Sitting in the JFK International airport in New York during late August, Robert and I were prepared to board our China Airlines flight to Indonesia. We purposefully bought a one-way ticket as we knew that we would be purchasing a ticket to South Africa and then on to Zambia following our time in Bali. Much to our surprise, we were informed by China Airlines that until we produced a departure ticket from Bali that they would refuse to allow us to board the aircraft. We had not yet decided if we were going to spend one month (or the maximum of two allotted on a USA Tourist Visa) in Bali, but since we were being forced into purchasing tickets – we had to make an immediate decision. Of course, our Heavenly Father knew all that would transpire in our time in Bali (before the foundations of the world) and as it turned out – the two months we decided to spend there was certainly by the hand of Providence.
So, with limited time and sitting in the airport terminal, we logged onto the site we usually book our travel tickets through. There were two flights that were the cheapest flights available for the dates we were looking at. When we booked our tickets to South Africa, we chose the flight that had a 17-hour layover in Hong Kong. Robert and I have never been the tourist type. However, we have certainly been blessed to be able to experience and see many great wonders all around the world: Table Mountain in Cape Town; the Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia; the prestige sandy beaches of Sanur in Bali, Indonesia and so much more – but we have never gone to a place with the thought of expressly going anywhere as tourists except for on this trip.
Since our flight to Hong Kong would be arriving early in the morning and our departure wouldn’t be until late at night, we thought that it would be great to exit the airport and spend most of the day exploring the city. Upon our arrival in Hong Kong, we were both still very tired. So, we found some seats that were sleep friendly (at least as good as you can get at an airport) and caught a few more hours of sleep. Afterward, we got a bite of the local (kosher) fare for breakfast and then made our way to purchase train tickets that would take us into the city center where we would then catch the bus to the Victoria peak where we would get to look out over the entire city.
As we were standing at the counter to purchase the tickets, we looked up at a billboard advertisement affixed on two great pillars / columns. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw that one of the signs was advertising about Zambia! Of all the country’s in the world and this sign had Zambia on it?! We looked at each other in complete awe. Just behind these two pillars was yet another two pillars and one of these pillars also had an advertisement for international banking in Zambia. Two witnesses!
After we made our way into the city, we made our way through one of the enormous shopping centers and upon exiting decided to take a few quick photos – before attempting to catch the bus. In the moments that followed, we couldn’t help but wonder if this is what it felt like to be a contestant on the hit reality show, “Amazing Race”, because we simply could not figure out how the whole city bus system worked. Thankfully, after about 30 minutes of walking around and looking completely lost and bewildered, we finally figured out how to catch the correct bus.
Up to the top of the double decker bus and front and center was where Robert decided we should sit for this surprise adventure! Over the next thirty minutes – our bus took us through the city of Hong Kong and up the winding hills on what appeared to be very narrow streets – with too many cars – and finally to our intended destination – Victoria Peak! Here at the top of Victoria Peak (named after the same Queen Victoria for whom the world famous Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia is named)) you can walk around and enjoy the shopping center, catch an over-priced bite to eat and most of all – take in all the breath-taking views of the city!
We spent several hours on the peak. During this time, in obedience to what he felt the Spirit was calling him to do, Robert went to the edge overlooking the city and proclaimed prophetic Scripture over the city. Amazingly, when we landed in Johannesburg, the Spirit would also call us to go to the top of “Mount Zion” (a prayer retreat in Germiston, South Africa) and proclaim the very same Scriptures over the city of Johannesburg. I quietly sat and prayed and allowed Robert to do what the Spirit had called him to do.
Note: Luke 17:26-37 & Revelation 18, 19 & 20:1-6 are the passages of Scripture Robert was led to proclaim.
Following our time on the peak, we headed back to the airport where we would finish up our time in the city of Hong Kong as tourists. Soon afterward, we boarded the plane for our long flight to Johannesburg. This would be our second time returning to South Africa since we left unexpectedly in 2013, following our 3 years of residency there. We knew we wanted to stay in Jo’ burg for a couple of weeks in order to be able to reconnect with many of our dear friends there (who are very much like family to us). During this time, we were also scheduled for a short conference over 3 evenings to minister at the South African branch of Yahweh Pentecostal Ministries.
Yahweh Pentecostal Ministries is the ministry where we ministered at in Livingstone, just before leaving Zambia in June of this year. We had originally met the pastors of the local South African branch (which had just newly been formed – but was growing very rapidly) for a brief introduction during our 3 day layover in June. Those 2 weeks in Johannesburg went by so quickly. They were filled with a constant flow of go, go, go!
It was during that time we saw many great miracles and answers to prayer. First, our dear friend from the USA, Carolyn Chambliss – was finally reported cancer free and had managed to successfully quit smoking by the favor of Yahweh. She had even been told that she wouldn’t have to see her heart doctor for another 6 months!
Secondly, our good friends the Keuris’ youngest son was diagnosed with Scarlet fever (which can be highly contagious) and had a rash all over his body. We were supposed to get together with them and several other friends on a Sunday afternoon – but they unfortunately had to cancel. At that time, we sent out our prayer request asking many of you to pray for his healing. The very next day – on the day we were originally scheduled to get together – they contacted us and told us that their son was miraculously healed. The rash was completely gone! Therefore, they re-invited us to come over. It was truly a special time not only getting to see them and their three precious sons but to also see the tangible miracle right in front of our eyes!
Thirdly, we had received word from one of our spiritual daughters (Joy) that her dad was in the hospital and they were expecting him to have to go for surgery to remove his gall bladder. He had been sick and unresponsive to treatment for many days. Immediately, upon hearing this news, we sent out an urgent request for prayer – and miraculously – within the very same hour – before some even had the opportunity to read the message – she sent word that the doctors had informed them that surgery wasn’t going to be necessary because his body was responding favorably to the medicine. What could we do but respond with spontaneous worship – giving praise to Yahweh!
Fourthly, our dear sister Melissa’s son was in a horrible automobile accident. There were 3 young men in the car and the driver of the car was driving recklessly. It was said that he was going 140km in a 40km zone when he lost control of the car and hit the side bank – totaling the car. Miraculously, all 3 boys walked away with no injuries. Melissa is a praying mama and the Spirit spoke to her heart and told her that the only reason those boys were spared was because of her fervent prayers for protection over her son and that if he had not been in the car the life of the other two boys would not have been spared!
Lastly, Robert and I often book a place to stay in our travels through the Airbnb website (www.airbnb.com). We have travelled all around the world and had many successful accommodations through this site. Airbnb is a place where homeowners advertise a private room, small villa or their entire home for rent – accommodating just about any budget. We really enjoy booking our travel this way because we get to meet so many wonderful people and because we also get to customize the accommodation we are looking for to meet both our financial needs and the amenities we desired.
Note: If you decide to try to use AIRBNB for the first time, based on our recommendation, then please let us know via e-mail and we can arrange to have a nice discount coupon sent to you and we’ll receive one as well.
During this particular stay our booking had us very close to one of the many malls throughout Jo’ burg. One afternoon as we were leaving from our shopping at the mall, a fellow shopper inquired about my shirt – which has the verse from Philippians 4:13 printed on the back. She told us that her daughter really liked that verse because it was her late dad’s favourite. We began to chat and during our conversation she invited us to join them for worship. Our initial plan to join them on Sunday morning didn’t work out, so she then invited us to join in their weekly house fellowship the following Tuesday night.
When we arrived at the fellowship we were soon greeted by the approximately 20 attendees and then invited to share a meal with everyone present. Being Indian in nationality, they served us a variety of traditional Indian food as well as authentic Indian curry. Robert and I both really enjoy the great flavours of traditional Indian food and really enjoyed the meal, but most of all we enjoyed the fellowship. It was as if we were part of the group even though we were first time guests.
They even asked us to share a little about ourselves and our work as missionaries. We finished the night off by going around and praying for all the needs mentioned and then they gathered around us and prayed for us and the work we are called to do. Certainly, it is good when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity! And we know that we know that the promise of the Word that all our steps are ordered by Yahweh is certainly true for us all. There are no coincidences in the Kingdom of Yahweh and our “chance” meeting with Kas and all the wonderful people of the cell group was certainly ordained by Yahweh.
Our time ministering at Yahweh Pentecostal Ministries was fruitful and a blessing. The local South African branch is in a highly populated Muslim community in Jo’ burg. During our time with the pastors, they expressed a real desire to reach out to their community and build a house of worship for all those in the area who were not Muslims. They also have a genuine heart to minister to the Muslims. Please pray for them!
They are currently meeting in the home of the local pastors, as they are a newly formed congregation but they are growing rapidly. Their small garage was packed full for the 3 evenings of our ministry. They are praying and believing that the Father will make a permanent place for them to worship in their local community and give them the space they need to continue to grow.
We were very blessed that one of our former students from the township of Vosloorus could come for one of the meetings along with her friend and his children. Ever since we met Ntombi in 2011, we have maintained regular contact with one another. She is the only student of our original class that we continue to maintain meaningful contact with. She is a very dear and precious sister to us. On the last day of our ministry at YPM, our very dear friend Martin Nell and his wife Kim (whom we met for the first time since they had married – within the last year) attended the service. It was SOOOO Great to see Martin again and to get to meet Kim.
We were further blessed to be able to get together with them one more time later in the week before they returned to the Eastern Cape area (where they currently reside) and we left for Zambia. Martin has been a true and constant brother and friend to Robert. He walked with us in prayer through some of our toughest times in South Africa. He was / is truly a friend that sticketh closer than a brother! (Proverbs 18:24)
During those two weeks in Jo’ burg, we also got to reconnect with so many other dear friends and family. I can’t even begin to tell you in this short letter what every one of them mean to us personally. For those of you who have been long term followers of us and our ministry, you already know that our time in South Africa hasn’t always been produced the most pleasant memories. So, to be able to return to South Africa during this season and be able to laugh loudly, find faithful fellowship and eat lots of good food with many of our dearest friends and covenant family was like the healing balm of Gilead.
Our final night in South Africa, we sat around a table at a local favourite restaurant and laughed, talked and shared our hearts one more time. As I looked around the table, tears swelled up in my eyes – as I really realized – for every wicked thing that had happened to us in South Africa – the good that came from our time there was very, very good! For the first time since we left South Africa in 2013, I was completely thankful for everything we had been through in our 3 long years of living there because without the wicked I couldn’t of known how good the good really was!
Boarding the plane for Zambia, we had a general idea of what we were to expect upon landing in Livingstone – but we were about to see the hand of Yahweh move mightily on our behalf in great and might ways once again.
To be continued…