This article was originally published in an email from the le Roux family to their supporters on November 19, 2021.
One cannot explain in words our gratitude towards the loyal supporters of ITMI for all their commitment over the years.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Beginning October marked the 10th anniversary of our move to Onseepkans and the start of Onseepkans Mission. When we moved in 2011 to Onseepkans we only had surety that the Lord called us to Onseepkans, everything else were completely unsure. However, as we reflect back on the past ten years our hearts are filled with gratitude for what our Lord had done for us.
Below we share some of the highlights over the past ten years.
When we first received the calling to go to Onseepkans, we tested it thoroughly with our brothers and sisters in the Lord. It is a great privilege that we as Christians don’t have to do our own thing and rely on our own thoughts and ideas, but to have a body of Christ who we can call upon for advice and guidance.
Here we especially thank the Lord for our spiritual fathers and mothers at Kwasizabantu Mission, whose advice and guidance over the years had been beacons of light on our path. But we especially with great gratitude want to thank Rev. Erlo Stegen, to whom we could share our calling and his prayers that God will guide and direct us in His will.
We are also reminded of our brother Steve Evers from In Touch Mission International who was very supportive in our decision to go to Onseepkans.
We also want to specially mention and honour the couple that God used to prompt us to start a mission in Onseepkans. They first approached us with the idea that we must start a mission in Onseepkans, and they were willing to borrow their house in Onseepkans to us. Without their obedience to our Lord, the mission would never had come into being.
Key to our calling to Onseepkans were our brothers and sisters at Moreson Mission.
Their help and support cannot be described in words. Moreson Mission was our home for many years and still today in a sense we consider Moreson Mission the mother mission of the work in Onseepkans. Without their help, it would have been impossible to accomplish what was accomplished over the past ten years.
Moving to Onseepkans
Up until this point we had dedicated our whole lives and everything we had to forward God’s work at Moreson Mission. The move to Onseepkans were no small matter to us. We left everything behind that were dear to us to start from scratch again, establishing a new work in the unknown.
Beginning October we moved to Onseepkans (Northern Cape) from Moreson Mission near Malmesbury, close to Cape Town (Western Cape).
One of the first things that we did was to establish a small vegetable garden.
The first mission property
Front view of the house
Preparing the garden for planting
Started Farming with Milking Goats
Seeing the need to get a sustainable supply of fresh milk for the mission kitchen, we brought a few milking goat ewes and a ram. They became a significant part of the mission.
Loretta with a small goat lamb
Willie and one of the big goat rams
Opening a Shop to Help the Community
We saw the need to start a small shop with affordable groceries to help the local community. This also helped us to build relationships with the local people.
We reached out to the nearby communities’ children with a children’s club. It was a blessed time with those children. Now, years later we still have young people coming to us who say that they have attended those clubs and that it meant much to them.
Children's Club meeting in an old shed
First Visit of ITMI in Onseepkans
Since 2006 we as a family developed a close relationship with ITMI (In Touch Mission International) and its director, Steve Evers, who became a dear brother and friend to me and my wife and a dear uncle to our children.
This relationship first started when Steve was introduced to us by the late Rev. Bill Bathman, founder of In Touch Mission International. Rev. Bill Bathman was a dear man of God and a dedicated missionary.
He and his wife were special people who had a big influence in our lives.
Over the years Steve Evers and ITMI were a big encouragement and support to our work.
We can personally testify how God used them many times to encourage us in a special way. There is hardly a project of Onseepkans Mission that ITMI and its partners did not help to launch and grow through their support.
Over the years it was always great excitement when Steve Evers and some of the ITMI partners came to visit our mission.
One cannot explain in words our gratitude towards the loyal supporters of ITMI for all their commitment over the years.
Steve Evers and Mark Burritt with local goat herders
Buying Our First Mission House
Since the property we were living on was not our own, we could not do any permanent developments. Consequently, we were on the lookout for a suitable property to establish a permanent mission station.
We still remember the joy when we bought our first mission house at the end of 2012. Others thought we were crazy to buy such an old dilapidated property, but for us, it were very special because God gave it to us.
Since the house was still inhabitable, we continued to stay in the first house, but many Sunday afternoons we went and spend time at our new property full of joy and excitement of the future prospects of our own mission home.
The first mission house
Buying Our Second Mission House
Next to the property, we bought was a vacant house.
We enquired from the owner if we could maybe lease the property from him until such time that we could make our new home habitable. He told us however that he wants to use the house for accommodation for the seasonal workers on his vineyard farm.
This was a big predicament for us since living with small children next to an area where immorality and alcohol abuse prevail during weekends was not an option.
We prayed and asked the farmer if he would be willing to sell the property to us. At first, it seemed impossible, but during the Easter of 2013, he agreed to sell. In July our family moved to our new mission house.
The second mission house
Visit of 4th-year Students of CCE.
In September we welcomed the group of 4th-year students of Cedar College of Education (from Kwasizabuntu Mission) for an outreach of about 10 days.
During their time here, they helped us with renovations as well as reaching out to children of the local communities and in Pofadder (a town 50 km away from Onseepkans). It was also a special time of fellowship with dear brothers and sisters of ours who share our love for the special work of Kwasizabantu Mission.
The students attending the Sunday service
Handing out sweets to children
Starting to Help with the Local United Reformed Congregation.
Soon after we moved to the new mission property, we came in contact with a small group of ladies belonging to the United Reformed Church in Pofadder. We realized that they were in need of spiritual leadership.
Soon we started to meet together with them on Sundays for services. This started our relationship with the URC and their congregation in Onseepkans.
Some of the Sunday school children
We were privileged to conduct a week long medical outreach with Doctors for Life and a dentist from America in association with our local clinic. Apart from pulling teeth, we also tested eyes and handed out reading glasses.
The dental team
An elderly lady with her new glasses
Starting a new vegetable garden
We started a vegetable garden on our new property.
The Garden and Fruit Trees
Christen Fur Africa, Dr. Olivet and the Moringa Trees
Over the years we were blessed by the support that we received from the mission organization Christen Fur Africa and their representative Dr Olivet from Germany.
Many times over the years in Onseepkans we experienced how at the right moment God provided through their support some urgent need that needed to be covered. We especially want to honour Dr Olivet for all her advice, encouragement and support over the years.
She has been a tremendous encouragement especially on the agricultural side. Right from the start she prompted us to plant fruit and Moringa trees. One of the first things we did at our new mission property was to plant Moringa trees.
These Moringa trees over the next years played a big role in helping the sick in Onseepkans. On many occasions we could support the sick with Moringa leaves from our Moringa trees. Thank you Dr Olivet for all your support over many years. May our God reward you in heaven for your faithfulness.
Thank you also to Maria Schwenn and the rest of the team at Christen Fur Africa for your trust in us and support over the years.
The moringa trees
Starting the Chicken Farm
Seeing the need for fresh and affordable eggs, we acquired some chickens. Their numbers grew and they became a big asset to the mission.
Bought Our Own Agricultural Property
The Lord provided and opened the way for us to buy an agricultural field close to our house. We still had to clean it from the intruder Prosopis thorn bush which have infested the plot, but we were deeply grateful to have our own agricultural field of about 4.5 hectares.
The irrigation plot
We started to reach out to the children from the community of Melkbosrand with a children’s club.
Children attending the Sunday service
Outreach with a Team from Moreson Mission
A team from Moreson Mission joined us for about two weeks to reach out to the communities and towns around us.
We made up teams of three to six people and went into the communities conducting open air services with testimonies from the team and ministering to households as they requested us to pray for them.
The team with the elders of the UR church in Pofadder
The Team from Durbanville Community Church
A team from Durbanville Community Church came for week of reaching out and helping on the mission property.
They helped us to make new vegetable beds in the garden and we also reached out to the children and the surrounding communities in the evenings.
Planting New Fruit Trees and Erecting a Net House
New fruit trees were planted in our garden. We were grateful for a team from Moreson who came and helped us to erect a net house for the vegetable garden.
Extending of the Mission house
After visiting us a few times, a dear Christian brother helped us to extend our mission house.
He came with a team of builders and the needed building material and in about six weeks’ time they build an extension to the mission house increasing it nearly 1/3 in size.
Part of the extensions were a bigger kitchen and much needed bedrooms. This made a big difference in the daily functioning of the mission.
This was also the beginning of a long term relationship with this man and his wife and family and over the years they had been a tremendous support and encouragement to our work.
Visit from Rev. Erlo Stegen
If someone would ask what is the single biggest highlight of the past ten years in Onseepkans, without a doubt it would be the unexpected visit one day by Rev. Erlo Stegen, head of Kwasizabantu Mission.
Early after my conversion in 1992 I came in contact with Kwasizabantu Mission, an experience that would forever change my life.
This was also the start of a lifelong journey and experience with God’s working in revival power and the privilege to be part of Kwasizabantu Mission.
The revival started in 1966 through God’s chosen vessel, Rev. Erlo Stegen, who was willing to lay down his life for God to work in revival power. After 55 years of revival we marvel at God’s grace and what God could do and are still doing through one man that was willing to pay the price.
It was big excitement in our home when we received the call that Rev. Stegen would visit us. A day or two later they flew him in by plane from the Kwasizabantu Mission in Natal and landed on a landing strip about 40km from our mission.
He was accompanied by some of his children and for us it was a great privilege and joy to spend the day with them. They flew back later that afternoon. Rev. Stegen asked if he can send us some date trees to plant on our agricultural field and we gladly said yes.
For us it was a very special gift to receive these date trees and cultivate them on our field.
Rev. Erlo Stegen
Our Third Mission Home
God opened the door that we could buy our third mission home, about 400m away from where we stay. These homes can play a vital part in the future growth of our mission.
Planting of the Date Orchard
The Lord provided for us to clean and rip the irrigation plot.
Then Rev. Erlo Stegen from Kwasizabuntu Mission in Natal sent us the date trees by truck all the way from Natal, free of charge! He sent his son in law together with a team of workers to help us plant the trees.
We thank the Lord for this project which He provided through His servant.
The newly planted date trees
Starting to Do Seed Production
We started with onion and other seed production as another project to support the mission.
Seed production now became a permanent project of our mission and it also enables us to offer much-needed work opportunities to the marginalized in the community.
Salad seed production
A chess club was started to reach out to young children and teenagers in Melkbosstrand. This was a wonderful way to interact and reach out to the players. Unfortunately because of Covid, this project came to an end but we hope to restart it in the near future.
Playing Chess at the Chess Club
Participating in the Put a Smile on a Child’s Face Campaign
Along with our local CPF (Community Police Forum) and other community leaders, we could reach out to the children of Onseepkans giving them something special for Christmas.
We distributed hotdogs, cupcakes, and Christmas Socks filled with sweets to the children.
A smiling face
Receiving their sweet stockings
Covid-19 hit us in full force with all the challenges and difficulties it involved. We thank the Lord for the opportunity that we could become part of Project Joseph. This opened the door for us to reach out to the local community by meeting their personal needs.
We started by handing out food parcels, but this eventually developed into a ministry where we supply the local people with groceries at affordable prices.
Grateful elderly ladies
Vegetable Food Parcels to Needy Families
As part of Project Joseph we could give families in the local community a vegetable parcel every week from vegetables that we farmed on a nearby agricultural field that we leased.
The vegetables in the field
Handing out Porridge to Needy Children
As a part of a feeding scheme to help suffering children during the Covid-19 pandemic, we were given the opportunity to help distribute instant porridge in Onseepkans.
We had people in the communities who helped to distribute the porridge packed in small bags. This meant a lot to the children.
Unfortunately in 2021, this project came to an end when the donors discontinued the project. We trust that somehow God would enable us to start something similar again for the children.
It is heartbreaking to drive through the community and hear children asking for porridge.
Children waiting to receive their porridge
Velloorsdrift (Daily Bread) Bakery
Through the years we have experienced the need in our area for affordable fresh bread and confectionery.
Beginning 2021 the Lord let us to start a small bakery in our mission house kitchen. From there it has grown to the point where we now have a bakery in an adjacent room to the mission house. The demand for the bread and confectionary exceeded our expectations.
We have registered a company under the name Velloorsdrift Bakery. The Lord provided for us a motorbike with which we can do deliveries in the surrounding communities.
We are in the process of acquiring more much-needed equipment including a bigger baking oven that would enable us to bake about 30 breads at a time. The bakery is vital part of the mission’s efforts reaching out to the community.
It opens doors for us to serve and interact with the community in a special way.
The bakery team with the delivery bike
The three bakers
A needy family who received bread
Leasing Extra Land for Vegetable and Seed Production Cultivation.
We started to lease a property for seed production and vegetable cultivation. These projects gives us the opportunity to give work to the especially marginalized women in the surrounding communities.
The onion seed production
Helping Needy Children with Extra School Classes
A new opportunity arose to assist children in the community with extra classes. This makes a big difference in their lives and opens up the opportunity to reach out to them in a personal way. Assisting children with their academic needs is a big need in Onseepkans.
We look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for us in the future in this regard.
Other Supporters and Donors
If there is one big lesson that we have learned over the years it is that God’s work is not about individuality.
So many brothers, sisters, friends and sometimes even strangers supported us over the past ten years in one way or another that it would be impossible to mention them all.
So many people have prayed, supported, guided us with advise, help us practically in one way or another that we can only pray that our Lord Himself will reward you for all your kindness towards Him and His work.
We are humbled when we think back on all the support over the years and can only in humility say thank you for all that you did for us. Only eternity would show what a deep impact your contributions had to further of the Gospel in Onseepkans.
May our Lord richly bless and reward you.
It is our prayer that the Lord may continue to expand His Kingdom here in Onseepkans.
As the apostle, Paul writes to the church in Ephesians,
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”
Greetings from Onseepkans
The le Roux Family
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