Giving thanks to the Lord … and you!

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

Giving thanks to the Lord … and you!

I’ve been preparing presentations for my ministry speaking tour to the United States, which ends just before Thanksgiving.

I always revisit past presentations so that I don’t bore listeners with the same ideas. In doing so, I’m in awe of what the Lord has done—and is doing—with and through our ministry partners like you.

With the generous help of our partners, and even their children in some cases, the extent of our outreach for furthering the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has been astounding.

Over the past year, they have made it possible for us to partner with and support outreaches to China—under the guise of running English language camps for children—Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Congo, Cameroon and South Africa.

The Gospel of the Kingdom is preached and lived out in our ministry outreach projects. By God’s truly amazing grace, many have responded by putting their faith in Jesus Christ.

Discipleship is of paramount importance and new believers are taken care of by men and women who then disciple them over time—through both teachings and by example.

Gangsters change

Typically, the youngsters starting gangs in Stone Hill are around 17 years old. They hail overwhelmingly from single-parent homes—most always only a mother. In this dysfunctional community, girls have babies to prove that they are fertile in the hope of securing a marriage proposal in the future. This is one of many reasons for the existence of single-parent homes.

The Christian community leaders take it upon themselves to help the mothers by acting like fathers to the disobedient young men. The mothers can’t fulfill their parental responsibility in spanking the boys when necessary, so the Christian men do. And—despite what the purveyors of political correctness say—it works wonders.

Through loving discipline and an investment of time and teaching, our ministry and community leaders are taking the (former) gangsters camping and on hikes up the mountain. Through this they release energy, build relationships and start Gospel conversations. We help with funds for taxis, food, etc.

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” 2 Timothy 1:7.

Explosive Growth

Our Stone Hill ministry has grown exponentially. The Lord has blessed us in so many ways. We’ve built a U-shaped building with three shipping containers. One holds a kitchen. The other offers two classrooms and the third, a gym.

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Our ministry now includes Sunday evening Gospel services, Bible Studies, Soldiers for Christ, Dream Girls, math and science homework help, a soup kitchen, food-and-clothing distribution, shack maintenance and building, sport ministry, youth camps, outreaches such as Life Chain and Women’s Day in shopping malls; and in December, Lord willing, a Gospel crusade.

We’ve invested a lot of energy into reaching the youth in Stone Hill.

Now, we’d like to expand our Christian influence by building a Gospel-centered Early Childhood Development (ECD) Center. This will entail having two shipping containers welded together to create a safe classroom for preschoolers. Toddlers are housed all day, while mothers work, in a nearby shack with a small outside play area.

As clean as the two adults try and keep the shack with 34 toddlers, the fact remains that it is an insecure, unsafe and an unhealthy environment.

We’d love for you to partner with us to further increase our Gospel influence in Stone Hill by converting two more shipping containers into a large classroom for an ECD Center. This would legally allow a secure, safe and healthy environment for 40 toddlers.

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Our present containers have worked well.

Converted shipping containers offer budget savings. By recycling old shipping containers, we repurpose our limited materials, rather than sourcing new materials used in traditional construction. Also, the buildings can be relocated, or moved about, as our ministry grows.

Our prayer is to raise $19,000 to purchase the containers as well as cutting and welding them together, fitting them with fire-safety insulation, creating an emergency/fire escape, fire extinguishers and adding windows for natural lighting and ventilation. Sanitary facilities must be provided as well.

From a regulatory standpoint, we must also demonstrate that condensation will not form on the inside of the containers. That’s no joke. Really! Even (or shall I say, only) in Africa. Where do these bureaucrats come from?

An additional $3,000 goal will help to kit out the facility with desks, chairs, kitchenette, which can run off our generator, Christian educational materials, fencing for protection, small veggie garden for healthy foods, climbing frames, etc.

Our total goal: $22,000.00

We are humbled and blessed by the past support from partners. We thank the LORD for His blessing us through YOU!

Pease consider supporting this work through ITMI (480) 968 4100, at this time of Thanksgiving, to reach vulnerable children with the Gospel.

Charl van Wyk

PS. We wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your loved ones.

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No more ‘evanjellyfish’ Christianity

“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness.” 1 Timothy 4:7

“You are wasting my time! Get out of here and go ask the question to somebody outside. If you don’t ask the question, don’t bother coming back!”

We will not accept the fact that young men will not carry out instructions, if they claim to be serious about the things of the Lord. Living in a squatter camp (locally called a “township”), in a shack and being poor is no excuse for being lazy or unconcerned about the Gospel of the Kingdom.

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Our group’s name is Soldiers for Christ (SFC)! These twelve young men want to make a difference. They want to live out the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their personal lives, in their homes, schools and work places; and in their squatter camp.

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So where does one start with a bunch of rough kids, whose third language is English, who live in shacks, with dirt roads, little drainage, no electricity, surrounded daily by crime, and too often have little food on the table?

We start with God’s Word of course!

“Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20

The African traditional religion these young men have been born into, and brought up to know, teaches that you need to slaughter a goat when you have sinned, as if you don’t “always” sin – the goat’s blood will apparently cleanse you of unrighteousness. Sprinkling holy water in your hut keeps the evil spirits away and a piece of plastic on a limb can bring healing.

If we don’t teach God’s Law, His Word, they will never know His standards; or understand that they have sinned because “…sin is Lawlessness.” And if you haven’t sinned, why would you need a saviour?

The Law shows us our need of a saviour. Jesus Christ paid our penalty – His blood, not a goat’s blood, cleanses us from all sin – past, present and future! Putting our faith in Him, and not our ancestors, is what will save us!

One young man underwent massive family pressure due to leaving his ancestral worship. But he would not back down. He was discovered by my colleague as a 12-year-old head of a household. He was brought up in the Christian faith and today is a ministry and community leader.

His mother told the family that years ago, when she was unable to financially support her two sons, none of the family helped her, so she left her boys to fend for themselves. The Christians helped, supported and provided for the brothers, and so now the family must accept that they are following their Christian God.

Our faith is not the local “evanjellyfish” type. Some of these young men are just a few weeks old as Christians. So, they are sent out immediately to start Gospel conversations to tell others about the Gospel of the Kingdom. Yes, they will make mistakes. Yes, they will mess up and yes, it is difficult!

We’ve taken part in a shopping mall outreach where some of our group got to interact with shoppers and hand out tracts and balloons with Bible verses for children. Those “soldiers” who said they would come but did not arrive for the outreach were disciplined by their peers.

We have also undergone training by self-defense guru Gerald Bailey of Suarez International, who kindly gave freely of his time to help our young men. Gerald’s training will be put into good use at our upcoming Gospel crusade in the Stone Hill squatter camp when international Gospel preacher, Ron Kronz, visits us on his tri-nation preaching tour to Africa.

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Church leaders are very excited about the coming Gospel outreach. Unity is a top priority for the local churches.

Men beating women is quite normal in the township. The Soldiers for Christ intend to put a stop to this by prayer and action, even physically threatening the perpetrators.

The township dwellers firmly believe that the police only help and support the criminals and so there is little to no trust of the authorities. Law and order in South Africa has become a joke and people believe they have to see to their own personal and community safety.

The community is known for having beaten youngsters starting gangs, caught and beaten armed thugs who attacked their local store, dismantled the shack of an unrepentant rapist and kicked him out of their township so he may never return. Needless to say, many of the community leaders are Chrsitians!

Some outsiders have apparently referred to Stone Hill as “the Christian township!”

SFC members are on duty at our Gospel outreach services each Sunday evening. The ill-discipline, obviously tolerated in state schools, is a nuisance of the past. Jabbering, laughing and jesting during the preaching of God’s Word has come to an end. Drunkards, and those wishing to interrupt the sermon, are kindly walked away so that listeners may hear the Word.

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

Please pray with us! Jesus Christ is building His Church in Stone Hill! May His Will be done in Stone Hill, as it is in Heaven!

Charl van Wyk

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Stone Hill (Klipheuwel) challenges

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Zimbabwe – hope, in spite of destruction

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Thank YOU!

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

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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

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Zimbabwe Youth Camp

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Peace, despite perplexity, in Zimbabwe

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Boys’ camp

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

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Orlando massacre – Learning from our hurt

charl's testimony 2.008“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.

The attack

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.

Gunning up

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

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