Appreciation from D’kar – December 2020
Covid-19 sounds negative to the ear, but it can also have a positive outcome in a sense that the Lord’s blessing in our congregation has been clearly visible lately. It was as if many people came to the realization that we do not live forever on earth. Church attendance began to improve drastically. Covid-19 has shaken many people out of their comfort zone. The food supplies distributed thanks to the contributions of the congregations in South Africa and especially the Reformed Church New Zealand was a sermon in itself. People talked about it and specifically thanked the Lord who cared for them through other believers. The church began to become visible, or another way to put it, the Lord showed Himself to many people through this service of mercy, as a God of love.
Our son, Pieter, was confined here with us for 6 months because of closed borders. Suné, our daughter, wanted to come too, but unfortunately the border closed just before she could come. Pieter came through on Monday and on Tuesday the borders closed. She was very disappointed, but now that we look back it was a blessing in disguise because she was able to focus on her work and her master’s studies. By the Lord’s grace she was able to submit her dissertation. If she did get through she would definitely have lost her job. Pieter not only helped here on a neighboring farm, but was of so much help around the house. He built, did fencing work, repaired our hot water system, installed the water purifier and so on and so forth. This is almost too much to mention. He was literally busy every day. In September he was able to return, just in time to resume his studies.
We were shocked when we heard that Suné had contracted Covid-19. It felt to us as if the boat we were in was about to sink, but by the Lord’s grace she experienced only moderate symptoms such as loss of taste and smell, headache and fatigue. Diarrhea and her sore throat miraculously improved within a few days. She was completely on her own there in her new town and work environment but she was carried by prayers and encouragement from family and friends. Rev. Jannie van der Schyff of the Reformed Church Welkom kept her on their prayer list.
What we are particularly grateful for is the fact that my mission pickup truck is roadworthy again. An anonymous donor provided the necessary funds and we were able to have the ute repaired in Maun at Ngami Toyota. Thus, at the right time, the Lord gave this person the need to help us. We are very grateful.
We also received Tswana Bibles provided to us with the help of various congregations. We are thankful to each and every one who contributed in this regard. There is no greater gift than a Bible, and the person to whom you give the Bible to gives you the opportunity for a deep spiritual conversation.
We also received Audio Bibles. Several brothers and sisters contributed. We are grateful and excited about this. The Naro New Testament is on it as well as the complete Tswana Bible from Genesis to Revelation, plus Herero Bible stories. All the Hereros can understand Tswana. Many Hereros can understand Naro, and many Naros can understand Tswana well, and because many people cannot read, these Audio Bibles can definitely bridge that gap. In the past such Audio Bibles were handed out or sold to the people and those who had it left it on from morning to evening for everyone in the yard to listen to. One child could even recite an entire chapter of a certain book by heart. The secret now is going to be to hand it out wisely so that those who cannot read can benefit from it.
Last but not least, we would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone involved with the BSG (Botswana Mission Group). Without you, missionary work would have been impossible here. Unfortunately, we need money to travel distances to preach the Gospel to people. One often wonders how far technology has advanced. If one could have had a solar or battery-powered vehicle, it would have been ideal. Years ago, children from South Africa rode through Botswana on a four wheel bicycle. Four people had to pedal all the time. Often I wondered what it would be like if you could install the necessary batteries and solar panels on top of the roof so you could cycle more easily. Then you can literally go anywhere to the remote areas to teach people the Gospel, because Botswana still has plenty of opportunities as far as missionary work is concerned.
The word “thank you” often sounds empty, but the consequences are enormous, especially if you use the word in your prayers. To the congregations, brothers and sisters who have so faithfully supported and assisted us over the past year, financially but also in their prayers, we would like to express our deepest appreciation. We thank the Lord for you and we pray for you that the Lord will bless you in abundance. There are so many things to be thankful for. Should we compile a list, where would one begin and where do you end? This year has been a unique year.
The motivation for “saying thank you” from the words of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 9: 6-14 made me realize that there is more to it than just saying thank you.
I have read the passage below many times, but it often happens that you re-read a passage in the Bible that you have read so many times, and its contents only hit you.
2 Corinthians 9:6-14:
6Remember that the person who plants few seeds will have a small crop; the one who plants many seeds will have a large crop.
7You should each give, then, as you have decided, not with regret or out of a sense of duty; for God loves the one who gives gladly.
8And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause.
9As the scripture says, “He gives generously to the needy; his kindness lasts forever.”
10And God, who supplies seed for the sower and bread to eat, will also supply you with all the seed you need and will make it grow and produce a rich harvest from your generosity.
11He will always make you rich enough to be generous at all times, so that many will thank God for your gifts which they receive from us.
12For this service you perform not only meets the needs of God’s people, but also produces an outpouring of gratitude to God.
13And because of the proof which this service of yours brings, many will give glory to God for your loyalty to the gospel of Christ, which you profess, and for your generosity in sharing with them and everyone else.
14And so with deep affection they will pray for you because of the extraordinary grace God has shown you.
15Let us thank God for his priceless gift! (Good News)
In this passage we see how the generosity of a congregation (Corinth) miraculously “boomeranged” back to them. What happened here is very interesting. This is not just an example, but through Paul, the Holy Spirit reveals to us something of God and His deepest reason why He gives more to some than to others, also to some congregations more than to others.
If we read the previous chapter together with this chapter we see how the church in Corinth did everything in their power to raise money to help the Jewish congregation in Jerusalem with great zeal. Paul uses the Macedonian congregation as an example of how zealous they were to help the believers in Jerusalem. When this Macedonian congregation (Northern part of Greece) heard about the suffering in Jerusalem, they immediately jumped to work and, despite their own poverty, started raising money for the believing Jews in Jerusalem who were suffering so much. Paul uses this to motivate the Corinthians to do the same. Those Macedonians, Paul says, could be so generous because they first gave themselves to the Lord (2 Corinthians 8: 5). Then Paul writes further to the Corinthians, from verse 6: “6So we urged Titus, who began this work, to continue it and help you complete this special service of love. 7You are so rich in all you have: in faith, speech, and knowledge, in your eagerness to help and in your love for us. And so we want you to be generous also in this service of love. 8I am not laying down any rules. But by showing how eager others are to help, I am trying to find out how real your own love is.”
This brings us back to the passage we read at the beginning, how your gifts (love work) “boomerang” back to you in a positive way and why. In this case it is the Corinthians. Through their generosity, a series of interesting things happen. Let us start. What boomerang back is the following:
1. God’s love: God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9: 7)
2. God’s abundance: “And God is able to give you more than you need, so that you will always have all you need for yourselves and more than enough for every good cause.” (2 Corinthians 9: 8)
3. God’s riches: “He will always make you rich enough to be generous at all times, so that many will thank God for your gifts which they receive from us.” (2 Corinthians 9:11).
Then Paul explains: Remember he says, “12For this service you perform not only meets the needs of God’s people, but also produces an outpouring of gratitude to God.” In other words, it’s not just about helping people, but getting those people to thank God for the help they receive. Then Paul further explains the effect of this relief on the believing Jews in Jerusalem. He says: “13And because of the proof which this service of yours brings, many will give glory to God for your loyalty to the gospel of Christ, which you profess, and for your generosity in sharing with them and everyone else. ”
That brings us to the fourth thing that boomerangs back.
4. Those people are nows starting to pray for you: “14And so with deep affection they will pray for you because of the extraordinary grace God has shown you.”
It is interesting to think that the help from one church to another can have the effect of bringing glory to God and not only that, but that they start to pray specifically for that church that has given them help. If your outreach to a congregation in need can result in them thanking God for you and praising Him and starting to pray for you, the boomerang has completed its circle. You reached out and now they are praying for you. This then brings us to the question: Would God not answer such a prayer? This is exactly how the Lord wants it. You help, God is thanked and honored for it and they, overwhelmed in their hearts by the working of the Holy Spirit pray for you, and God hears their prayers regarding you, and you are blessed.
Be assured that through your help and assistance you have led us to praise and thank the Lord and we pray for you that the Lord will bless you in abundance.
May this simple truth motivate us to think outside the circle of our everyday existence.
Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Hendrik du Plessis