It wasn’t your typical team of short-term missionaries. This team of young men had recently sought help for addictions and gang-lifestyle from Moreson Farm. Now they were on a two-week short-term mission trip.
The ministry at Moreson Farm has helped rehabilitate many from seemingly-hopeless addictions through the power found in a relationship with the Lord.
These young men traveled from Moreson Farm just outside Cape Town, South Africa, to Onseepkans in Northern Cape near the Namibia border.
Onseepkans, South Africa
Their mission was to provide some crucial help for ITMI’s Onseepkans Mission.
ITMI’s Gerhard le Roux recently shared about the team and the visit. He closed by sharing some interesting insights about the mission at Onseepkans from the team’s leader.
We had the wonderful privilege to recently receive a team of young men from our mother mission, Moreson Mission, from where God called us to Onseepkans nearly 7 years ago.
These men come from a background of drugs and gangs and received help at Moreson Mission.
At Moreson, they work in the garden under the supervision of Reverend Glenn Barkhuizen. Rev. Barkhuizen accompanied the team to Onseepkans where they came for two weeks with the goal of completing our long awaited net house for vegetables and fruit trees.
The birds regularly destroy all our harvests.
It was crucial that we get our vegetables and fruit under net, since the birds regularly destroy nearly all our harvests.
After two weeks they have cleared a forest of weeds, planted nearly 50 poles and covered nearly 720 square meters under net, planted 18 fig trees and 10 peach trees and installed the necessary irrigation.
We thank God for the dedication of Glenn and his team and praise God for the witness that went out to the community as they daily passed the garden and observed the progress.
I asked Rev. Glenn to put some of his observances in writing and this is what he wrote:
The British comedian, Michael Palin, from Monty Python fame in his later years has done travel programs for the BBC.
In conclusion, after traveling overland from the northern tip of Africa all the way to the Cape of Good Hope – for many reasons a daunting challenge – he remarked that his overall impression is that we Africans are fatalistic in our approach to life.
In other words, we subconsciously believe that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable.
Ce Sera Sera, Doris Day sang in her 1956 hit song – whatever will be, will be!
If I’m born into a family of unemployed parents living off the hope that by the time they reach the age of 60 they will qualify for a state funded old age pension, then that too will become my long-term goal.
If my peers all eventually contract HIV/AIDS because of an immoral and reckless lifestyle, then I too should prepare myself for that eventuality.
If educating myself will hold no promise of employment since there aren’t any jobs available in my neck of the woods, then I too see no reason for not dropping out of school.
If drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, marijuana and increasingly so crystal meths has become the norm, who am I to think I’ll be any different?
If having my first baby while I am still a child myself at least qualifies me for a child grant, why should I miss out on the opportunity?
What it Means to be a Pioneer Missionary
With a small team of men recently visiting the Le Roux family at the Onseepkans Mission on the border between South Africa and Namibia, I, against this background again was reminded of the stark reality of what it means to pioneer a missionary initiative in a remote and certainly secluded setting.
Or let me rather say, I think I comprehend just a little bit of what it takes.
The Citadel of Fatalism
Suddenly all theoretical models of parochial ministry, street evangelism, gospel crusades or even pastoral counseling fall short in the face of what can only be described as a stone wall surrounding a citadel of fatalism.
In German sociology the quest for a practical political solution unique to a certain context is referred to as realpolitik – a system of politics or principles based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations.
What would the equivalent be for such a missionary model? Realmissiologie?
By far the best contemporary paradigm offered in this regard one finds in David Bosch’s Transforming Mission where he suggests the obvious, namely that all missionary work is the work of God Himself.
To be certain, God Himself is the missionary. This is captured in the concept of Missio Dei.
The first One that was sent on a mission by our Heavenly Father in fact was our Lord Jesus Himself: Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. (John 20:21)
This is what I observed during our two weeks with the Le Roux family in Onseepkans.
They have gone to live with the people of Onseepkans. They are not on an island preaching down at the people from a dizzy height.
They are with the people. And they are there for the people.
If someone approaches them they are openhearted. But most important is that they are close to the Lord Jesus, God with us. And because of that, one clearly experiences that when you are in contact with them as they are living with the people, you in a very tangible way experience the presence of the Lord Jesus Himself in that company.
There aren’t any developmental programs or romantic outreaches going on all the time.
There isn’t any mass gathering of an enormous crowd hanging onto every word of a man that promises a glorious outcome to hungry consumers. None of that!
What there is, is a crack in that stone wall surrounding the citadel of fatalism.
And through that crack a ray of brilliant light is shining directly into the eyes of each person trapped within the self-imposed prison of fatalism.
It’s the light of the Lord Jesus Christ: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)
-Glenn Barkhuizen, Môreson Kwasizabantu Mission, Malmesbury, South Africa