This article was originally published in the March 2020 edition of ITMI Monthly.
Adanna (name changed for privacy) stared at her four-year-old grandson. His eyes were turned up at her earnestly.
He had just uttered the words that would mark a critical turning point in her life.
What Adanna’s small grandson had said was, “Grandmother, you must not drink. It is not right and I do not like it if you are drunk.”
He’d actually said it many times. But this time, inexplicably from a human perspective, it sank in.
Adanna lives in a small community of migrant farmers in the Northern Cape area of South Africa called Onseepkans, near the Namibia border.
Onseepkans is a small community in the Northern Cape area of South Africa, near the Namibia border.
Overlooked, undervalued, and impoverished, many in the town struggle with depression and alcohol, as Adanna had for the majority of her life.
She’d even contemplated suicide.
In 2015, her path crossed with Jesus for the first time when she walked past Onseepkans Mission while ITMI partner, Elmane le Roux was sitting on the porch.
Elmane did something shockingly counter-cultural.
Elmane did something shockingly counter-cultural and invited Adanna inside for a neighborly chat.
Elmane invited Adanna to her porch for a neighborly chat.
Adanna would interact with the le Roux family’s many times over the course of the following years. As they faithfully demonstrated and declared the Gospel through their interactions with her, the le Roux’s hearts broke.
It seemed she was imprisoned by life’s baggage that was keeping her separated from the Lord, trapped by alcohol and unable to see the hope they were trying to share with her.
There was little visible response to the Good News until 2019, when the encouragement from her grandson finally landed on a pliable heart.
Adanna stopped drinking. Through the course of the year, she faithfully brought her grandchildren to the le Roux’s simple Sunday gathering and listened attentively.
The le Roux family walked by her side, helping her deal with a medical issue she faced and discipling her in Biblical financial principles and showing her the grace of Jesus.
Like many others in the settlement, she was enslaved by isolation, poverty and debt to the small local outpost. The store owner had control of her entire income in exchange for a few necessary goods.
The le Rouxs helped her settle her account at the outpost. Then they took her and a few other elderly ladies with them on their monthly 160 mile trip to the nearest decent grocery store.
Paying for transport to the store would have cost each of them a prohibitive percentage of their income, so shopping at a grocery store that offers a variety of products and doesn’t feel the need to extract absorbent prices was previously inconceivable.
Shopping at an actual grocery store was a completely new experience. Adanna was overwhelmed as she walked the aisles, and only picked out a few things.
The le Rouxs encouraged her to get enough of what she’d need to last for awhile, knowing the prices were much more reasonable in this larger store.
Not having much experience with math, Adanna stood in the checkout line, afraid that the balance would be more than she had. Joy and relief flooded her face when she realized the bill was half what she expected it to be!
The le Roux family continues to walk alongside Adanna and her family, gently guiding them to Jesus.
Their presence in Onseepkans is a great source of hope for many, thanks to the regular support they receive from their ITMI supporters across the ocean!
The grandson who asked Adanna to stop drinking receiving a Christmas gift through the generosity of an Onseepkans supporter.
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.