Without access to books and written materials, many believers don't even own their own Bible!
And their pastor might not, either.
In fact, though incredibly sincere, he may have only been saved recently himself!
Without discipleship or examples of how a life is lived in light of God's Word and truth, it isn't unheard of for someone to become saved and simply continue old religious customs and ways of life while changing the name of the deity to "Jesus."
Charl van Wyk is a Christian missionary, author and activist in Africa.
His belief in his Christian duty to protect the innocent, vulnerable and oppressed led him to single-handedly return fire in the midst of a terrorist attack, saving many lives!
The story of how God led Charl to forgive and pursue reconciliation with his attackers is captured in his best-selling book, Shooting Back – The Right and Duty of Self-defense.
Now he is engaged in a new war - a battle to establish kingdom-focused covenant communities in Southern Africa.
His pro-active stance on educating the Church and renewing minds with a Biblical worldview drives him to see communities changed through the Gospel, discipleship and community development.
Charl and his team are:
- Facilitating a range of strategic projects
- Directly supporting Africans in remote and marginalized locations
- Building up and equipping the forgotten young people
- Creating hope, changing minds and giving purpose.
Charl is praying and working toward reformation - building a generation of young, Christ centered, Gospel driven servant leaders to take action in a broken world.
Stone Hill is a squatter camp outside of Cape Town, South Africa. The youth of Stone Hill are incredibly hardened by the depravity of their culture.
Alcohol, drugs, theft, stabbings and rape are common occurrences in their everyday lives.
Stone Hill settlement, outside Cape Town, South Africa.
Run down shacks like this one are the only thing that stands between most Stone Hill families and the damp, cold South African winter.
Most girls are encouraged by their mother to have sex before marriage and give birth, thus proving their fertility.
Homes are filled with illegitimate children who have no idea who their father is. If there is a man in the home, he is probably their mother’s boyfriend.
One young man was set on fire in a revenge attack and another was stabbed to death over a cigarette.
The van Wyk family is part of a group of believers who spearhead discipleship opportunities for the youth of Stone Hill using activities like wrestling, soccer, handball and crafts as catalysts to build relationships with the youth.
Stone Hill girls with their crafts.
Stone Hill youth connect with believers through these activities.
Through these activities, the youth are learning that they have value. They are discovering how a trustworthy, godly adult lives. They experience the novelty of safe relationships. They encounter Jesus through His people.
New shacks built by believers are a big upgrade for many Stone Hill families.
Enjoy this 3 minute video of Charl telling the story of Stone Hill.
The results of the ministry in Stone Hill are staggering. Stone Hill has transformed into a community that is known as a "Christian" community!
ITMI's Charl van Wyk and Mark Parris study the Bible with youth from Stone Hill!
Empowering and Equipping Pastors
Charl makes frequent trips to Zambia and the DRC Congo, where he encourages the local believers - who many times don't have contact with the outside world due to the estrangement that comes with a war-torn infrastructure.
These trips are also for discipling local pastors and church leaders, as well as preaching, teaching and delivering Bibles and discipleship materials.
One especially effective delivery item has been bicycles for local pastors and evangelists, enabling them to bike to an unreached village nearby and share the gospel with them. This is made possible through Charl's Bibles and Bikes Fund.
Bicycles are a cost-effective way to reach many with the gospel!
Charl van Wyk with African pastors and their new bikes!
Reaching and Discipling Youth in Zimbabwe
Charl has partnered with a dedicated believer in Zimbabwe, Cozmore, to reach youth in Zimbabwe. Together, they offered a Gospel camp to some youth in a Zimbabwe village.
Charl and Cozmore have continued relationships with the boys .
They helped a few launch a chicken farming business, helped one young man with a formidable health obstacle and have also began discipling the parents of the youth.
Charl with youth from the village and Zimbabwe at the Gospel camp.
In 1993, Charl was worshipping with his church on a Sunday when terrorists entered the building and opened gunfire on the congregation. This incident later became known as the St. James Massacre.
Charl used his firearm to return fire, valiantly protecting those around him. Surprised by someone "Shooting Back" the attack was diffused quickly and many lives were saved.
Charl received a citation from General Acker of the South African Police for his courage under fire.
Charl's courage and subsequent graciousness toward his attackers has yielded him several opportunities to witness to his attackers - he even got to share God's good news about forgiveness at one of their conventions!
Several of the leaders of this terrorist group received Christ as a result of their relationship with Charl.
Charl explains and demonstrates God's forgiveness at a conference full of terrorists who attacked his church.
Charl shares Jesus with the terrorists who once attacked his church.
Charl offering forgiveness and a Bible to one of the men who attacked his church.
- Help the church in the Dominican Republic of Congo to be prepared to take up the challenge of a new political dispensation.
- Help Zambian believers work to see their country remain constitutionally a Christian nation, despite much attack.
- Lead South African Christians in influencing South African government policy until it reflects Biblical values.
- Funds to purchase bicycles for the church pastors in Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Funds to expand the outreaches in Stone Hill, South Africa.
- Personal support for Charl and his family.
ITMI’s Charl van Wyk interviews Mabuti and Tanki, two young men from Stone Hill whose lives have been irreversibly impacted through the outreaches of Charl’s church. (The church also pastored by ITMI’s Mark Parris.) In Charl’s podcast, you’ll discover Mabuti and Tanki’s remarkable story that starts with Cozmore accidentally initiating the movement in Stone Hill.
Many of you already know that being a part of what God is doing in Stone Hill, South Africa has been and continues to be an amazing experience. Here’s 5 big things He has done in South Africa, and now we’re adding one more!
Charl reviews all that he and his partners have seen the Lord do this year (a pretty astounding list!), Cozmore has big news, Charl reveals what he and his co-workers in Zimbabwe are in “big trouble” for (its actually a good thing), and Charl shares some inspiration for avoiding discouragement.
You may be really blessed to have a Christian community around you. A community of sisters and brothers in Christ where you are loved, cherished and supported. In Africa, the opportunity to experience the building of a world around the Gospel—to just taste what living a Gospel life is like—is for the most part, just a distant and seemingly unattainable dream. A dream that few can even fathom.
“Uncle, thank you for my leg.” This is how Mpumelelo thanked me in his broken English. In some African cultures the elderly and infirm, perceived as being worthless to the tribe will be left behind as the nomadic tribe moves on – and they will die of hunger or be eaten by wild animals. But that’s not where this story ends.
“I used to think, ‘All for one and one for all,’ is what village life is all about, right? That the villages are populated by the “noble savage” and lead a connected, unified community life,” says ITMI’s Timothy Keller. But unfortunately, this version of village life may be popular in Hollywood and children’s tales, its simply not what Timothy has found after over a decade of ministry in African villages. “Rural Africa is
Three young men from Gwayi River, Zimbabwe are launching an exciting new venture, even though the odds have been stacked against all of them their whole lives. What is this exciting new venture? A one-of-a-kind tech solution? A breakthrough discovery? A much-needed service no one has thought of?It’s none of those.
Missionary work is not a life of ease. There aren’t too many Marriott Hotels (or hotels of any kind) in the jungle.
ITMI’s Charl van Wyk shares a little about the discipleship projects he is involved with.
If stewardship is important to you, if you’d like maximize your impact, if you like tax deductions – and making a real difference at the same time, if the plight of the poor and marginalized are on your heart but you don’t know what to do about it; then this is the opportunity you’ve been looking for!
Gerhard le Roux and four of his kids took their sheep to pasture in the typical way, but what happened next was anything but typical.
One young man arrived on crutches from an injury he suffered in a crocodile attack. Thankfully, he wasn’t alone during the attack.In a vicious fight his friends clung to his upper body and arms while the croc clutched his foot before the friends finally won out. Medical staff managed to save his foot and toes.
“Why do the men sit on one side and the women on the other?”
Years ago, ITMI’s founder, Bill Bathman and his travel companion, Don Christiansen were in a Romanian church. This particular group of believers held long-standing traditions that had gotten them through the persecution of the Communism and the scarcity of the aftermath that followed.
But after the Iron Curtain came down, Don wondered why they sat the way they did. Was it to keep everyone from being distracted? Was it their sense of modesty and propriety?
Which country holds the historical record for the most zeros on a printed note? Hint: the title photo is a well-known feature on the border of this country. The answer is…