Rev Hendrik du Plessis
Very good and surprising news
By the grace of the Lord we were able to visit the people of Bere last weekend. The two chiefs of the town came to visit us which we greatly appreciated. We usually camp just outside the town. Since it was Friday, it was another working day for them and yet they made the effort to come and greet us on foot. It was once again a confirmation for us that they see us as their friends.
Later, one chief excused himself, but the other remained seated for another cup of coffee. When I asked him how things were going here in Bere, he replied that it was going very well. The Audio Bibles we handed out brought about a significant change in their midst. Two liquor bars closed down, which has never happened before.
I was, to say the least, pleasantly surprised. I said to him that the Spirit of the Lord always works through his Word. Where the Word of the Lord is brought to people, the Spirit of the Lord works in their hearts. It is He who causes the Word to germinate in the hearts of men. It reminded me of Paul’s words in Colossians 1. Paul was very surprised and grateful for the news of their faith. From verse 3 Paul says “3We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,” From verse 7 Paul says that he has heard all this wonderful news from Epaphras and is now all the more interceding for them. Bere as we know are in the grip of alcoholism and one of the last places one would expect such a change.
I have said several times, if you want to see fast results you should not go to Bere. Colleagues of mine who worked there for years and later asked me to take over from them can testify to that. Alcoholism is the order of the day.
Later I went to look for the other chief at his house. He was also full of praise for the Audio Bibles we handed out. Crime is starting to decrease drastically. Some days they sit at the police station and the local policemen are stunned that the violence has decreased so drastically. There is only the occasional case these days.
While we were there, a so called ‘church’ came to visit Bere with their drums and white robes. They have a bunch of so-called apostles and prophets amongst them who heal ailments and prophecy and bless people.
The main drinker we have regular conversations with was sober all weekend. He told us that the people with the drums told him that he had
nocturnal problems with his deceased mother and that they were willing to help him. He told them that he did not need their help because our church (the Reformed Church) does not believe in what they do, and besides, they are lying because his deceased mother does not bother him in the least.
During our visits we are not there to denigrate or insult churches, but with our Bible studies in Bere I never let the opportunity pass to address false doctrines.
You use the time to ‘ vaccinate’ them through the Word of the Lord. By constantly talking to them you warn them against false teachings when they arise and you build up such spiritual immunity among them. You admonish in a timely and untimely manner to use Paul’s words.
What was very positive for me is the attitude of the two chiefs there, on the left is David (the chief) and on the right is Cgara (the deputy chief).
Cgara is still attend the ZCC church although he has more and more questions about the ZCC church, but David regards our church as his church for him and his family.
I then told them that seeing that they as chiefs were showing an interest in being trained in the Word of the Lord, I want to take them through the book of Genesis and we were going to look at the New Testament through Genesis as if through a window, for without Genesis you can not understand the New Testament. They were very excited about that.
After the first lesson, there under the trees, I told them of my next intention to buy them two small radios that they could charge in the sun with memory sticks. Then I will record the lessons in advance, after which they can listen to in their own time. What I expect from them is to start with their own classes. Look for believers in the town who are eager to be trained as well. “You see for yourself that it is too far for me to come every week, but with the radios and the memory sticks we can perform miracles. Those who are trained by you, we will again enable to train others.”
Bere’s people are not people among whom you just come and say, we are now starting a church and so on. These are people who, even though they have heard of Jesus, have no knowledge of the Bible at all. The little knowledge they have is in many cases so perverted because of false apostles and bishops. So it’s not just a matter of preaching the Gospel. If that was the case, it would have been a lot easier. Here you must first break down to rebuild. To preach the truth to them, it must first be explained to them that what they have been taught has been wrong all these years. Now that the town of Bere is being bombarded by the true Gospel for the first time, it brings them to the realization of how easily they have fallen for false teachings in the past.
A typical example is the group of apostles who were there over the weekend. Bere’s people are easy prey because of their ignorance. You walk in there with your white gown and tell people that they have problems because of spirits who are attacking them, like the one who was ‘attacked by his mother’ and if you give them cattle and goats, they will solve your problems. So there are a lot of preachers in Botswana who work themselves in that way. They arrive there with nothing, but not long after that they walk away with a herd of cattle and children that they leave behind with their mothers.
In my conversation with David he mentioned something else to me: “You know Hendrik, during funerals here I usually preach and you will not realize how many of your sermons I have preached here.” I was very grateful for that. One drives away many times and wonders what has reached them, but then you comforts yourself with the knowledge that one should not underestimate the work of the Holy Spirit and I am only an instrument in God their sacred purpose. John 6:37 always inspires me: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me; and I will never cast him out who comes to me. ” Whether the person is in Bere or in Moscow, he or she will come to the Lord Jesus, and you and I are the instrument by which the Lord brings the Word to them.”
I’m especially excited about the Word that people are reaching through these Audio Bibles. I was with my colleague here in D’kar last night who shared the same experience with me. Our neighboring farm served by him could just as well be called
a beer farm. We also gave them Audio Bibles some time ago. There are many people who live there to whom we have reached iut for years without any significant “success”. We all know how the people there surrendered to alcohol. My colleague can now not stop talking about the change that has taken place in the people there. “When I get there, they spontaneously walk up to me and are hungry for the Word, something that has never happened before,” he told me. We then agreed to also buy radios and memory sticks for the three points he is involved in to provide them with the material I am preparing for Bere. He is involved with Dick Eaton’s farm, Tchabo and Groot Laagte.
Sunday school class
In Bere we also have a Sunday school class that is well underway. Mrs. Mereyabone is the teacher there.
Every Sunday they meet regularly. We are currently looking for 20 small plastic chairs that they can sit on, and maybe about 2 or three large chairs. Another need is a board and chalk. We are very grateful to someone like her who takes such good care of the little ones.
To conclude: It just brought me to the realization once again that the simple Word of God is much sharper than we think. Hebrews 4:12 puts it so aptly: “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the separation of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, and being a judge of deliberations and thoughts of the heart. ”
Your brother in Christ,
Hendrik du Plessis.