Monday, April 24, 2017

Latest News...

There is something about Cape Town at this time of year that fills one with anticipation. It has been a long, dry summer and the Western Cape water crisis is at its peak. Dam levels are at record lows…so low that the water literally tastes and smells like pond scum. But there is the promise of winter rains…good rain has brought an end to the drought stricken areas in the northern parts of southern Africa. By God’s grace and mercy, we pray that the rains for this area will be moderate, but sufficient to stem the tide, as it were.

Politically, the country faces yet another crossroad. The current situation is being likened to the excesses of the Apartheid era. Calls for the resignation of the current President are heard throughout the land from every sector of society, including from within his own party. People euphemistically speak about this period as a “very interesting time”. Indeed.

But biblically, drought and political instability have often served to bring God’s people to their knees and the situation in southern Africa is no different. This past week, 1.7 million people gathered on cleared farmland in the Free-State area specifically to pray for the country. In churches across the land, God’s people are being called to pray…and God has promised that when His people turn to Him, He will turn to them, hear their prayers, and heal their land.

So, we are all anticipation on so many levels.

On a personal note, Louise and I are still trying to sort ourselves out as far as settling in is concerned. We do have our South African ID booklets and a place of residence, but we are still working on our driver’s licenses and getting Louise’s mum’s car in her name. Yes, we have purchased the Queen’s blue chariot. While this is not ideal for long distance travel, it does get us around the Cape area and will have to suffice until we can raise more funds.

It seems strange to talk about culture shock, as South Africa, and Cape Town in particular, is Louise’s home country, but things change over the course of twenty years and we have found that, although the country has a 1st world veneer, the reality is a lot different. In spite of the fact that many modern things are in place, such a fibre optic cable, it takes a long time for anything to actually work. Life is also a lot more expensive than we remember and we will really have to budget carefully as we plot our course forward.

Much to my disappointment, we did not get to train the team up in Mozambique…yet…the training has been postponed for various reasons and we are waiting on the Bishop there to give us a new date. Please pray that this all falls into place sooner rather than later as the folks on the ground really want to get this discipleship program up and running!

Louise and I have moved into our new office as well. The GtC Director, Trevor and our fellow team member, Wayne have worked tirelessly in making this a beautiful and very functional environment for us. In many ways they have all spoiled us rotten! They are very gentle in allowing us to find our place in the team slowly but surely. We also have our official GtC email addresses thanks to Michael and Rae…and they are:

Note that these are not personal, but official emails, so please continue to use for all other correspondence.

Our new snail mail (for letters and small, flat articles only) address is:
201 The Chelsea
Electric Road
Wynberg 7800
Cape Town, South Africa

For care packages or any other larger deliveries, please use:
Braehead House
1 Braehead Road
Kenilworth 7708
Cape Town, South Africa

Our South African Telephone number is: +27 (72) 958-5845

Please do let us hear from you soon! We love you and want to stay connected.

Many blessings and hugs.

Johann and Louise

Thursday, April 13, 2017


On the 22nd April, South Africans will gather for a National Day of Prayer in Bloemfontein, estimated to kick-off at 12 PM South African time.
Would you prayerfully consider joining us in prayer on that day?

Check out this video message from Angus Bachan: 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Has the whole world gone mad?

Inline images 1
Has the whole world gone mad? Political turmoil seems to be a common denominator across the globe. 

As we prepare to leave the US for our new assignment in southern Africa, we are receiving disturbing reports of riots, marches, destructive behaviour or protestors, and call for the removal of the President. Add to that the concern about the lack of water in the western Cape…dam levels are at their lowest in living memory. (See links below.)

Surely this is a call to prayer if ever there was one.

I am reminded of a prayer practiced by Mark Batterson. He calls it the 7:14 prayer as it is based on 2 Chronicles 7:14. At 7:14 AM every morning, he and his parishioners hit their knees and pray for the healing of their land. May I ask you all to join Louise and me in this type of prayer for southern Africa? 

God willing, we will leave for Cape Town on April 10 via Addis Ababa. As we only have one and a half hours lay-over in Addis, we are praying that either the flight from Washington DC is early and that a favourable wind blows us over the Atlantic so that we arrive a lot earlier than expected or that the flight from Addis to Cape Town is delayed…we would prefer to arrive in Cape Town with our luggage rather than without! 

Louise’s family will meet us at the airport and take us to Villiersdorp where we have to do so many things before moving into our new wee flat in Wynberg on Friday! We have to collect our new South African IDs as we are considered residents now. We also have to open a South African bank account and get South African driver’s license. YIKES! All in a few days…pray that this will be possible. We would rather get our licenses in a small town than in the city!

Growing the Church has let us know that we will be going to Mozambique to train a team of disciplers there beginning April 25. Please pray for our acquisition of visas at the border…this has become possible again since the cease-fire agreement, but it can be a sticky process for US passport holders.

All in all, our visit to the US has been wonderful. We have some great memories of times with our children and grandchildren to take with us, we have managed to catch with many dear friends, and have made many new friends as well. God has spoiled us thoroughly and we are thankful. 

SAMS has let us know that we are closer to our support goal, but that we still need about $700 per month extra. We know that quite a few folk promised to become part of our support team, but they may not have given yet. Pray that we will be fully funded by the time we leave.

We are grateful to all or our wonderful team members. Thank you for your faithfulness to the spread of the Gospel.
We will send you our snail mail address as soon as we know what it is. For those who have sent care-packages before, this will be so much more secure than before!

With much love and blessings.

Johann and Louise van der Bijl

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