God Helps Those Who Help Themselves


 

God helps 2

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves……….

How many times, were you told these words, when you were a young person growing up and discovering all the wonderful things in life?
Words from parents, family, friends, teachers, perhaps, some suggesting that these were the words of Jesus and at the very least – from the bible.
But, this of course, is not the case; the expression is simply a case of ancient Greek folklore and is not specifically stated in the scriptures

Continue reading “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves”

Mission Malawi – Chapter Twenty-Two


END IN SIGHT?………..

Since February, life has been hectic with the usual spate of attempted robberies, but by the Lords grace we haven’t lost much. It’s very sad to witness the amount of thieving especially from those who come to stay with us saying that they want to be taught the gospel. I guess times are so bad now people will try anything and obviously ‘third world’ Africa is even more desperate. Sadly, one of those we had been teaching for over eight months left on a sour note. We discovered afterwards that he really only wanted us to pay for his education and had managed to deceive us for that whole time. Well, the Lord knows and we have been enriched by the experience.

April 1996
Kathy, the Kids and I left for a short break to Zim at the beginning of April. We had planned to go for three weeks and had left the mission in the capable hands of Andy and Sue. We were a bit concerned because they never had transport, but having had that experience ourselves for six months and learned a great deal, we weren’t too concerned as we would only be away three weeks.

Our funds were extremely low – in fact we didn’t have enough for the journey. We received a message that the headmaster and his teachers from the school where Theresa-Anne has been helping would like to come and visit us before we leave for Zimbabwe.

The visit was really amazing as they all squashed into our little lounge area. The headmaster spoke about this ‘little white haired ‘mzungu’ who had helped so many children with their English studies and how to find their way to the Lord. He said they were very grateful to the Lord for sending Theresa-Anne and thanked Kathy and I as parents for trusting them and allowing Theresa-Anne to go there. They presented TA with a gift wrapped in a cloth. When she opened it later it was K220.00 – exactly enough for us to get to the Zimbabwe border!!!Teaching

Well, well, well. The Combi broke down just before the Mozambique border and we were set for a repeat of the previous year’s journey. My Mom was with us again (as if she hadn’t learnt the last year!!), and we decided to plod on somehow.

Eventually, to cut a long story short, we were helped by a couple who live in Malawi. Their towrope snapped and they were forced to leave us just before the Zim border. We were so grateful for their help as it cost them a whole days journey (and a tow rope!!).

Two men from Zim who were on their way back from Cahora Bassa Dam towed us into Zim with a piece of seat belt less than a meter long!! Both had been drinking beer their whole journey so it was a very hair raising trip to say the least. The Combi breaking system doesn’t work well when the engine is turned off – we spent the last part of the journey praying like we had never prayed before – at 120km per hour!

All was well and we slept the night at a filling station. The next day we plodded on slowly until Kathy’s parents came to the rescue again.VW_kombi_Wheels

The Combi was again sent down to Johannesburg, South Africa, for repairs. Some weeks later, Theresa-Anne and I journeyed to Johannesburg to collect it while the rest of the family stayed on the farm with Kathy’s parents. Unfortunately it wasn’t yet ready. Just to help things along I got a bout of Malaria while waiting in Johannesburg.

The friend that I was staying with took me to a hospital in Johannesburg. I explained to the Doctor on duty that I had come from a Malaria area and that in Malawi we were able to get medicine from their local supermarkets, which was a course of tablets we could take for three days. He simply laughed and said, “who’s the Doctor here?”. I was given aspirin and told to go to bed!!

As the Malaria worsened, I asked my friend to take me to another Hospital where they diagnosed Malaria and gave me the treatment.

Theresa-Anne needed to write her ‘O’ level exams in Lilongwe but there was no way I was able to undertake that journey in my condition. The Lord was good and we were able to set up for her to write in Zimbabwe at the British Consulate. Leaving the almost completed Combi in Johannesburg, back we went to Zimbabwe on a bus and she wrote the exams.

After that, we both again returned to Jo’burg to collect the Combi. Once again the Lord undertook for us and the brother that had previously repaired and paid for the Combi, once again repeated the blessing for us. After final repairs were made, we journeyed back to Zimbabwe to join the rest of the family.

Just outside Harare the fan belt broke and the engine overheated (Oh Lord – how many more times!!).
The Combi came to rest at the entrance to a farm and I went in to seek help. A very precious couple who farmed in the area helped us with a fan belt, but by that time, Kathy’s parents had dispatched help for us from the Farm.

While waiting on the side of the road, some men arrived and tried to distract my attention. While they were busy, one of their group spiked the back tyre. They tried to open the sliding door. When we realised they were trying to steal from us, I drove off in a hurry. It’s then that I felt the flat tyre. We stopped at the first garage to ask for help. While I was at the office, the thieves arrived following us in their car. Theresa-Anne was screaming but I couldn’t hear because the Combi windows were closed. When I saw what was going on, I ran out with the wheel spanner in my hand. I’m afraid my ‘missionary cap’ came off as ran towards them. The gospel was the last thing I was going to give them!! Well, thank the Lord, they took off without any further incident and I drove the combi into town with the flat wheel to the safety of a large hotel.

That was the last straw as far as the Combi was concerned.

As we sat on the farm, we were then seriously challenged as to whether or not it was the Lords will for us to go back to Malawi. Originally planning to be away from the group for 3 weeks, 5 months had passed!

In those five months, the mission in Malawi continued as if we hadn’t been away. During Kathy and my prayer times, we began to sense the Lord was saying that our time there was now complete and we should go back to Joburg and wait on Him for the next season. Those we had worked with over this period of time should now be ‘set free’ to continue sharing the gospel with others as the Lord led them.

The final confirmation came in a prayer time where the Lord showed us that if we were to stay with the Malawi brothers any longer they would begin to find their security in us, rather than the Lord. They needed to take all they had been taught, and start making disciples.

Still beset by further vehicle problems, we eventually got back to Malawi, using one of Kathy’s Dads pickups. To us, this was a further indication that the Malawi season of time was drawing to a close. We had not lost our peace during these latest vehicle challenges but we could feel that overcoming them appeared to be getting more and more difficult – was our Father’s hand of blessing starting to lift off our circumstance? Was He telling us to move on to a new season?

By Gods grace, Andy and Sue and the young men had done a marvelous job during the time we had been away. Teaching was still going strong and the little shop managed to survive, so the work stood the test of five ‘Malawi’ months.spaza

Meantime, Zimbabwe customs went on strike and we were unable to get a permit for the Combi to stay on the farm for an extended time. This meant we would only be able to afford a very quick trip back to the mission in Lilongwe before getting back to Zimbabwe to prevent the Combi being confiscated. Hence a swift journey out of Malawi to save the ailing Combi. At that point we felt the Lord was definitely showing us it was time to close off our part of the Malawi work.

“…time withe Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi – Chapter Twenty One


15.03.96
Well, this is the day that the Lord has made – we will rejoice and be glad in it!! Just a few minutes to share again before the work of the day begins and thoughts are consumed and lost forever.

I finally had a reply from the elders of one of the large denominational churches who had volunteered four mature believers to assist in the outreach. I was truly blessed by that until this morning when they came and withdrew their support on “denominational” grounds. I told them what a terrible disappointment this is for God and that the Devil has now succeeded in dividing a combined attempt to reach the lost.

By Gods grace we are now alone on this little mission. In our weakness He is strong – our hearts are willing and pure for Gods purpose.

Again, anger and disappointment sear through my heart. Please change me Lord. I have a deep peace about what is happening, a peace which can only come from you.

20.03.96
Hallelujah!! – the outreach went ahead. We showed the ‘Jesus Film’ in Chechewa, set up in the middle of the local market on a cool African evening. We couldn’t count how many people came but we estimate around 250. After the film our team began their long awaited turn to preach. Generally, they were warmly received and counselling commenced.evangelism

During the preaching however, a homeless man approached one of our team and stood right in front of him. He moved very close to his face and became very agitated. As our brother tried to preach, the homeless man began to dance and gyrate so as to block him from seeing and talking to the people. Others in our team saw this and ran over to the scene and immediately began praying…recognizing a demonic presence. “Lord we submit to you…by Your power and might clear this stronghold please in Jesus name”. The man sat down on the ground, perfectly still and quiet!

Afterwards each member of our little team were surrounded by a group of people asking questions.

Two home cell groups have been arranged for those who wanted to hear more (including the homeless man!!). Others were sent to local Churches of their choice to attend Sunday services and to gain further teaching and discipling.

Attempts to find accommodation for Andy and Sue have been fraught with misleading and dishonesty at every turn. Housing officials and private people alike. We can’t afford to pay the new rental in the house that they are staying in and so now we are in the Lords hands.

We have just found out that the scooter which was given to us has no spare parts. Amazing that the agents have been misleading us for two months. This means that now Andy and Sue will not have transport when we go to Zim.

Our funds are also extremely limited now as we have had to take funds out of the business for everybody’s needs. How often Lord, will I find myself in this situation? I don’t want to run away from these works that you are doing in me to help me learn to trust you more. I thank you for the grace which you have already poured out on me.

Other ministry work appears to be coming along well. Theresa-Anne teaches English at a local denominational church and this obviously provides much area for sharing with the children. Andy is leading two house groups a week, which he is very blessed about (particularly when he has to walk and ride through tropical thunderstorms to get there!).Teaching

Two of our young men teach “R.I.” (Religious instruction) at the local government school and it’s a joy to see how the little children are responding to the gospel.

We lead two other house groups per week within the area, which deal mainly with marital and other “domestic” challenges. We have prayed much since we came that the Lord would pour out His Spirit over this area, and we are really seeing answers, which is encouraging for those whom we are discipling.

The group we conduct at Customs and Excise is perhaps the most encouraging for us. The Lord has really touched the hearts of these men and women and changes in their lives are reported each week. No doubt the department is seeing the benefit as well!

Kathy and Sue attend an “inter-denominational” Ladies Bible study group where they have some lovely fellowship with the “missionary community”. Today, the group was praying for peace around the world. Kathy and Sue were led to share with the ladies that sometimes the Lord uses war, destruction and famine to turn lost souls to Him and that we should always for HIS will to be done.

I was asked to assist at one of the Home cell groups of a large denominational church, which is proving a real ‘bumpy ride’, as this is a group of real intellectual Ex-Pats from America and England (Help Lord!!). The gospel is simple and experiential, very different to theology, which can sometimes cause barriers when trying to receive the true gospel.

28.03.96
We have been able to successfully register a church (in order to allow us to stay legally in the country – not for the purpose of starting another denomination!!). This process normally takes three years so we can really see Gods hand on this situation and we therefore believe that the Lord may want us here for a while longer.

Kathy and the children are all well. Theresa-Anne has been registered to write her GCSE Cambridge Mathematics and English exams in May and June. The Lord has miraculously opened doors for this to come about and we are very grateful for all the precious people who are helping us here. Please pray for her.

Kathy has begun Simons reading and writing program and they are both enjoying it very much in their little school room out back. Bethany is a bit left out, but Sue is doing a sterling job of keeping her ‘pre-schooled’ for a few hours each day. Daniel (wow, how many more!!) keeps Nanna (my mother) on the hop during school hours.

Wayne is always a great help to us and has become a very practical/mechanical young man. Who would have thought that he would be such a blessing to us from such a young age – bless him as he grows Father. I am so proud of him as I see how he goes about daily chores – busying himself with something, keen to be involved. God has placed deep insight and great sensitivity into this young man and because of that, God will use him always in quiet but effective ways. He has so much to offer others and will give freely as God directs.

Andy and Sue have recovered from all their ‘tropical’ sicknesses and are now well on the way to becoming fully blown African missionaries, having survived many shattered illusions. They are such a great help to us and a real asset to the mission here.

I can’t help but marvel at the Lords power when I think of Andy and Sue. From the day they arrived here to this day, there have been such wonderful changes in their lives as individuals and in their marriage. Many ‘grey’ areas have been cleared up for them and there is a true freedom in their relationship with each other.

Andy, who was on medication for a form of epilepsy, has now been completely healed and no longer takes medication daily (or at all). He does a full normal days’ work including driving, which he was not able to do before. Thank you Jesus for your healing!

Andy shared with me how, with the help of the Lord, he has been able to truly comprehend that his ‘old self’ (the one which suffered these terrible attacks), did in fact, die with Jesus on the cross around 2000 years ago. As he became aware of past hurts and angers in his life, he was able to deal with them. They began to lessen, and so the healing became more and more evident in his life. The past hurts and unforgiveness were an area in his life where the evil one had dominion. This therefore became a stronghold in his life. As he shed these feelings, the light became stronger and stronger, resulting in a physical strengthening.

Mission Malawi is a bi-monthly publication from …”time with the Master…”

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.
If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; http://www.adcrucemchristi.com
Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi – Chapter Eighteen.


30.11.95
Our little grocer business is growing well. How I marvel at the Lords hand. We started off eight months or so ago, with three crates of cold drinks to sell which would give us about K160.00 turn over. Today, by Gods grace we will turn over about K1000.00 per day!

Why not start at the beginning of the series?

As our needs have increased God has blessed the business accordingly, it has just been a case of us watching carefully for the doors HE has opened and obeying HIS word as we go through. Hopefully I will be able to share on a daily basis, the miracles God performs in connection with this business. Up to now there have been so many other things to write.

Malawi RestaurantIn regard to the shop at the market we felt that perhaps a small restaurant would be a good idea. Memories of the last one come flooding back, but this time I believe we have the right ingredients (not just for the food!), and this seems to be in the Lords will and not our strength. We needed a place for people to sit and eat so Titus went to investigate at the site. Almost opposite, there is an open structure which the owner has not been able to use for four months. The only site available in the centre of the market!! What a blessing. Titus will go and negotiate with the owner and we will continue to leave it in the Lords hands.

On the domestic front the Lord has opened the door for much sharing in the area of marriage and past hurts. Sometimes we lose sight of the work which is going on in our own hearts. We become so engrossed in ‘outreach’ we forget that God is trying to work in our own hearts through these external circumstances.

Of course, the ‘Team’ is not exempt and require much pastoring and shepherding. “Christmas” time brings back memories of ‘back home’ – family gatherings and large christmas dinners. How easy it is for us to dwell on those things. It’s in those times of depression that the Lord reveals our hearts once again. He is a jealous God and wants all of our attention.

He does not demand that we don’t love our families, but that the love we have for Him must come first – above all else. As we dwell on the things of family, friends and the world, we are able to see just how much we are still tied to those things in our hearts. God allows this circumstance not that He would gain some malicious joy from seeing us in pain, but that we would be aware of just what percentage of our hearts love him and where the balance is. We must pray to receive this teaching and not become downcast and miss what God is showing us.

We are hoping to go up to the Lake next weekend and see if the Lord will open up some land for us. It seems that all land sale has been suspended along the lakeshore until government surveying is complete.

05.12.95
Today we placed a larger than normal bread order due to an increase in our sales. The bread delivery was due as usual around 7:30 in the evening. The day’s sales in the shop weren’t good and by 3:30pm we hadn’t had enough money to pay for the bread.

As we sat in our lounge area wondering what to do, we noticed an unfamiliar white car rolling backwards passed our drive entrance. It was being closely followed by a rather large lady trying to chase it!Christian synchronicity

We rushed out to see that the car had stopped just short of a deep drainage ditch outside our pavement. The driver got out the car and started shouting at the lady for allowing the car to go backwards. Once the situation calmed, we discovered they they had run out of petrol and the wife was trying to push the car uphill past our house. When she could no longer manage she simply stepped aside and the car rolled backwards!

We were led to invite them in and I asked Arthur if he would mind taking the husband into town in the Combi to buy some fuel.

This was not something I would normally do because I was aware that the Combi was our only form of transport. We relied on it 100% and I didn’t want it exposed to any danger unless we really needed to use it.

On his return, the husband was clearly shaken. He said that he had never experienced such kindness –especially from white people!

He asked me if he could contribute to the petrol we had used taking him into town and proceeded to stuff some notes into my pocket. I didn’t take much notice of what he had put in my pocket and we enjoyed the rest of their visit. They duly left – very grateful for what had happened.

By 7:00pm the bread delivery hadn’t arrived and we had mixed feelings of relief – having not enough money to pay and anxiety because our order hadn’t arrived.

We counted the day’s takings from the shop and we were K135.00 short for the bread payment. Kathy reminded me of the money in my pocket. I pulled it out and counted – K135.00 exactly!!

08.12.95
Theresa-Anne has been asked to help teach English at the local Baptist Church School. Even though she is still busy with her ‘O’ Level qualification and is so young, the need for English teaching is so great. She has agreed to help them every day for no pay so that the arrangement will not break the law in any way.

Arthur takes her to the school each day on the bike.

10.12.95
Arthur has requested to go back to South Africa for a break over the Christmas holidays. He is such a blessing to us and we will miss him, even for this short time.

“…time withe Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

Mission Malawi – Chapter Thirteen


Zimbabwe

July 1995 – August 1995

 Kathy’s parents had asked us to please return to Zimbabwe for the birth of our 5th child. They had kindly offered to pay for all the costs and also knew of a Christian doctor who would oversee the birth. I asked Titus if he would like to accompany us because he had never been out of Malawi before. He was very excited.

19.07.95

It’s wonderful how the Lord has brought us to this lovely place at Lake Kariba, in the Northern part of Zimbabwe. The ‘Cabanas’ belong to Zimbabwe Sun and the unit we are staying in is part of Kathy’s parents time share. The contrast of life is amazing. How good the Lord is to allow us to experience different types of living. We need to learn to trust Him more and really KNOW that He will never forsake us. Kariba

 Kathy is starting to feel uncomfortable now and we expect that something should happen soon, by Gods grace. We are about 500km from the hospital that she has been booked into, but the Lord knows!!

05.08.95

Praise the Lord! After two weeks overdue date, Kathy and I are blessed with another little boy. We have decided to call him Daniel Stephen. The birth was another wonderful testimony to the Lord. Although Daniel was the heaviest of all the children, his birth has been the easiest. The doctor, a precious brother in the Lord, said Kathy would be his ‘tithe’ patient and so we did not have to pay for his services. We were blessed by Kathy’s parents who kindly met the hospital bill for us. We are truly so grateful for all these faithful people who are so willing to open their hearts to us in obedience to the Lord.

 10.08.95

We have been blessed with more gifts of money to be able to buy some groceries to take back to Malawi with us. There is also enough to have a new tent made for the little caravan/trailer that the Lord blessed us with in South Africa.

 One day while I was standing in the queue at the Mozambique embassy, a man came up to me and began to ask me some questions about Malawi. A Zimbabwean, he owned an art museum in America and was trying to find certain types of wood carvings to take back to America with him. After chatting for some ten minutes, he disappeared to the front of the line where he collected his passport from a man who had been in the line on his behalf.

 About 15 minutes later he came back as though he was looking for someone in particular. As our eyes met, he said, “Ah, I’ve been looking for you”. A bit taken a back, I wondered why he was looking for me. He then asked me what line of business I was in. The Lord opened a door for me to share briefly with him. Right there, in the queue, he took out his wallet and blessed me with two hundred Zimbabwe dollars. It was the exact amount we needed to finish the last of our shopping. The man in front of me couldn’t believe his eyes. He said to me afterwards, “But that guy didn’t even know you!!”

 How great is the Lord. If I had complained and had not stood in that line for as long as I did, I would have certainly missed the blessing the Lord had planned for us….”

With our new addition safely in the arms of Mom and Kathy’s family, we planned our return trip to ‘Area 49’ in Lilongwe.

Area 49
Area 49 Lilongwe Malawi

Kathy and the children would stay with her parents until strong enough to come back to Malawi. Her parents had once again kindly offered to pay for them to fly back when she was ready.

17. 08.95

After much planning, praying and packing, Titus and I are ready to leave for Malawi. We plan to leave at 4:00am. All being well, we can expect to get to Lilongwe at about 4:00pm. A long 12 hour journey. This journey is difficult for me as there are always ‘niggly’ challenges at the border posts. I believe from time gone by, in the days of white supremacy in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, there has been left a certain amount of unforgiveness and anger towards white people by some of the custom and immigration officials of these countries.

 Whilst I can appreciate the very difficult job these people have, their attitudes always appear to show their desire to have their authority respected. I am blessed that the Lord uses them to humble me.

 Arriving back in Lilongwe, the Lord has really granted us favour with men, apart from the Malawi customs gentleman who was very angry at Titus because he spoke in English! We have found Arthur Jacob, Patrick and Joseph all well and mightily blessed.

 The Lord has had His hand on the little businesses and they have all grown. Thank you Lord.

 18. 08. 95

After going to bed filled with the joys of returning to faithful brethren, we are awakened with a terrible shock. The Combi is up on pieces of log and stone – all four tyres and rims stolen!

I can’t find words to describe our disappointment. Somebody in our locality knew that we had arrived and had informed the thieves. All four new tyres given to us in South Africa a few months before, especially for Malawian conditions, had been stolen!Stolen Tyres

My first thought is: “Why Lord?”. As I ponder deeper on those words, the Lord shows me that actually, I have no right to even ask such a question. What right does a selfish sinner have to question the Almighty and powerful, everlasting God who knows all things?

 God, in His infinite wisdom had allowed this thing to happen and all I desired to find out was what lesson was in it for me. At this time the anger within me is too great to see very much.

Mission Malawi is published by “…time with the Master…” on a bi-monthly basis.

“…time with the Master…” is an on-going series of teachings, about lifestyle in the Church and is also published bi-monthly.
If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’
button).

 

 

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves


 

God helps 2

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves……….

How many times, were you told these words, when you were a young person growing up and discovering all the wonderful things in life?
Words from parents, family, friends, teachers, perhaps, some suggesting that these were the words of Jesus and at the very least – from the bible.
But, this of course, is not the case; the expression is simply a case of ancient Greek folklore and is not specifically stated in the scriptures

Continue reading “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves”