Dear Family and Friends,
Glory to God!! How are you?
Many of you tell me that I always say it, but this last trip was one of the most awesome I’ve ever been a part of! I had the glorious privilege of carrying the cross in South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana. The beauty of God’s creation there is unbelievable–sunsets and sunrises are spectacular, majestic animals roam freely, and each night thousands of stars glisten like diamonds in the wide-open sky. The beauty and simplicity of the African people, though, is what truly touched our hearts and challenged us daily to examine our own lives as to what is really important.
Thank you so much for praying for us! Every day we could tell someone was praying. Our long trip with two small children went well and God gave us a wonderful place to stay. In each country, there was such hunger to know Jesus. Daily, people would wait on the side of the road or literally run down the roads, saying, “I saw the cross. Can you tell me how I can know Jesus?!” In many of the countries, the local and national news media came out and reported on the cross and our message of Jesus. One national newspaper even ran a cover story, “U.S. Pastor bears cross for Africans’ Salvation.” In each interview, I was able to clearly tell the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection and how we can give our lives to Him and receive eternal life. I tell you, it was so glorious!
I’ll forever remember one rainy morning in Mozambique as I was praying beside the Indian Ocean. I was tired, lonely, wet, and cold, and I just wanted to know that I was hearing God’s voice and doing exactly what He wanted. After praying for a while and reading a bit in my Bible, I got up, put the cross on my shoulder, and began walking down the road. I hadn’t walked more than fifty meters when a truck passed me and then backed up to where I was. The driver was shaking his head, and with tears in his eyes, he said, “God is great! God is great!” He had been a Major General in Ethiopia but had fled with his wife with the overthrow of the last regime. Miraculously, they had crossed six borders without a passport or visa, but were now living in Mozambique under United Nations Political Asylum status. They no passport, they could make up to $150 each month, they had to change their names, and they had not seen their three children for four years. His wife was a strong believer, but felt he was “not clean” and couldn’t be forgiven because he had killed so many people. He said, “I saw the cross, and Something told me that you could tell me how I could be clean.” There by the ocean, I had the beautiful privilege of seeing God answer a wife’s prayers for her husband–and my own prayer about whether or not I was doing His will–as I was able to “explain from the Scriptures” and help lead this Ethiopian in his “chariot” to Jesus.
God’s constant guidance and protection were absolutely amazing. One day the pouch with all my money, return airline ticket, and passport somehow fell out of my backpack in the capital city of Zimbabwe, Harare. I probably don’t have to tell you, but when I realized it was missing, I suddenly had a terrible, sinking feeling in my stomach. I want you to know, I prayed for God’s protection and help in finding it! Isn’t it amazing, though, how patient and caring God is with each of us … and not just when we’re on cross-carrying mission trips!! After nearly two hours in this African city of over one million people, I found my pouch completely intact–not even one penny was missing!
On another day in Botswana, I had just arrived in the city of Molepolole.It was dusk, and I had nowhere to sleep. Before leaving for Africa, my good friend, Roz Heyns from Shekinah / Kalibu Ministries, a powerful ministry to the troubled nations of our world, called and told me their team might be in Molepolole preparing for a crusade for later in the year, and I should look them up … I just didn’t have an address or telephone number! However, the first person I asked in this “village” of 50,000 – 75,000, “just happened” to be the person the Shekinah team was staying with. They were all so gracious and full of Jesus, and I had the wonderful opportunity of being with them a couple of days as we shared Jesus in the area!
I think one of the greatest joys in carrying the cross is meeting some of the most wonderful people in the world. Perhaps the greatest sorrow of what we do is growing close to those people and then having to leave. This was especially true with the Wit family in Durban, South Africa. We’ve known them since 1986, but we’ve never really had a lot of time together. I was so blessed at the way they opened their home to us. Neik and I enjoyed our fellowship, and he truly became a lifelong friend.
Again, we just want to say thanks. Thanks for your friendship and example of Jesus. It is a glorious privilege to serve and follow Jesus. That privilege just grows as we have the opportunity to see Him through your eyes and hear Him through friends like you. God bless you!! Thanks for loving God so much!! Hope to see you soon!
God Bless You!!