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There is something about Cape Town at this
time of year that fills one with anticipation. It has been a long, dry summer
and the Western Cape water crisis is at its peak. Dam levels are at record
lows…so low that the water literally tastes and smells like pond scum. But
there is the promise of winter rains…good rain has brought an end to the
drought stricken areas in the northern parts of southern Africa. By God’s grace
and mercy, we pray that the rains for this area will be moderate, but sufficient
to stem the tide, as it were.
Politically, the country faces yet another
crossroad. The current situation is being likened to the excesses of the
Apartheid era. Calls for the resignation of the current President are heard
throughout the land from every sector of society, including from within his own
party. People euphemistically speak about this period as a “very interesting
time”. Indeed.
But biblically, drought and political
instability have often served to bring God’s people to their knees and the
situation in southern Africa is no different. This past week, 1.7 million
people gathered on cleared farmland in the Free-State area specifically to pray
for the country. In churches across the land, God’s people are being called to
pray…and God has promised that when His people turn to Him, He will turn to
them, hear their prayers, and heal their land.
So, we are all anticipation on so many
levels.
On a personal note, Louise and I are still
trying to sort ourselves out as far as settling in is concerned. We do have our
South African ID booklets and a place of residence, but we are still working on
our driver’s licenses and getting Louise’s mum’s car in her name. Yes, we have
purchased the Queen’s blue chariot. While this is not ideal for long distance
travel, it does get us around the Cape area and will have to suffice until we
can raise more funds.
It seems strange to talk about culture
shock, as South Africa, and Cape Town in particular, is Louise’s home country,
but things change over the course of twenty years and we have found that,
although the country has a 1st world veneer, the reality is a lot
different. In spite of the fact that many modern things are in place, such a
fibre optic cable, it takes a long time for anything to actually work. Life is
also a lot more expensive than we remember and we will really have to budget
carefully as we plot our course forward.
Much to my disappointment, we did not get
to train the team up in Mozambique…yet…the training has been postponed for
various reasons and we are waiting on the Bishop there to give us a new date.
Please pray that this all falls into place sooner rather than later as the
folks on the ground really want to get this discipleship program up and
running!
Louise and I have moved into our new office
as well. The GtC Director, Trevor and our fellow team member, Wayne have worked
tirelessly in making this a beautiful and very functional environment for us.
In many ways they have all spoiled us rotten! They are very gentle in allowing
us to find our place in the team slowly but surely. We also have our official
GtC email addresses thanks to Michael and Rae…and they are:
Note that these are not personal, but
official emails, so please continue to use Vanderbijl@gmail.com
for all other correspondence.
Our new snail mail (for letters and small,
flat articles only) address is:
201 The Chelsea
Electric Road
Wynberg 7800
Cape Town, South Africa
For care packages or any other larger
deliveries, please use:
Braehead House
1 Braehead Road
Kenilworth 7708
Cape Town, South Africa
Our South African Telephone number is: +27
(72) 958-5845
Please do let us hear from you soon! We
love you and want to stay connected.
Many blessings and hugs.

Johann and Louise

Has the whole world gone mad?

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Has the whole world gone mad? Political turmoil seems to be a common denominator across the globe. 
As we prepare to leave the US for our new assignment in southern Africa, we are receiving disturbing reports of riots, marches, destructive behaviour or protestors, and call for the removal of the President. Add to that the concern about the lack of water in the western Cape…dam levels are at their lowest in living memory. (See links below.)
Surely this is a call to prayer if ever there was one.
I am reminded of a prayer practiced by Mark Batterson. He calls it the 7:14 prayer as it is based on 2 Chronicles 7:14. At 7:14 AM every morning, he and his parishioners hit their knees and pray for the healing of their land. May I ask you all to join Louise and me in this type of prayer for southern Africa? 
God willing, we will leave for Cape Town on April 10 via Addis Ababa. As we only have one and a half hours lay-over in Addis, we are praying that either the flight from Washington DC is early and that a favourable wind blows us over the Atlantic so that we arrive a lot earlier than expected or that the flight from Addis to Cape Town is delayed…we would prefer to arrive in Cape Town with our luggage rather than without! 
Louise’s family will meet us at the airport and take us to Villiersdorp where we have to do so many things before moving into our new wee flat in Wynberg on Friday! We have to collect our new South African IDs as we are considered residents now. We also have to open a South African bank account and get South African driver’s license. YIKES! All in a few days…pray that this will be possible. We would rather get our licenses in a small town than in the city!
Growing the Church has let us know that we will be going to Mozambique to train a team of disciplers there beginning April 25. Please pray for our acquisition of visas at the border…this has become possible again since the cease-fire agreement, but it can be a sticky process for US passport holders.
All in all, our visit to the US has been wonderful. We have some great memories of times with our children and grandchildren to take with us, we have managed to catch with many dear friends, and have made many new friends as well. God has spoiled us thoroughly and we are thankful. 
SAMS has let us know that we are closer to our support goal, but that we still need about $700 per month extra. We know that quite a few folk promised to become part of our support team, but they may not have given yet. Pray that we will be fully funded by the time we leave.
We are grateful to all or our wonderful team members. Thank you for your faithfulness to the spread of the Gospel.
We will send you our snail mail address as soon as we know what it is. For those who have sent care-packages before, this will be so much more secure than before!
With much love and blessings.
Johann and Louise van der Bijl

Resting in relationship

It seems to me that most of my posts of late have been teetering on the edge of frantic. Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now!
But last evening I was reminded that our journey in life is all about relationship. The Psalmist indicates that while some trust in the power or generosity of fellow humans, he trusts in the name of the Lord his God. And trust presupposes relationship.
Someone recently said that our going to serve in southern Africa was because we are obedient. That is true, but even willing obedience is founded upon relationship.
If we did not know that our God is who He is, we would not be going. We are going because the God who demonstrated His love for the world in sacrificing Himself to make such a relationship possible has called us to go. And He who calls us is faithful. Like a good shepherd, He cares and provides for each sheep.
The proof of this is, of course, His Word. There we see in the lives of each biblical character that what He has promised, He will do. And indeed history, both general and personal, bears witness to this reality. As we look on back down the path into the past we can honestly say that the Lord has always been with us and has always done what is best for us.

So, we rest in His goodness, kindness, graciousness, mercy, love, wisdom, and power, knowing full well that we are not alone. He has promised that as we go into His world to make disciples of all nations, He will be with us even to the end of the age.
We have booked our tickets!

We have booked our tickets!

We have booked our tickets to Cape Town!
No, we are not yet fully funded, but we made the decision to move forward anyway for several reasons.
·      We believe the Lord has challenged us to do this trusting Him as the one who has called us to this work. It was as if the Lord was saying, “Stop praying about it and just do it.” So we did…
·      Many folks have told us they would sign up and we trust that they will…they just have not yet. Others have promise to increase their current support as well.
·      The country of South Africa is becoming increasingly unstable and we feel we need to be there and do what the Lord has called us to do…to teach teachers the reconciling message of the Gospel.
·      Louise’s mum is becoming increasingly frail and we believe now is the time for Louise to spend as much quality time with the Queen as possible.
·      SAMS-USA has considered our request and given us their blessing even though they will certify us for a shorter period until our full support comes in.
We still have quite a few stops to make before we leave the US on April 10 and believe that we are yet to make many new friends along the way. Our children and grandchildren will also need to see us before we leave…it will be tough saying goodbye, but we know that there will be many more opportunities to visit in the future.
If you have not yet signed up to support us, may we ask you all to prayerfully consider doing so as soon as possible, please?
Just click this link and complete the form:
We trust that you will all continue to pray with and for us as we enter into this new phase of our lives. Please do let us know how we can pray for y’all as well. Keep sending those newsy emails…they are a source of great encouragement as they serve to remind us of our worldwide connections!
Thank you all for your love.
Blessings.
Johann and Louise
Easy Peasy
OR…make checks out and send them to:
SAMS-USA
P. O. Box 399
Ambridge, PA 15003
Please be sure toclearly state that the check is intended for Johann and Louise van der Bijl.

If you wish to support our vehicle/travel fund, do so via check only and write in the memo line: van der Bijl vehicle fund