The Need for the Father!

Blog Written by Ray Haakonsen, Oceans Ministries South African Ambassador:

This being the third post highlighting the country of South Africa and the role Oceans Ministries could have as we set up our Oceans Ministries International office at Oceans Retreat Center in Cape Town, I thought I would highlight the pressing challenge of Fatherlessness in our country.

Our core calling as Oceans Ministries is 

“To make the love of the Father known to physical and spiritual orphans around the world.

With this mandate, we will no doubt be faced with and minister into the pressing challenges of ‘Fatherlessness’ in this nation and beyond. Our prisons are overflowing, gang warfare and drugs are rife in our burgeoning and vastly unemployed townships, and crime threatens our society as a whole. Many children today admit they grow up not knowing their Father at all.

Township near Cape Town

Much of this situation can be attributed to an apartheid separation policy that ended only in 1994. This policy had literally closed economic and education opportunities for most SA citizens. But 25 years after this legacy ended, we see that Fatherlessness is also a result of Father’s having to leave home to find work, or just “checking out” due to the massive challenges they found before them, in trying to provide for their families. 

A study done in 2017, (Stats SA General Household Survey)shows that 61.8 % of children in South Africa grow up in homes with absent Fathers! In this study, a ‘resident’ in a home is someone who spends more than 4 nights in a week in that home and a child is anyone under 18. This figure would include Fathers who had passed away (10.1%)

Many single Moms, grandparents and even children themselves, are expected to take on the role of providing for and bringing up children in the homes. This puts huge pressure on so many in this beautiful nation. As Oceans, the following scripture would be significant to us in our reaching out;

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. – James 1:7

The widespread ‘Fatherlessness’ in our nation and continent has in many ways ‘clouded’ the reality of what a ‘Father’ should be, and at the same time, made it virtually impossible to see God as a loving Father. Our deep desire to minister into this brokenness, is found in our mandate below:

In a world full of people whose pain, suffering, and loss has made it difficult for them to accept the idea of God as a loving Father, Oceans Ministries exists to help people overcome their brokenness and renew their relationship with their heavenly Father.’

As Jesus was baptised by John in Matthew 3:17 ABBA spoke out his Fatherhood over and identity of His son Jesus;

“And behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.(Have delight)”

In the same way, as we recognise our relationship in the family of God, we do so by acknowledging Jesus and are adopted as sons and daughters of ABBA Father. ABBA speaks the same words over us as His children. All need to hear the joy of this invite into His family so that a renewed understanding of love of “Father God” would be made known to them. 

Please stand with us as we seek His plan and will for us to minister in this vital area.

A Joshua & Caleb Spirit

Oceans Retreat Center, Fishhoek, South Africa

Blog written by Ray Haakonsen, Oceans Ministries South Africa Ambassador:

Continuing on from last week’s blog regarding current events in South Africa and the vision of Oceans Ministries, particularly with regard the newly acquired Retreat Center, my heart feels pulled strongly by the Holy Spirit toward the story of the 12 spies in Numbers 13:1-33. I encourage you to read it for yourself. 

Moses sent out 12 spies, the chieftains, representing the tribes of Israel, with this paraphrased mandate….’go search this land, see what and who is in it and if it would be a good place to live.’ The 12 journeyed off and after 40 days of fulfilling the requirements of Moses came to report what they’d found.

“They” it seems represents 10 of the spies. There is only one reference to anything good about the land and the rest of the report chronicled why they should not try to take it, these words came as a powerful visual stating they were like “Grasshoppers in the sight of the enemy (giants), in the land”…hardly encouraging.

But two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, implored Moses to go ahead and encourage the people of Israel to take the land of Canaan. And Caleb believing and stating they were more than able to conquer the giants.

In South Africa (and all of Africa for that matter) their are many voices, which seem to be in the majority, as with the spies from Moses day, they acknowledge Africa is a land filled with “milk and honey,” but there are “giants” that seem unconquerable! However with the power of prayer, I join Oceans Ministries as together we prophetically move forward in obedience with the Oceans Retreat Center. Humbly we come with a Joshua and Caleb spirit, relying on the strength of our Father and placing our confidence in Him. 

Our Father has called us to be a blessing to the nations, bringing light into the darkness. Africa is referred to as the “Dark continent,” but as with Joshua and Caleb, we desire to be obedient to Abba Father. The book of Joshua is an account of how a leader’s obedience to God resulted in divine help in the face of overwhelming odds. Truly an amazing story! 

In the same way, as negative reports are made about South Africa and Africa, Oceans Ministries will choose to come in the name of Christ with the following mandate;

“To make the love of the Father known to physical and spiritual orphans around the world.”

In a world full of people who’s pain, suffering, and loss has made it difficult for them to accept the idea of God as a loving Father, Oceans Ministries exists to help people overcome their brokenness and renew their relationship with their heavenly Father.

This we believe is needed in South Africa, Africa and beyond and its our calling to be involved in this through Oceans Retreat Center, starting in Cape Town and spreading through the continent and around the world.

So we come, not as grasshoppers who fear giants. But with the hearts of Joshua’s and Caleb’s, with a mantel of courage and strength in Jesus Christ, the One who has conquered the grave. 

We thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support on this journey of trust.

Straight into the Flames!

I have asked Ray Haakonsen , Oceans South Africa Ambassador, to share with you in the next few blogs about the challenges facing South Africa as well as what we sense our all powerful God is up to in this incredible land of promise.

I consider myself blessed to be a child of Africa, born, bred and still living here…..a continent rich in natural resources, great bush and wildlife, sunny skies, beautiful scenery and, on the whole, amazingly warm, colorful friendly people. Most visitors I have met in my varied roles on this continent, will vouch for this. 

Numerous African quotes speak of people falling in love with her, being bitten by her or finding her seeping in and running through their veins after coming the first time, and often returning more than once. My favourite is “You may leave Africa, but she will never leave you”. Africa has a distinctive allure.

But sadly, in the midst of all this beauty, the continent, and my country of citizenship since 1981, South Africa, is facing very challenging times. Considered a relatively new ‘country’ after its first democratic elections in 1994, our home has faced the complexities of dealing with a post-apartheid season, largely trying to appease the  majority of its people who had effectively been forgotten before.

Our leaders have not been able to deal with the immense challenges successfully governing the country including pleasing and giving fair opportunity to the population of over 55 million. Our economy is struggling, important utilities such as electricity and water supply are under severe strain and we have an unemployment rate of 30% and rising, not including millions from neighbouring countries seeking work. 

But if you’ve been following Oceans Ministries’ posts, you would have read recently that the organisation, founded just over 5 years ago by Tim Spykstra, based out of Denver Colorado, had recently prayed about and purchased a Property, now named Oceans Retreat Center, in Fish Hoek, Cape Town at the very tip of the continent.

So why would an organisation, which believes in the Kingdom of God, the Loving and redeeming nature of God the Father, His son Jesus and the Holy Spirit, consider starting a ministry, way across the Atlantic, so far away from the beauty, safety, and relative wealth of spectacular Denver Colorado? In a recent whatsapp chat across the miles, (technology can be great), between Tim and I we were discussing these big challenges in our country and how many, who have the funds or opportunities to afford to, are considering leaving. 

As we spoke further, I believe the Holy Spirit gave us the same unction along the lines of us being the light in the darkness! As disciples (representatives) of Christ, with Him and His Spirit within us, and on the authority of the Father, we are called (destined) to manifest His light into the darkness. The impression in my spirit, was when a huge fire breaks out everybody is running out of the building, but the firefighters are going against the stream of humanity, straight into the flames! Consider these scriptures:

John 8:12 ‘When Jesus spoke again to the people He said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will HAVE the light of life”

John 1:5 says; “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

Revelation 21:23 ‘The City does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the lamb as its lamp

Stay with me if you will as I expand on this thought and how we as Oceans Ministries International are seeking to be and bring the Light into the darkness for and in His glory.

The Best Day Ever

Crafts at the Wooden Shoe Motel

Written by Mike Verkaik

We pulled up to the motel at 5:15, loaded down with a trailer and van full of tables, chairs, games and a grill. As we arrived we were met by smiles from young children running towards us.  “Where have you been?” one of them belted out, “you said you were going to be here at 3:00.”  Seems they were mistaken about our time of arrival and had been waiting for the last two hours.  Full of excitement we began to unload the games from the vehicle; corn hole, giant Jenga, hula-hoops and washer toss.  Not knowing which one to play *Trisha exclaimed, “Oh my, there are too many choices”.

Last Tuesday volunteers for Oceans Ministries put on a cookout in the back parking lot of the Wooden Shoe Motel.  For sometime we had been praying for an opportunity to build more community with the residents and God placed on our hearts to provide a place, a table, for immediate families and for us as a family to eat, dwell and share life together.  The motel rooms they reside in are equipped for rest, but not for meals.

While the tables were being set up, residents began to make their way to the back.  Like the little children preceding them, they were excited for a different type of evening meal and guardedly played the games as well.  

As the dinner progressed, the table created a place for connection, laughter and sharing the happenings of life. Some of the conversations led to prayers as together we laid our burdens before our Abba Father. The table became a place where our commonality as broken sinners found acceptance and community. We are all in desperate need of people who will journey with us in our stumbling and mountain top experiences.  To provide that community at the Wooden Shoe Motel is something we continue to bring before God. 

Jesus ushered in the kingdom of God as he taught his disciples and friends around the table. However, he also extended that invitation to those excluded from the religious community as He was accused of eating with sinners in Mark 2:16. 

When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

The gospels are full of stories of Jesus eating with people.  In fact, sharing meals played a vital role in the ministry and mission of Jesus, as the meals represented something greater than the food.  Our prayers continue to be for the Holy Spirit to take our meals, our friendship and bring about a discipleship opportunity.

As the evening came to a close, the children were the last ones to leave.  They were still soaking in the meal, the activities and the games that were brought to them. While packing up the last table, my wife Dawn overheard one of the children let out their thoughts on the evening, “This was the best day ever!”  Driving home we concurred with that child. As 58 hamburgers and 24 hot dogs were served around the table, our Father showed up and advanced His kingdom by deepening our relationship and community with the family He is creating at the Wooden Shoe.

*name was changed