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Gerhard Potgieter. Welcome to my world of ministry . My Newsletters are published here. Click on the newsletter of your choice under Newsletters (Choose) on the left hand side of the page.

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Gerhard Potgieter. Welkom by my bedieningswêreld. Volg my Nuusbriewe hier . Kliek op die nuusbrief van jou keuse onder Nuusbriewe (kies) aan die linkerkant van die bladsy . Ek is ook op Facebook onder my naam. Om my te kontak gebruik die volgende e-pos adres. Ook om op een van my e-pos adreslyste geplaas te word. gerhardp@ananzi.co.za.



Kommentaar is altyd welkom

Your comments are always welcome











Saturday, 31 March 2012

March English

Greetings to all the brothers and sisters in Christ, washed in the blood of Lamb.

The past month has seen some great movement in long term plans and yet slower than I would like to see. Let me first thank those of you who have supported my work in any way thus far. I don't have any super human powers and since my health took a knock I am struggling. In the last month I again came close to giving up and returning too a “normal” life. Some days I am weak and tired and unlike a business where there is often someone else to pick your slack – If I don't do something it doesn't get done. It is an internal battle I fight every day. It is difficult to face what seems to be mountains in the way of God's work. Your continued prayers and other support please. It is as much your struggle as mine and you keep me going more that you will ever know. Just knowing others care makes a big difference.

This letter will be much shorter that the last one. I want to start by briefly, or as briefly as possible, walk you through a few days of my hospital ministry. I have not said much about it the last few months.

I am still the only person working in the local hospital. Local churches do not have a hospital ministry. It is a medium sized hospital with a small dental department with a dentist available on certain days. A large maternity section with 30+ beds. There is an oncology department with a visiting oncologist. There are 6 isolation beds for paediatric patients with and 8 other medical paediatric beds. Then there are around 30 medical beds for males and females. There is full emergency outpatients section. There is also a section managing chronic patients with visiting specialists and an HIV clinic. There is an average of six doctors, between and four and six physiotherapists, a dietician, radiologists and a speech therapist.

Due to the staff compliment and number of beds the theatre is used as well as is possible under the circumstances. The radiology department has just been upgraded with the latest technology and the pharmacy upgraded and rebuilt. A new mortuary was built but it has never been used and standing empty for five years now if I am right. Autopsies must be difficult for the doctors. The medical wards have received new beds and mattresses. The linen situation is pathetic and the pyjamas worse. Many days I have to face a wall splattered with blood and other body emissions while standing next to a patient's bed. Many days I have to pray with a patient while that patient is lying in their own urine etc. waiting to be cleaned. I often have to feed weak patients if I am there at meal times. If they have no family permanently by their bedside it is not done. The plate of food is just collected later – uneaten. Not enough staff or enough staff who care.

I will start my narrative and share some experiences starting late on Friday 23 March to Wednesday 28th. I will focus on only a few incidents – I could write a book on these few days alone as I spend 2 to 4 hours there every day. Outpatients was flooded with emergencies and the sister and nurse on duty was swamped. Four males involved in drunken brawls bloodied and some with stab wounds were awaiting treatment. One was lying outside the entrance – dropped off by who? Another sitting on the floor with only his trousers etc. A young girl 12-16 years old – probably 12 according to a nurse, was lying on the passage floor bleeding from superficial knife wounds and too drunk to receive immediate attention. The serious medical emergencies due heart problems diabetic fits, asthmatic attacks, blood pressure issues etc. were sitting or lying waiting for attention. The wards were full and it was impossible to admit more. Therefore some patients were lying in treatment rooms in outpatients waiting for beds and one or two in wheel chairs. On Saturday and Sunday the usual weekend casualties kept the staff running. In the medical wards one old lady of 78 was admitted. She is not sick, just really old and weak and I have yet to meet any family. I must therefore assume she was dumped at the hospital. Her name is Selina and she is a lovely quiet Christian lady. There have been 8 immuno-compromised (AIDS) ladies over this time. Two were stabilized and sent home. The others are in poor shape and three very bad. Saka, Cynthia and Maggie will probably not leave the hospital again. Maggie is the oldest at 30 and the others are all in their early 20's.

There is one lady with a broken pelvis after being hit by a car and she is waiting for an available bed and specialists in Kimberley or Bloemfontein. The same applies to a young man who had an accident with his horse. They will lie here until their transfer can be arranged and beds become available to be treated by specialists. Two ladies steeped in animist religion refused prayer and counsel as well as one Jehovah witness. Some dementia patients are beyond my reach as it is impossible to communicate with them. Some kids and adults have amulets of sects and mostly the family of such kids don't speak English or Afrikaans and I have no way of convincing them of their need for Christ. I have only had a very few patients coming to hospital with Bibles in the last two years. A demented psychiatric case was admitted as there was no bed in Kimberley. He was brought in by police after wrecking his home. He wrecked the ward he was lying in by ripping the curtain rails around the beds out of the roof and breaking a tap etc. On Sunday I met a young man who is also extremely immuno-compromised and on Tuesday he was still there sitting in a chair with no bed for him. I prayed with him, his sister and mother before he was finally transferred to another hospital. He also accepted Jesus as Saviour and Lord before leaving. Probably the last time I have ever seen him. His name is Hugo. Please pray for him. Xenophobic attack yesterday (Tuesday 27th) has left one Bangladeshi seriously injured and still lying in an outpatients treatment room – yes – again no bed. His mate was stabbed to death. It started raining yesterday and today when I got to the hospital blood mixed with the rain flowed outside outpatients. Another stabbing. Blood all the way down the passage. The holes in the ceiling in two wards dripping water on the floor before buckets were placed there. Cynthia and Maggie could not speak today – very weak. Cynthia has made a commitment – she did so yesterday. Let's hope it was genuine and pray for her. In fact I would ask you to pray for this hospital, management, staff and patients. The circumstances seem pretty hopeless. You may not have enjoyed reading this but believe me some hospitals are worse. Here at least the chances are that you might get the treatment you need and some loving care from some staff.

Let's move on to some other news.

I believe I have found a new source for the Bibles I need. The help I receive from a local church is appreciated but I prefer to have an independent source that I can rely on.

I have completed the first part (there are more than 20) of the ministry diploma course of the International Institute of Bible Institutes. I will start to mentor students who will start the course later in the year. Before I can do that I have to complete the course myself first. If you are interested in a complete course that is Biblical and theologically sound I can recommend it. It can be completed by distance education. It should take you at least two years and probably longer to complete the course. Contact me if you are interested.

I will be meeting with Dr. Dickson of Africa Missions International in the coming weeks. A seminar will be planned for Kuruman later in the year. We will also finalize administrative and logistical issues for the course I mentioned. This organisation provides and prints various courses for completion as distance education projects. I will then also attempt to arrange a permanent venue and start canvassing prospective students soon. How will costs be covered? I have no idea. Quite honestly, I don't even have the funds to do the preliminary work. The need is so big that I am prepared to step out in faith and trust God to motivate Christians to support this project financially..

The plan is still that I will be in Cape Town for three weeks in May and amongst others I will meet with Dr. Dickson at the offices of Africa Missions International to make decisions on literature to be used and made available in the Kuruman area as well as courses to be offered.

Wynand made contact with me. Who is Wynand. He is fired up for the gospel. Amongs other activities he is doing evangelism amongst Muslims in Kuruman. Wynand is from a traditional Afrikaans background and this is a big step for him. Please pray for him. I believe he is the right person to tackle this difficult task. He is also interested in helping to start a Bible study for some expatriates from African countries. There is no theologically sound English church in Kuruman. This Bible study may then develop into some assembly of English speaking Christians. This has been a long term goal of mine too and one I have been working towards. He works for the Department of Agriculture and has regular contact with the outlying villages in the area. This may also lead to new opportunities for ministry.

For the rest the work continues with the usual disappointments and moments of joy when people find Christ as Saviour or commit to a full Christian life. Seeing the pain of drunken young people and drug use is despairing. The corruption and godlessness at corporate and government level is shocking. We are losing them (unbelievers) as much as they are losing themselves. In that light the future looks as bleak as always. Let us daily take up our cross and make a difference while there is time. While God stays his hand on final judgement and destruction of this planet let us be the voice, hands and feet of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Now may the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in his love and protection.

Gerhard

Maart Afrikaans

Gegroet al die broers en susters in Christus, gewas in die bloed van die Lam.

Die laaste maand was daar goeie verwikkelinge in die lang termyn planne al gebeur dinge altyd stadiger as wat ek wil hê. Eerstens wil ek almal bedank wat my bediening ondersteun. Nadat my gesondheid 'n klap gekry het sukkel ek bietjie. Daar is niemand anders om iets te doen as ek dit nie self doen nie en nou en dan voel ek moeg en swak. Daar is altyd Satan se fluistering om voltydse geloofswerk op te gee. Dit is 'n innerlike stryd wat ek elke dag stry. Om alleen te werk en die oplossings vir die berge wat in die pad van die werk staan in geloof aan te pak maak mens partymaal moedeloos. Julle ondersteuning is belangriker as wat julle ooit kan besef. Dit is sonder julle nie moontlik om aan te hou nie.

Hierdie brief sal hopelik korter wees as die vorige een. Ek wil eers net kortliks sommige gebeure tydens my hospitaalwerk deel. Ek het nie veel daaroor gesê die laaste ruk nie. Eerstens net 'n prentjie van die hospitaal.

Ek is nog steeds die enigste persoon wat die hospitaal besoek. Die kerke het sover nog steeds nie iemand wat hier werk nie. Die hospitaal is a medium grootte hospitaal. Daar is 'n klein tandheelkundige afdeling met 'n tandarts wat sekere dae daar diens doen. Daar is 'n groot kraam afdeling met kraam teaters en 30+ beddens. Daar is ses isolasie beddens vir kleuters en babas met aansteeklike siektes en 'n verdere 8 beddens vir kinders en babas. Di onkologie afdeling word wel deur KANSA ondersteun en daar is 'n onkoloog wat die eenheid besoek. Daar is ongeveer 30 mediese beddens vir volwasse vroue en mans. Dar is 'n redelik toegeruste noodgevalle afdeling. Kroniese pasiënte word apart geëvalueer en opgevolg deur besoekende spesialiste. Om daar uit te kom en al die wagtery verg ongelooflike geduld. Daar is ook 'n HIV kliniek. Gemiddeld het die hospitaal sowat 6 dokters, 4 fisioterapeute, 'n dieetkundige, radioloë (twee as ons gelukkig is) en 'n spraak terapeut.

Die beskikbare personeel bepaal ook die gebruik van die teater omdat daar baie maal nie genoeg personeel is nie. Die Radiologie afdeling is pas opgegradeer. Dit is heeltemal herbou met nuwe masjiene. Dieselfde geld vir die apteek. 'n Nuwe lykshuis is gebou en staan net so ongebruik vir omtrent vyf jaar. Die ou een doen nog diens en die nadoodse ondersoeke kan nie maklik wees vir die dokters nie. Die mediese sale het nuwe beddens en matrasse ontvang. Die linne situasie is pateties en die hospitaal pajamas nog erger. Menige dae staan ek langs 'n pasiënt se bed en kyk ek vas in 'n muur wat met bloed en ander liggaamlike uitskeidings bespat is. Ander kere weer waar 'n pasiënte in hulle uriene ens. lê of nie gewas is nie en mens naar word van die reuke. Dan moet jy liefde wys en bid - maar moeilik. Baie maal probeer ek swak pasiënte help om te eet wanneer ek etenstyd daar is. As daar nie 'n familielid is om die swakkes te voer nie word die bord kos net neergesit en later weer afgehaal sonder dat dit aangeraak is. Nie genoeg personeel nie of personeel wat omgee nie.

Ek begin my vertelling van 'n paar insidente laatmiddag op Vrydag 28 Maart tot Woensdag 28ste. Ek sal net op sommige insidente fokus anders kan dit 'n boek word. Ek spandeer tussen 2 en vier ure per dag by die hospitaal. Vrydag was noodgevalle toegeval onder die werk. Vier mans is aangerand of in gevegte betrokke en ten minste drie was dronk. Een sit op die vloer met net 'n vuil broek aan en hy is self maar vuil. 'n Ander lê buite op die gras met 'n gesig wat lyk of hy in 'n bus vasgeloop het. 'n Jong meisie tussen 12 en 26 – een suster sê 12 – lê op die gang vloer en bloei nog effens met oppervlakkige meswonde. Te dronk om behandel te word. Die ernstige mediese gevalle met hart probleme lae of hoë bloedsuiker, asma aanvalle, hart probleme ens. Sit en lê die wêreld vol. Sommige pasiënte lê in noodgevalle se behandelingskamers want daar is nie genoeg mediese beddens nie een of twee sit in rolstoele en wag op 'n bed. . Op Saterdag en Sondag hou die stroom noodgevalle nie op nie. 'n Ou tannie van 78 word opgeneem. Sy is nie regtig siek nie, sy is net baie oud en swak. Geen familie het haar tot vandag besoek nie. Sy is verseker net by die hospitaal afgelaai. Haar naam is Selina en sy 'n pragtige gelowige oumatjie. Oor die 5 dae was daar 8 dames met immuunstelsels wat sukkel en bloedtellingsbloedtellings baie laag (HIV). Twee is gestabiliseer en is huistoe. Die ander is regtig siek. Saka, Maggie en Cynthia is net vel en been. Ek glo nie hulle gaan lewend die hospitaal verlaat nie. Maggie is die oudste, dertig en die ander in hulle vroeg twintigs.

Dar is een dame met 'n heup fraktuur wat deur 'n motor raak gery is en sy wag vir 'n beskikbare bed in Bloemfontein of Kimberley. Dieselfde geld vir 'n jong man na 'n minder goeie ondervinding met 'n perd. Hulle sal hier lê totdat daar 'n bed beskikbaar word en hulle by die spesialiste kan uitkom. Twee vrouens. een met 'n baba, weier dat ek met hulle praat of bid vir hulle want hulle is diep vasgevang in voorvader aanbidding. Sommige kinders en volwassenes dra amulette wat hulle as aanhangers van tradisionele gelowe identifiseer, Daar is gewoonlik nie veel salf aan hulle te smeer nie maar ons probeer. Meeste van hulle praat nie Afrikaans of Engels nie en ek het in elk geval meer tyd en privaatheid nodig om met hulle te werk as wat die hospitaal omstandighede toe laat. Bitter min mense bring Bybels saam hospitaal toe. A Psigiatriese geval is deur die polisie ingebring nadat hy by die huis die plek verwoes het. Hy kon nie Kimberley toe nie want daar was nie 'n bed nie. Hy ruk toe die aluminium spore van die gordyne rondom die beddens uit dak uit en breek 'n kraan af ens. Sondag ontmoet ek 'n ma en dogter. Boetie is in laat stadium Vigs infeksie en daar is nie veel hoop nie. Dinsdag kry ek hom nog in sy rolstoel sit en daarna op 'n trollie. Geen bed beskikbaar nie. Ek het weer saam met hom gebid en hy het sy saak met die here reggemaak. Kom ons glo dit is opreg. Hy is toe na 'n ander hospitaal oorgeplaas. Seker die laaste keer wat ek hom sou sien. Sy naam is Hugo. Bid vir hom. Gister (Dinsdag) was daar 'n ras aanval op mense van Bangladesj – een is dood en die ander een lê hier in die hospitaal in noodgevalle - weer geen bed beskikbaar. Dit het gister begin reën. Toe ek by noodgevalle inloop vloei die bloed gemeng met water oor die teer. Nog 'n mesgeveg. Bloed plasse in die gang af. Dan ook gate in die plafon waardeur die water drup/loop met emmers daaronder in twee sale. Maggie en Cynthia kan nie meer praat nie – te swak. Cynthia het Dinsdag haar saak reggemaak. Kom ons vertrou dit was eg en bid asseblief vir haar. Eintlik sou dit goed wees as julle vir die hele hospitaal bid. Bestuur, personeel en pasiënte. Die situasie lyk hopeloos maar daar is veel erger hospitale. Hier is darem 'n moontlikheid om met deernis behandel te word.

Ons gaan aan met ander nuus.

Ek het 'n nuwe bron vir Bybels en het hulle gekontak. Ons sal sien hoe dit werk en ek sal meer volgende maand sê.

Verder het ek die eerste deel van die bedieningsdiploma van die International Institue of Bible Institutes voltooi. Daar is meer as twintig dele en elkeen neem gewoonlik 4 maande. Met genade kon ek die deel in vier dae volledig deurwerk. Dit is nodig omdat ek later in die jaar 'n groep studente moet begin mentor wat die volledige diploma gaan deurwerk. Ek kan nie hulle mentor as ek self nie die kursus gedoen het nie. Nog baie werk voor. Miskien stel jy ook belang o so 'n diploma kursus deur te werk. Ek kan die een aanbeveel. Dit is Bybels en teologies gesond. Dit sal jou meer as twee jaar neem om te voltooi en kan as 'n korrespondensie kursus voltooi word. Kontak my indien jy belang stel.

Ek ontmoet Dr. Roger Dickson van Africa Missions International oor enkele weke. Ons beplan 'n seminaar vir predikante, pastore en geloofswerkers in Kuruman. Ons sal die datum en beplanning vasmaak. Ons sal ook die diploma kursus wat ek genoem het bespreek en logistieke en administratiewe aspekte finaliseer. Hulle verskaf en druk ook verskeie korrespondensie kursusse in Kaapstad. Daarna sal ek begin soek na 'n plek om die diploma kursus sommige aande per week te fasiliteer. Waar gaan die geld vandaan kom om kostes te dek? Geen idee nie. Die behoefte is egter te groot om te wag en ek maak dit 'n geloofsaak.

Die plan is dat ek in Kaapstad sal wees vir twee na drie weke in Mei.. Ek sal onder andere Dr. Dickson by die kantore van Africa Missions International besoek om verdere bedienningsmoontlikhede te bespreek.

Wynand het my gekontak. Wie is Wynand? Hy is 'n man met die evangelie op sy hart. Hy is onder andere besig met evangelisasie onder Moslims in die Kuruman area. Wynand is van 'n tradisionele Afrikaans agtergrond en dus is dit 'n groot stap vir hom. Bid asseblief vir hom. Ek glo hy is die regte mens vir hierdie moeilike werk. Hy wil ook help met die daarstelling van 'n geestelike werk vir mense uit ander Afrika lande. Daar is nie in Kuruman 'n Engelse kerk met gesonde teologie nie. Dit is lank reeds een van my langtermyn doelwitte. Ons hoop om te begin met 'n Bybelstudie wat tot iets groter kan ontwikkel. Hy werk vir Departement Landbou en kom so in kontak met die afgeleë plekkies rondom Kuruman. Dit mag weer lei tot verdere geleenthede vir bediening.

Die res van die werk woeker voort met die verwagte teleurstellings en hoogtepunte. Die hoogtepunte natuurlik wanneer iemand Jesus as Saligmaker aanvaar of besluit om Jesus voluit te dien. Die pyn en skade van dronkenskap, dwelm gebruik kan mens ontstig. Die korrupsie op regering en korporatiewe vlak is skokkend. Ons verloor hulle (ongelowiges) net soveel as wat hulle self verantwoordelik is vir hulle verlorenheid. Die toekoms lyk nog net so donker soos altyd maar ons glo niks kan die lig van die evangelie laat ophou skyn nie. Daar is nog mense wat bereid is om die reddende boodskap te oorweeg en te aanvaar. Kom ons neem daardie kruis op en stap die pad. Terwyl God geduldig is en die finale verwoesting van die aarde uitstel moet ons Jesus se stem, hande en voete wees.

Mag die vrede van God wat alle verstand te bowe gaan julle harte in sy liefde toevou en julle beskerm.


Gerhard

Thursday, 16 February 2012

February English

Greetings to God's people who are my faithful friends in union with Christ. May God our Father give you grace and peace.

Before I get to my own news please run through the following issue with me. If you wish to skip it scroll down to the heading “News”.

On my mind lately has been corruption - legal and illegal – and the deterioration of the morals and ethics of the human race. I scanned a few articles internationally and the levels of corruption worldwide is scary. “Legal” corruption by government members spending their citizen's money in irresponsible ways. Also governments turning a blind eye to criminality. Allow me to focus on one example.

In France corrupt dictators have for many years bought palaces and maintained their bank accounts and this has motivated NGOs to start prosecuting them under unique laws that exist in France. This allows NGOs to step in where the government fails. The problem is that NGOs do not have the luxury of the investigative structures of their government that their taxes paid for and it makes gathering evidence difficult. Recently Teodorin, the “unemployed” son of the dictator in Equatorial Guinea had R70 Million worth of cars confiscated due to the actions of NGOs. He owns buildings worth a few billion Rand in France. Just three African dictators own 181 highly valued properties in France. Follow this link for one article http://www.africandictator.org/?p=3471 or this one to get some idea of what is going on. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/21/la_vie_en

The fact is that even the United States and others are awarding contracts for defence spending that is ludicrous to support arms industries that are totally irrelevant today. Doing this legally does not make it less corrupt.

We may may go in ad infinitum and the fact is the world is a badly run place given the thoughtless activities of governments and business.

Let's give this old problem a new twist. Behind the organisations of business and government are individuals – real people. The corruption is just a reflection of the morality of society or real people. I will illustrate this. Fifty years ago you could drop a thousand Rand and the chances were good that whoever saw it would pick it up and give it back to you. Yes – really – and almost anywhere in the world. People were a lot more honest and had better moral fibre. If that happened today you would probably never see the money again. What has changed? Nothing and everything. Christians are the only ones who have the answers in hand it they read their Bibles. First of all money corrupts. We see that theme running right through the Bible and the more money there is of course the higher the levels of corruption.

Even paying the required “papgeld” - “squeeze money” will not guarantee the tender these days. A friend of mine found that out the hard way. Maybe God closed that door to protect him as a Christian?

Secondly the Bible clearly teaches throughout that sin and its hold on the world will increase. This of course as more and more people give in to the corruption that wealth brings.

No laws – no police force – in fact no government will ever stop this growing phenomena of corruption, legalized theft and self enrichment. It will not get better. It will get worse – progressively. A few battles may be won but always three steps backward and two forward.

As Christians we are also taking our eyes of the ball as we are distracted by this struggle for money and power. We should still be focussing on individuals and reaching them for Christ. It seems like a hopeless struggle but every individual we reach with the gospel is one that will share eternity with us.

I know nearly all those reading this Newsletter are Christians committed to make a difference and are doing so with their wealth, prayer and by a life of witness. We need to mobilise the armchair Christians. The relevant questions are:

What are you doing to reach others? Is your own Christian maturity and witness strong enough to make a difference? If not what are you doing to mature and grow to become a powerful witness? Or are are you one of those who say – well I'm not cut out for that , I'll leave that for the pastor and the church council? Read Acts 1:8 which applies to all believers.

Now on to my personal news.

NEWS

There have been some great developments and I will share one or two. I have made contact with Africa Missions International through the Kansas International Bible institute. They are sending me a box of material to reach me shortly. The material is in the form of courses that teach sound theology and skills. I hope to reach Christian leaders in the traditional or “trust” areas and use the material to help them grow and strengthen their theology and thereby also their teaching and witness skills. I will keep you posted on how that goes.

As you know I am using the booklet “How to begin with God” in a number of ways. Chris Vermeulen introduced me to it and it is a gem. This booklet is produced by The Bible League International and I am expecting another consignment soon. This booklet is available in many languages and I am using the Tswana, English and Afrikaans versions. There are also two follow-up booklets. The booklet is not only good for evangelism. It can also be used to give Christians the skills to effectively share the gospel. I have devised a system that enables met use it both ways. I use several methods. A Bible study course over two weeks, as a tool to reach people one on one and as a give-away to new believers I have counselled. If you are interested to have a Bible study in your area at home, work, church, school or a youth group contact me. I can then transfer the skills to the group allowing them to use the booklet to reach others or help new or “young” believers to gain confidence in their faith. It is a versatile system and I will encourage you to consider using it.

Another successful course was held to train housekeepers combined with the “How to begin with God” course. These were 5 unemployed Christian ladies and the aim was to empower them in their own Christian walk and to share the gospel. Also to get them into permanent employement. Articles are due to appear in two local papers this week, Kalahari Bulletin and the Kathy Gazette. As far a I am aware four of the ladies have already been placed in permanent employment and two with a local Pick n Pay. Praise God for this opportunity to be his hands and feet. Photo's of two recent courses at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christ-for-the-Kalahari/172479849474178

I am attempting to have a serious and challenging daily devotion series on Facebook through a page “Christ for the Kalahari” The idea is that we examine self and challenge ourselves to grow. It is not a “feel good” or encouragement daily Bible reading - there is enough of that available. It is a daily program and somehow I will attempt to keep this up. Your prayers for this please. You will find it at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christ-for-the-Kalahari/172479849474178. Please “like” it to receive the messages on your wall. Also “share” it once on your wall to increase the number of people exposed to this effort however humble it may be. Lastly let me know if you find it helpful.

The other ministries are blessed and all is well. Thank you for your prayers. I still need free new and second hand Bibles or New Testaments in English, Afrikaans and Tswana. The English translations should be of a modern translation that reads easily such as Good News, ESV, CEV and the like.

Lastly I wish to thank a few people personally. Tom, Catherine, Roger, Engela & Otto, Sus, Chris, Christo, Cornie and anyone I missed out. All of you have contributed or are contributing in some way to helping me with Bibles, financial support, a place to stay, even a fan to counter the heat and other ways. Thank you and may God's grace and peace be real to you.

To the many prayer warriors out there who are supporting me thank you. The list is long and you know who you are. Thank you for without your prayers I would be wasting my time.

Lastly I will thank my God. The Father for creating me and you and loving us. The Son for dying for us and saving us. The Holy Spirit for guiding and leading us.

May God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, give us grace, mercy, and peace and may we respond in truth and love. Amen.


Februarie Afrikaans

Groete aan God se mense en my getroue vriende in gemeenskap met Christus. Mag Die Vader julle genadig wees en vrede gee.

Voor ek by my eie nuus kom wil ek graag iets deel om dit oor te slaan gaan na die hofie “Nuus” verder af.

Die laaste weke – soos seker met ons almal die geval is – lê korrupsie – wettig en onwettig op my hart. Ook die verswakking van die morele standaarde van mense wêreldwyd. Ek het 'n paar artikels gelees van die wêreld oor en dit is skrikwekkend. “Wettige” korrupsie deur regerings wat hulle burgers se geld mors is net so erg as dit wat krimineel vervolg behoort te word. Ook regerings wat die gedrag oorsien. Kom ons fokus op een voorbeeld.

In Frankryk is daar reeds vir baie lank 'n veilige hawe vir korrupte diktators uit Afrika. Hulle koop paleise, belê in eiendom open bank rekenings en so meer. In Frankryk is daar interessante wette wat NGOs toelaat om in sulke gevalle op te tree waar die regering niks doen nie. Nie probleem is dat hulle nie toegang het tot die staat se ondersoek meganismes nie waarvoor hulle belasting betaal. Dit maak dit moeilik om bewyse in te samel om voor die howe te bring. Onlangs het NGOs se werk gelei tot konfiskering van sowat R70 miljoen se luukse en sport motors van ene Teodorin. Hy is die “werklose” seun van die diktator van Ekwatoriale Guinee en besit ook geboue wat 'n paar biljoen Rand werd is. Drie Afrika diktators besit ongeveer 180 geboue van groot waarde in Frankryk. Kyk nie die volgende artikels as jy belangstel. http://www.africandictator.org/?p=3471 en http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/21/la_vie_en

Die feit is dat selfs die VSA vragte geld spandeer op onnodige wapenuitgawes en ontwikkeling om industrieë te steun wat nie vandag bestaansreg het nie. Die feit dat dit wettig gedoen word maak dit nie minder korrup nie.

Ons kan heeldag voorbeelde opnoem en dit feit is dat die wêreld swak bestuur word deur regerings en groot besighede.

Kom ons kyk nie hierdie probleem uit 'n ander hoek. Agter die hierdie organisasies en regerings is individue - vlees en bloed mense. Die korrupsie is maar net 'n weerspieëling van die die etiek en moraliteit van die samelewing – mense. Kom ons illustreer dit. Vyftig jaar terug kon jy 'n duisend Rand laat val en in verbasend baie gevalle sou iemand dit opgetel het en vir jou gegee het. Ja – regtig – op meeste plekke in die wêreld. Wat het verander? Niks en tog alles. Vandag sal jy heel waarskynlik die geld nooit weer sien nie. Christene is die enigste mense wat die antwoorde in hulle hande het – as hulle Bybel lees. Geld maak mense korrup. Dit is 'n tema wat soos 'n goue draad deur die Bybel loop. Hoe meer geld daar is, hoe groter die korrupsie.

Selfs om die voorgestelde omkoopgeld te betaal “papgeld” - “squeeze money” waarborg nie sukses nie. 'n Vriend het dit onlangs moes leer. Miskien het God hom beskerm deur daardie deur toe te maak?

Tweedens leer die Bybel dat sonde en sonde se houvas op die wêreld sal groei. Nie God se skuld nie – mense – soos meer en meer van hulle direk en indirek aan korrupsie skuldig word.

Geen wette – polisiemag – geen regering sal ooit die groeiende fenomeen stop sit nie. Dit gaan nie beter word nie. Korrupsie, gewettigde diefstal en self verryking sal voortgaan en groei. Dit sal progressief vererger. 'n Paar veldslae sal gewen word maar dit is drie tree agteruit en twee tree vorentoe.

As Christene het ons ons oë van die bal afgehaal. Ons word ingetrek in die stryd om mag en geld. Ons moet eerder steeds fokus op individue en hulle vir Christus bereik. Dit mag soos 'n hopelose stryd lyk maar elke mens wat ons bereik is iemand wat die ewigheid saam met ons gaan deel.

Ek weet die grootste gros van mense wat hierdie Nuusbrief lees is deel van die klein groep wat reeds vol in diens van Christus en die evangelie staan deur ondersteuning met gawes, gebed en 'n lewe wat preek. Deel hierdie waarheid met leunstoel Christene om hulle tot die stryd te laat toetree. Die vrae wat gevra moet word is:

Wat doen jy om ander te bereik? Is jou eie geloofslewe sterk en kragtig genoeg om 'n magtige getuienis te wees? Is jy een van die gelowiges wat sê – wel dit is nou net nie my ding nie ek los dit vir die pastoor en die ouderlinge. Lees Handelinge 1:8 wat op alle Christene van toepassing is.

Nou my persoonlike nuus.

NUUS

Daar is positiewe ontwikkelinge en ek deel 'n paar daarvan. Ek het kontak gemaak met Africa Missions International deur die Kansas International Bible Institute. Hulle het reeds 'n klomp materiaal gepos wat enige dag gaan aankom. Die materiaal is kursusse wat deurgronde teologie en vaardighede leer. Ek hoop om Christen leiers in die tradisionele “trust” gebiede te bereik en hulle te help om te groei en hulle teologie te versterk. Daardeur sal hulle vaardighede om te preek en evangeliseer versterk word. Ek hou julle op hoogte.

Soos julle reeds weet gebruik ek die boekie “Hoe om met God te begin” op verskeie maniere. Chris Vermeulen het my daaraan bekend gestel. Dit is ontwikkel deur die Bible League International en verwag binnekort 'n nuwe besending. Die boekie is in baie tale beskikbaar en ek gebruik die Tswana, Engels en Afrikaanse weergawes. Daar is ook twee opvolg boekies. Die boekie is nie net goed om evangelisasiewerk te doen nie. Dit kan ook gebruik word om gelowiges te versterk en om die evangelie te deel. Ek gebruik dit vir albei. Die volgende metodes werk vir my. 'n Bybelstudie groep, een op een studie en as 'n geskenk aan nuwe gelowiges wat ek evangeliseer het. As julle belangstel om so 'n Bybelstudie aan te wend om die proses lokaal aan die gange te kry kontak my. Die vaardighede kan oorgedra word met 'n groep tuis, by die werk, kerk, skool, jeug groep en so meer. So kan ek julle help om 'n program van evangelisasie te vestig. Dit is 'n veeldoelige stelsel en ek weet dat dit prakties werk uit ondervinding.

Nog 'n suksesvolle kursus is afgehandel deur die “Hoe om met God te begin” boekie te gebruik. Weer is vyf werklose gelowige dames opgelei as huishoudsters oor twee weke met 'n daaglikse Bybelstudie ingesluit. Die doel was om hulle in te versterk in geloof en hulle die vaardighede te gee om evangelisasie te doen. Ook om hulle as permanent werkers te plaas. Vier het reeds werk aanvaar waarvan twee by die plaaslike PicknPay. Artikels sal die week in twee plaaslike koerante nl. Die Kuruman Bulletin en Kathu Gazette verskyn. Loof die Here vir hierdie geleentheid om sy hande en voete te wees. Foto's van die laaste twee kursusse is by die volgende skakel http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christ-for-the-Kalahari/172479849474178

Ek het uiteindelik die nuwe projek om 'n daaglikse uitdaging aan mense om te groei as gelowiges van die grond af gekry op Facebook. Dit is in die vorm van daaglikse verse met indringende vrae om te oordenk. Die idee is nie om nog motiverende dagstukkies die lig te laat sien nie want daar is meer as genoeg daarvan. Die idee is om ernstige vrae te vrae oor waar ons met ons verhouding tot God staan en daardeur te groei. Dit is 'n daaglikse program en ek gaan ernstig poog om dit aan die gang te hou. Julle gebede asseblief vir die projek. Jy kan die volgende skakel gebruik om daar te kom. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christ-for-the-Kalahari/172479849474178. Klik op die “like” skakel om dit daagliks te ontvang en “share" dit op jou muur (wall) om soveel as moontlik mense daaraan bekend te stel. Laat my weet of dit vir jou werk.

Met die ander bedieningswerk gaan dit goed en dankie vir die ondersteuning en gebede. Ek benodig altyd nuwe en tweedehandse Bybels en Nuwe Testamente in Tswana, Engels en Afrikaans. Die Engelse vertalings moet verkieslik maklik leesbare vertalings soos Good News, ESV en CEV wees.

Laastens wil ek net 'n paar mense persoonlik bedank. Tom, Catherine, Roger, Engela & Otto, Sus, Chris, Christo, Cornie en enigeen wat ek per ongeluk uitgelaat het. Julle het gehelp of help met Bybels, finansiële hulp, blyplek, selfs 'n waaier vir die hitte en so meer. Danke en mag julle die genade en vrede van smaak wat net God kan bring.

Aan die getroue gebedsvennote wat my ondersteun – dankie – die lys is lank maar julle weet wie julle is. Sonder julle gebede mors ek net my tyd.

Laastens dankie aan my Skepper. Die Vader wat my en jou gemaak het en vir ons lief is. Die Seun wat vir ons gesterf het en ons gered het. Die Heilige Gees wat ons lei.

Mag God die Vader en Jesus Christus ons genade, liefde en vrede skenk en mag ons met liefde en in waarheid God dien. Amen.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Januarie

Gegroet wees jy vriend in Christus en vrede vir jou.

Nou ja, Een of ander tyd moet 'n mens maar die pen of dan nou sleutelbord nader trek en iets begin skryf voordat mense begin dink jy is seniel of begrawe. Daar is egter goeie redes gewees vir die stilte. Ek wou niemand pla met my gesukkel die laaste ses maande nie en slegs 'n handvol het geweet en saam gebid tydens die storie. Ek het regtig ook net nie die krag gehad nie. Maar meer daaroor later. My skrywe oor die "nuwe jaar" is negatief maar nie van geestelike oogpunt af nie – lees asseblief deur want in my diepste wese glo ek daar is waarheid en oorwinning in hierdie nuwejaarsbrief.

Die Kalahari is bloedig warm hierdie jaar en die reën is skraps. Minder nog as die gewone min. My spinasie het in nat grond verbrand tot niks omdat ek te laat gesaai het en temperature woeker bo 35. Die oogpisters hol rond maar veel minder as gewoonlik. Net gisteraand kom 'n stinkmuishond op soek na kos so 15 tree van waar ek staan en gesels met iemand wat 'n draai kom maak het. Die hemel lug was skoon en die pragtige sterre doek lê oop voor my in die skoon Kalahari lug. Ek besef toe..... ja....... alles is goed. Alles is nog in God se hand al laat hy toe dat die mense hulle sonde uitleef en hom ignoreer. Hy is geduldig en roep mense. Mense om vir hom hande en voete te wees en ander te bereik. Mense om te luister en gehoor te gee. Die meeste gooi Hom 'n dowe oor soos party sal sê.

Ek het besluit om oor die feesgety half te onttrek van al die gewone gewoel en deelname aan al die gewone "aktiwiteite". Ek het besluit om terug te staan en die mensdom so bietjie gade te slaan gedurende die tyd. Daar is steeds diegene wat werklik hulle geloof uitleef van dag tot dag en vir daardie klein handvol het ek weer gesien dat daar groot vreugde was. Eerlike en opregte dankbaarheid en Christelike samesyn. Wat ek eintlik besef het laat my koud en ril tot in my diepste wese. Die waarheid is dat die grootste meerderheid – selfs die wat nominaal gelowig is – die pot alweer misgesit het oor hierdie tyd. Ons praat so maklik van die materialisme van die tyd en hoe dit nie vir ons 'n waarheid is nie – nee, dit is ander mense wat materialisties of wêrelds is. Eintlik is selfs dit 'n spul nonsens vir die meeste mense. Om te sê ons gaan die tyd van die jaar – Desember – tyd aan ons families, vriende behoeftiges en geloof afstaan beteken mos eintlik dat ons vir die res van die jaar dit nie doen nie. Of nie doen soos ons moet nie. Of hoe? Die ergste vir my was die besef dat vir meeste dit lippetaal geword het. Daar is geen werklike poging om dit te leef nie. Ek praat nie van gesinne wat geen ander tyd het om van oral te kom en vir mekaar lief te wees nie. Kyk mooi, hulle bel, SMS, Skype en facebook daardie liefde die heel jaar lank. Ons praat van die res. Ek het soveel dronkenskap, neerhalendheid, gevloek en skel, selfwaan, strewe na eie bevrediging ens. waargeneem dat dit dit my hare laat regop staan het. Christus is so min deel van die lewens van meeste mense deur die jaar dat selfs hulle pogings om vir een maand anders te lewe nie werk nie. Hulle is mos gewoond om anders te lewe en te doen – net erger oor Desember.

Dit het my weer laat besef dat die sekularisasie van mense se lewens besig is om vinnig hand uit te ruk. Sonder God eerste in my lewe kan ek nie eers 'n begin maak om anders te lewe nie. Ek weet die meeste wat hier lees is anders. Mense julle is 'n bedreigde spesie. Die knippie sout wat die hele bredie smaak moet gee. Selfs die nominale Christene is baie minder nominaal en word al meer wêrelds. My behoeftes, regte, begeertes kom eerste – selfs voor God se erkenning in my lewe.

Ek wonder net wat my waarnemings in die stede sou gewees het in vergelyking met die platteland waar ek is. Verseker veel erger.

Nou kom ons by 2012 en wat is die eerlike en werklike situasie. Hierdie deel van die Kalahari is een van die min groeipunte in die land en die wêreld met investering in mynwese. Onder andere het duisende (ek weet nie presies hoeveel nie) Kumba werknemers elkeen meer as R300 000 ontvang uit die BEE aandele opsies wat gerealiseer het. Die harde werklikheid is dat die wêreld bankrot is. Die regerings van die VSA, meeste lande in Europa en so meer. Die ekonomiese groei gaan vir baie jare plat wees. Dit is die goeie nuus situasie wat almal op hoop. Ten slegste speel 'n paar regerings bankrot en die wêreld verval in 'n depressie wat die 1930's soos 'n seevakansie laat lyk. Ek het baie lank terug reeds die huidige gemors voorspel en die ergste het ons nog nie gesien nie. Ek is nie 'n profeet nie maar ons almal weet dat wanneer jy meer spandeeer as wat jy verdien val die wiele van die wa af. Veral met staatskuld.

Polities lyk dinge ook baie donkerder as wat mense wil erken. Obama en Merkel is byvoorbeeld nie slegte staatshoofde nie maar omstandighede het hulle hande afgekap en die positiewe invloed wat hulle wil laat geld en uitleef is net 'n droom. In ons eie land......wel kom ons sê liewer niks – ons beleef dit mos daagliks en nuwe skokke wag die jaar. Sommer vroeg ook met wat in Mangaung (Bloemfontein) gaan gebeur.

Wag nou! hoor ek jou sê. Hoe dan nou vir die gelowige die toekoms in? My liewe vriend en vriendin in Christus daar is hoop. Eerstens ons ewige hoop. Moenie vasgevang word deur al hierdie dinge nie. Jy is nie burger van hierdie wêreld nie en hierdie wêreld kan nie "ge-fix" word nie. Die perfekte wêreld waarvan ons burgers is bestaan reeds in die ewigheid. Soos ek altyd sê – die hemel is 'n ander plek.

Lees asseblief die volgende verse stadig.... en dan weer …........en bedink dit woord vir woord.

Rom 12:1 En nou doen ek 'n beroep op julle, broers, op grond van die groot ontferming van God: Gee julleself aan God as lewende en heilige offers wat vir Hom aanneemlik is. Dit is die wesenlike van die godsdiens wat julle moet beoefen. Rom 12:2 Julle moenie aan hierdie sondige wêreld gelyk word nie, maar laat God julle verander deur julle denke te vernuwe. Dan sal julle ook kan onderskei wat die wil van God is, wat vir Hom goed en aanneemlik en volmaak is.

Is dit 'n ware werklikheid in jou en my lewe? Ons moet dit deurdink, deurbid en deurleef!

Kom ons besin ook oor Paulus se woorde wat soveel boodskappe vervat maar let op die volgende in die teks gedeelte wat volg:

Maak jouself los van wat agter jou is. Strek uit na wat voorlê. Ons is seker van ons ewige toekoms en hou die wenstreep voor ons oë. Tweedens is ons nie burgers van hierdie wêreld wat aan sonde oorgegee is nie. Nee, ons is burgers en erfgename van die Goddelike ewigheid.

Fil 3:10-20 Al wat ek wens, is om Christus te ken, die krag van sy opstanding te ondervind en deel te hê aan sy lyding deur aan Hom gelyk te word in sy dood, in die verwagting dat ek self deel sal hê aan die opstanding uit die dood. Ek sê nie dat ek dit alles al het of die doel al bereik het nie, maar ek span my in om dit alles myne te maak omdat Christus Jesus my reeds Syne gemaak het. Broers, ek verbeel my nie dat ek dit alles al het nie. Maar een ding doen ek: ek maak my los van wat agter is en strek my uit na wat voor is. Ek span my in om by die wenstreep te kom, sodat ek die hemelse prys kan behaal waartoe God my geroep het in Christus Jesus. Ons almal wat geestelik volwasse is, moet hierdie gesindheid hê. En as julle in enige opsig anders daaroor dink—God sal ook hierin aan julle die regte insig gee. In elk geval, laat ons koers hou op die pad waarmee ons tot hiertoe gekom het. Wees my navolgers, broers, en let op die mense wat lewe volgens die voorbeeld wat ons vir julle stel. Ek het dikwels vir julle gesê en tot my verdriet moet ek dit nou herhaal: Daar is baie wat as vyande van die kruis van Christus lewe. Die verderf is hulle einde; die maag is hulle god; hulle skande is hulle trots; hulle is aardsgesind. Maar ons is burgers van die hemel, van waar af ons ook die Here Jesus Christus as Verlosser verwag.

Kom ons maak die twee teksgedeeltes die waarheid en werklikheid elke dag van 2012 en elke dag daarna wat die Vader skenk.

Nou wat gaan ons doen? Ek nooi jou uit om in Paulus se taxi te klim en die pad van sy voorbeeld aan te durf.

Ons gaan ons nie doodstaar teen die huidige nie. Nee, ons gaan anders lewe en groei in geloof. Ons gaan die krag om elke dag anders te wees en lewe van die Heilige Gees ontvang. Ons gaan in elke omstandigheid staan in geloof en selfs onmoontlike tragedies deurmaak omdat ons in hoop lewe. Ons gaan in Jesus se span speel en vir die wêreldspan wat reeds verloor het bid en hulle oortuig dat hulle van span moet verander. Ons is reeds oorwinnaars en ons gaan lewe soos oorwinnaars – nederig, vol liefde, vol hoop, sterk in geloof en met ons oë gerig op die wenpaal en die prys van ewige samesyn met Christus!

Is julle saam met my? Nou ja kom klim in Paulus se taxi en laat ons die pad vat. Ons vat 2012 met al sy drama en maak 'n sukses daarvan vir Christus!

Terug na my eie storie.

Van die winter se baie erge griep wat ek maande mee gesukkel het was my gesondheid maar baie swak. Kom ons toe agter dit is ook my bloeddruk wat skielik lol. Die diastoliese meting het so tussen 175 en 200 geboer – lewensgevaarlik. Sonder 'n mediese fonds het ek maar self ingespring en begin eksperimenteer met behandeling. Ek het immers self anti-hipertensiewe middels gesmous in my dae. Hoe wys dit was weet ek nie maar deur genade was die besluit toe reg. Gelukkig bly my pols deurgaans so by 65 soos altyd. Uiteindelik het ek 'n Beta blokker gekry wat nommerpas werk sonder newe effekte en my bloeddruk is nou onder beheer en terug na sy goeie vlakke van weleer nadat ek eers dit en dat probeer het.

Die nadraai is dat my stamina of "natuurlike fiksheid" waarop ek altyd kon roem na die maan is. Die 12 na 14 ure se op en wakker wees met 4 tot 6 ure slaap is verby. Dit sal 'n wyle neem om weer so te kan woel indien enigsins. Ek kan nou beslis nie eers die Gammohaan koppe wat ek so lief is om uit te klim aanpak nie. Tyd sal leer hoeveel herstel daar sal wees.

Die geestelike werk het ook as gevolg 'n bietjie van 'n knou gekry maar is besig om stadig maar seker weer tot volle swang terug te keer. Ek is bly dat ek sekere individue die laaste maande kon bystaan in baie moeilike omstandighede wat hulle moes deurmaak. Dit wil voorlopig voorkom of daar blydskap na die verdriet in al die gevalle is. Ek dank die hemelse vader daarvoor en dat ek die kragte gehad het om diensbaar te wees.

My internet "werk" en aktiwiteite het 'n klap weg want ek het net nie inspirasie gehad om iets sinvol te skryf nie. 'n Gerammel sou geen doel dien nie. Ons hoop dit is ook nou op 'n einde en ek weer die insig en inspirasie en ook krag sal ontvang om aan te gaan daarmee.

Teen my verwagtinge vir die feestyd kon ek 'n hele paar Tswana Bybelstudies en Nuwe Testamente versprei aan mense wat honger is vir God se Woord en waarheid. Kom ons bid dat dit veel vrug sal dra. 'n Hele paar het die Bybelstudie boekie deurgeblaai wat ek vir ander gegee het en was so geraak dat hulle my vir Nuwe Testamente en Bybelstudie boekies genader het. In Afrikaans, Engels, Tswana en ander tale is die boekies dieselfde en is die titel "Hoe om met God te begin". Dit word deur die Bible League saamgestel. Ek het 'n voëltjie hoor fluit dat hulle Tswana eers opsy gaan skuif om op ander tale te konsentreer. Ek hoop die gerug is vals en sal hulle kontak vir bevestiging.

Die eerste Bybelstudie by die ouetehuis het gister afgeskop al was ons net 5. Die ander is nog op vakansie.

Voor julle sê ek skryf 'n boek – laat ek groet met 'n oogpister wat nou net hier by die oop deur verby draf. Mooi groot blinkswart met sy helder geel "GT" kolle. Die wat weet sal verstaan hoekom ek die oogpister as skryfnaam gebruik. Die outjies is net so bietjie selfversekerd en doelgerig en weet waarheen hulle op pad is en waarna hulle op soek is. Soos wat ons as gelowiges ook moet wees.

Mag ons almal God se genade en vrede smag in hierdie jaar omdat ons Hom eerste plaas in ons lewens en die Godheid se saak ons eie maak..


Vrede en maak mooi


Gerhard

January

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ and peace to you

Well now, At some stage I had better put pen to paper or more accurately pull the keyboard closer to write something before you start thinking I have become senile or have been buried. There were good reasons for my silence. I did not wish to bother others with my battles to overcome some health issues. Some did know and their prayers are appreciated. More about that later.

This message is negative in a worldly sense but truly uplifting in a spiritual sense. Please carefully read through it as I believe in my deepest being that there is a message for you hidden in this New Year's message.

The Kalahari is blistering hot this summer and the rain scarce-even more scarce than usual. My spinach got sunburnt to stalks despite standing in moist soil or should I say red Kalahari sand. Temperatures are above 35 on average and even at 10 at night the water from the cold water tap is hot enough to shower under and much too hot to drink during the day. The oogpisters are running around as usual but far fewer that I am used to. Just last night I stood talking to a visitor when a polecat ran to within 15 yards from where we were standing scavenging for food. The heavens showed all their glory in the clear Kalahari sky with the stars seeming close enough to touch. I realized that all was well. I felt and knew that God still has everything well balanced in the palm of his hand. This despite the fact that he allows mankind to live in sin and ignore him. He is still the patient God, slow to anger and calling men woman and children to himself. People to be his hands, feet and voice to reach others. People to stop, hear that voice and respond. Most just pretend not to hear the Spirits voice calling.

I decided to stand aside this festive season and watch the world go by. I decided to make some keen observations of how mankind views this time chosen by man and not God to celebrate God's greatest gift. I saw that there were still those who actually live a life of faith and for them there was great inner joy and peace. Honest and sincere grateful thanks and Christian brotherhood where they congregated. What I truly realized chilled my blood rocked me to the core. The truth is that by far the greater majority – even those who are nominal Christians – missed the point of celebrating Christmas again. Most will ridicule and agree that materialism and worldly pursuits overwhelm this period. Meaning to say of course that they are different. Actually it is all just nonsense. To say that you are going to spend time with family, friends, the needy and our faith in December means nothing because it says that for the other 11 months of the year you don't. Or at least not as you should or could. True or not? The worst was my realization that it has become talk without the walk. There is no attempt to actually do it. I am not here referring to those I very well know who spend maximum effort to love and show it by phone, SMS, Skype, Facebook etc. And have no other time in the year to spend time together. They are also the people who are truly children of the living God and their daily life bears this out.

I saw so much militancy, drunkenness, pride, derision and groping for personal fulfilment that it made me sick. Christ just wasn't part of the daily experience and life of the greater majority through the year and it was ludicrous to think that they would or could change even for just one month. They were just too used to doing their own thing how and where they wanted.

It made me realize the extent of the secularization in our society and that it is becoming disastrous. Without God first in my life I have no hope of being or doing any good to myself and others. I know that most of you reading this are different as the Spirit is reforming you. You are an endangered species. You are the pinch of salt that has to give taste to the big pot of stew. Even those who are nominal Christians are becoming less nominal and more worldly. By the way nominal Christianity means "I acknowledge Christ but live my own life but try to be good". My own desires, needs and wants come first and long before God on my ladder of priorities.

I wonder how my observations of life in the rural area would have compared with the reality in the cities? It was probably even worse there.

Now we have entered 2012 and expect things to be different. What is the actual scenario. This part of the Kalahari is experiencing a boom period due to billions in investment in mining operations. This is in sharp contrast to the rest of the country and the world which is in recession. Kumba or Sishen (The largest iron ore operation in the world) paid out more than R300 000 each to lower ranked employees as part of a BEE share deal that matured. Actually we know that as a whole the world is bankrupt. The governments of the USA, most of Europe and others are in severe and dire financial straits. Economic growth for many years to come will be slow and flat. That is the good news scenario. At worst some government will default and we will hit a depression which will make 1930's look like a walk in the park. I have openly propagated this viewpoint for many years now. It does not make me a prophet – it is just common sense. If you spend more than you earn the wheels must come off somewhere. Especially in respect of government debt.

Politically it doesn't look much rosier. Obama and Merkel are actually two competent government leaders. Their hands are tied however given the economic crisis of the world and they will never be able to implement their good intentions – good as they are. Our own country ............well maybe the less said the better, after all it is a daily experience for us all. More shocks await us this year and mark my words the first of many will be very early in the year. Just watch the press on the Mangaung (Bloemfontein) proceedings.

But wait I hear you say! What future is there for the believer then? My dear friend in Christ in Jesus there is hope. First of all eternal hope – not just for 2012. Refuse to get caught up in the turmoil and strife of this world. You are not a citizen of this world and it cannot be fixed. The perfect world we are citizens of is already in existence in eternity. As I always say heaven is not on earth!

Please slowly read the next section of Bible texts and our answer and direction for 2012 will be clear. Read it ..........then read it again ...................then meditate on it – word by word.

Rom 12:1 Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That's the most sensible way to serve God.

Rom 12:2 Don't be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. (English Contemporary version)

Rom 12:1 So then, my friends, because of God's great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. Rom 12:2 Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God---what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. (Good News Bible)

Is this the reality of your life and mine? Let us think, pray and live this text!

Let us also consider another text by Paul with so much meat on it. We will focus just on two aspects he mentions.

First he calls on us to put the past behind us and strive fearlessly towards the future (which also includes the eternal future, keeping our eyes on the goal. Secondly that we are not citizens of this world. We are heirs of the eternal kingdom of God in Christ.

Php 3:10-20 All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death, in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life. I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself. Of course, my friends, I really do not think that I have already won it; the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead. So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God's call through Christ Jesus to the life above.

All of us who are spiritually mature should have this same attitude. But if some of you have a different attitude, God will make this clear to you. However that may be, let us go forward according to the same rules we have followed until now. Keep on imitating me, my friends. Pay attention to those who follow the right example that we have set for you. I have told you this many times before, and now I repeat it with tears: there are many whose lives make them enemies of Christ's death on the cross.

They are going to end up in hell, because their god is their bodily desires. They are proud of what they should be ashamed of, and they think only of things that belong to this world. We, however, are citizens of heaven, and we eagerly wait for our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven.

Let us make these texts our beacon for 2012 and our goal for daily achievement. Not only for 2012 but every day God spares the world from his judgement from now or until Jesus calls.

So what is our plan of action again? I am inviting you to get into Paul's taxi and tackle the road ahead as his example taught us.

We are not going to consider the present. No, we will have a much wider view and live and grow in faith every day. The power to be different and make a difference will be our daily receipt from the Holy Spirit. We will overcome every circumstance and tragedy standing on the rock and hope of our salvation – Jesus Christ. We will play in Jesus' team and pray for the all those in the world team. We will also win them over to play on our team by our example and showing them that their game plan cannot win the day. We are going to live us Christian conquerors - humble yet proud, filled with love and hope, strong in faith and with our eyes on the winner's prize of eternal life with Christ our Redeemer!

Are you with me? Well let's get into Paul's Gospel Taxi and let's hit the road. We will face and conquer every challenge 2012 has to offer in the name and for Jesus Christ!

Now back to my own story.

My health has been a battle since struggling several months this winter with flu and secondary infections. I was weak and then we discovered that the complicating factor was my blood pressure. The diastolic pressure hovered between 175 & 200 which is of course life threatening. Being without medical cover I climbed in and experimented with several therapies. If this was wise I don't know but I got it right in the end. I sold anti-hypertensives in my medical rep days so I had a good idea of what to do. Anyway, I found a drug that was spot on, with no side effects and it has dropped my blood pressure back to where it was before.

The bad news is that the natural fitness I could always rely on has gone, for now at least. I could usually rely on working 12 to 14 hour days and 4 to 6 hours sleep. Maybe I will never get that stamina back. I just know that I have no chance of climbing the Gammohaan koppies I loved to climb so regularly for the time being. Time will tell how much of my stamina I will recover.

As a result the spiritual work also suffered a bit but it is slowly building up to full speed ahead again. I am thankful for the grace and opportunity to assist some individuals who had nowhere to turn despite the health issues. It seems that their tears have turned to laughter again and God be praised for his faithfulness and the opportunity to have been of service.

My internet ministry has been interrupted as well I just did not feel it was right to write anything that was not fully inspired. Let's hope that corner has been turned as well and that I will receive the inspiration to continue.

Against my wildest dreams the literature ministry continued to do well in December. I was able to distribute Tswana New Testaments and Bible study booklets to a number of individuals hungry to learn about God and follow him. They paged through the Bible study I gave to others and this woke a desire in them to also work through the study. Let us pray that it will lead them to Christ. In English, Tswana, Afrikaans and other languages the books are exact translations allowing me to work from an English book while the other person or persons read and follow in their own language. The Bible study booklet by the Bible League is called "How to begin with God" and is excellent. I heard a rumour or at least I hope it is one that they will be discontinuing Tswana at least for a while to focus on other languages – I will contact them to find out.

The first Bible study at the old age home for 2012 kicked off yesterday with only 5 of us. The others are still away with family or friends. We should be back up to the usual numbers next Wednesday.

Now before you accuse me of writing an epic novel let me greet you while an oogpister runs past me open door. Shining black with bright yellow markings. You may know that I do some writing under that name and the reason is that they are always confident, goal orientated and fearless. Just the way we should be as believers!

May we all taste God's mercy and peace this year as we put Christ first and make God's priorities our own.



Shalom


Gerhard

Monday, 8 August 2011

Newsletter English - July 2011


Greetings to you all in and through the glorious Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.



Yes, at last the newsletter that should have seen the light at the latest two weeks ago. It got so far behind that I will skip one month with your permission. Financial constraints certainly played a major part as there were no funds to purchase data for internet connectivity but there was no time either.



As I near my birthday this month I come to a greater awareness of the fact that I will never attain the strength and vitality I had as a youngster. On the other hand I will never exchange that for the wisdom and knowledge I have gained over the years. Had I had the wisdom of today I would probably have been in ministry at a much younger age. The downside to that again is that I would never have gained the experiences which now assist me in helping others struggle through life and grow spiritually. I suppose we must simply say that we can never have it all and never at the same time. We have to make peace with the fact that we are where we are and we have the knowledge and skills we do at the time. The question we must sake ourselves is how does God want us to use the time, space and circumstances to his glory and stay in his plan for us. I hope you are striving to achieve this difficult balance in your own situation and that God will empower with wisdom to live as he he wants you to. The fact is that there is no spiritual superman or woman and for that matter not physically either. We are bound by the constraints of our bodies and suffer from our own unique doubts, fears and other shortcomings. We must realize that God loves us and uses us as imperfect as we are. We must however walk in the light of the Holy Spirit or we are just treading water and wasting time.



All is well and I can report the following. The weeks from late May to the 23rd of June was taken up with some secular work which is essential. I am involved in the annual presentation evening of a major business. They also support me by for example providing my flat at no charge. Besides the very real obligation I have it is also a great pleasure to be of service in return. They have also blessed me with a new much needed laptop.



In the mean time I still attended to all the ministry work with zero income to sustain me. It was a time of testing of my faith but very rewarding. Small donations here and there kept my car going and my stomach full. The weekly industrial meetings went ahead to great success as God blessed me with messages of great impact for which I am very grateful.



Let me share a bit on how it works. I have to read an extreme amount to grow in theological knowledge and read several books at a time as well as the Bible. I never know where a message is going to come from. Sometimes it is a real life experience of mine or someone else, sometimes something I read in a book or the Bible that gives me the theme. It also sometimes comes from conversations I have with people.



I rely on the Holy Spirit to prepare me spiritually to receive the right message in time for me to research and prepare. All of you in business work on the JIT “just in time” principle and you will be astounded by the deadlines I live under. There is no anxiety and no pressure however because while we cut it fine sometimes I have never yet walked into a Bible study, preaching engagement or any other ministry opportunity unprepared.



Sometimes a Bible study may take a full 6 - 8 hours to prepare in man hours while at other times I receive a changed message in the morning and the preparation flows together in less than two hours. The discipline remains to keep faithful to Christ and not to get all stressed out and look for short cuts. When God gives the theme at short notice or a change in message, he also guides my thoughts and action to the right resources. When I look back I always shake my head with amazement at the realization that it has very little to do with me except to present the material with conviction and in the powerful love of Christ. It is exhausting work and spiritually drains you to the point of yearning for some rest. The presentations themselves are taxing. You have to give every ounce of your being in presentation and in total concentration. Sometimes the Spirit will add an illustration or text ad hoc and you sometimes wonder – where did that one come from? Always in time and appropriate and astounding me more than the hearers!



We must all constantly strive to become more Christ-like and in the process it is inevitable that we become less and Christ more. As Paul states “I must become nothing so that Christ becomes everything”. I do find that the more it happens the greater becomes our effectiveness as ambassadors for Christ. Without that principle working in your life you can forget the ministry as a calling. It is never a job. It is always full commitment in every action or word or not worth the trouble of getting out of bed for. Now remember that every Christian is an ambassador 24 hours a day – not only ministers of churches. That means you too. OK, back to the news before you accuse me of preaching here.



The local hospital remains my most challenging work. The good news is that we have lost only two youngsters in the children's medical wards since April. A small girl was five years old and immune-compromised to the extent that only God could intervene and it was not His will. A second child was still a baby and suffering from an extreme respiratory tract infection which was too advanced for the doctor's and nurses to turn around. Every single other case from severe burns, accident victims to kids with diabetes were healed or brought under control or good management. It helps that all the doctors are Christians and despite incredible volumes of work still manage to be highly professional or as professional as circumstances allow.



The past weeks have also allowed me the opportunity to witness the nursing staff act swiftly and with great effect and love, especially in the casualty department. How I would love to name names but these days one must be careful. Cases from attempted suicides to the usual drunken brawls, accident victims, elderly cardiac failures and many other emergencies.



At present I see at least 30 people a day at the hospital alone. It scares me sometimes to think that I have the opportunity but also the responsibility to reach so many. There is more work at the hospital, a lot more, but I just don't have the strength to do more.



Ever thought why the following is true?. I find it interesting that patients who do not have assurance of salvation will even in advanced stages of cardiac failure - still not willingly reaching out to take hold of Christ's hand stretched out in salvation. It is very distressing to pray for and visit a patient who is slowly dying while you know full well that he or she is not heaven bound. Yet we may only go as far as to share the Good News. Pushing things too far only results in the door being slammed shut from their side and then there is no hope of salvation. To accept it and submit is a commitment and personal choice they must make.



Another interesting fact is that I see very little drug abuse in the normal sense. Alcohol abuse is rife amongst all population groups here as elsewhere and responsible for as many marital and other relational problems. I probably notice it more because I hardly drink any alcohol at all and do a fair bit of counselling at all levels. I think it is time to actively accept and propagate the fact that alcohol is a drug and see if that helps to stem the tide.

The owner of a large mining contract company recently shared how two young men working for him were fired for failing alcohol testing on the mine where they work. The previous evening they did not think they were doing anything worse than having a lot of fun even when he warned them. The question is are we doing enough by speaking out?



Before I start rambling let me just share one more story. One of the ladies at the old age home has become a dear friend. She has been paralysed on her right side since birth, with no use in her right arm and much reduced use of her right leg. Despite that she and her equally disabled husband were successful farmers and raised and educated their children. He has passed away long ago and today she still lives in a small flat at the home and still fends for herself - one handed. She is always smiling, positive and makes great coffee! She is one of my prayer supporters and she encourages me much more than I her on my visits to her – which she will of course humbly deny. I know I am not the only one she shares the love of Christ with. How much more privileged are you? Financially and physically? What are you doing to spread the fragrance of Christ? It is the question I always ask myself. In fact are their any flowers at all or just thorns?



I need churches to collect Bibles for me – second-hand is fine - and then send them to me. Please assist by talking to your church about this. Also to make a contribution to the Bibles I need to buy for truly needy people of other language groups. Please note that I do not give a single Bible away – for free - to somebody who can afford to buy one. I also need to purchase reading material for new converts and young Christians after counselling them.



With that request I leave you to pray for me and my ministry. Without it I may just as well give up. Please ask any questions you may have at any time. If you are in need of some confidential counselling and can afford the call – call me. We all have such a need from time to time.



Please take special note of this final statement. This is not heaven. If you are having a tough time and cannot understand why? - just remember these words of Jesus as he encouraged his disciples before his final day on earth. “I have told you this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 New Living Translation)



And now I leave you with the benediction as found in Phillipians 4:6-7 and this time from the Bible in Basic English translation:



Have no cares; but in everything with prayer and praise put your requests before God. And the peace of God, which is deeper than all knowledge, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Gerhard

078 676 3023 gerhardp@ananzi.co.za