Friday, March 17, 2017

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.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Just in case you missed it!

You can find out how to contact us by clicking on this link:

After having served in Gambela, Ethiopia for a wee bit over two years, and having completed the task the Lord sent us to do, Louise and I are moving on into our next adventure...serving the Lord and the people of southern Africa.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

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.


Johann and Louise

Easy Peasy

OR…make checks out and send them to:
P. O. Box 399
Ambridge, PA 15003

Please be sure to clearly 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

On our way...almost...

Just to let y'all know...we have booked tickets to Cape Town April 10 believing that we will be fully funded by that time. We will write more about this decision soon...but the Lord's call on our lives is certain and we must obey. Please sign up now.

We are doing a great work. We can not come down now.

I was recently asked to seriously pray about taking a teaching position at a US seminary. After having established that this was no prank, I found myself at sea…under normal circumstances, I would have jumped at the chance of serving with great men and women of God whom I love dearly and for whom I have a profound respect.

But we have a call on our lives…a call to serve the Lord in the Province of southern Africa.

Nevertheless, we were asked to pray about it, so we prayed.

The night before this email popped up in my inbox, we had attended a local Bible Study. Andy Stanley was talking about Nehemiah’s decision to decline the invitation of Sanballat, Tobias, and the crew to meet them on the plains of Ono. Five times Nehemiah says: “I am doing a great work. I can not come down now.” Sensing my distress and struggle, Louise looked me squarely in the eye and repeated these very same words. “We are doing a great work. We can not come down now.”

We prayed some more…as I said, I love these guys. What an honour it would be to teach with them. My heart was torn.

Then this past Sunday, at one point during the sermon I ceased to hear the voice of the pastor and only heard the voice of the Holy Spirit. The sermon was based on the story of Jonah. Were we seeking a place on the ship to Tarshish when we were called to go to Nineveh? It was like a burden was lifted off my shoulders. We had prayed and God had answered.

Still, it was not an easy email to write.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Rock Stars for Jesus

A friend of ours, whom we respect and whose opinion we hold in high regard, recently introduced Louise and myself to a group of strangers as “kind of rock stars in Anglican missionary circles”. My first reaction was: YIKES! What will these people think when they actually get to know us? My natural tendency is to wrestle Paul for first place as chief of sinners…not as a rock star!

Of course, as missionaries, it is wonderful to have friends who serve us as our “champions” and who see us through lenses so vastly different from our own. We are grateful for those who make us and our ministry known to others, because they see something of value in what the Lord is doing in and through us. But rock stars?

I jokingly chided him for the undeserved title and he responded in good humor, but pointed out in all seriousness that in the Kingdom we should all be rock stars because Jesus is worth it. Serve Him with everything you’ve got to give. If that be the case, then yes and amen! We are quite happy to rock on!

As you know, Louise and I have been driving around a few States visiting our family, many old friends, making many new friends, preaching and speaking in churches and small groups…and now we are at St Christopher Camp and Conference Centre…still networking, but also enjoying the Lord and His beautiful creation in this part of His world. We hear our Lord saying to us, “Come aside and rest a while…”

There is a cross here that means a lot to us, as it was here that our Lord first called us back into the mission field…a special place…a thin place…and He continues to speak and lead and guide.

Of course we are anxious to return to the field. Our team at “Growing the Church” has written to ask when we are coming back as there are many in the 28 Diocese who are ready to begin with the Discipleship course…a course designed to disciple others to disciple others to disciple others. As we will be working in seven different southern African countries, this ministry is massive and has the ability to reach thousands.

But here’s the rub: we still need to raise more support before we can return. Would you pray with us? If you haven’t already, would you help us by signing up as a financial supporter? Please ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in this…we desire His blessing as much as yours.

SAMS-USA has said that, based on the cost-of-living guidelines for Southern Africa, our monthly financial need over the full length of term will be $6,295.50. We will also need about $20,000 for our vehicle and transport fund as we will be travelling quite a bit to six different countries…of course, we will have to sail to St Helena. J

Every penny counts…every penny…
We still have a number of stops to make before we can return, but we are praying for a return date in early April.

It really is easy to sign up to be part of our team. Click on the following link and follow the clear instructions.

OR…make checks out and send them to:

P. O. Box 399
Ambridge, PA 15003

Please be sure to clearly 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

Here is a short video that you can share with others:

We are grateful for the role you play in our lives and in the lives of those we serve. We pray for you regularly and appreciate you very much.

As always, we are only an email away…please write to us should you have any questions or concerns.

Every blessing and tons of love.

Johann and Louise van der Bijl