It was 6am on a Saturday morning.
ITMI's Gerhard le Roux was engrossed in getting his tractor to bubble to life. This morning's task was to rake and bale lucerne for the animals of Onseepkans Mission, whose feed was running desperately low.
In this rural location, far from stores and other services, the family survives largely on what they can get the Mission to produce.
Morning light breaks over Onseepkans Mission.
Some of the animals at Onseepkans Mission.
The corner of his eye caught the jerky motion of a figure stumbling down the road that runs in front of his family's house. As the figure neared, Gerhard recognized her. He'd seen her around the settlement near the mission property his family operates.
She was an elderly lady, in her sixties.
The bottle of cheap wine tucked in her shirt said it all. He later recognized the label, "Namakwa Daisy." Some of the wine cellars refer to these cheap wines as their "drunk lines."
And she was drunk.
"I thought about the irony of labelling something so ugly and destructive with a name that reminds of the beautiful daisies found in the Namakwa land during the beginning of spring," Gerhard recalls.
Here's the rest of the story in Gerhard's words:
She stopped in front of our gate, pulled out the bottle from underneath her shirt and placed it next to a telephone pole before stumbling towards me where I was sitting on the tractor.
She had enough respect for us and our mission premises not to enter it with her alcohol. She came to me and cried, "I don't want to live like this anymore! I want God to help me!”
I invited her to attend our church service the next morning and with the help of one of my daughters, we took her home.
When we drove home afterwards I could not help thinking about that poor woman's condition. The sad reality is that when she gets sober again, the only desire she will have is for the next bottle of wine.
We have heard and witnessed it so many times.
People are desperately tired of their sins when they are drunk, but once sober they completely forget their commitment to come for help. How terrible it is to see people in such bondage!
In a certain way a sense of helplessness takes hold when one realize that our best preaching and best theology make no difference in this woman's condition.
Only God's grace alone can break through the thick walls of this woman’s jail that formed over many years with layer upon layer of sin, hurt, rejection and humiliation.
Will you partner with us in prayer for the people of Onseepkans?
Will you commit to praying with us that God's love will break through these walls, changing it from rock hard dry clay to soft pliable clay that can be transformed in the hands of the Potter?
Will you make this commitment your 2018 resolution towards the people of Onseepkans?
And lastly, will you pray for us, that we will be channels without obstruction through which God’s love can flow to a dying Onseepkans?
The le Roux family left behind many modern conveniences, as well as close-knit community and family to respond to God's call to live and minister in this remote area.
This story illustrates how challenging this mission field is, both physically and spiritually.
But the family has faithfully loved and served the community of Onseepkans. They have demonstrated the Good News through their hard work. They have declared the Good News through outreaches, community involvement and tireless, selfless service.
The Onseepkans Mission kids' club.
Their continued faithfulness, backed by your continued faithfulness, will continue to be a shining beacon of hope in this community whose need for Jesus is great.
If you feel led to respond to Gerhard's request and are committing to pray for Onseepkans this year, will you let us know by clicking the button below and telling us?
Knowing people have committed to standing with them in prayer would be an enormous encouragement for the le Roux family!