of Part 1 in 2010 of THE SPIRITUAL PARENTS OF ISLAM is the result of that attempt. In June 2011 we had another 100 copies printed.
When I took along the trial copies of Seeds sown for Revival to family overseas when we were there after the birth of our first grandson in June 2009, criticism of the lay-out of the book cover was quite strong. Subsequently, our nephew Uli Braun, along with various children and our son Mike Mee, participated in bringing about significant changes. Hindi Sanneberg, my friend of Sunday School days, had faith to print 500 covers straight away, but I only had funds available for 150 copies of the sizeable book of just over 350 pages, printed in November 2009. It did amount to quite a personal breakthrough nevertheless when those copies could be disseminated quite briskly. To sell the second 150 copies took much longer.
Another Disappointment On 22 January 2008 I received an email from Struik Christian Books - publishers who also claims to change lives - for example via their audio programmes.
Their negative reply was typical of other ones I had been receiving from different publishers. The Lord prepared me for the disappointment. When it had been taking weeks – and a second email from my side to get any reply at all – I was already uneasy whether this was to be the Lord's timing and the location of my first major publication, not counting my Search for Truth booklets. This experience confirmed for me to cease 'trying out' publishers. I hereafter rather wanted to wait on the Lord for the right publisher(s) to approach me.
Just prior to this – the day before – Rosemarie spoke to Sarah Bultman, an All Nations International colleague, who had just arrived from Canada to especially assist with the administration of the house church planting facilitators. She suggested that I put my manuscripts on a blog, offering to assist me with it. I was quite happy with this suggestion. I posted the manuscripts which are more or less ready on the internet at www. isaacandishmael.blogspot.com.. They thus became easily accessible to anybody around the world.

A Publication silver Lining
God put it on the heart of NUPSA leader Dr Bennie Mostert to invite Christian leaders for a 'Solemn Assembly' in Pretoria. Pastors, youth leaders and also other community leaders in all sectors of society were challenged to come together for a day of prayer on 15 October 2008. 'We are inviting Christian leaders from all 650 towns and cities in and from all denominations and ethnic groups in the country...'
The preparation to the Pretoria event would also touch me personally when I started praying about attending the annual Leadership Consultation of CCM (Christian Concern for Muslims) now changed to Partners' Consultation (PC). The 'door' opened for me to attend both events. At the PC of 2008 in Port Elizabeth there was an item on the programme on Sunday 21 September called Frustrations and Encouragements. There I started to chat with Manfred about publishing Seeds sown for Revival, a manuscript that I had been working on.
I perceived the contribution of one of the PC participants as the God-given sign to share my own frustrations with CCM, notably the handling of our proposed declaration of 2004 regarding Jews and Muslims, into which I had put so much effort together with other missionary colleagues. In the ensuing discussion of 21 September 2008 someone suggested that TEASA and not CCM should be communicating to the churches in the country with regard to such a declaration.
I took up this cue to challenge the CCM executive to send an updated version of our proposed declaration of 2004 either to TEASA or Jericho Walls. I also expressed my preference for Jericho Walls, because this group does not only represent Evangelical churches.
In the contact with Manfred Jung linked to the possible publishing of Seeds sown for Revival via ACADSA, a company he had just initiated, I wrote the following lines to him, with a copy to Bennie Mostert. Would the Pretoria occasion not be a good place to read an adapted version of the declaration that should ideally include Jews? I paste the 2004 version below once again for Bennie's sake, but I would like to see something added along the following lines in the light of the thousands (perhaps even millions?) of Muslims (and Jews) that have been coming to the Lord in recent months:
... Coming from a situation in our country where an oppressive, demonic race policy was defended from the Bible, we empathize however with those Muslims (and Jews) who are hurting because they feel themselves deceived by religious leaders. We call on South African Christians and followers of Jesus everywhere, to refrain at this time from any trace of triumphalism. In stead, we call on them to embrace Muslims (and Jews) lovingly who are still searching after the truth.
Let us thrust away our petty doctrinal differences which have been hindering millions down the centuries to believe in Jesus Christ and pray unitedly that many will come to faith in Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life - also those from other religions. Bennie responded that I reduce the declaration to two paragraphs on Muslims and Jews and then come and read it at the event in Pretoria.
Another Saga
When we prayed on Signal Hill on 24 October 2009, Celia Swanepoel enquired after my book Seeds sown for Revival, I was quite disappointed to have to tell her that it still had not been printed. The book cover had been causing a major delay. (During our visit in Germany in July our nephew had an idea to make the cover more appealing. This was however the beginning of another saga that would take us deep into teh second half of the year.) To me this was no great tragedy because I had already started writing an epilogue to the original manuscript. I was definitely not going to rush anything. I was given a lot of grace to discern that I could improve the manuscript all the time.
When I drove to Stikland to fetch the 'proof copy' of Seeds sown for Revival, my Moravian Sunday School and youth friend Hindi Sanneberg, the owner of The Printman, conceded that he was not happy at all with the product. Even greater was the disappointment for Rosemarie. With her keen eye for the aesthetic she immediately noted that the cracks in the arid earth which our nephew, Uli Braun, had incorporated into the book cover, was nowhere to be seen. A visit a week later to the printing company with Mike our son-in-law, who had been quite involved with the cover design, only brought us to the discovery that the family factory was not equipped for the task. Yet, after the saga I felt very much a moral obligation to stick to them and see how we could resolve it amicably, at least for the 150 copies that I had money for. On the other hand, we would not be good stewards to accept an inferior product.

Some thing wrought and Revival Pioneers ??
25. Advocacy on behalf of Refugees

Advocacy on behalf of refugees became an important facet of the ministry of Friends from Abroad.
The sheer satisfaction to see corruption all but stamped out at the Cape Town Home Affairs offices, was short-lived, replaced by sadness and anger. Dean Pillay had hardly turned his back, leaving Home Affairs to take up a vocational position outside of government, when corruption flared up once again. Within weeks it was worse than ever before.
In the Weekend Argus of November 3, 2007 it was reported that a Zimbabwean refugee died of starvation in the Cape Town CBD. Even though the facts in the report were not quite accurate, the death of Adonis Musati ignited a flood of goodwill. Gahlia Brogneri, an Italian-background Christian, became God’s instrument to launch the Adonis Musati Project. Through this endeavour she started to care for the refugees outside the Department of Home Affairs’ Foreshore premises in a holistic way. (We had been feeding foreigners in the preceding months once a week, attempting to get local churches involved. In our case, we had little success in getting the City fellowships interested.)

Two Volunteers attacked by xenophobic South Africans
Because Winter was approaching and the people who live at the Home Affairs premises on the Cape Town foreshore near to the International Convention Centre did not have adequate shelter, Lili Goldberg, a 16 year-old St Cyprian’s High School learner and her mother, brought bags full of clothes and shoes to the Home Affairs refugees on May 9, 2008. The two volunteers of the Adonis Musati Project were suddenly attacked by xenophobic South Africans. She was very badly injured and was subsequently hospitalized for weeks. Mrs Goldberg remained determined however to continue with their humanitarian godly effort.

Xenophobic Mob Violence spreads like Wildfire
This Cape occurrence turned out to be another forerunner of countrywide xenophobic mob violence. Within a matter of days the mob violence had spread countrywide.
On Wednesday 21 May, 2008 mayhem also broke out in the Western Cape. Greater carnage was possibly prevented because the police commissioner of the Province, Mzwandile Petros, had called all stakeholders and station commanders to the police Headquarters in Bishop Lavis Township the previous day, setting up contingency plans.
Thousands of Black foreigners were displaced
In spite of determined efforts by the police, it took days until the situation calmed down. However, by that time thousands of Black foreigners were displaced. Their shops were destroyed and looted by criminal elements and other poor folk who exploited the anarchic situation. We were very sad to hear and read of mob violence and xenophobic behaviour in Masiphumelele and Ocean View, where our CPx colleagues had been ministering.

Xenophilia and Compassion ushered in
On Friday 23 May, 2008 I wrote in an email to our prayer friends: ‘This is not only a matter for political activists. May I suggest that we … protest in the best sense of the Latin root word: pro testare - to make a positive statement. Let us replace xenophobia with xenophilia126
At this time our CPx colleague Timothy Dokyong from Nigeria, who lives in Masiphumelele, was inundated with phone calls from concerned colleagues. He felt quite safe there as South African Blacks from the neighbourhood rallied around him, promising to protect him. Soon he joined a number of Malawian and Zimbabwians from Masiphumelele - abbreviated to Masi in All Nations parlance – in the team house in the nearby White suburb of Capri. There they engaged in intensive intercession for ‘Masi’ and all the people there.

Churches respond with Compassion At a Transformation/Consultation of Christian Churches planning meeting on 31 May 2008 in Parow, it was exciting to hear how various concerned pastors enquired how they could join in compassionate action on behalf of the displaced foreigners. Among those attending the meeting there was Bishop Alan Kenyon, who was destined to play a special role in countering xenophobia in subsequent years.
Was all this the forerunner of the revival that is to start in Cape Town, on which believers have been waiting for years? This seemed very much the case when the Lord gave a picture to Rosemarie at our home church in Mowbray on Saturday evening, May 24. (Some of the congregants were refugees from African countries). She saw a big clay jar with a handle that was being filled with the tears of the refugees. Adjacent to the jar there was dry arid earth with many cracks. Thereafter a big hand poured out the content of the jar on the dry earth. The moisture coming from the jar – the many tears that had been flowing all over our country, including those of the refugees among us, filled the cracks. Grass started sprouting all around the area.
Churches and mosques opened
their doors to displaced Africans
Within a matter of hours the vision became alive when reports came in of South Africans donating food, clothing and blankets. Churches and mosques were opening their doors to displaced Africans. The government dropped their resistance to accommodate the refugees in mass quarters temporarily. Many of the displaced folk were taken to the Youngsfield military camp in Wynberg, to mass beach camps erected at Blue Waters (near to Strandfontein), at Silwerstroom (near to Atlantis) and to a camp apiece at Soetwater (near to Cape Point) and Harmony Park. Big marquees were erected at these sites to deal with the emergency.
Personally all this was very special to us. In 2006 and 2007, when many tears were wetting our pillows, the Lord had been comforting us with Isaiah 43:18 and 19. Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will sprout … I will even make … rivers in the desert.

Another Victory
But there were also spiritual victories. One of them happened when I was called in because a refugee lady from Burundi had collapsed at our jewellery workshop. (A year prior to this occurrence she had been one of my English learners who showed significant interest in the gospel.) I took her to Somerset Hospital where she was admitted and treated for about a week. After her improvement and discharge she was taken to relatives to recuperate. When however a medical backlash occurred, the relative deemed it fit to involve a sangoma, a witchdoctor. Hereafter she became completely insane and had to be taken to a mental clinic in Stikland in the northern suburbs of the city. From the mental clinic she was transferred to the psychiatric ward at Tygerberg Hospital where she was soon regarded as terminal. Family members started with preparations to take her body to Burundi for the funeral there).We discerned that we now had an extreme case of spiritual warfare. After a day of prayer and fasting we took along with us Arsene Kamptoe, our All Nations colleague, who prayed there in the name of Jesus in Tygerberg Hospital. She not only recovered dramatically as a trophy of God's grace, but she also returned to the jewellery workshop a few weeks later.

Whipping became the Order of the Day
Matters deteriorated significantly when the Foreshore Home Affairs Refugee Centre was closed and the offices moved to Nyanga. The crowded conditions in Nyanga created a breeding ground for corruption. We were so sad that things had deteriorated such a lot since March 2008 when we thought that the corruption and the duping of the destitute and hapless refugees at the Home Affairs offices had been stamped out. Now it was much worse. In sheer frustration security officials resorted to very violent ways. Whipping became the order of the day.
We were able to pluck Murida,127 a young woman out of the clutches of wicked human traffickers after she had been lured to come to the country under false pretences. Hoping to get an opportunity to be educated
here, she found out that they wanted to marry her off. She fled to the refugee camp. We took her into our home until she found alternative accommodation. She was also given a means of subsistence via the beadwork workshop.
I was called one day to the workshop where she had showed the marks on her legs where she had been beaten by the security officials at the Nyanga Home Affairs Refugee Centre. I immediately took her to the police to lay a charge where we were told to report this in Nyanga. From there they sent us to the Bisho Lavis police 7station where the matter was just shelved. After some more bureaucratic procrastination she was finally more or less forced to withdraw the charges.
In another case Rosemarie and Sheralyn, our daughter-in-law, accompanied Agnes,128 a victim of the Rwandan genocide that we had also first taken into our home before we brought her to our Discipling House, the Nyanga Home Affairs Refugee Centre. (Sheralyn and Sammy were house parents at the Discipling House at this time.) If ever there was one who deserved political asylum, Agnes was one. Left for dead after her who whole family had ben killed in front of her eyes when she was still a teenager, Agnes miraculously survived. Through one of these strange co-incidences, she had no only a traumatic but also a supernatural experience. The lioving Jesus ministered to her. Through all this she also came to a living faith in Jesus. In spite of this her application for asylum was turned down. We were able to acquire the services of Brendan Studti, the friend of our son Sammy and Sheralyn, who had become a lawyer by this time, to fight the asylum rejection.
At the Home Affairs Refugee Centre Rosemarie and Sheralyn became witnesses to the terrible abuse
that refugees were subjected to there. They were almost accidentally whipped as well.

Another xenophobian Threat
Threats abounded ahead of the Football World Cup. On Wednesday 19 May 2010 Rosemarie came back from their bead jewellery workshop, she shared that her African ladies said almost in unison that xenophobia is increasing once again. They were harassed in trains and threatened. They would be attacked and killed after the World Cup. This was scary stuff. I was reminded how the bishop of Johannesburg, Desmond Tutu warned the government of the day in vain of the anger amongst the youth in 1976. The warning was not needed, leading subsequently to the tragic Soweto massacre of learners. I immediately took the message to the opening of the Global Day of Prayer Conference in the Cape Town Convention Centre on 19 May 2010, sharing it with Barry Isaacs. I was thankful to hear that a TV report mentioned that these threats were also uttered in other parts of the country.
In answer to prayer and due to the alert and persistent actions of Anglican Catholic Bishop Alan Kenyon, this threat could be defused. He got the task force of President Zuma involved. His denomiantion works almost predominantly with refugees. Foreigners could supply the number plates of three cars that were disseminating inciting pamphlets in the Cape Black townships. We were very thankful that the government thereafter took steps to prevent possible civil war. (From Somalians we had heard how they were getting ready to fight back if they would be attacked.)


26. New Battle Fields

Next to the drug scourge at the Cape and the corruption at Home Affairs, other forms of injustice and immoral behaviour came on our plate because of interest in and concern for good family values. Although I knew that I had to guard myself against spreading myself too thin, I still deemed it necessary to give some logistical support where feasible and possible in other areas of the moral and spiritual battle around us. In a sequel to the 2006 preparation to the law to legalise same sex marriages, evangelical spokesperson and advocate for a biblical stance on Homosexuality, Pastor Errol Naidoo, left the pastorate at His People Church to launch the Family Policy Institute. When our friend Achmed Kariem lost his job in a rather unfair way at SACOB, he was given grace not to fight it in a worldly way. I had heard that Errol Naidoo was intending to start Family Policy Institute, I deemed it appropriate to link them up. Fighting prostitution and human trafficking along with a Pro Life stand on abortion soon became main areas of concern for them.
Prayer for the Removal of an Abomination
It was good to hear soon thereafter that God had already raised individuals like Cedric Evertson, a young man, to pray for the removal of the gruwel, the abomination, as this prayer warrior saw the new law.
When only Murray Bridgman was there alone with me on Signal Hill for our monthly prayer event of 2 December 2006, I was initially somewhat disappointed. We were in the clouds, but not in a pleasant way. It was cold and wet. Murray had so much wanted to introduce me to Cedric! A cell phone call was enough to get Cedric to join us for prayer simply in the car. How exciting it was to hear from Cedric how the Lord had been leading him. The Holy Spirit touched his heart to stand in the gap like a Moses on behalf of the nation. To this end he would go to Tygerberg man alone to pray there in the morning, three days a week.
Two homosexual international leaders - one lesbian and the other 'gay' - turned their back on the movement in 2007 after becoming followers of Jesus Christ. The gay victory to get same-sex marriages legalized in December 2006, had became Pyrrhic indeed.
A massive blow was inflicted on the gay lobby when Ellen Jordan, a former brothel owner became a follower of Jesus in April 2009. The question was only when the law would go the same road as the old apartheid laws – into the dustbin of history. The road would nevertheless not be easy because everything hinged on the definition of what constitutes a marriage. Nobody would like to be a party to discrimination of any sort – also not discrimination because of sexual orientation. Yet, all major religions would agree that marriage should be defined as an union between a female and male.

Human Trafficking addressed
Even though members of the Cape Town Baptist Church initially did not participate in our Bo-Kaap prayer walks, the idea caught on. Jeff and Lynn Holder, a missionary couple, played a big role in this regard. We subsequently also conducted a few prayer walks around the church and from there into the nightclub area of Long Street where sexual immorality and drug trafficking was rife.
Loraine Wood, the wife of the pastor, attended a meeting in Pretoria around the issue of human trafficking. When Loraine mentioned that she and their church members were doing monthly prayer walks, she found a kindred spirit in Denise Atkins of the Kensington Docks Mission. Performing a prayer walk in Green Point would be to the denomination like going to their roots, there where the Docks Mission had been founded in a tin shanty just over seventy-five years ago. A group of women decided to invite other women to come and pray on 14 June 2008 at the site of the new soccer stadium in Green Point that was being built for the 2010 World Cup. They furthermore resolved that the prayer walk was to be staged every third Saturday of the month until 2010. They would especially address human trafficking. The seed sown in this way would have national ramifications when the import of prostitutes for the World Cup became a big flop. In fact, the sex trade folk would complain during the World Cup that their business was 80% down on their normal takings.

A challenging Radio Programme
When I left our evangelistic outreach at the Youngsfield Camp on Sunday afternoon 5 October 2008, I was accompanied by two young Zimbabweans who had become members of our home churches that were started as a result of the xenophobic violence. It was just after 17h00. I immediately tuned the car radio to Edith Sher’s CCFM programme, to which I would always listen whenever I had the opportunity. I was immensely blessed as she explained the story of Jonah, briefly also referring to the prophet Nahum. To my utter embarrassment I discerned that I did not know that little Bible book at all. I was deeply challenged to pass through a warning when I discovered how the wicked city of Nineveh, the capital of the mighty Assyrian nation, had actually backslid after their well-known repentance as a result of the preaching of Jonah.129 The warning to South Africa as a nation is appropriate following God’s graciousness to us in 1994. The repentance and conversion of the Church – so powerfully vocalised by the Kairos Document of 1985 with respect to the oppression of Blacks – received a new relevance. This is true not only in respect of peripheral groups of our society like Jews and Muslims, but also with regard to the oppression of the masses, the poor and needy.
Politicians across the board are travelling
comfortably on ‘the gravy train’
Politicians across the board are travelling comfortably on what President Mandela called ‘the gravy train’ – appearing to be rather indifferent to the suffering of the poor masses. This is not much different to the apartheid days, when the authorities appeared to safeguard White privileges.
On the other hand, young people – sometimes rather confusingly referred to as the Joshua generation – were coming more and more into their own. Like their biblical model they seemed to want to take the continent, one person at a time. More open to radical change, they are eager to work alongside God to see our land and our continent saved and revolutionary changed.
Special Answers to Prayer
When Pastor Gary Adams came to Moriah Discipling House to look at the problem with the stove, he had with him a convert from Islam with Abeeda,130 a member of his congregation. What a blessing it was to hear that Abeeda hails from Bo-Kaap. We were so blessed when we got to know her and the husband better a few weeks later, to discover that the Lord has been answering our prayers in a special way. She had been a bouncer with eccentric habits and very suicidal. Inhuman terms she would have been a very unlikely candidate for conversion. She narrated how the Holy Spirit nudged her over many months, as she sensed a special presence whenever she was hearing the name of Jesus. She looked forward to the moments to sit under the preaching of the Gospel in commuter trains.
On 20 March I concluded what I regarded as the penultimate changes to Seeds sown for Revival. The week starting on 29 March was special in many a way. This was the last day of our All Nations International Conference at Africa House, that we had just acquired. In the afternoon we dedicated the building to the Lord in a ceremony that included 'sowing' Gospel seed rather literally when Bible verses were buried on the premises. The prayer included that Southern Africa would become the bread basket of the continent. At this occasion the conviction was confirmed in my heart that the publication of the present book which had been in a very advance state, needed an epilogue. What happened thereafter seemed to confirm it. Two days later, we were blessed by a declaration by one of the Muslim refugee women of our jewellery workshop from Burundi and Rwanda. She declared rather formally that they all believe that Jesus died for their sins and that He is the Son of God. We continue to pray with us that this discovery that has grown in them through the weekly spiritual nourishment during the workshop, may filter through to their families. To us it was tantamount to another miracle that we could accommodate two Rwandese women – the one Hutu and the other one Tutsi in our discipling house. Both of them had lost family members in the genocidal civil war of their home country. And then we heard soon thereafter that a Zimbabwean believer, a female teacher, who had been impacted at one of our home churches, was getting ready to return to her home country. She had the vision to start a simple church if the Lord opens a door for her. This is exactly the philosophy of Friends from Abroad - to see people spiritually moved and equipped to go and bless their countries of origin.

Near to Burn-out once again
On Monday 25 May, 2009 we had Abdul Morris coming to assist with some building chores at our home. In the evening he left the door open while a 'regular' at our door was sitting a few meters away. The next moment our car's alarm went off. I looked all over for the car keys to press the button but I could not find it. While I was looking all over for the keys – I have a habit of not knowing where I had placed the keys – our 'regular' quietly disappeared. We did not have the presence of mind to apprehend and confront him. (When I took him to hospital once he told me of his visit to Pollsmoor, our notorious prison.) He was the only one around that could have removed the keys. This co-incided with our week of prayer at the police station in the former lodge there. Two days later another set of keys disappeared mysteriously. The front door was ajar. Was this merely negligence on my part or was there also an element of spiritual warfare involved? Be it as it may, it brought me very near to burn-out. The lack of response of church leaders - as I battled for hours with the preparation of the Global day of Prayer with little help forthcoming from those I approached – had already brought me to a point of physical exhaustion, not being able to sleep well.
Muslim Evangelism Training
I had eagerly spread the word about the 6-week Muslim Evangelism training course we would conduct from 14 March 2009 at the Shiloh Sanctuary in Observatory, also to other churches of the area. With regard to participation at the training itself, it turned out to be yet another big disappointment. We were however thankful that John Kadende, a local Rwandese pastor of Paran Christian Ministries in Salt River, a fellowship of predominantly central African refugees, joined the course. (He is the husband of Rose, who has been such a blessing to us when she translated the devotions at the jewellery workshop so meaningfully. This was at least a small beginning. The contact with Pastor John Kadende intensified when we were confronted with all sorts of problems that refugees had to encounter. We started planning an outreach and a training session together with him.

The World Cup looms A national outreach effort to coincide with the 2010 Soccer World Cup called The Ultimate Goal (TUG) presented the Church at the Cape with another chance to get out of its indifference and lethargy. We latched onto this effort expectantly. How sad we were when personal differences between two mission agency leaders of Muslim Outreach caused a major split. This haunted us for months. I was asked to introduce Eternal Goal, the Muslim Evangelism part of TUG. At a prayer breakfast at the Lighthouse Christian Centre in Parow on Friday 2 October, 2009 I highlighted from Luke 5 how Peter and the other disciples saved the big fish catch. This was only made possible because they called their colleagues in the other boat. I challenged the pastors present to network, so that the main unreached people group of our region, the Cape Muslims, could hear the Gospel properly. The next day we had a brain storming session in the city with a few local Christians with a sense of calling to reach out lovingly to Muslims. We hope not only to do something during the upcoming World Cup, but also after the hype of the global event would have passed. A two-pronged strategy was confirmed. Next to the normal training of believers for loving outreach to Muslims, the converts from that background suggested that we attempt to gather all Cape Muslims once again. This however did not take off partly due to a personality dispute at national level shortly thereafter.
For 24 October all churches and believers of the Western Cape were invited to come to the Life Church in Sea Point for The Ultimate Goal (TUG) presentation of all World Cup outreach. A prayer walk around the new stadium was also a part of the programme.

Eternal Goal or Kick-start?
I had been praying about attending the Pretoria Partners' Consultation (PC) of CCM that was to be held in mid October, but there was no confirmation to that end. I was sad to hear thereafter though that a major dispute had arisen in Pretoria about the Methodology to be used in the run-up to the Football World Cup. Worse was to come when it appears that two camps developed. I had been involved with Eternal Goal but felt quite a lot of affinity with the approach of Kick-start. In fact, I thought that they could easily augment each other. After a first attempt in reaching out to Somalians we did not feel very comfortable with the approach of using the five pillars of Islam as a kick-start In stead, we started using three questions around the fear of death.
All this happened just ahead of our seminar in Woodstock on Saturday 21 November, organized by our local CCM folk. We sadly discovered that two camps had virtually formed even here at the Cape. Without doing anything, we had landed in the Eternal Goal 'camp'. The need for reconciliation was stark because the rift was having national ramifications. I could not accept this, starting with a mediating effort, which included long telephonic conversations with both personalities. It seemed to me imperative that the unity within CCM would be restored to get a breakthrough in our efforts to see Muslims come to Christ in numbers of significance. My efforts to reconcile the two brothers did not deliver any concrete result.

The Ogre of Human-Trafficking
Not only positives appeared on the horizon as preparations increased for the World Cup. Thus also in government circles it was highlighted that the country would not have enough prostitutes to meet the expected demand of sex tourists. Ahead of the Global sports event, human trafficking started to increase. Cases of children being trafficked were coming to light .
Pastor Errol Naidoo and his Family Policy Institute convened a meeting on 27 October 2009 between Western Cape Pastors and the City of Cape Town officials to address the growing threat of the illegal sex industry. Approximately 150 pastors and ministry workers from across the city were briefed by the mayoral Committee Member for safety and security, Mr J.P. Smith, on the purpose of the vice squad and the challenges they faced. opposition from the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task Force (SWEAT), as well as their hope of more involvement from the Church. The initial response from Pastors was overwhelmingly positive. The metropolis was divided into four sectors, to facilitate the efficient and effective ministry to prostitutes. Churches in these areas were asked to be responsible for establishing ministry teams to prostitutes. The would focus on ‘hotspots’ in their respective areas. A task force was established to drive the process and asked to meet regularly with government and law enforcement officials. 

En route to the Soccer World Cup
It became quite strategic when Anaclet Mbayagu from Burundi asked me to join the The Ultimate Goal (TUG) outreach preparations for the Soccer World Cup. I joined the Western Cape co-ordinating group, happy to link Andre Palmer and his team with people like Barry Isaacs, Errol Naidoo and Loraine Wood.
In another exciting dynamic two American believers, Hope Bushby and Patty Carlson, who attended the prayer walk against human trafficking with Loraine Wood and their team at the Western Cape TUG launch 24 October, were inspired to return for the World Cup with a group of believers for around the clock prayer during of the global sports event.
Eternal Goal or Kick-start? I had been praying about attending the Pretoria Partners' Consultation (PC) of CCM in October 2009 that was to be held in mid October, but there was no confirmation to that end. I was sad to hear thereafter though that a major dispute had arisen in Pretoria about the evangelistic Methodology to be used in the run-up to the Football World Cup. Just ahead of our seminar in Woodstock on Saturday 21 November we heard of a clash by two prominent leaders at the Pretoria PC and that two camps had virtually formed even here at the Cape. I had been involved with Eternal Goal, but felt quite a lot of affinity with the approach of Kick-start. In fact, I thought that they could easily augment each other. After a first attempt in reaching out to Somalians, we did not feel very comfortable with the approach of using the five pillars of Islam as a 'kick-start' In stead, we started using three questions around the fear of death.
Without doing anything, we had landed in the Eternal Goal 'camp'. I could not accept this, starting with a mediating effort, which included long telephonic conversations with both personalities. It seemed to me imperative that the unity within CCM would be restored to get a breakthrough in our efforts to see Muslims come to Christ in numbers of significance. The need for reconciliation was stark because the rift was having national ramifications.

In a Quandary
For the evening of Saturday 28 November 2009 we were in a quandary. We had been invited to a wedding of one of our All Nations missionary colleagues with a German YWAM missionary. We had already responded positively with our intention to attend the reception when we received another invitation for the same evening, viz. to the graduation of Dorien and Daniel Langstraat, the Dutch couple that had just completed their studies at the Cape Town Baptist Seminary. (Dorien had been working - initially with me and other WEC International short-termers from 2005 - in a children's club in the Parkwood township throughout her time of study, only interrupted by the birth of their son Simeon.) We attended the wedding ceremony the afternoon at Africa House in Noordhoek, but never really considered skipping the evening part and rather go to Kenilworth for the graduation.
Involved in spiritual Battle once again
Due to some mistake, our names were not on the list for the dinner at the wedding in Simon's Town. Luckily we were there fairly early so that we could leave quietly, happy to be able to attend the graduation event of our Dutch friends in this way. This was held at the massive St James Church in Kenilworth – the venue of the massacre of July 1993 which was the spark of a special season of prayer in our country.
There Rosemarie saw a poster announcing a Muslim-Christian debate in Sea Point on Friday 11 December 2009. It was to us quite providential that we could attend the graduation ceremony. I discovered in the next few days that hardly anybody knew of the debate, that was due to take place in Sea Point. In stead, the most extremes reports of evil at the Cape seemed to pour in. A caption in our newspapers blurted out “DECRIMINALISE OUR TRADE BEFORE 2010 – SEX WORKERS!” The article was a plea to allow our women and young girls to operate freely as prostitutes during the World Cup, without the fear of arrest. Pimps would then be able to operate with impunity and crime syndicates would get away more easily to lure teenagers for 'sex work', as prostitution was now dubbed.
At this time I was encouraged as I read the words of Dr Billy Graham from his message at the first Lausanne Conference in 1974: 'Evil will grow worse but God will be mightily at work at the same time. I am praying... that we will see in the next months and years... showers of blessing... falling on all continents before the coming of the Lord.' We hoped that a breakthrough at the debate in Sea Point would have blessed international repercussions. Through a few other phone calls and reports I knew that we were in the throngs of spiritual battle once again. I decided to flee forward, writing emails to invite pastors and prayer warriors to a special prayer meeting, stating that Muslims usually rock up in big numbers at such occasions, especially keeping in mind the proximity of Sea Point to Bo-Kaap. In my email to the pastors I also wrote: 'We don't propose competition or rivalry in numbers. In stead, we would like you to encourage your church members who would want to attend, to come with a loving and prayerful attitude and definitely not seeing Muslims as enemies of Christians or Jews.'
On short notice I also organised a prayer meeting at the Mowbray Baptist Church, but this was very poorly attended. This was not new though. Prayer meetings hardly ever drew the crowds.

New spiritual Life in the City Bowl!
After our return in September 2009 from a six-week stint in Europe, we heard of quite a few things that God has been birthing in the area of prayer for the city. I also heard about a group of Christians linked to the legal fraternity praying in a Wales Street office once a week at lunchtime. We linked up more with a few of them, some of whom were attending new City Bowl and Sea Point fellowships. I also heard of new prayer occasions in the City Bowl that had been running already for some time, including a weekly prayer meeting in Prestwich Street near to Bo-Kaap. We got quite excited to hear that the vibrant Common Ground fellowship of Rondebosch was due to start with evening services on 18 October 2009 in the historic St Stephen's Church. Prior to that formal start, they met for prayer for the city at large every Thursday at 17.30 p.m. at that venue.
It was also encouraging to hear that a group of young White people were meeting on Monday evenings in prayer for the city at St Barnabas Church in Tamboerskloof. It did trouble me however that these groups did not seem to have any real interest to come together with other believers for prayer or to link up with other believers who pray on Signal Hill or in the Civic Centre or Provincial Parliament.
On Wednesday 25 November Eben Welby-Solomon, one of the His People elders, to whom I had emailed a manuscript a year and a half ago, had phoned. He wanted to come and see me about my book. On Monday 30 November he visited us, offering to see if they could assist with the publication, e.g. with the cover via one of the printing companies where their church's printing is done. But he also mentioned that the City Bowl congregation of His People Ministries had moved to Hope Street, more or less half-way to Bo-Kaap, which is still a target area for us, where we would love to see simple New Testament fellowships start.
With some trepidation I went there on Sunday 6 December, wary of incurring another disappointment in terms of a fellowship with no heart for the Muslim stronghold. How great was our surprise, not only to meet Andy and Lizelle Draai there, but to see that the Lord has blessed them with a bonny boy after 14 years of marriage. On top of that, Andy introduced me to Anwaaz Bent, a convert from Islamic background that He had been ministering to. He also told of his own ministry in a City Bowl residential area where are still praying to see home churches planted in due course.
What a blessing it was to hear that John and Rona Miller, the senior pastoral couple, were not only open to get the congregation involved in outreach to Bo-Kaap, but also to see more visibility of the unity of the body of Christ in the City Bowl. Two years later nothing transpired on the former score, but John Miller played some role in bringing local pastors together for prayer and fellowship from mid-2010 once a quarter. That group changed back to a monthly meeting at the end of 2011.
The Unity of the Body of Christ in Action at last?
On a very personal level, the guilt of the Church at large in respect of Islam and Judaism kept me burdened. The disunity of the Body of Christ, along with the lack of networking between churches, remained to me a heartache, aggravated by verbal proclamations to the contrary by certain individuals which were not backed up.
We visited our daughter Maggie in Luton (England) as part of a trip to Europe, which had been ignited by our wish to see our first grandson in Germany in 2009. During this trip we also visited London, where Dave and Gabrielle Scott had just started as OM missionaries. (Gabrielle is the daughter of Mechthild and Hermann Frick, our long time friends in Ruit, Southern Germany, whose daughter Damaris got married to our son Rafael in 2010). Dave and Gabrielle had to return from the Middle East after working there since 2001. While there, we joined Dave and his team on their outreach with a book table, on which they had literature in different languages. We saw this as a model for our World Cup outreach.
During our World Cup outreach outside the Methodist Church on Green Market Square a group of young people linked to YWAM, had a tent next to our book table. Although we had some question marks regarding their method to lure people into the tent, their ministry there wetted our appetite for the prophetic and divine healing ministries.

The Resumption of an Attempt to rename Devil's Peak
The resumption of an attempt to rename Devil's Peak started towards the end of 2010 when a 'prayer and praise bash' for young people was contemplated for the end of the year. In an email I reminded believers that we have been praying for many years from Signal Hill for these goals. I continued: … We have been believing all along that a significant number of new followers of the Lamb and house fellowships in these suburbs would make a big impact on the nation as a whole.' We deemed the simultaneous lack of Unity of the Body of Christ to have been the arch enemy's prime tool to prevent a significant impact.
At the beginning of 2011 I emailed Alderman Dan Plato, the mayor of Cape Town at the time, in a renewed effort to get negotiations going to Devil's Peak changed. With local elections only months away, I was rather wary that the matter could become a political football once again. (In 2002 this had been the case when an ACDP politician brought it up in the City Council.) The office of the mayor referred us to the Province under which Devil's Peak resorts. A certain Ms van der Merwe was my contact person. She reminded me of their pending meeting of June 3, 2011 - if we wanted the matter on the agenda. I replied as follows: On election day our little group, i.e. Pastor Barry Isaacs, Advocate Murray and I deliberated again. Regarding the way forward on our part, Pastor Barry Isaacs will be taking our request to the executive of the Religious Forum for input from that side as well. (He is also a member of the Forum). … We prefer to keep matters low-key, to prevent the issue becoming embroiled in politics...
In the middle of September 2011 it seemed as if God was sovereignly bringing the issue up once again from different sides. On Saturday 10 September Marcel Durier, a businessman, brought it up for prayer at the Civic Centre prayer meeting and the very next day Esau Nhlapo, our life group leader at the City Bowl His People congregation, who had no clue of my involvement with the matter, came up to me. He wanted to share with me that the Lord has put this issue already on his heart for some time. I brought Esau Nhlapo in touch with both Murray Bridgman and Marcel Durier. Thus it was not quite surprising to hear on 15 October from Marcel Durier: There is just so much stigma to the past so lets have new beginnings.  I have been onto the internet regarding the name of Devil's Peak and I think we must put this history to rest ....  The past is gone and if people are still struggling about old stuff, let it be.  We serve an awesome God. So let's go forward.
27. Jews First

Already in 1993 we started with a monthly prayer meeting for the Middle East, which evolved from a similar fortnightly event in Bo-Kaap. The vision grew to see Jews and Muslims reconciled around the person of Jesus Christ. This vision received fresh nourishment when we started praying on Signal Hill from September 1998 every alternate Saturday morning at 6 a.m. Signal Hill is situated just above three residential areas that are associated closely with the three Abrahamic religions. Tamboerskloof is a predominantly ‘Christian’ suburb, Bo-Kaap still is a vocal Muslim bastion and in Sea Point the bulk of Cape Jews are living.131
During a lunchtime prayer meeting of City Bowl ministers in October 1996 a Messianic Jewish pastor entered who was known at that time as Bruce Rudnick. Bruce was the leader of the Beth Ariel Fellowship of Messianic believers in Sea Point. That is where I got to know the cleric who is now known as Baruch Maayan.
Thereafter I started attending the Beth Ariel fellowship a little more frequently, hoping that Baruch could move more into a leadership role in our ministers' fraternal. However, he and his family made aliya, leaving for Israel in 1999.

Towards Muslim/Jewish Dialogue and Reconciliation
For many years our love for the Jews found very limited expression. This changed from 2004 when we increased our networking with missionary colleagues who ministered to Jews. After the arrival of Leigh and Rabbah (Paul) Telli in 2003/4, Rosemarie and I were very much encouraged to attempt to get Muslim/Jewish dialogue and reconciliation at the Cape going, but it did not get off the ground at that time. Leigh Telli loves the Jews. Her husband, a North African Arab, comes from a Muslim background. An old vision of us was revived, confirming our call of ministering to foreigners and linking our ministry to Messianic Jews in an effort towards reconciliation of Jews and Muslims at the Cape under the leadership of our Lord alongside other followers of Jesus.
During 2004 Edith Sher, our Messianic Jewish missionary colleague from Messiah's People, organised a prayer breakfast in Sea Point during which Adiel Adams, a Cape Muslim background believer, shared his testimony. On 19 February 2005 a few believers from both Jewish and Muslim backgrounds were present at a seminar in the suburb of Durbanville. At that occasion Leigh Telli and the author shared respectively on 'What are God’s purposes for Isaac's and Ishmael’s descendants in these last days?' We proceeded with the printing of an A4 manual with the talks of Leigh and me at the seminar. The manual also included some paintings of Leigh. On the cover a Jew and a Muslim – a painting of Leigh - are depicted in discussion with a broken wall in the background.

A Closer Link to a Messianic Jew
From time to time an old friend from our early days at Cape Town Baptist Church, Brett Viviers, a Messianic Jew, would pop in to share and discuss various issues. (In 1993 he worked under Pastor Melvin Maxegwana to renovate the run-down house in Vredehoek that we had bought.)
At an occasional visit of 2005 Brett was very upset. He narrated how he scared a Muslim young man away who came to their home with Vanessa, their daughter. He threatened to send the young Muslim to Guantanamo Bay via his CIA connections if he would not leave Vanessa alone. (Brett is a former South African national intelligence agent). We praised the Lord to see Brett changing such a lot thereafter. He would step into our lives again in 2010 quite dramatically.
On one of his sudden visits Brett spoke of a pending evangelistic trip to the Karoo on his motor cycle. His mentioning the name of Ds. Charl du Toit in New Bethesda near Graaff Reinet after his return had a nostalgic touch for me. I recalled how my late friend Jakes raved about his Hebrew studies with Dutch Reformed folk in Wellington. Charl du Toit was one of these colleagues.

Isaac and Ishmael reconciled?
At the beginning of 2010 I was deeply moved when I discerned that Isaac and Ishmael, the two eldest sons of Abraham, had actually buried their father together (Genesis 25:7). The evident reconciliation was probably preceded by confession and some remorse. Or was there some reconciling agent involved?
I started to pray more intensely that a representative body of Christians might express regret and offer an apology on behalf of Christians for the side-lining and persecution of Jews by Christians.
On 11 October 2010 the Lord ministered to me from Romans 1:16 when we received the Lausanne Consultation for Jewish Evangelism (LCJE) Quarterly Bulletin. That edition highlighted the legacy of Moishe Rosen, the founder of Jews for Jesus. In the paper that Rosen delivered as part of the Jewish Evangelism track at Lausanne II in Manila in 1989 he highlighted 'Jews first' fromRomans 1:16. In the printed summary of his paper one could still read that he thought that 'God’s formula' for worldwide evangelization is to bring the gospel to the Jew first. Highlighting the example of Paul: ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe, to the Jew first and also to the Greek’ (Romans 1:16), Rosen proposed in the same paper that ‘by not following God’s programme for worldwide evangelisation – that is, beginning with Jerusalem (Israel, and the Jews) – we not only develop a bad theology because of weak foundations, but we also develop poor missiological practices.’ I felt personally challenged to get involved with outreach to Jews as well.
The very next day our friend Brett Viviers, a Messianic Jewish believer and long-time friend, a former elder at Cape Town Baptist Church, whose daughter's prayers were instrumental in linking us up with that fellowship in 1993, visited me. At this occasion Brett felt challenged to go and read some of my material on the Internet. Hereafter he decided to start Isaac/Ishmael Christian Ministries. At the end of 2010 we made another attempt at Muslim/Jewish dialogue and reconciliation, an effort to link Messianic Jewish believers and Muslim background believers at the Cape. Initially it did not reap much success either. On Fridays Brett and I started doing prayer walks in Sea Point.

African Highway of Holiness
In 1997 Pastor Bruce Rudnick, at that time minister at the Messianic fellowship Beth Ariel in Sea Point, attended the ‘All Africa Prayer Convocation’ in Ethiopia. A prophetic word that came strongly at this time was 'An African Highway up from Cape Town to Jerusalem.' This theme was not new. It had arisen both in spiritual and in secular contexts. We also came to see it as a spiritual body that needed to be awakened on the continent of Africa with the feet in South Africa, knees in Kenya, Uganda for birthing, with the heart in Ethiopia. The head is Egypt. One hand reaches over to Morocco and the other hand to Jerusalem. This was, as it were, the Body of Christ in Africa. This body needed to be awakened to come into its calling and function. On 19 October 2010, i.e. we received an email from Liz Campbell, who shared 'that Baruch and Karen Maayan (Rudnick) and their five amazing children are back in Cape Town from Israel.  A quick and sovereign move of God believe me, and worth coming and finding out why! … we have sent this out to not only those who know Baruch and Karen but also to those we know will be greatly touched and taught by Baruch's ministry.'
The meeting on the Saturday afternoon of 23 October at a private address in Milnerton with the Maayan family was a defining moment. I was very much embarrassed though when I broke down in tears uncontrollably. I was completely overawed by a sense of guilt towards Jews, while I felt a deep urge to apologise on behalf of Christians for the fact that our fore-bears had been side-lining the Jews. Christians have haughtily suggested that the Church replaced the nation of Israel and the Jews. My weeping was an answer to my own prayers, but it was nevertheless very embarassing, especially as many others present followed suit. (On Signal Hill at the beginning of that month I stated publicly the need for tears of remorse as a prerequisite for revival and that I was praying for it that I may also genuinely experience this.) The 'sea of tears' however knitted our hearts to the Maayan family. After an absence of 11 years, the Lord had called them back to be part of a movement to take the Gospel via simple churches from Cape Town throughout the continent of Africa, ultimately back to Jerusalem. Ethiopia featured centrally in his experiences.

Replacement Theology still an Issue?
It was very special for Rosemarie and me to attend the international LCJE Conference on 15 October, for the first time in Cape Town. Folk from all over the world who are somehow involved with outreach to Jews, including of course those who specially came for Lausanne III. It was however very much of a shock to hear that that a few lines in the draft for Lausanne III were supporting so-called Replacement Theology - that the Church has replaced Israel as God's special instrument.
On Sunday evening 24 October I received an SMS from our friend Richard Mitchell whether he could come and stay with us for a few days. (We had been working together so closely in the mid and late 1990s in the prayer movement at the Cape and especially in the fight against the PAGAD onslaught and battle against the effort to islamising the Western Cape until his departure for the UK in 1999. Richard was also my presenter on the CCFM radio programme 'God changes Lives.') I knew that Richard had been attending Lausanne III, but somehow we could not find a moment to meet each other.
Tuesday 26 October 2010 was quite eventful as I took Richard along to Noordhoek where we had a wonderful post-Lausanne report back by Floyd McClung, our leader. He requested me to share as well, knowing that Rosemarie and I attended Connected 2010, the conference specially organised for all those who were not invited to the main event at the International Convention Centre. Rather spontaneously I went overboard in Noordhoek, by also sharing our concern that a few lines in the draft for Lausanne III were supportive of so-called Replacement Theology. I was promptly called to book in an email the following day, a very painful experience indeed. I had taken for granted that our concern would be shared in the All Nations context. The email rattled me quite a lot when I had to discover how deep-seated the effects of Replacement Theology still is among evangelicals. This was even more so when we had to learn that also at the Convention Centre they needed a lot of further deliberation to draft wording which could be included in the final Cape Town Commitment document.

New Outreach to Somalians?
In the second quarter of 2011 Tesfaye Nenku, a pastor from Ethiopia, joined us for the practical part of his All Nations CPx training. During our outreaches in the city we had been meeting believers from Ethiopia who belonged to a congregation in Bellville that we wanted to visit for some time. When Tesfaye shared that he had preached in that church in 2010 and that he had the phone number of the pastor, it was the most natural thing to connect and arrange a visit for Tuesday 17 May, 2011. For the same evening I had a meeting scheduled with local believers linked to Metro Evangelistic Services (MES), a group of local believers of Bellville with whom we had been connected since 2009.
The events of Tuesday 17 May 2011 brought excitement. That afternoon a pastor of an Ethiopian congregation in Bellville shared that his congregation had just decided to make June the month for outreach. They wanted to get out of their inward-looking isolation. For the same evening I was scheduled to attend a meeting with the MES folk in Bellville. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the agenda was completely focused on the outreach to the local Somalians. Pastor Tertius Bezuidenhout reported rather despondently of their efforts to use sports in bridging the cultural gap and how the Al Qaeda-related Al Shabaab had succeeded effectively to counter their endeavour to reach out lovingly to Somalians. The presence of Pastor Tesfaye Nenku and the fresh information which we could bring from the local Ethiopian fellowship, changed the atmosphere significantly. In the aftermath of this meeting, it was decided to have combined prayer meetings once a month with the Ethiopian fellowship. Our joy turned however to be premature. Cultural differences regarding the prayer meetings turned out to be a big challenge. We continued our efforts to engage Ethiopian and Eritrean believers, later rather half-heartedly when the response was so poor - our efforts to reach out lovingly to Somalians. We still believed that this could be strategic for loving outreach to Muslims at large. We switched our attention to local Christians in Bellville South at the end of 2011 after also the effort with the White folk linked to MES had petered out.

Israel, here we Come! In May 2011 I was approached by the INCONTEXT team of Mike Burnard to lead a workshop on Islam at a conference in Bellville. The same conference with three international speakers was also to be held at the end of September and the beginning of October in Durban and Windhoek. During the preliminary discussions, I recommended our CCM colleague Dave Foster to lead the workshop in the Durban sector and mentioned that I could lead one together with Baruch Maayan on an attempt at reconciliation between Jews and Muslims. However, I didn't check the dates immediately. When I approached Baruch subsequently, he was unavailable. He was reckoning to be able to go to Israel for the annual prayer convocation in Jerusalem. This is the one to which Rosemarie and I actually also wanted to go to at exactly that time. But due to financial constraints we never even considered the suggestion cum invitation of Baruch for us to be a part of the South African delegation.
On June 14 Mike Burnard emailed me for confirmation whether I would head up the Islam workshops in Cape Town and Windhoek. After a subsequent phone call from Tess, his personal assistant, I said that I would pray for clarity, to give them a reply by June the 30th. I mentioned to her that we also considered going to Israel at that time. Rosemarie and I now started praying more intensely for a confirmation either way, to find out where I should be in September, before the 30th of June. We were open for both possibilities. I would have loved to conduct the workshops in Cape Town and Windhoek, but this opportunity to go to Israel could be a last opportunity. Our children told me that they wanted to bless Rosemarie for her pending 60th birthday so that we could go to Israel. They knew that this was our big dream since we got married. But I told them that I wanted separate confirmation, especially since I had committed myself verbally to conduct the INCONTEXT Islam workshop.
On Monday evening June 27 we were praying concretely with Baruch, Karen and a few other believers in Claremont that the Lord would confirm clearly whether Rosemarie and I should step out in faith to join the Jerusalem convocation or do the workshops. A letter which I received from Germany informed me that I was eligible to receive a monthly pension of 129 Euro, retrospective since 1 January 2011. I don't know how they got to my address. (Possibly they enquired via the Moravian Head Office in Germany. There I had been paying into the pension fund in the few years from 1973 to December 1980.) On Thursday morning, the 30th June, during my quiet time I felt that this was the confirmation to trust the Lord for all the funding necessary for the Jerusalem convocation, even though the situation in Israel is very unsettled and there might be war at that time because of the threats of the Palestinians.
For Rosemarie it was very special that she could now be a part of the delegation. (She went to Israel in 1973 to assist in a children's home after the work permit and tourist visa for South Africa had been refused.) Their leader, Günther Gottschalk, had expounded from a Bible study during her visit to the Holy Land that nations would in future be going up to Jerusalem.

I duly informed Mike Burnard of my regret to have to renege on my earlier commitment. I really would have loved to conduct the workshops in Islam in Cape Town and Windhoek.

The Cape Delegation to Jerusalem
When Baruch challenged us at one of our Monday evening events to pray about being one of the Cape delegation to the Jerusalem prayer convocation, also other members were blessed in special ways. An affluent relative of Gay French offered to finance the trip and Ingrid Pieterse thought that it might be the time for the fulfilment of a prophetic word of 1998. Someone said that she would one day go and work in Israel. She started praying about going for a year. One after the other her 'fleeces' fell into place as she started to pray about work in a children's home in the Holy Land. However, when she left for the convocation nothing was finalised as yet.

A Week apiece of Daily Prayer Walks
Brett Viviers, one of our group and a Messianic Jew, shared with us on one of our prayer walks towards the end of May or the beginning of June 2011, that we should attempt getting Muslim-background Christians and Messianic Jews to do prayer walks in Bo-Kaap and Sea Point for a week apiece. At one of our prayer events I thought that we should do this at the beginning of Ramadan. In previous years we conducted prayer walks in Bo-Kaap once a week throughout the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.
Soon thereafter Baruch announced one Monday evening that he felt constrained to invite believers to meetings on a Saturday evening once a month, to start at the end of July. The next week he announced that he had booked the hall of the Sea Point High School in faith for the last two Saturdays of July and August. At the end of September the Lord ministered to me to stop striving to forge the unity of the Body of Christ in our city. We should just continue to pray and release the matter. The verse from Psalm 127 became very important to me once again: Unless the Lord builds the house, we toil in vain.

Ishmael-Isaac Christian Ministries shaken
On the Monday evening of 29 August 2011 we prayed in Claremont at our weekly event especially for the Muslims and their bondage, ahead of the possible Eid ul Fitr celebration after the month of fasting the next day.
When I phoned Brett the next morning he told me he found his wife in tears when he came home after our prayer meeting. He had to hear that his daughter Vanessa had actually not only pursued the young Muslim man he had chased away six years ago, but that she was also determined to marry him - if need be against the wishes of her parents.
Not only to the Messianic Jew Brett and his wife, this was a major shock. All of us linked to Ishmael-Isaac Christian Ministries were shaken. The Lord had been using the self same Vanessa as an eight-year old girl to bring me into a fairly close relationship to Brett. (When she was troubled by the calls from the minarets in the nearby mosques of Bo-Kaap, Brett suggested that she should start praying for the Muslims.) But the Lord also started to minister to Brett especially. He discovered that he was reaping the fruit of his own spiritual rebellion. As we got ready for the Muslim wedding – she was in the process of embracing Islam - we started praying that the Lord would use the circumstance to bring about a breakthrough in Ishmael-Isaac relations. We continue to pray that this might be (a part of) the igniting fuse to bring Muslims and Jews everywhere to the recognition that Jesus died for their sins.

Treasure Hunting
From different sides we heard of a new way of evangelisation.

In the Holy Land
When we left for Israel for the annual International House of Prayer (IHOP) convocation in Jerusalem, we had one special prayer: We did not want to be the same on our return to South Africa. The Lord clearly answered our prayers. At the convocation we took a firm decision to spread the word of the Highway of Holiness to our personal contacts. As a group of 11 South Africans Christians from diverse racial, and geographical backgrounds (Messianic Jewish, Black, ‘Coloured’, Afrikaner and English-speaking) attending the (IHOP) convocation in Jerusalem, we prayed separately for our country. At the first session we set out issues for praise and prayer.
Even before we looked at praise points the concern came up to pray in remorse and confession for divine forgiveness because of the biased expressions of certain leaders in church and state regarding Israel. We knew that such utterances could incur the wrath of God. We agreed to disseminate the following via personal emails to our friends:

We derive from Scripture that since the two sons of Abraham buried their father together, we believe that loving both Muslims and Jews is the biblical position to take for followers of Jesus.

We ask God for his favour upon our country and for a change in the official position of our government in favour of a negotiated settlement (not the unilateral one the Palestinians are striving after). An even better suggestion would be if our government could take an independent line, striving to encourage Arabs and Jews to live peacefully next to each other as the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael.

We praise God for divine intervention and the leadership of racial reconciliation that spared our country a civil war in the 1990s.

We were reminded that Jews were enslaved in Africa a few thousand years ago. A brother from another country encouraged us that God said that the time of divine wrath, of enslavement of Africans are over. Our continent is poised to start blessing the nations.

We note with sadness and remorse that African theologians played such a big role in doctrinal bickering that set the pattern for the disunity of the Church. Concretely we repent of the resultant side-lining of Jews and the perception and belief of many Christians that the Church is understood to have replaced Israel. The Bible makes it clear that the divine wrath because of their rejection of Jesus as Messiah is temporary. Gentile Christians are merely grafted into the true olive tree Israel (Romans 11). In all humility they are enjoined to love Israel and provoke them to a jealousy that could bring them to discover their lost son who was pierced (Zechariah 12:10).

Arabs and Jews in Harmony
At the prayer convocation in Jerusalem we were blessed to listen to Arab and Jewish pastors who met each other regularly. As in every effort of reconciliation, a price has to be paid. But the biggest price of all has already been paid by no less than God himself, who gave his one and only, his unique son to reconcile us to himself. This is the basis of Paul’s challenge to all followers of the Master, viz. to get reconciled to God, to accept his gift in faith, the death on the cross for our sins.
What a surprise it was to hear and see how Orthodox Jews and Arabs are living in close proximity in the controversial East Jerusalem. How prophetic and sad that all around the world people are clamouring for this portion of land to become the capital of a Palestinian State and thus perpetuating the strife, instead of praying that the day might be hastened when they would serve the Almighty together as descendants of Isaac and Ishmael. This would of course be the culmination of the fulfilment of Messianic prophecy. We were challenged towards increased commitment to usher this in via the Highway of Holiness from the Cape to Jerusalem via a 24/7 prayer room.

Challenges in Israel
After the end of the prayer convocation Baruch Maayan led our small Cape delegation on a private tour of the country. We first had to pick up a rented car in Tel Aviv. In the Gilgal Hotel there we could duly admired his sculptures and art work that were permanently exhibited there. Almost all of them contain themes from the Hebrew Scriptures with a Messianic link.
The trip to the Negev desert where Baruch and Karen have been ministering was very memorable indeed. The Bible became alive in so many ways. The trip north via the Dead Sea almost turned awry when I somehow did not hear Baruch's warning or see the signs, not to put your face in the water. Thankfully some Arab family saw me struggling after I tried to swim normally. They had a bottle of water with which I could relieve my excruciatingly painful burning eyes.
We had a stop in Jerusalem where we had a meal in the Sukkoth of the Van der Merwe family. When the name of their relative Charl du Toit fell somehow, I immediately recognised that as the dominee of New Bethesda in the Karoo where Brett Viviers has been ministering. Even more special it became when I heard that Emil van der Merwe was the third musketeer of the trio who were reading the Hebrew Scriptures in Wellington when my best friend Jakes was still with us. To hear and see how Emil was suffering from skin cancer was less pleasant to experience.
Attending the international event with the renowned Angus Buchan as speaker had a very special personal touch. His testimony included the challenge to have lengthier and more meaningful personal quiet times. Although I knew that all the great men of God thrived on their personal Umgang mit dem Heiland, Buchan's challenge would enrich my life to take that more seriously once again – albeit that I could not appreciate his legalistic approach (??).

In the Track of the Man of Galilee
Already while we were at the prayer convocation in Jerusalem Ingrid used my laptop to try and finalise her stay in a children's home. Esther Krüger, a friend of us working at Tygerberg Radio, who has been organising trips to Israel found a place for her at a children's home in Migdal. Rosemarie was immediately certain that it must be the institution where she had been working in 1973 under the leadership of Günther Gottschalk.
Karen Maayen had arranged for us to lodge at a Christian guest house for which we had a description towards that it was outside the city of Tiberias. What was our surprise to find out that this was actually not only in Migdal, but also that the children's home where Ingrid could start working, even though the paper work had not been finalised, was indeed the one where Rosemarie and her friend Elke Maier, our bridesmaid, had been working 38 years ago.
One of the trips we undertook from there was to Capernaum where we celibrated 'church' near the place where Jesus challenged Peter thrice with the question whether he loved him (John 20). At the unforgettable interactive Bible Study on that pericope other participants commented on my hesitancy at publishing my autobiographical material. I explained that I was wary to go in these matters ahead of God. I prefer to wait on him opening the door.

A possible Way forward
We are looking at ways to approach, impact and involve foreigners – especially believers and other folk from our continent to assist us in reaching out to unreached people groups of which there are representatives here in Cape Town. With so many Zimbabweans in Cape Town and in South Africa at large, I think that they could play a pivotal role. At least three former Zimbabwean believers at the Cape, Rose McKenna, Gay French and Jenny Boden have a deep affection for Israel. And many Zimbabweans have been impacted and equipped already for missionary outreach. One of them is Munyaradzi Hove, who has planted many home churches in Vic Falls. We were blessed to impact him as one of our 'sons'. When he joined us in 2008 in Kommetjie, I took him under my wing. As part of our 'home church' there and later in our discipling House for the rest of 2008, he became the closest to us of all the many All Nations International young people.
The big challenge to us is the Somalians of whom the biggest concentration in our country is in Bellville – 20,000 of them. The African Islamic Propagation Centre is also situated there. We know that if we would get a breakthrough among the Somalians in Bellville, it could make an international impact with a snowball effect. To get the Christians in Bellville towards some semblance of unity proved to be quite a challenge. We will pray and leave the matter in the hands of the Lord.

Obedient to Romans 1:16 and Matthew 28:19 and 20, we want to make a clear attempt to get Muslims and Jews saved, discipled and ultimately enlist them in the planting of simple churches everywhere on the route to Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth: the spiritual African Highway from Cape Town to Jerusalem. We believe that there is a special unction on Jews as the apple of God's eye and that they will have an important role to play in the end-time spurt of the Gospel. We are get ready to go to Jerusalem for the annual prayer convocation, Rosemarie and I take this as the focus for the last period of our ministry and service.
It is my firm belief that reconciliation of Jews and Muslims at the Cape would send powerful signals around the globe. In Cape Town we have the special situation where we have sizeable minorities of Muslims and Jews next to the majority group of Christians. On top of that we have a heritage and history where representatives of the three Abrahamic religions have been living harmoniously next to each other for decades in places like District Six, Bo-Kaap and Green Point until the 1950s. Of course, at that time no one even remotely thought of the possibility of a common movement like the one we now have in the Middle East called Musalaha where Christians of both Jewish and Arab extraction meet from time to time.
Run-up to a new Season of Spiritual Warfare
On 5 December 2011we went as usual to our evening Monday prayer meeting to Claremont. We excitedly recalled the Bar Mitzwah of the son of Baruch and Karen Maayan two days ago. The highlight for all of us was when the teenager proclaimed so profoundly applied 1 Kings 1 – the story where Solomon was installed as the aged David's successor, after Adoniah had unjustly usurped the position. It had struck the youngster that Bathsheba and Nathan merely uplifted Solomon, without fighting the injustice: we don't have to fight Satan, we must just uplift Jesus! At this occasion Gay French shared a concern which came to her attention via an intercessor, v it has become known about the ANC centenary celebrations that every town and city would be committed to the spirits of ancestors.

Another Chapter of Name Change of a Mountain Peak
Rather spontaneously Richard Mitchell called a few intercessors to prayer at Rhodes Memorial for early morning of Saturday, 24 December. After a number of prophetic utterances by him over the city which included the slumbering of the body of Christ, there was also encouragement regarding the unity of the Church.
I filled Richard and the other two who attended in about the plans for '8 Days of prevailing prophetic prayers ...' initiated by Pastor Light Eze, a Nigerian pastor who responded on a divine call to call the church at the Cape to repentance and prayer.
I shared with them how the believers were challenged to uplift Jesus at the Bar Mitzwah occasion of 3 December. This was followed by our singing Jesus, we enthrone you.
The intention of the ANC to commit the country to the ancestors of ANC founders and past leaders at its centenary celebrations from 6- 8 January 2012 spawned a season of hightened spiritual warfare. In an email, I suggested that we cherish and celebrate the Christ-like legacy of ANC founders like John Dube and Albert Luthuli, but oppose the abomination of ancestor worship. Repeating my further suggestion to uplift Jesus and inspired by that very special time at Rhodes Memorial, I suggested that we take theanthem Jesus, we enthrone you as the theme song of 8 Days of prevailing prophetic prayers in birthing a new move of God in 2012. This was an initiative of Pastor Light Eze, a Nigerian prayer warrior. The programme has been prepared by Pastor Light Eze and a few prayer leaders, liaising with Daniel Brink of Jericho Walls and Pastor Barry Isaacs of Transformation Africa.

You will notice that the name change of the mountain peak, where Satan worship has been practised for decades, is on the prayer agenda. Noting that racial prejudice, discrimination of all sorts, unwitting demonic activity via ancestor worship and freemasonry have been practised in traditional religious rituals, repentance and forgiveness will be included in our prayers but central in all of it will be the uplifting of Jesus. We intend having Jesus, we enthrone you! as our theme song throughout the week.

We also would like to ask those of you who would be in the position to join us on Saturday 21 January for a special occasion where we pray that the Unity of the Body of Christ will be visibly demonstrated in the prayer event. From 9-11h - at Rhodes Memorial - we will be worshipping the Lord and pray into some of the above areas. Those of us who are still fit enough would be sent off with banners - (Please make your own now in the festive season where you may have more time available than at other times and bring them along.) around 11.45h to climb the peak. Our banners would then ultimately be flying across the sky from the mountain peak. The content of the banners should not be divisive in any way. Whatever would express and proclaim the Lordship of our Lamb - who has conquered the grave and death - is encouraged to be put on the banners. Of course, the song Jesus, we enthrone you! will not only be sung at the start of our event at Rhodes Memorial, but also on the top of the mountain peak.

The upcoming events are part and parcel of the Cape to Jerusalem movement and Transformation Africa, a new attempt towards a concerted effort by the body of Chris at the tip of our continent. Our vision is to move step by step until we ultimately bless the nations around the Globe.

God bless you all as you consider circumspectly to whom you should forward this email.
8 Days of prevailing prophetic prayers in birthing a new move of God in 2012
In the passion of our God towards the restoration of His people, the transformation of His cities, and the establishment of His kingdom principles, order and justice in our nation, He instructed me to call a meeting of the city watchers, gate keepers, prophetic intercessors, and leaders of His people to gather together to seek His face and to take responsibility to prepare the way for an unprecedented outpouring of His grace, His spirit, and His Blessings upon the Cape in 2012.
This prophetic intercessory gathering, shall involve the following
1. To understand the spiritual significance of 2012 and to seek to understand God’s specific message for Cape Town, the Western Cape and South Africa (“SA”) in 2012;
2. Taking biblical steps to deal with the strong man over the Cape and to Reposition the City, Province and SA for the pursuit of her prophetic agenda;
3. Annulling the evil machination of the leadership of ANC to officially dedicate SA to the spirit of the ancestors on the 6th of January 2012;
4. Dealing with the Israel, Palestine and South Africa issue;
5. Personal Deliverance, Restoration and Revival;
6. Releasing Africa into her prophetic destiny in 2012;
7. Establishing the foundations and spiritual infrastructure to enhance Economic Empowerment among God’s people;
8. To take a corporate spiritual stand against the Top-TV plan to further destroy morals by launching a 24hr pornography in South Africa in 2012;
9. To open the gates and welcome our Lord and King into our City, Province and Nation from Cape Town ( the tip of Africa, the rainbow city, the feet of Africa and the prophetic muzzle of the revival gun);
10. To raise an altar of unity unto the Lord to deal with the issue of racial discrimination in Cape Town and South Africa as a whole;
11. To bring judgment against the spirit of the bond woman, Jezebel, homosexuality, prostitution, Satanism etc, in Cape Town and
12. To seek God’s wisdom, strength, guidance and blessings for those in leadership positions in Cape Town, the Western Cape and SA.
Program of activities:
Friday 30th December, 2011: Half Night with the Ruler of the nations at Signal Hill Cape Town
Time: 18:00-00:00
Saturday 31st December, 2011: Prophetic Cross over Night:
Time: 21:00-1:00

Venue: Charismatic Renewal Ministries, Parow; 253 Voortrekker Road, Corner Voortrekker and Wendlandt street PAROW. ( Opposite NANDO’S and Caltex Garage at Shoprite Park)
Sunday 1st January, 2012: Prophetic Actions at the city centre:
Time; 18:00-21:00
Venue: Cape Town city Gardens
Monday 2nd January, 2012: Prophetic Intercession at the gate of National Parliament:
Time: 18:00-20:00
Tuesday 3rd January, 2012: Prophetic Intercession at Cape Agulhas (most southern point of Africa)
Time: 18:00-20:00
Wednesday 4th January, 2012: Prophetic Intercession at Rhodes Memorial: Time: 17:00-19:00
Thursday 5th January, 2012: Prophetic Intercession at Green Point Stadium Cape Town:
Time: 18-20:00
Friday 6th January, 2012: All Night Prayers over the Cape, National issues, Africa, Israel, Personal Deliverance, Restoration, Repositioning the Cape, Province and Nation to fulfill her prophetic mandate at Signal Hill: Time: 18:00-6:00
Conveners:
Charismatic Renewal Ministries Cape Town in partnership with
Three cord Family development Services
South Africa Prayer Movement for Change
Pastors and Ministers Prayer Network
Highway from Cape Town to Jerusalem
Friends from Abroad/All Nations International
Ishmael/Isaac Mission For Christ
Bridges for Peace SA and more
For more enquiries, please contact:
Barry Isaacs: +27 (0) 826 836 347; Daniel Brink: +27 (0) 833 216 909; Elizabeth Jordaan +27 (0) 827 753 793; Baruch Maayan: +27 (0) 793 641 329; Ashley Cloete: +27 (0) 738 175 888; Wallace Mgoqi: +27(0) 840 540 092; Chris Eden +27 (0) 833 247 409; Maditshaba Moloko: +27(0)835 244 266.
Let’s together secure our future and that of our families, and City by possessing the gate of 2012 under fresh prophetic and apostolic auction.
May God use you to spread the message to the right people. See you there!

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