A Prayer for A fine!

Blog written by Ray Haakonsen:

I was privileged to be part of  the recent visit by an Oceans team from various States to the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. We had just attended a blessed church service and lunch at Ooh La la in Maseru town and were excitedly on our way to a ground breaking ceremony at the Church of the Good Shepherd property up on the escarpment.

An enthusiastic traffic officer pulled our van over for a minor misdemeanor, gladly ignoring the numerous local vehicles which had done the same. The driver (Neels) stepped out to speak with the traffic officer but after 10 minutes, had still not returned.

Admittedly in a rather agitated state I also climbed out to see what was taking time as we were expected at the ground breaking. On approaching the 3 officers now involved, I was informed our driver had been arrested and the officer told me he would be transporting him to jail to face charges in court the next day! I felt a peace overcome me as I entered conversation with the 2 officers now present. Once identifying us as a Christian group on our way to the Church of the Good Shepherd and that we were in Lesotho to share the love of God the Father with the Basotho, the Officer who had pulled us over said to me “What about me?”, to which I responded “What about you?”.

He asked how the Father can help him and I asked in return,  if I could pray for him. He immediately agreed and I prayed a short (we were running late 😉) prayer of Father’s blessing over him. On completion of the prayer the 2nd officer walked over to me and asked if I could pray for him as well. He said he had a young son at home who was deaf. I honestly felt the Spirit urge me to pray for healing for the son and peace for the Dad, which I did. After this prayer both officers thanked me and Neels our driver witnessed this all, as did some of our group in the van.

The Spirit of God was with us as Jesus promised He would be in John 16:7 and the Father again showed, should we step out in His Name, the Spirit, who is inside of us, will indeed give us the words to say to those who crave His love. We dont need to be “Spiritual giants” (is there such a thing), but followers of Christ, with a simple faith in an All powerful God, to see His glory brought to this earth as it is in Heaven! We should wait expectantly for His Spirit to interrupt as on our daily journeys…His plan is better than ours 🙏

The end result of this Divine intervention, Neels freed from arrest, a fine traded for 2 prayers, and 2 seeking officers and a van load of us simple believers witnessing God still at work today.

Hallelujah! He is a good good Father.

A Dirty Job and the Power of the Gospel

Once again the Oceans Team witnessed an amazing move of God. It is with incredible joy that I share this blog written by Jim Nydam. 

It was a long awaited trip to Lesotho, South Africa to spend a week volunteering at Beautiful Gate. My wife, Chris, planned to spend time assisting the child care workers and care for orphaned babies and I was scheduled to make facility improvements with a team of four. Our project for the week consisted of removing 12 old broken down toilets and replacing them with new ones. This team consisted of Mike and Denise from Kansas City, a Hollander, who had adopted a child from BG a while back, and myself. As introductions began we realized that the man from Holland came from the same place in the Netherlands as my wife’s family. It was the small town of Abcouda-what a crazy and amazing connection was established. As we all continued to converse my thoughts went back to conversations Chris and I have had about her family in Holland and how many people have fallen away from their faith in God.

Our friend from Holland, who we all just met, jumped in with exuberant excitement. The work was moving along and before we knew it was time for a well deserved break. The team left the grunt work behind and went outside where the toilets were being assembled and began sharing about our lives. I asked our friend if he had a home church and he said he said no, however he did state that he believed there was a God. As we shared I felt the Holy Spirit urging me to ask if he had accepted Christ into his life as his Savior. We went back to work on the toilets and finished by the weekend had about half the work completed.

The Oceans Team experienced a great weekend of worshiping and seeing some of the countryside while our friend from Holland went his own way. When we returned to the toilet work on Monday Mike, Denise, and I asked our friend how his weekend went. We were shocked when he said he went to church for the very first time in Lesotho. He continued to share how comfortable he felt when the worship music played and how much he enjoyed dancing with the music. The Holy Spirit had definitely planted a desire in our friend’s heart that was beginning to grow. Now I felt it was time for me to respond.

While the team continued to assemble the toilets, I went to the first of the three houses to finish up with the installation. Our friend from Holland said he would finish up there so I proceeded to the third house to prep the toilet for installation. As I entered this house I sensed a problem as strong sewage smell filled the air. Previously we had removed two of the three old toilets leaving two open drain pipes in the bathroom. My sight came to the reality of the situation, the drain pipes had backed up and spilled sewage over the bathroom floor.

     I proceeded to cover the sewage puddles with a cardboard and made a path so I could finish the job. Our new friend from Holland came into the bathroom after finishing the first house and sat on the tub-it was obvious he wanted to talk. As I worked on the sewer/toliet project in safety on the “cardboard island” I felt this was the time to ask if he had ever prayed to accept Jesus Christ.

I told him how I was worried about him and what would occur if he had not confessed his sins and confessed that Jesus Christ died to forgive him of his sins. After sharing a bit more he responded, “of course I want to do that.” He prayed right their in the midst of a stinky bathroom, while sitting on a tub, to receive the forgiveness Jesus offers on the cross and accept new life through Jesus’ glorious resurrection. Standing on the “cardboard island” we hugged each other and were filled with great joy! All heaven rejoiced with us as this new brother came home!

Later our team had a celebration for this newest member of  God’s family. Someone gave him a Bible, another gave two spiritual books, and everyone welcomed this brother into the family of God. Oceans Ministries seeks to make the Father known with the prayer that God will change lives in South Africa and around the world. Well God did change lives plus one.

My journey to South Africa also provided the opportunity to continue offering my services by returning with my wife to build a much needed play room to be called Abba’s Play Room for the 68 orphaned children. Oceans Ministries is providing the financial means for this new building. So in June my wife and I will return looking for another encounter with the Living God. We ask for you prayers, thank you!

The finished product!

A Sabbath To Remember

Written by Mike Verkaik:

Oh Jehovah, you are my rock of ages, is the chorus we sang repeatedly at the CRC in Lesotho, Africa this past Sunday.  As we sang and swayed to the lyrics of the song I was standing next to a Basotho brother who was helping me as I struggled to sing in Sesotho.  Although I may not remember the Sesotho lyrics, the Sabbath day will be hard to forget.  In my journal the next morning I wrote, “ Abba what an amazing Sabbath – Worship, Fellowship and Celebration.

Worship

Worshiping with the Basotho people always gives me incredible joy.  Their celebration through the Holy Spirit of a Father who loves them in the midst of many difficult situations is contagious.  However, what I hope is as equally contagious is their boldness and courage to respond when the Spirit moves in them.  After the service we saw that Spirit led courage through a young Basotho woman.  Approaching us on the sidewalk she expressed her gratitude for our choice to worship with her.  Accompanying her words was a request to use her beautiful voice to sing a song of praise for us.  As Amazing Grace was sung I stood in amazement of her voice, but also her willingness to say “yes” and respond to the Father’s voice. Gives new meaning to welcoming visitors and the proclamation of Psalm 33: 1 Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.”

Fellowship

Africa time is a phrase we use often when we are in Lesotho.  In short, in Africa we have time.  Time to dwell, to share, to listen and to pray.   God brought our group together from four different states, but has bonded us together in three days. No place better to do it than under the canopies at Ooh – Lah – Lah. Don’t believe me?  Come and join us sometime.

Celebration

Our Sabbath continued at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new church at the Good Shepherd Center.  It was our Father’s fulfillment of a prayer a group prayed over the land in 2014,  “Abba do something with this land to bring You glory.”  Our Father’s orchestration amazed us again as He had us back in Lesotho as they blessed it, and begin to build. As we listened to speaker after speaker we gazed at the crowd of the people from the villages, and were overcome with thanksgiving of what God had done through the prayers of His people.  

Isaiah 58: 13- 14 says: “… if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, …”

As I remember this African Sabbath, I praise Him for how it brought me again to a true joy in worshiping , fellowshipping and celebrating our good, good Father.