Saturday, December 17, 2016

Holy Expectancy

In many ways, Advent has taken on a new meaning for us personally. It has always been a time for expectant reflection, but as we now find ourselves in a period of transition between two ministries, the sense of expectation is heightened as we look to the one who loved the world so much that He came and gave His life for us. His coming and giving compels us to come and give too so that others may know Him and His love.

In this season of holy expectancy, would you prayerfully consider joining in what God is doing through us in our new ministry context? There are so many ways you can be part of our ministry - through prayer, through various forms of communication, through being our ambassadors in your contexts, and, of course, through financial support. Also, if you know of anyone who might be interested in our new ministry, please put them in touch with us.

Our personal SAMS page still lists us as missionaries to Ethiopia, and this will change once we have greater clarity on our new situation, but the giving link remains the same.

As always, we covet your prayers.

Thank you so much for all your love, support, and encouragement.

Advent blessings to you all.

May the reality of His birth and its blessed consequence in our rebirth touch you deeply this Christmastide and throughout the new year.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Walking with Jesus into His future...

Who can believe we are nearly at the end of yet another year…and at the beginning of a new one filled with all sorts of God-ordained moments?

Like being seated next to a male stripper on a plane from Johannesburg to Cape Town…

I had a captive audience for nearly three hours as I witnessed to the love of God shown so clearly in Jesus! Wynand and I parted as if we were old friends and I pray now for his journey with Jesus every day.

As you know, Louise and I have been on a journey since leaving Gambela. So many of our dear friends and family confirmed our move that if it wasn’t for the emotional ties with our dear brethren in Ethiopia, the transition might even have been classified as easy.

We have explored different options, but believe that the Lord is leading us to work with an Anglican organisation named Growing the Church, or GtC for short. However, this move is subject to SAMS approval.

So far, we have met with the GtC Director and team members (several times!), the GtC Board, Diocesan Coordinators, and Elders. Tomorrow, we will be meeting the Archbishop and the Suffragan Bishop as well.

GtC works in seven southern African areas: South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, and the island of St Helena.

In many ways, GtC is a logical extension of what we have been doing for so many years of our life in Africa, India, and in the US. Mobilising church members to do what they are called by God to do is very much part of who we are as His servants. (We have included the GtC Job Description below for your perusal.)

God willing, we will return to the US mid January to meet with SAMS Leadership, take a course in Discipleship at Trinity, take a course in short-term missions training at SAMS, visit our children and grandchildren, visit as many of our supporters as humanly possible (what would we do without y’all?!), attend a debriefing session in PA, and seek our more support as the cost of living in South Africa will be higher than that in Gambela. The timing of our return to the field will be contingent on sufficient funding…so we really need your prayers!

Please walk with us as we seek to walk further with Jesus into His future.

We wish you all the most blessed Christmas and the happiest of new years. May our gracious and merciful King grant you all your heart’s desire and may you come to know that His every thought towards you as His child is always for good only and never, ever for evil.

Many blessings and tons of love.

Johann and Louise

Job Description: Johann & Louise van der Bijl -
Joint Coordinators – Training in Mission & Ministry

1.     Leadership Development and Team Formation

W  Primarily to transition GtC into our 28 dioceses through assisting with team formation, and capacity building through appropriate training.
W  Training at least 15 people in each diocese who will immediately begin to pass their training on to at least 10 other persons within one year. This equates to 420 primary people trained in 3 years and 4200 secondary trained persons in that period.
W  The Intentional Discipleship and Disciple-making training process will be the primary means of team formation so as to instil a missional DNA from the start.

2.     Intentional Discipleship and Disciple-making (ID&DM)

W  To develop skilled faculty from among those being trained above who will assist with passing their training on both within their dioceses and regionally.
W  The aim is to spark an ID&DM movement which will grow exponentially and impact virtually every parish. Disciples making disciples is thus a critical component.

3.     Mission Teams – Formation and Training

W  A mark of a disciple’s maturity is that they intentionally reach out to others both within their ambit and beyond.
W  Holistic missional engagement is considered to be one of the best means of growing mature disciples as we seek to fulfil the great commandment and the great commission.
W  Our primary focus will be weekend and short-term missions.

4.     Research relevant to Church Health, Mission and Ministry

W  Specific research in relation to items 1 & 2 above – so that we may serve dioceses in accordance with their needs and context.
W  General research as regards church health that serves our bishops, clergy and leaders, and serves GtC as we seek to be more focussed and intentional in our work and ministry.

5.     Participate in Joint Team Initiatives

W  Anglicans Ablaze Conferences
W  Family Life Seminars

W  Planning, administration & execution