Gerhard and Elmane le Roux
Onseepkans, South Africa
As like most of the people in Onseepkans, Ouma Kroon did not have an easy life when she was young. Our relationship with Ouma started in July 2013, when Ouma’s sisters, daughter and nieces expressed their need for spiritual guidance.
As our relationship with this family grew, we assisted in the funeral of one of Ouma’s nephews, helped care for their goats and drank tea on the veranda with them, listening to their challenges.
From time to time we would reach out to them as the Lord led. We conducted Sunday morning services the past three years, mainly for this family.
Ouma was in her sixties and bedridden the past few years due to a stroke. She had lost her ability to verbally communicate. We assisted Ouma where we could, helping with a wheel chair, adult diapers and medication.
A few months ago we started conducting the Sunday services next to Ouma’s sick bed. Although she could not communicate, we sometimes saw the smile and joy on her face when we arrived. From time to time we had spiritual conversations with her.
The expression on her face indicated that she understood.
October 2016 was a special month for Ouma. Pastor Mark Parris and two elders from Durbanville Community Church visited Onseepkans and spent a special moment with her before the service, encouraging her and sharing with her from God’s Word.
Imagine an elderly lady who grew up in disadvantaged circumstances in the rural areas of the Northern Cape, with a testimony of unhappy early adult years, now bedridden, receiving a visit from a pastor of a church 800km away, sharing with her and encouraging her!
About a week or two after Mark’s visit, ITMI Director Steve Evers visited Onseepkans all the way from America and at the Sunday morning service, could give special attention to her and encourage her! For us, it was as if God wanted to give special attention to Ouma.
One Saturday evening, not long after Steve left, Ouma passed away. We immediately went over to assist the family. It was sad for the family, but there was a peace and a sense of surety that her sickness was now over and that she was now in the presence of the Lord Jesus.
In the communities of the Northern Cape there is a custom that after a death there is usually a week of funeral services at the home of the deceased.
The last night before the funeral, the family spends the night with the corpse. The next morning people have opportunity to show last respects towards the deceased at the home, then there is a public service, followed by a procession to the graveyard.
Usually during the week of funeral services there is very little mention to where the deceased now finds him or herself. Even those conducting the funeral services are usually unsure about what happens to the deceased after death.
Most are unaware to the fact that it is only the body of the deceased that is left and that the soul is already in eternity with or without God. Sometimes at these services there will be terrible crying, especially when paying last respects to the deceased at the open coffin.
Ouma’s funeral was completely different!
I could confirm again and again during the funeral week that she is saved and with God in heaven. I could encourage them that their loved one is not experiencing sadness and sickness anymore, but freedom and no more tears.
It was a message of joy, not a message of hopelessness amidst hopeless circumstances. It was also a message that encouraged those attending the funeral that they can have assurance of salvation.
What would you like ITMI supporters to know?
If we take everything else away, the mission projects, activities towards the community, all other activities that missionaries generally share with their supporters, the question remains: What is the most important in all of this?
Even more important: What is the most important to God in all of this?
I believe the story of Ouma Kroon answers this question: a soul that will spend an eternity with God in heaven. Even if we did not come to Onseepkans for anything else, even if we had to endure 5 years of difficult circumstances, even if you as our faithful supporters faithfully supported us during these 5 years.
It makes it all worthwhile if we can praise God that Ouma Kroon is with Him in heaven. Thank you for what you have done for her, without even knowing she exists.
Thank you for helping us to help her and that we can rejoice with the angels in heaven that this Christmas there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repented!
The le Roux Family
About the Authors
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.