“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His Name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” Isaiah 9:6-7
I’m sure you are acutely aware of the global economic anxiety—and in some nations, the economic upheaval, which is especially real here in Africa.
But as fellow believers in Christ Jesus, you and I also follow the Good News, and we know this season is alive with an amazing hope, as it marks the beginning of the giving of the greatest gift this world has ever known—the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In fact, it is the point of our entire purpose. As 1 Corinthians 2:19 states, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”
Despite all the challenges we’ve witnessed around the world, the Word of the Lord is still changing lives here in Africa.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17
And yes, we are very aware of the economic environment. At times—especially when viewed through the world’s lens—the situation looks hopelessly impossible. Even still, as fellow members of Christ’s family, you and I also know something else—something that exceeds the knowledge of all the experts. We know Jesus’ words, that “with God all things are possible.”
We’ve witnessed His hand on our ministry in so many ways. Just a few examples: US friends, who have a heart for men’s ministry and the fatherless, are coming to minister and encourage African brothers and sisters; our Congo mission hospital is up and running and we are delivering a donated, used X-ray machine; children at the kids’ club are learning Scripture; pastors are being blessed with ‘Bibles and bikes’, increasing their reach, efficiency and safety; I’ve been approached by a Christian movie producer regarding story rights for my book “Shooting Back” – he wants to develop a movie focusing on the Gospel and Forgiveness.
Young children in the US have played a special part in our ministry. Some, amongst other chores, shoveled snow and chopped wood to raise funds and others held a successful music concert, all to support Gospel work and discipleship in Africa.
Charl and friendWe are excited, despite endless challenges of total incompetence by many businesses, transporters and government agencies, to be back in South Africa and in fellowship with family and friends. We have settled into our home, after the privilege of experiencing a year in the US.
Every now and again we hear comments from our children, like: “Oh, no. I’ve drunk all my cold drink – I forgot we don’t get refills here!” or in December (our summer time): “Dad, when is it going to snow?”
Sonja has had a busy year successfully packing up home in the US and re-settling the children (and I) back into our native, home environment. We were blessed by the kindness of so many in the US who will remain special friends, despite us not seeing them any longer.
Sonja will be closing off the year by helping Andrea Hammond, Peter and Lenora’s eldest daughter, with her wedding arrangements; I’m honored to be master of ceremonies on the big day.
Roberta (14) will soon be attending a church youth camp with her cousins. Jason (10) has enjoyed his soccer this past season; he was blessed to be coached by a wonderful missionary friend from the US, Brad Wos. John-Marc (9) loves swimming and both boys enjoy throwing knives and shooting air guns with their grandfather. Anya (5) is learning to read and do math but on occasion tells me: “I don’t feel like doing school today!” She enjoys ballet and playing with our cat, Toby.
I lead a dedication service last Sunday; now look forward to travelling to Central Africa for ministry. In January we’ll be running a Biblical Worldview Weekend for youth.
The Lord granted us our very lives and pours out the bounty of blessings we enjoy each moment.
We go into this season grateful for all the opportunity it holds and excited about the unending possibilities the Lord has in store as we partner in Gospel work; we pray that “His will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.”
Thank you for your support and most importantly, your prayers.
God bless you and yours
Charl, Sonja, Roberta, Jason, John-Marc and Anya
P.S.: Even after the rush, rest and respite of Christmas, as word of market conditions, global events, wars and rumors of war no doubt return to spread unease, do not succumb to discouragement. Be of good cheer, love the Lord and keep His commands. I John 5:3-5 says, “His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world.”
The victory is assured—for it belongs to Him. Amen!