Johann and Louise: Training Disciples to Make Disciples in Southern Africa
Recently I was thinking about the post-crucifixion yet pre-resurrection disciples.
What was going through their minds as they spent what must have felt like the longest Sabbath of their lives behind locked doors? They had no idea of what their future held...all they knew was that their dreams and messianic expectations had been shattered the day before.
In once sense this feeling of despair is similar to what people all over our planet are experiencing right now as they spend what feels like the longest social separation period of their lives. Our leaders have to make decisions with regard to very much an unknown entity. Even those with the greatest scientific minds among us do not know what tomorrow may bring. But this much we all know: the Covid-19 virus has changed our lives globally.
But those of us who live in this post-resurrection age, know something even greater. We know that even the darkest night is as day to the one who is seated on the throne and who has won the victory over Satan, sin, and death. Like the disciples on that very dark Sabbath day, we may not know what the future may look like exactly, but unlike them we do know that He who upholds all things by the word of His power is still working out His good purposes and He will bring us through this valley so that we might lie down in green pastures beside still waters . We know that there is a table set for us and a cup that is overflowing and that goodness and mercy is ours in this life and the next. We know because we serve a God who is absolutely sovereign and absolutely good.
In the meantime, as we wait for the outcome of this pandemic, we must live life as best we can to His glory and for His honour. As followers of Jesus we still have a responsibility to be salt and light in the world and to demonstrate the love of God through our actions.
Though Louise and I are not able to continue training people in the art of disciple making as we have in the past, we can show God's care in tangible ways. In our village of Villiersdorp, many school children no longer have access to the usual free school meal as the schools have been closed. We recently heard about a group of local women who had begun to feed these children from their own homes in the informal settlement...however, as they are also unable to generate an income because of the lockdown rules, they soon ran out of ingredients. They approached a non profit group in town to ask for assistance. The result is that an interdenominational group now works together to supply basic ingredients for meals for over 1000 children.
But, as you can imagine, this is difficult to maintain as every person that is part of this program is equally unable to generate an income. And so we thought we might make an appeal to ask for your help...once again.
We do not want to make this appeal too public as those who are viewed as having resources are often targeted. In this sense, we are limited to this email appeal...other social media outlets are too open.
We have spoken with SAMS-USA and they have said we could use our existing project account to solicit funds for this feeding program. If you are so moved to participate in this dire need, you may either do so online or by check the same way you give to us on a regular basis...only make sure the memo line has both our names on it as well as "Covid-19 assistance". SAMS-USA will hold us accountable for every cent that is given to this program - and thankfully this group has an auditor who keeps their books according to the government rules for NGO's.
We are trying to raise $3,400 that will give these children meals over a ten week period.
If you know of anyone else who may be interested in providing relief aid for our children, please share our appeal with them, but I do ask that you will do so as privately as possible. We have already had problems with looting of shops and home break-ins in our community.
Thank you for your support...but most of all, thank you for your prayers.
All our love
Johann and Louise
Blog Note: What will your donation accomplish?
Johann wrote this appeal three weeks ago, and the number of hungry children has continued to grow. The costs for feeding 1,000 children were a staggering sum of 7,000 ZAR per day. That is an enormous sum in their culture. What does it equal in U.S. dollars?Slightly over $400. Yes. They are feeding 1000 children for $400 per day.
So what will your gift do?
$5.00 will feed 12 children for a day.
$10.00 will feed a child for over 3 weeks.
If you would like to join Johann and Louise in helping feed these children please donate generously.
Support the Children and please remember to say it is for COVID-19 in the memo.
Who are Johann and Louise?
Johann and Louise Vanderbijl spent two years helping to develop the St. Frumentius Seminary in Gambella, Ethiopia. At present, they are mostly working in Southern Africa where they are serving in seven southern African countries, although they continue to work with the Diocese of Egypt, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa as well as other southern and northern African countries, through engaging in a disciple making movement in order to grow the body of Christ. They are partnering with J-Life and other like-minded ministries. This ministry is massive and has the ability to reach thousands.
Their mailing address is:
PO Box 399 Ambridge PA 15003
Attention to: Johann and Louise van der Bijl
They are sent through SAMS (the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders,) a missionary sending community, engaging in building relationships with the worldwide church to experience the broken restored, the wounded healed, the hungry fed, and the lost found through the love and power of Jesus Christ. SAMS would also appreciate your support for their World Relief Fund.