“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.”
For all the chaotic, dangerous, far-flung destinations God has led me to—and through—in calling me to the missionary life, there are some situations where I simply cannot successfully operate.
Thankfully, He provided me with a “partner” who can—my wife, Sonja.
Sonja and others are keeping up the good work Penny started.
When friends in the West hear of such a ministry they probably imagine mentors helping troubled girls navigate adolescence, discover resources, undergo training and getting information that pleases their parents and facilitates their spiritual growth as they become the women God created them to be.
Yes, but…..for the Dream Girls, matters are more immediately complicated
Most are encouraged by their mother to have sex before marriage and give birth, thus proving their fertility to any potential husbands. Homes are filled with illegitimate children who have no idea who their father is, and if there is a man in the home, it is probably their mother’s boyfriend.
Many claim to experience their “ancestor” visiting and communicating with them through a dream. Some, if called upon by a witchdoctor, may take part in some sort of astral travel.
Most, when they were babies, will have been dedicated to their ancestors and have the body scarification to prove it.
They believe there is a world of spirits that exists beneath the waters of the sea. Every Jan.1 they wash themselves in the ocean to receive the powers and blessing from the water spirits for the year ahead. People who drown during these times are considered sacrifices to the spirits.
Many would have heard about Jesus Christ, but they believe that He does not play any significant role in their lives. They claim that they communicate with their god through their ancestors, whom they also worship.
To have a personal relationship with God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, who is seen as distant and uninvolved in our mundane matters, is pretty strange for them.
The girls are emotionally hard. They struggle to communicate without shouting and swearing at one another and almost knock the leaders off their feet to get attention.
Although you are there to help them, they will feel no shame in stealing from your handbag or anything else left lying around.
Lying and cheating, in fact, are par for the course. One missionary friend told me how he wanted to call the police when a fight broke out in this community. He was threatened with a knife if he dared make the call. The victim was stabbed to death.
Many young girls will be raped before their 18th birthday.
Teenage boys got into a fight. Stabbings took place—though no deaths.
The stepfather of one of the injured later took revenge. He caught one of the boys, Cheswin, locked him into a room, threw petrol on him, and set him alight. Cheswin survived badly burned.
So, just how does a missionary start with this kind of chaos and what does he/she hope to achieve?
Prayer and Scripture. The only beginning is the Bible, starting with God’s Law and how we fail to live according to His standards. “…sin is lawlessness.” 1 John 3:4
The Christian Gospel in its comprehensive, life-transforming and culture-changing way needs to be told over and over again. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Rom 10:17
Through this we hope and pray that many will come to faith in Jesus Christ. The long journey of discipleship and teaching the submission of our lives, cultures and nations to the Lordship of Jesus Christ will take years of hard, tough and at times, scary, labor.
Won’t you please pray for this Dream Girls ministry Sonja is involved with?
If you’d like to find out more about African Traditional Religion (ATR) please purchase a copy of ‘Christianity and the Veneration of Ancestors’ by my friend Pastor Afrika Mhlophe.
Wheels under the Word
Many African pastors have had their ministry effectiveness more than quadrupled by the Bibles and bikes you’ve blessed them with.
They are blown away that Christians in the West care so much for them that they take particular interest in such “mundane matters” as a need for reliable transportation.
Just as an extension of this project, I’d like you to meet Nelayi. She is a 27-year-old paraplegic and member of my friend, Ps Didier’s “Come and See” congregation in Lubumbashi, Congo.
After giving birth, Nelayi’s husband walked out on her. Her covenant family is looking after her but she is in desperate need of a new quad bike, her only means of transport.
I’m trying to help Nelayi in this matter. A new quad costs $1500. If you’d like to join me in blessing Nelayi, US donations can be made by clicking HERE and specifying in comments: ‘Bibles and Bikes Project – quad’
I was contacted by a Christian radio station for a series of interviews. They can be heard here http://capepulpit.co.za/player/ on Mondays at 16h40 South Africa Standard Time (GMT +2 hours). For my US friends that will be 09h40 on the East Coast.
Charl van Wyk