Mission to Mexico

“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16

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Our son Jason (17) headed off to Richmond, Virginia, in the States in March. He is taking part in ministry training with Youth With A Mission. This excellent organization offers a specialized Discipleship Training School (DTS) in sports and fitness, teaching how these pursuits can enable evangelizing and discipling of the nations – thus furthering Christ’s Kingdom on Earth.

Jason loves soccer, along with millions of other Africans. There are apparently 265 million players worldwide—roughly 4 percent of the world’s population. A massive Gospel opportunity!

Here is Jason’s ministry story to his friends:

Greetings,

Many of you know I have been doing a Discipleship Training School (DTS) at Youth With A Mission in Richmond, Virginia.

Lecture phase

The past 10 weeks we have been attending lectures every day. It is very much like a classroom setting where we have lecturers from different fields of ministry who come in and address us. Guest speakers deal with one Biblical topic per week. I have learnt much from Scripture over the past few months, and I keep learning more every day.

This week (11th – 15th June) was the last of our lecture phase.

Outreach phase

Lord willing, on 17 June we fly to Mexico where we will spend a month ministering in Mexico City. During the second month of the outreach phase we intend to minister the Gospel of the Kingdom in Saint Croix, which is a small island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

YWAM’s original plan was for us to minister in Russia where the FIFA Soccer World Cup is taking place, but since there has been political tension between the US and Russian governments, it has become very difficult for American’s  to obtain visas to enter the country. Ironically, South Africans have no such challenges.

I would have loved to go to Russia and minister to international soccer fans at the World Cup but I pray that God will use us wherever we go and that His will be done.

Local ministry

We have been involved in ministry during our lecture phase as well. Our DTS is specifically sport-based so most of our outreaches are sports orientated. Every Monday I assist in coaching a little kid’s soccer team made up of children from the neighborhood.

Most of our surrounding communities are African American and children are growing up in harsh circumstances. Gangsterism and violence are rife throughout the area.

Wednesday’s ministry takes place in a neighborhood of refugees, where many of the children can’t read; we are able to give attention to one child at a time, where we read a Christian book to them. Many of the refugees are from Africa and the Middle East, so naturally we have to play soccer after reading.

On Thursdays, we play basketball, serve supper and have a Bible study with the older boys in the neighborhood.

Friday evenings is an outreach to the homeless. We go into the city and set up a stand with chairs and tables and then walk the streets, combing the area for those we can invite to enjoy a meal and coffee with us. We take this opportunity to share God’s Word with attendees.

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We also team up with local churches and take part in outreaches with them on Saturdays. One outreach stands out. We went into a ghetto and did a prayer walk; while we were walking we heard multiple gun shots and screams. This was certainly not the safest of neighborhoods – but then, my father’s friend always says that safety is overrated – certainly, when it comes to the Gospel, we must be prepared to give all to Christ, even our very lives.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

During our prayers, as we walked, we handed out Biblical literature and necklaces to the children. One little boy, not older than 7, asked, “What is this for?” His friend said, “It’s for God!” He then turned to us and asked, “Is He (God) going to make all the killings go away?”

Many of the areas around our ministry base aren’t very safe and little children fear for their lives.

Prayer needs

I dislocated my shoulder and haven’t been able to play much sport. I’ve been spending time speaking to the children during the ministry outreaches and have been able to use my challenges with my shoulder as a helpful testimony and conversation starter.

Even though not being able to play sport with the children is extremely frustrating at times, the Lord redeems my situation by being able to connect with them.

I would really appreciate prayer for our outreaches to Mexico and the Virgin Islands, and of course my shoulder, that it will be restored back to being strong and healthy.

Thank you and God bless.
Jason van Wyk

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Clinics for Christ

“For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.” Psalm 92:4

The people of Stone Hill have been radically blessed by our ministry partners; the Stone Hill medical clinic is truly a godsend—way beyond what we could have imagined. Praise the Lord!

You might remember this short video in which we expressed our need for a medical clinic. You generously responded to our request and helped us out. Thank you very much!

Before the clinic existed, Stone Hill residents could not receive even basic medical attention without first catching a taxi to the nearest state clinic, many miles away. Often, Africa’s notoriously unreliable transportation options meant they arrived too late to receive same-day assistance and were forced to return home due to the clinic’s long queue.

The state provides a mobile clinic that comes to the informal settlement only every second Thursday. Our clinic is completely privately funded by you and local businesses. Albeit the latter are contributing largely as a means to generate goodwill within the community, this corporate generosity—a familiar practice in the West—is itself a welcome anomaly in Africa.

We thank the Lord for you all!

We have a small cubicle stocked with basic medication and a nursing sister, Lee, who is on-site every Monday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Currently, she sees around 16 patients a day.

On Thursday afternoons and Sunday evenings, Dr. Bradley, our ministry leader, attends to more patients. Most patients so far have needed help with burn wounds, injuries, infections and suturing.

We’d love to extend our medical services to three days a week. One extra day open per week will cost the ministry $420 per month!

Dr. Bradley gives freely of his time to the clinic. We’ve also been approached by a Christian couple who have offered to donate services in physiotherapy and counseling in crisis pregnancies. They have starter boxes of essential baby supplies for mothers and their new babies.

Who would have thought that we’d become a crisis pregnancy center as well?

Isn’t this just amazing? How God’s people are networking across large areas, even continents, to help a struggling people, for the sake of the Gospel? You get to hear about it, as hopefully these “Dispatches from the Frontlines of Discipleship” paint a picture that puts you in the scene. But for those of us in the field who get to witness the lifechanging work of the Lord in person, it is surely an awesome spectacle to see!

NOW:

We have another opportunity to make a wonderful difference for the weary and hurt. My friends in a very poor township near Lusaka, Zambia have a church building that they have built with their own limited resources. This is a particularly commendable achievement considering the scarcity of their supplies, the worn condition of their tools and the minimal if any means to attain construction know-how. Though perhaps a little rough on the eyes, its function—and the vision behind the building—is truly a thing of beauty. They need your help to add one room to the large auditorium, which will function as a medical clinic.

The community has the same issues as the residents of Stone Hill. Namely, mothers joining early morning queues to catch taxis with sick babies in tow, all to arrive at the state hospital and find lines that lag for days. Their meager funds expended on taxi fees, mother and baby—receiving no relief—get sicker from braving hours in bad weather.

This congregation of believers already has four doctors lined up. These healers of body and soul are willing to give freely of their time to support this Gospel outreach in their local community. The clinic room will cost $3,100 to build onto the church sanctuary.

We please need your help! Won’t you pray and see if the Lord is moving you to play, even a small part, in these vital ministry opportunities?

US tax deductible donations can be made right here: http://intouchmission.org/donate-to/charl-van-wyk/

Please remember to state how you’d like to partner in these ministry opportunities:

  1. Stone Hill clinic or
  2. Zambia clinic

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16

Charl van Wyk

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Stone Hill Medical Clinic Opens

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His Name!” Psalm 100:4

We are thrilled that our Stone Hill medical clinic has opened its doors! Thank you Lord!

During our fundraising campaign for our early childhood development center, one of our faithful ministry partners offered us a massive Kingdom blessing: every U.S. dollar we raised, he would match! And he did!

Because of this, we were blessed to enlarge our project with a much needed medical clinic. Bradley, our project leader, negotiated with a medical company and local businesses who are playing a part in helping sustain this Gospel work.

We cannot thank our ministry partners and local businesses enough for your prayers and financial support leading to this much needed service. We have a qualified nursing sister, who provides basic health services for a few hours every Monday and Wednesday.

We are trusting the Lord to raise up financial supporters who’d like to help us extend the clinic’s opening hours for the residents, and especially the vulnerable children, in Stone Hill.

One extra day open per week, will cost the ministry USD420.00 per month!

Thank you all!!

Charl van Wyk

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8 Ideas learned in the South African military that apply to African missions

1. Buddy PT

Army PT, aka physical training, or as it’s more commonly known, physical torture, always carried interesting life lessons such as Never be first home after a run, you’d be made to do more torturous exercises while waiting for the rest of the platoon to arrive.

If you are small and light in stature, then hook up with the biggest man in the platoon and he will carry you the whole time during Buddy PT. This is clearly a win-win strategy. You never have to carry anyone, and your buddy carries the lightest weight available.

In missions, always keep fit; you never know when you might need to escape a difficult situation and your only method might be your feet.

Never be overenthusiastic. Someone, usually an African bureaucrat, will feel it their calling to dampen your spirits – guaranteed!

Travel light. You might need to leave a lot behind if you don’t, and African border officials love discovering items to tax!

“But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

2. New family

Your fellow troopers are your new family and your rifle is your wife! (Or so we were told.)

You may not particularly like some of your fellow platoon members, but you all really dislike the platoon sergeant, so set aside your differences and focus your efforts on overcoming the obstacles he puts before you during training.

In missions we have to keep the main thing the main thing. All too often patience and forbearance are set aside for our personal comfort or to have our ego stroked. Instead of serving, ministry members become entangled in their own little worlds. This must never happen.

As my friend says: Africa isn’t Facebook!

We, Christian family, have a common enemy – he is not our friend or family member, but a very astute enemy. He often acts as an angel of light.

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

3. Dress code

No military allows sloppiness in dress. Yet, tattooed young people, boys with long hair and girls wearing miniskirts frequent the African mission field. These are extremely offensive to certain cultural and tribal groups.

Girls showing their thighs in some areas will be considered porn models; they might as well be a prostitute. Yet, if an unmarried girl went topless in a rural area, locals wouldn’t blink an eye.

You might not like or believe the same as those whom you are serving, but it’s not about you!

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6: 19-21

4. Sense of urgency

During army basic training you always have to look busy.  There’s never a shortage of something important to do such as polishing your boots for the 100th time in a day or polishing your dormitory floor because some dust might have blown in. You may need to re-square the bed you’ve never slept in or shave for the second time today!

With what matter of urgency do we deal with the Gospel of the Kingdom?  Do we redeem our time?

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16

5. Discipline

No army can function without discipline; neither can a mission group!

I had a very interesting conversation with a businessman. He looked at me with a serious face and said that it must be great being a missionary because you don’t have any goals or deadlines!

Hmmm, should I bother commenting?

“But I discipline my body…” 1 Corinthians 9:27

6. Logistics

Excellent logistics is paramount to the functioning of soldiers in the field.

This is by no means the strong point in the African Church and so you need to show much grace. The funds you sent your local contact to repair his car might have been used for some other emergency. The vehicle will break down on your mission outreach or state officials might like to annex it.

You’ll definitely have a police officer trying to fine you for something that isn’t fair or identify some violation on your vehicle even if nothing is wrong with it. While he is busy with you, another local—with a clearly unroadworthy car—will drive right past and wave at the cop who will return the friendly gesture!

It is best if you can oversee the logistics yourself but beware, western missionaries are considered cannon fodder when it comes to pricing, so don’t be surprised if your bill is 400% more than what the locals pay for the same goods or services.

“Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” Proverbs 16:3

7. Planning

Thinking ahead or planning is critical for a defense force; so too in missions.

In African animist society this is a foreign concept. People live just for the moment. If you pay someone too much, you might not have them return to work the next day. They will rather laze around at home until the funds have dried up and will then return to work.

Plan ahead with multiple worse-case scenarios accounted for. A friend asked short-term missionaries on their way to Zimbabwe what they would do if they were captured by the police. The young missionaries laughed at the idea.

They ended up having to leave their vehicle behind and flee the country.

“A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.” 1 Peter 1:13

8. Tenacity

Perseverance is the name of the game. The military knows no other culture.

Short-term missionaries have taken the first flight out of South Africa after the orphanage they were working at was burgled.

Others vowed never to return to Africa after being bombed by the Northern Islamic Government of Sudan! Really? What were they expecting?

A young American girl came to South Africa to “help the poor.” She has had a gun shoved in her face and been mugged multiple times.

Missionary friends have asked me how they can encourage new missionaries who want to leave the mission field after just two months?

Don’t declare defeat. Remember, Jesus has already won the fight!

 “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.“ Romans 8:25

And on that friendly note – do your homework and prepare!

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Steve’s life of gangsterism came to an abrupt end!

Steve’s life of gangsterism ended when he came to faith in Jesus Christ!

Listen to how the Lord is using him now.

My Salt and Light podcasts are now available on ITunes!

Charl van Wyk

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Steve was a notorious gang leader in South Africa!

Steve was a notorious gang leader in South Africa. His gang of armed and fearless teenagers scared even the most seasoned gangsters.

After being incarcerated, the strangest experience took place, in the strangest setting….

You won’t want to miss this interview on Salt and Light!

My podcast is now also available on ITunes!

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Former gangsters plant a church!

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Isaiah 52:7

Getting started!

Vuyo sounded excited on the phone. “We’ve been given a building to start a church,” he said.

I was my usual skeptical self. This comes from years of seeing how mission organizations and missionaries in Africa have been manipulated, mislead, lied to, ripped-off and held hostage until they sign the mission buildings over to the locals.

The telephone conversation with Vuyo continued as he shared the location: Gugulethu. Gugulethu? To western ears, the word is merely an indecipherable tongue-twister. But to Africans, it’s code for “gangster land.” Translation: “It isn’t really your building, so how do you protect yourself—and not just your physical self, but also your financial self? What happens if you invest in repairs and then the owner suddenly wants you out? Who are you accountable to? Who do you expect to join the church? How can you meet in a dilapidated old building with broken windows, no electricity, toilets or water? Are you nuts?!”

My reactions may sound a bit rash, but in African missions, we quickly learn the difference between faith and idealism. Faith is God-given and God-nurtured. Idealism is often man-derived and ripe for exploitation. So, we rely on the Holy Spirit for discernment.

Testimony

Vuyo was a gangster and partner in crime with Gcinikhaya Makoma, whom I shot when he made up part of the attackers at the St James church massacre in 1993.

Vuyo ended up in prison after a foiled cash-in-transit heist. After five years of awaiting trial for numerous crimes, including robbery, theft and breaking and entering a domicile, he escaped and became a wanted fugitive.

When he was found, all the other charges against him were withdrawn. He was convicted of escaping from prison and sentenced to five years.

During his incarceration Vuyo came to faith in Jesus Christ and as they say, “The rest is history!”

In prison he met Steve, a notorious gang leader. We’ll hear about Steve’s turning to Christ soon, on our  missionaryinafrica’s podcast.

Our Stone Hill ministry has been the fortunate beneficiary of Vuyo and Steve’s ministry with each of them speaking at our camps and preaching at Sunday evening services. We’ve seen their practical love for their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and their fellow man. Their dedication to God’s Word and concern for the lost are amazing.

How could I not help with supporting a church plant in gangster land? Where else is a ministry to Christ more needed? And who else can even relate to these local street thugs, let alone minister to them?

Vuyo and Steve immediately got to work. First, the cleaning of the hall began. Sixty chairs were purchased for parishioners. The broken and non-existent hand basins and toilets were replaced. Running water was connected. A new stage, built. The broken doors and windows, replaced. All this over the past month.

The first service

When the first Gospel service took place, not everything was in order. But then, the Gospel of the Kingdom must go forth.

Ten people put their faith in Jesus Christ at the first service. Now, a month later, those 60 chairs are already too few!

No time is wasted in discipling the new converts. Meetings take place every evening and new converts are added daily. These are trained to tell others about their newfound faith and then report back, with the reactions and questions they receive incorporated into presentations to reach and teach new believers.

One day at the ministry, a demon-possessed woman, carrying a small child, was delivered from her tormentors; she turned in faith to Jesus Christ. The young child was also prayed over.

Later she testified to how peacefully her and her child now sleep at night; no more medicine from the witchdoctor and no more child screaming through the night.

Vision

Vuyo and Steve dream of running camps for their newly converted youth. This setting can provide them a respite from the exhausting distractions associated with normal living in a devastated community, such as gangsterism, drugs and illicit sex.

 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

Charl van Wyk

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