Thanksgiving – Through Crocs And Camps

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

Pastor Joel Saint and I landed safely in Cape Town after a blessed time of ministry in Zimbabwe.

The very next day, I received a note from our host saying we “left at a good time.” Major political tension was unfolding.

After an issuing of a national call-up to all army veterans and active soldiers, civilians were advised to remain indoors. The vice-president was promptly fired. Meanwhile, a fired army general refused to leave his office.

My friend ended his note with: ‘There is hot stuff!’

It is quite unbelievable how volatile Africa is!

I’ve been ministering in Zimbabwe with my colleague Cozmore for many years, mostly with the youth.

This was our first outreach to the parents in the community – a Gospel weekend retreat.

By worldly standards, they are extremely poor and could never afford such a weekend at Hwange Main Camp. We were blessed to have two tribal leaders, a school headmaster, and a village councilor along with local church leaders among the attendees.

Joel’s focus was the application of God’s Word to every area of life. The parents were enthralled as he explained the different forms of government given to us by our Lord: Self-government, family, church and state—and all must submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He alone is King!

One of the reports that really caught my attention was that of Mpume’s mother. She was thrilled to be at camp. This was after the family had suffered the trauma of Mpume having his leg amputated, below the knee, due to a crocodile attack.

“We feel like we are boyfriend and girlfriend again,” she said, referencing to her relationship with her husband. Joel had called the men to love their wives like Christ loved the church.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25

Speaking of Mpume – he is doing very well. He had a slight setback after a small part of his leg got infected after the operation. It was found to be caused by stitches that had not been removed. Once this was fixed, his leg healed immediately.

Mpume is now walking with his prosthetic limb. He is to return to the hospital for a final check-up. Get this: He is going to meet with the Sports Board for the Disabled to see if they will allow him to take part in the running trials for his province! We serve a mighty God indeed!

Joel and I managed to spend time with his parents at the retreat. We counselled them and prayed together.

It is because of the prayers and financial support from you, our ministry partners, that Mpume can enjoy a new life with his rotten leg removed and a new leg to walk with.

Thank you for the love you have shown in support of our joint ministry in Africa. The parents’ retreat and Mpume’s operation was made possible by friends like you. We are all very grateful.

Dream girls

Sonja has been very involved with taking the Gospel of the Kingdom to the girls in our local informal settlement, Stone Hill.

This is a challenging ministry. I would like to tell you that the girls are coming to faith in Christ in droves, that they are well discipled and living by faith – but that wouldn’t be true.

Some will swear in your face, disrupt classes, destroy classroom contents, scratch in your handbag to steal from you, pilfer items from your home when they visit, flaunt themselves at the boys and dress like prostitutes.

This reminds us of the devastating emptiness of living without Jesus Christ – and why this ministry is so crucial in this community.

This is true Gospel work – reaching out to the unlikable with the love of Jesus Christ.

So often we want to see immediate results from our short-term evangelistic outreaches. We like to do instant-gratification, fast-food ministry. Few prefer to struggle over years and years, giving of their resources, lives and time only to witness scant evidence of godly results. Yet our Dream Girls team pushes on!

“She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.” Proverbs 31:20

A BIG thank you! Friends like you have made a difference—and can still make a difference.

Truth be told, your financial support won’t change the living conditions of these girls, but it will change the way they see themselves – and show them that they are loved, cared for and created for a purpose.

When my friend Mabuti was called upon by his family to worship the ancestors, he refused. His mother, a witchdoctor, told the family that he had been looked after and provided for by the Christians, so obviously he will now worship their God!

Sonja and the gang of ministry leaders will have a Christmas outreach. The girls will sing and dance and make memories together, like all children should.

Just as importantly, you’ll be there too, in spirit, walking beside us as you have many times in the past, and we will be pointing the girls to Jesus Christ – He who loves them!

Please pray for us all; and Happy Thanksgiving!

Charl van Wyk

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Weighing In On Texas Massacre

“Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:4

The attack

My friend Joel and I had just returned to the town Victoria Falls after ministering at a retreat for parents in Hwange Main Camp, Zimbabwe when the tragic news came through: An attack by a gunman on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

He opened fire on a congregation where his former in-laws worshiped.

Twenty-seven people died in the attack, including an unborn baby; and another 20 were injured.

When the attacker exited the church, an armed neighbor, 55-year-old Stephen Willeford, shot him to stop any further carnage. The attacker managed to get into his vehicle and took off.

Willeford then jumped into the car of Johnnie Langendorff. Together, they chased the shooter into a nearby county, where he ran off the road.

Authorities said the attacker was found dead inside the vehicle, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A Christian response

Willeford made the comment: “I think my God, my Lord, protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done.”

What a humble way to describe such a heroic action. He gave glory to Whom it belonged.

Pastor Jack Campbell (missionary and marine) and I on the range! 

Those who reject self-defense play into the hands of the law breakers. They encourage the wicked to take advantage of them by creating a safe environment for the attacker.

Our Christian duty is to make the working environment of the bad guy as dangerous as possible. The political Left may find this fact an inconvenient truth, but the only person who can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Tellingly in today’s times, this is treated as a controversial statement. But it is self-evident that unarmed victims are pretty helpless. It’s a reality not lost on the killers.

Christians are not called to be doormats for the wicked. In fact the Bible teaches us: “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” Proverbs 25:26

Surely we are “giving way before the wicked” if we choose to remain unarmed and unable to protect our family, friends and churches.

Maybe it is time for us to call a spade, a spade, and clearly state that those Christians who are not prepared to protect their loved ones from violent attacks are shirking their Biblical duty.

Indeed, it is a duty.

Christians don’t just have a right to self-defense; they have a Biblical duty to protect the innocent. That is also why all gun owners should stand for the protection of their right to bear arms and the right to life in the womb. These two positions—among the hottest topics on the planet—are interdependent. Both require the defense of innocent life against acts of violence and evil.

I was told by a South African that home invaders raped his wife in front of him in his own home. He claimed that all he could do was pray. He was against my call for armed resistance in such circumstances. He thought that his stand was “more spiritual” than even the Bible. I had a Christian duty to point out to him that his sin of inaction was certainly spiritual—it was following a spirit of fear. We know that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control…” 2 Timothy 1:7.

We are commanded to love our wives, like Christ loved the Church. We must be prepared to die for our wives, not stand by and watch while she is being raped. We must do everything in our power to defend her, even if it means that we might lose our life while defending her.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25

All life is precious because we are made in the image of God. And because He has created us, we have to live by His rules. They are not merely suggestions! We may only take life when He says we can! And defending life abides with just such an occasion. Exodus 22:2-3 makes this very clear.

Are you ready?

Some Christians appear to have adopted the pagan fallacy of animism (extremely prominent here in Africa). This belief ascribes a soul to everything, even inanimate objects, and grants supernatural power to such objects. It claims that evil lurks in things (guns), rather than people. Demonizing inanimate objects (guns) makes no sense! Guns can be used for good or evil. The heart of the handler is what makes the difference.

Dr John Lott in his book “The War on Guns” explains and shows in detail how killers choose gun-free zones: “Mass public shooters avoid places where victims can defend themselves. After all, how quickly people can arrive with a gun to stop the attack reduces the number of likely victims and the publicity that the killer will be able to get.”

The commander of the terrorist attackers of our church in 1993 agreed on this issue when he admitted that they thought that our church was a gun-free zone. He continued by saying that I had a surprise for his cadres when I returned fire.

Are you ready to defend your family and friends? For my friends in the West, this was once a distant, abstract concern—a danger restricted to farther-flung locales and commonplace in disorganized, developing nations.

That latter fact is sadly still true for my countrymen and I. The former sense of contentment and complacency regarding personal safety, we know all too well, no longer resonates with reality in the West.

It well behooves all men of God to know the Biblical answer to this question—and prepare accordingly.

PS. WND’s Bob Unruh kindly interviewed me on the same topic: Armed Christian who disrupted ’93 church attack weighs in on Texas massacre

Charl van Wyk

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Can One Live Through Such Carnage And Not Be Seriously Traumatized?

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
Romans 10:17

Christian community

You may be really blessed to have a Christian community around you. A community of sisters and brothers in Christ where you are loved, cherished and supported. Psalm 133 describes what such a community looks like.

In Africa, the opportunity to experience the building of a world around the Gospel—to just taste what living a Gospel life is like—is for the most part, just a distant and seemingly unattainable dream. A dream that few can even fathom.

In the area where we intend to operate our Gospel camp for parents, the citizens of Matabeleland, Zimbabwe, suffered the Gukurahundi killings—gruesome acts of horror inflicted by Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade between 1983 and 1987. Tens of thousands of people were murdered by the state.

Can one live through such carnage and not be seriously traumatized? You, your children, and their children, are all traumatized!

We hope to change this with a camp that leads multiple generations to Christ. But we need your help.

God’s promise                 

Our team of camp leaders, including my friend, Pastor Joel, wants to teach at the camp and help show why we must follow Jesus Christ and obey His Word!

Lord willing, Joel will be joining us all the way from Pennsylvania. In addition to his theological training, radio ministry, pastoring and leadership in the reformation movement, Joel has nine children with his wife Audrey. They have brought up their children in the faith, and now have nine grandchildren.

Joel is richly blessed and an excellent example of how God’s blessings extend for generations. Is this not the best inheritance any of us can ever hope to leave our children and grandchildren?

We want the parents at camp to experience firsthand the difference Jesus Christ makes in our lives, in families, churches and civil government.

Christian community is about Him!

Gospel teaching 

Already watching Jesus work in the lives of their children, we want to saturate the parents’ in God’s Word!

At camp we can do this in a short time. This setting can provide them a respite from the exhausting distractions associated with normal living in a devastated community, such as searching for food and carrying water all day.

Simply put, there is more time to delve into God’s Word at a camp, more time to find out what He is teaching us. We aim to make His Word the highlight of the camp.

Memories

Memories are powerful tools in the forming of godly relationships. When the youth have shared memories from their camp experience with their parents and other adults, our local leaders are often questioned afterwards. Parents want to know if the stories of the youth are really true. Their questions reveal much about daily life in this part of Africa:

  • Did they really have beds with sheets and blankets?
  • And three meals a day?
  • What have you done to make the young men so much more obedient and disciplined?

We don’t desire to just tell parents what goes on; we hope to show them, by demonstrating Christ’s love and His ways.

Identifying as Christians

The young men we have ministered to at previous camps have formed a consolidated Christian group identity in their community.

Cozmore and Pastor Nyoni, our co-workers, have become their mentors and disciplers – having to deal with their youthful dirty laundry and all. But Praise the Lord they come to known Christian men, who point them to Jesus Christ, rather than in the direction of damnation their pagan friends in the community offer.

The young men have a sense of who they are in Jesus Christ, rather than facing pressure to look to the pagans and their ancestors for identity.

We are praying for their parents to come to faith in Jesus Christ, to enjoy and experience that sense of belonging in the covenant family. Not only can this encounter with Jesus save their own souls, it can lead to the establishment of a spiritually saved family fabric, creating a healthier environment for their children to grow in Christ.

Please camp with us!

We are praying for a minimum of 30 parents at $70 per person to join us, so they can go forth and impact their community with the knowledge of the Gospel we’ll arm them with.

If you have ever in your life been blessed by attending a Gospel camp, won’t you please bless one of these parents to attend our camp? This will certainly be their first such experience!

Please co-labor with us as we seek to further Christ’s Kingdom in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe.

Your ministry co-worker,
Charl van Wyk

PS. Should you like to partner in this ministry, please click HERE for financial support and type ‘Zim camp’ in the comments section.

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Thanks from Mpumelelo

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of Your wonderful deeds.”
Psalm 9:1

Thanks from Mpumelelo

“Uncle, thank you for my leg. I’m in lots of pain.” This is how Mpumelelo thanked me in his broken English over the WhatsApp video call, set up by Cozmore, my ministry co-worker.

He waited patiently in hospital for a week before the operation, due to other emergency cases in Bulawayotaking precedence.

The four hour operation went very well and the day thereafter he wasn’t bleeding any longer. Praise the Lord! Another week in the hospital is expected.

In the meantime Cozmore is making arrangements to order the prosthetic limb.

Thank YOU very much again for blessing Mpumelelo with prayer, and the funds to have this medical procedure. Please carry on praying!

Because Mpumelelo has had this amputation, in the pagan culture of Africa, he can be considered useless to his family and so stands a high chance of being ostracized by family and the community. In some African cultures the elderly and infirm, perceived as being worthless to the tribe will be left behind as the nomadic tribe moves on – and they will die of hunger or be eaten by wild animals.

And some liberals think all cultures are equal!

Parents’ camp

Those transformed by the Gospel, on the other hand, reach out with the love of Jesus Christ to the infirm, lost, elderly, fatherless and amputees.

It is for such reasons that we are planning to run a camp, in early November, for the parents of the youth we have been discipling in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe.

The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ changes our selfish ideas and attitudes and replaces them with His love – that transcends all understanding.

Will you please prayerfully consider helping us take the Gospel to these parents? They are extremely poor and could never afford to attend a Gospel camp.

My friend, Pastor Joel Saint, director of the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society (USA), is kindly taking the time to come and preach and teach at this outreach.

The camp will cost $70.00 per parent. Won’t you and your family, or home cell group, consider sponsoring a couple for our weekend camp?

The whole community can be impacted by the Gospel through such an outreach.

Should you like to partner in this ministry, please click HERE for financial support and type ‘Zim camp’ in the comments section.

May His Kingdom come!

Charl van Wyk

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Croc attack update

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

On 15 August I wrote to you about Mpumelelo’s leg that needs to be amputated below the knee after he survived a crocodile attack.

Cozmore and Mpumelelo

My ministry co-worker, Cozmore, who has been the “man of the moment” for the burdened family, travelled cross border to South Africa to collect two pints of blood for the operation, which is due to take place tomorrow. (Friday Sept. 8).

Mpumelelo is experiencing lots of pain!

He has received the vitamins we sent him, thanks to two missionary friends acting as couriers. We are praying that these will help build up his immune system and strengthen his body to cope with the shock of the operation.

The amputation will take place in the state hospital in Bulawayo, which is the second-largest city in Zimbabwe. The doctor performing the procedure is a private practitioner.

I don’t quite know how to thank those of you who have given so freely to help this young man. I’m at a loss for words!

Cozmore has lately had his fair share of pain and suffering after having survived a terrible accident in an African taxi. His acute back pain, as well as pain of an ankle and knee, left him bedridden for days.

ITMI executive director Steve Evers made an immediate decision to help Cozmore get the best possible medical help. After two days of hospitalization, x-rays, injections, continuing physio therapy, and more home rest, Cozmore was well enough to travel, again by taxi, to help Mpumelelo through his ordeal.

And the reason Cozmore is traveling by taxi again? The night before he was to leave to help Mpumelelo, the back wheels were stolen off his borrowed car! Hey, this is Africa. But still, doesn’t a love partnership like this, across continents, connecting those who follow the Lord, make your day?

This mercy ministry is a wonderful example to the world of the blessing of Christianity; and the Gospel of the Kingdom at work in their midst!

Due to our ministry partners opening their hearts, we’ve been able to help with much more than just the operation and the future artificial limb. Two pints of blood, pain killers and Lord willing, rehabilitation will all be covered as and when the need arises.

Will you please pray for Mpumelelo?

THANK YOU!
Charl van Wyk

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Croc Attack

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Previously I’ve written about our discipleship camps for young men in Zimbabwe:

“One young man arrived on crutches from an injury he suffered in a crocodile attack. Thankfully, he wasn’t alone during the attack.

“In a vicious fight his friends clung to his upper body and arms while the croc clutched his foot before—praise the Lord—the friends finally won out.

“Medical staff managed to save his foot and toes.”

Mpumelelo (with crutches) and his friends each receive a Bible at our discipleship camp

Seventeen year old Mpumelelo’s ordeal with the crocodile happened three years ago.

After all the local doctors have done to save his leg and foot, we’ve just received some bad news – Mpumelelo has an internal infection and the leg needs to be amputated below the knee.

This has obviously come as a shock to the family. Mpumelelo’s mother is a pre-school teacher, and his father is unemployed – not due to laziness, but to the economic collapse orchestrated by the communist regime of Robert Mugabe.

When people are hungry, it is easy to buy votes with food.

Mpumelelo explained to Cozmore, my co-worker, that he is ready for the procedure when funds are available. He is praying that the Lord will bless him with friends who will prayerfully, and financially, support him through this ordeal.

The estimated cost of the operation is $700, dependent on theater time. And an artificial leg will cost around $400.

The family’s life savings of $200 is what they have available at present.

Through our network of missionary friends the Lord prepared the way for us to have some medication sent to Mpumelelo that will help build up his immune system, fight the infection and prepare his body for the shock of the amputation.

Even the delivery of the medication is no easy task and includes borrowing a vehicle, hours of driving on bad roads, expensive petrol and negotiating multiple police road blocks.

Will you please pray for Mpumelelo and his family? And if you feel so led, financially support him?

Financial support can be given through ITMI – remember to note ‘croc attack’ under instructions.

Funds received over and above the needs of Mpumelelo will be used to support other Zimbabwean Christian families suffering with major medical challenges.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and support.

Charl van Wyk

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Physical And Spiritual Combat In Africa

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11

Please find a link to my lecture at The Future of Christendom Conference hosted by The Mid Atlantic Reformation Society in PA.

My ministry co-worker Ron Kronz, praying with me in the photograph, gives vital testimony after the lecture. Don’t miss it!

Charl van Wyk

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