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Charl van Wyk was just an ordinary Christian man until July 25, 1993 - the day that would become known for the St. James Massacre. It was on this date that Van Wyk shot back at the terrorists who were attacking an innocent congregation gathered in worship, and saved many lives in the process.
"Excellent example of how one armed citizen can make the difference between life and death."
"An excellent book and DVD combo is “Shooting Back: The Right and Duty of Self Defense,” which tells the story of how one man saved many lives in a congregation gathered in prayer as well as answers some basic questions about church security."
- Chuck Norris
“He raises up the poor from the dust; He lifts the needy from the ash heap…” 1 Samuel 2:8
“We are not sure if we can believe the stories the boys are telling us about the camp you ran for them. The stories seem too good to be true!”
“Cozmore, we cannot wait for two weeks for you to come back to Gwayi River! You have to come back this weekend! The boys want to start an interdenominational youth outreach!”
“I want to teach husbands to take Godly responsibility for their families!”
“I have been lazy!”
These were comments received after we completed our weekend camp for young men from Gwayi River and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – 27 young men and 4 leaders from 10 churches took part.
My missionary friend Daniel arrived from Victoria Falls and Pastor Nyoni from Gwayi River – with young men. Travel to and from the camp was onerous for these really poor youngsters.
The camp was held in Hwange Game Reserve Main Camp – where antelope, giraffe, warthogs and elephant roam and sleep freely between the administration buildings at night.
My Zimbabwean missionary friend, Cozmore, sons Jason, 15, and John-Marc, 13, and I set out by car and trailer on the 1,800-mile journey from Cape Town.
Cozmore put in a lot of effort to organize this outreach – everything in Africa takes effort and nothing runs smoothly. Satan’s spiritual attacks work out in the physical; but the armor of the Lord is much stronger.
I knew God was going to do something special in the hearts and minds of the young men who would attend our camp. I knew this because everything in the preparation period was going wrong!
At the camp I spoke on the Biblical response to issues that cause the most havoc in any young man’s life: cultural chaos, sex and relationships, money and hard work, and, of course, the big one, When is it right to fight?
I stressed that blessings are promised for obedience and curses are associated with disobedience to God’s Word.
The young men got a sparkle in their eyes when they learned that if they caught a man beating a woman, which often happens in their society, they have a Biblical duty to step in and “lay hands” on the attacker to stop the assault.
Apparently the youth have never in their lives been exposed to such direct, and controversial, teaching.
Strange, but true
Cozmore went checking on the boys at bed time. He found one youngster, in bed, freezing to death under a thin duvet. Having come from a distant village he has never seen a bed with folded sheets and a blanket, so climbing in between the sheets had never occurred to him.
Sure enough, he wasn’t the only one.
Other interesting concepts were also dealt with, like, why there is a white cloth (napkin), twisted in the shape of a hat, next to my cutlery? Nobody wanted to touch their napkins because they might dirty it!
“Uncle, uncle, did you see me? Did you see me?” asked a young man, speaking to Cozmore. “I used a knife and fork to eat with at dinner!”
Things are tight
Businessmen in Zimbabwe are not banking their US dollar cash because of the government threat of printing a new currency. The state will then just take the banked US dollars and replace it with their new zero value money.
Everyone remembers all-too-well the peak month of inflation, estimated at 79.6 billion percent in mid-November 2008. Yep, that is no misprint.
The population would rather stick with their US dollar currency used at present.
The lack of funds in the banks has led to civil servants not receiving their salaries and the population, having had enough of a corrupt government, are revolting.
“Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors Him.” Proverbs 14:31
Living and ministering in a police state is treacherous to say the least. We endured 10 police roadblocks in less than 125 miles. Each one asking for the same paper work – like you were able to cross the border in your car without getting the necessary bureaucratic red tape being done!
And then there is the checking on the road worthiness of the car – like foreigners can drive over bad roads for thousands of miles with an un-roadworthy vehicle!! What they want to find is that one light bulb that blew, or loosened, while your car was bouncing on the uneven roads, so that they can issue a fine (or get a bribe) so that they can buy some food.
Food is scarce. The drought has made things worse.
One of our young men, fishes illegally in a local river to provide food for his elderly grandparents. Almost every family does some small scale farming to feed their families. Many walk 6-7 miles carrying the heavy bags of maize, to have their maize milled for safe consumption.
We’d love to purchase a maize mill. This not only creates employment, but also encourages subsistence farmers to plant more maize to sell to the mill. This extra cash will make a huge difference in sustaining the local church ministry. Also in helping the widows who have some maize but cannot afford to have it milled – the benevolent fund will change the lives of the widows and orphans.
Maize milling is most welcome for these families struggling with extreme scarcity, but we know what they really hunger for is the nourishment of the Gospel.
A very BIG thank you to the ITMI partners who, through prayer and faithful giving, made this camp a milestone for the furthering of the Gospel and discipleship of the Zimbabwean youth.
“Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:4
Jason commented: “These boys have absolutely nothing, but they are happier than anyone I know!”
They have nothing physically, but they have Jesus!
Charl van Wyk
Zimbabwe is falling apart at the seams. Dictator Robert Mugabe, at the age of 92, is still very much in control of the suffering people.
After ministering in Zambia, Cozmore and I set our sights on the town of Victoria Falls. We arrived at the home of our wonderfully hospitable friends Daniel and Amber. They do amazing Gospel work in a nearby village. What really impresses me about Daniel is that he knows when to pull the plug on an unsuccessful project. This takes wisdom and tenacity. As anyone who’s ever been involved in ministry, business or just a community project can attest, it can be very easy to persist and keep throwing good money after bad in an effort to complete an undertaking that is better off abandoned or postponed.
Daniel and Amber are building a mission base in the village. We went out to work at the base for the day, planting fence poles that will, in the future, be an enclosure for goats.
After investing much blood, sweat and dirt, I had to change clothing in the bush, with no private room or shower, put on my ‘church clothes’ and speak at an evening funeral service in the pitch dark.
The family of the deceased are Christians. The head of the household quickly organised the guests for the preaching of the Gospel. By contrast, pagans can make you wait hours with excuses if they don’t appreciate a well-meaning Christian family member asking you to preach.
We’d love to partner with Daniel on the purchase of a maize mill that will process maize for safe consumption. This not only creates employment, but also encourages subsistence farmers to plant more maize to sell to the mill. This extra cash makes a huge difference to the local Church and their influence in the community.
We are already partnering with a very successful milling project in Northern Zambia, where Gospel tracts, a small note book and pen are distributed in each bag of milled maize. Maize is most welcome for these families struggling with extreme scarcity, but we know what they really hunger for is the nourishment of the Gospel.
To support our already functioning project and to kick start the next, we require $6000 for machinery, to purchase maize from locals, bags etc.
Moving on to Gwayi River
From Victoria Falls Cozmore, Daniel and I drove to Gwayi River, where we were welcomed by our friend Pastor Penny.
The good pastor and his family have been running a farming project with chickens and rabbits thanks to the financial support of our ITMI partners.
Cozmore thinks it is hilarious that the pastor’s wife talks to her baby chicks when she feeds them. The first group of chicks that were grown and then sold before Christmas was a huge success.
The rabbits struggled with the heat and many died. Just when we thought that the project was doomed, the last male and female then produced seven babies. The Lord is good!
Thanks again to our ministry partners we were able to build a new rabbit hutch for the pastor, which can be moved around for better ventilation. We also blessed the family with loads of groceries – they only had rice in their pantry – and also a cash gift.
Cozmore got to use his new (used) projector and showed a Christian film, which had the locals captivated.
I preached at the Sunday morning service after which we blessed the congregation with cold drinks, the young boys with toy cars and the girls with pillowcase dresses.
Thank YOU for making this possible!
After the success of our Stone Hill boys’ camp and seeing young men coming to faith in Christ, and being discipled, Cozmore and I are preparing to do the same for the boys in Zimbabwe, near Gwayi River.
Jason (15) and John-Marc (13) will join me on our 2,600km (one-way) vehicle trip on African roads, to Zimbabwe, to run the camp.
The camps are very helpful in the African environment. They are beneficial to the youth, in that we:
- Clearly present the Gospel and disciple them;
- Teach obedience to God’s Word;
- Make the young men feel that they can “belong” in the Christian covenant community (those who have parents from different tribes or countries struggle with their identity);
- Strengthen their discipline and social skills;
- Cultivate and build Gospel-centred relationships that will be further nurtured by the churches we are partnering with;
- Just bless these very poor village boys;
- Instil in them a vision of victory of Jesus Christ and His Church.
Thanks again for your prayers and support in Kingdom work in Africa.
Charl van Wyk
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Having survived a terrorist attack, my heart goes out to those who lost loved ones at the Orlando massacre of Monday morning. Such senseless terror hurts not only direct victims, but their families, friends and society at large. This is the aim of terrorism, to instill fear in the population, in the pursuit of political goals, by using violence and intimidation.
A missionary colleague asked the following in her Facebook post: “Question: how many people in that club were able to shoot back?”
None, legally. Because it served alcohol, the Pulse nightclub was a gun-free zone.
We need to understand that gun-free zones, whether instituted by your local or national government, are—unfortunately, other than a mother’s womb—among the most dangerous environments to find yourself in. Don’t live, work or even visit them. If you already do, fight to change these laws so that you can legally protect the lives of your innocent family and friends.
On July 25, 1993, I sat in a Sunday evening church service in Cape Town, South Africa. Suddenly, the front door swung open. Terrorists Sichumiso Nonxuba, Bassie Mkhumbuzi, Gcinikhaya Makoma and Tobela Mlambisa—strapped with automatic rifles—burst through, lobbing live hand grenades.
The deafening explosions splintered several rows of pews, shrapnel sprayed the congregation. The terrorists then opened fire; the whizzing bullets struck scores of unsuspecting and unarmed Christian men and women.
Thankfully, not everyone in attendance was defenseless – there were armed congregants.
Kneeling behind a pew, I drew my snub-nose revolver. Knowing from my former military training that gunfights are won with aimed fire, I targeted a terrorist and returned fire. Stunned at the existence of armed resistance, the cowardly attackers scrambled to flee. The now-infamous Saint James Church massacre left eleven churchgoers dead and more than 50 wounded. The police said that without intervention, the death count would have been much higher. One of the terrorist leaders later admitted his greatest desire was to see every Christian present, killed. They also planned to throw four petrol bombs into the church.
The reason I maintained composure, returned fire and thwarted greater carnage was because—by God’s grace and wisdom—I’d sat in the church many times before and pondered my possible responses should such an attack ever unfold. South Africa was then roiling in tensions over apartheid. The terrorists later claimed that all whites were legitimate targets (ignoring the inconvenient reality that the church was 40 percent black).
So, I knew that I needed to be prepared.
My friends, preparation is a requirement for responsible living—whether you live in Africa, or America. After all, how many mass shootings can we mourn and then, as the pain fades, push aside as though there’s no risk to us? Very likely the victims of the Pulse shooting thought themselves little risk for death by a sudden terrorist attack.
Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America deals with gun control laws in the Foreword to my book: Shooting Back. He writes: “Any law that makes self-defense illegal or impractical is an illegitimate law, because such a law ultimately subjects people to the criminal element. When governments pass laws favoring criminals, then governments are on the wrong side and have lost their legitimacy.”
“I’m Gonna Die.” Was the last text from a victim of the Orlando nightclub massacre. You don’t want to shoot a text when you can rather shoot a gun. Carrying a gun for self-defense was illegal for those victims.
Possessing a firearm does not guarantee that you’ll escape unscathed from all violent encounters. But surely firearms play an important role in giving you and your family a better chance of survival.
The famous words of actor Christian Slater: “It’s better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it”, still rings true today.
So, sharpen your sword, which is the Word of God – the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only means to effectively deal with wickedness and change the world. Disciple the nations!
Also, arm yourself, get training and ponder your possible responses to various forms of violence!
Charl van Wyk
A BIG thank you to each of our ministry partners. Our Stone Hill roof is complete!
Our first ‘undercover’ service took place Sunday evening 29 May 2016.
Praise the Lord!
Charl van Wyk
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” – 1 Timothy 5:8
The last thing I want to do is discourage any women from reading this, but know from the beginning: This message is specifically addressed to my brothers in Christ.
Men, we need to talk.
(And yes, I know that particular turn of phrase sounds eerily similar to what your wife announces when she has something to share with you that usually involves some behavior modification on your part. I’m a husband, too!)
But in seriousness, my brothers, all throughout scripture, the Lord speaks to men about what He calls us to do. We’re to honor Him; love and honor our wives; love, instruct and admonish, when necessary, our children. And we’re to protect them, with our very lives if necessary.
When political leaders and lawmakers make it impossible for us as dutiful husbands and fathers to act – in the biblical sense – as protectors of those whom God has entrusted to our care, then we have no obligation to obey them.
When the ruling class further curtails our freedom, and makes it illegal for us to fulfill our duty to protect our families – by passing and implementing unjust gun laws – then they are no longer God’s servant to do us good. Rather, they’ve become an instrument of Satan, whom we are commanded by God to resist.
We must actively work toward making sure the liberal anti-gun leaders and lawmakers are defeated electorally and replaced with godly leaders who respect and uphold basic human rights of self-defense.
A thug who wants to disarm a law-abiding citizen – leaving his life in danger and his wife or children vulnerable to assault – is a thug, whether a thug in government, or a thug on the street.
In Africa we often see the shockingly high number of murders and rapes of women and children by rebels and government soldiers. The Christian man does not only have a right, but also a duty, to resist these wicked men, with lethal force if necessary.
To protect our families is to honor God. Basically, God’s Laws trump human laws!
More Christian men should be praying: “Lord, please make me fast and accurate!” Otherwise, you’ll find yourself praying that the government that left you disarmed and defenseless will come to your defense.
That makes about as much sense as a scope on a shotgun.
Brothers, we are called to stand strong on the Word of God, not waver under the deception that our families would somehow be safer if only we would abdicate our God-assigned duty to government.
We’ve seen what happens when men abdicate our God-assigned duty to work and provide for our families. Government is all too happy to assume the role, robbing initiative, work ethic, unity, opportunity and morality and replacing it with a poverty-level stipend.
Teach your children
We must teach God’s Truth to our children. After all, the state-run education system – in harmony with the state-run media – is teaching your children a message. And it is not The Message. Their impressionable minds are being carpet-bombed with Weapons of Mass Distortion. They learn that offending someone’s sensitivities is a greater crime than defending your loved ones.
When a bad guy has a gun, only a good guy with a gun can properly resist him. Little else is equipped to do the job.
Did you know that historically, Christians believed that murderers weren’t the only ones guilty of a capital crime? They believed those who could – but would not – act to protect the innocent also bore some responsibility for the victim’s suffering.
Where does this doctrine leave most of the Christian men of today? If we are to help the suffering, how can we stand by and watch the murder of the innocent?
My Brothers in Christ, don’t be fooled by false comfort: In the Christian life, cowardice is a sin!
After the St. James Church Massacre of 1993, I reached out to the terrorists with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The commander of the attackers of our church said: “I hear your own people (Christians) are criticizing you for returning fire (at the attackers). What did they expect you to do? Just sit and watch (the massacre)?”
How is it that an atheist sees self-defense as a virtue, yet some Christians don’t?
Resisting the wicked is part of our God-ordained witness to them!
During the war between Northern and Southern Sudan, Northern Muslim soldiers defected to the Southern Christian army because of their fighting tenacity and the godly manner in which they treated their POWs.
Have we ever considered that the way in which we fight, and how we treat our enemies, can be a witness to them?
‘Girls on Fire’
Crime is out of control in South Africa – and is rising worldwide. Meanwhile, the South Africa government – and governments worldwide – remain bent on disarming the population. We founded Gun Owners of South Africa (GOSA) to fight the disarmament program.
Women in South Africa are feeling particularly vulnerable because of the extremely high incidents of rape and murder. To fight back, they started a division of GOSA called Girls on Fire. Through this program they’re educating women on the advantages and rights of female firearm ownership in South Africa.
GOSA’s Girls on Fire program was created in 2015 with a “16 Days of ACTION for no Violence against Women and Children” education campaign. GOSA believes women must be able to protect themselves and their families. We don’t want women to fall victim to violence. We want them to be skilled, determined and equipped with the appropriate tools to protect themselves and their families.
Girls on Fire have taken to social media to promote their campaign and are now represented on:
Twitter: @GirlsOnFireSA & @VictimNoLonger
Facebook: GOSA Girls on Fire
This is the empowerment of women.
Through Girls on Fire, women are taking responsibility for the safety of themselves, their families and their communities.
Men, we could follow their lead. But we’d do far better following God’s Word. Only then can we truly lead our wives and children – and protect them the way God commands.
This article was originally published on 21 May 2016 at http://www.wnd.com/2016/05/men-you-not-the-state-must-protect-your-family/
Charl van Wyk