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First mission: Jerusalem

 

We are a Christian pilgrim family living in Villar de Farfon, Spain, on the Camino de Santiago.Twenty five years ago we moved out of our home in Cape Town into a caravan and began to follow the Lord Jesus wherever he would take us.

 

"Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, the sons of Israel would then set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp."

 

We went out on short excursions at first, scurrying back on occasions to the safety of my parents home! On our first mission into the unknown we were towed out by my father and dropped in a campsite hundreds of miles away in an Afrikaans ⁄ Dutch speaking community. I walked from door to door peddling christian books and giving away the gospel for free.

 


 

After returning into the safety of Church life for some time, we again set out reinforced, further afield, to shine the light of Jesus in African tribal lands and communal strongholds with Indian gods.

 

Dorothea learned the art of washing nappies at garden taps and I began to learn the humility of closed doors and closed hearts. We flew back to Cape Town towing the caravan (by then we had got a car), and parked the caravan outside my parents home. It was a wonderful prayer closet!

 

 

Second mission: Samaria

 

Our next mission crossed the seas to a Spanish island in the Mediterranean, Mallorca. Those who lived in darkness saw a great light, we saw some dear friends come to know Jesus and be saved from an evil generation. I was joined by a brother, Alan, who I had met in the South African Army, and we walked together from village to village preaching Christ until we had walked the entire length and breadth of that little island.

 

Eliel in our little 600



Three years later Alan was deported (honorably) and we all returned by air to Cape Town. Alan got marched across the tarmac between two burly policemen to the waiting plane. This was interesting because Alan is not that type.


Dorothea took Eliel to school on this moped



We began to pray and seek God's will about where to go next. We aspired to preach the Gospel where Christ had not been named, and by the Holy Spirit came to the consensus that India was our future mission field. We bought Hindi Bibles and began to learn the alphabet. The first time I tried to read the Hindi Bible I was confused for a while until I realized that I was holding it upside down.


Third Mission: The ends of the earth


 

They say that there used to be a sign at Bombay Airport refusing entry to dogs and South Africans. We were refused a visa, but I still think the story was a myth. We prayed for a year, and finally the S.A. cricket team were invited to play in India. Thanks to our prayers! When I saw Jonty Rhodes and Alan Donald riding through cheering crowds in Calcutta I knew that the doors had been forced open for the gospel.

 


Alan got married and was relieved by the Lord from active service for a year according to Mosaic Law! I flew alone to Bombay and received a great welcome from the taxi drivers. Three days in the train took me to Bangalore where I was really welcomed by the church and taken in like a family member.I had come to Spy out the land of promise. There were terrible giants, Kali with extended tongue and a necklace of skulls, grinding poverty and suffocating heat. 



I travelled North to the Kumbh Mela Pilgrimage, and met with naked gurus and pressing multitudes of pilgrims. I nearly got squashed by an elephant with a maha guru perched on top.The guru did not notice me. I barely escaped being crushed in a stampede to get into the holy waters of the river, and suffered with all the rest from dysentery.As part of a team we distributed millions of New Testament portions.More than twenty million hindus passed through during those two months.I gave out free books faster than free money, and sometimes had to retreat running with literature hungry hindus in pursuit.I sat with stoned sadhus and shared Jesus, and clashed with angry italian hindus who had come as hippies in the sixties and never went back. As I left the Pilgrimage on a "standing only" bus for five hours I began to fall sick, and was taken in by the church family in Bhopal after many bouts of retching and diahrroea.

 

 I returned to SA and we joined a little Anglican church in Pretoria for a year while Dot worked as an assistant in surgery and I sewed sandals and bags.One day Dorothea said to me, lets give the best years of our life to Jesus, so I gave up my job and went up the mountain to pray.No job, no money, how to get to India to preach the gospel? I had a great idea, we would cycle to India, so I went down to the hospital to tell Dorothea. She came out of surgery in those little green bootie things and we stood in the passage at the Dental  hospitaal while I shared my idea with her...and she loved it!

 


Here is a foto of us going across the border into Zimbabwe on our cycles. 


And here is Dorothea  on the right a few months later en route to India. Masai came out of the bush to investigate this strange phenomenen of a cycling family.

 

Eliel was a star cyclist at the age of eight and showed great courage at the prospect of cycling up to 80 km a day not knowing where we would sleep come evening time.Dorothea had the smallest tent/home ever to keep so everything had its place and we could wrap it all up in five minutes to get out onto the road!

 

This happy freedom for Eliel was not to last too long, within six months he was back at school. See if you can spot him on the right in the school foto.

 

 We met lots of wonderful christians in Bangalore, so after a year we decided that we ought to be meeting more hindus and went to live in Varanasi (Kashi) on the Ganges river.

 

The Lord said to us "Go and make your bed amongst the uncircumcised". After arriving in Benares we started a church in our house and lots of African students began to attend! And some Hindus also started coming that couldnt understand our way of worshipping God, so one of our friends who is a Hindu disciple of Jesus started worship services for Hindus who want to follow Jesus. This is a foto of him opposite. 

 

And you can read about how to be a hindu disciple of Jesus at his blog: margdarshan.blogspot.com if the idea seems strange to you!

 

One very important addition was made to our family during Ramadan in the Muslim quarter of the city. At about three in the morning everybody started bashing their pots and pans just after Francesca was born, not to herald her birth but rather to wake everyone up for a pre dawn breakfast! This is Chesky a few months later, on the left, with my beautiful wife.

 

Many friends came to join us in Varanasi, some of them are still there if you want to go and visit them!

 

5 Years of heat, rain, bells and chanting turned our eyes towards the north and we escaped the plains for the green foothills of UttarKashi in the Himalayas. Ranikhet became our home for the next five years.

 

We discovered a ruin of a house with a spring and 300km of uninterrupted views of the great Himalayas. It was surrounded by head high nettles and had a tree growing in the middle of it...Ursula was born in Ranikhet one fresh spring morning, and before long I had to build another house for the girls. Here it is , with my girls.


 

You may wonder what on earth we were doing in all of these places, so since you have read this far I will tell you.The Lord Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the good news of his resurrection to the uttermost ends of the earth. This was one of the times we got there, the province of UttarKhand was the furthest one could go before the forbidden land of Tibetan China. We told all that we encountered of the redeeming love of Christ through his death and resurrection!

 

Ram and family. Some Hindus from the lowest and the highest caste believed and became Yeshu Bhaktas...disciples of the risen one, the one who was dead and who is now alive, who has the keys of Death and Hades. Here is a family from the bottomest caste who believed in Jesus...he also fixed our roof...

 

There are four main castes in India, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras...this poor family did not even manage to make into the bottom of that hierarchy, they were untouchable. In Jesus they have been made to be Sons of God, and co-heirs of his Kingdom, what amazing grace!

 

We lived five years in the Himalayas among hindus. Eliel spoke hindi so fluently that lots of villagers thought he was an Indian. My mother came to join us and worked for some years in a huge private school up the road for rich Hindu boys, and I also was a teacher there. One day we saw African orphans on TV and Dorothea said that we have to do something so we took out our huge Michelin map of Africa that had a pen line scratched from Jhb to Nairobi,(cycle trip!) and we crawled up it looking for Rwanda and the orphans we saw on Tv, and found it. About a year later the indian Gov. refused us another visa, so we went to Zambia to help the orphans.

 

 

 

Fourth Mission: Into Central Africa

 

We caught the bus from South Africa to Luanshya and found a little house in Mpatamatu across the road from Pastor Andrews house. We started a school in the church for orphans, and twenty five came the first day...This is the first day opposite.

 

Justin, Anastasia, and Martha helped us with the first school. Would you like to help us feed these children? Go to zambiancommunityschools.blogspot.com

 


 

After two years we were running 17 schools and had over fifty volunteer teachers. We worked out a system and handed over the operation to the volunteers. The schools now have more than three thousand children. 



Here below is a recent foto of the volunteers, (the lady in the red is my mom, she's working with the orphan schools)



Africa is poor but blessed in Spirit, Europe is materially rich but spiritually poverty stricken.

 

 

Fifth Mission: Back To the Old World

 

We left Zambia around 2005 and prayed for money to go to Spain to preach the gospel. God provided us with a flat in Granada and soon after I met Juan the statue, here on the right:

 

Juan lives in a cave and has a lot of neighbours in caves who I used to share the gospel with. I also met a lot of Hobos who sleep in the streets and made friends with them. The Lord Jesus loves people who are lost and wants us to love them also. People in Europe are not very eager to become Christians so we had quite a lonely time in Granada. We lived there for two years and preached to all our neighbours. Francesca and Ursula started going to school and learned to speak Spanish in record time! I spoke to everyone in Hindi for the first few weeks much to their surprise.

 

It was quite hard for us to live in a little flat in Granada after the wide open spaces of Zambia and India, so one day I went walking across Spain on the Camino de Santiago to pray and seek God's will. I met many other Pilgrims from other countries, some who were religious and some who were not, but found that most wanted to hear about having a relationship with God. When I went back to Granada it was very frustrating to speak to people about God and receive so many rebuffs. I realized that the ground was too hard for seeds to be sown, and after a few months went back onto the Camino, cycling from Seville all the way up through Extremadura and Castilla Leon, sharing with pilgrims about my relationship with Jesus.

 

Passing through a little village in northern Spain I saw sign saying "to rent" so I called the number, looked at the place, and decided then and there that I would return to fetch my family and we would live on the Camino de Santiago and share our lives with the villagers and with the pilgrims. A few weeks later filled our car with dogs, budgies and children, roofracks loaded with boxes and trekked to the north of Spain.

 

My English classWe discovered that the villagers desperatley wanted English Teachers, so thats what we are now...This was my class

 

These kids are really unruly. I am hoping the seeds planted will bear fruit.

 




During this time  I prayed for a Pilgrim Place...and the Lord gave us a house in an abandoned village on the Camino de Santiago, where we are now, as below.



 


We are going to pitch our tents in it and fix it to become a place of refuge for weary Pilgrims.

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