“Do You Hear What The Children Are Saying?”

Blog is Mike Verkaik’s, Oceans Outreach Director, reflections on Christmas program performed by children living in local motel.

“Do you hear what these children are saying?” the teachers of the law asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ” ’ from the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” Matthew 21:16 (NIV)

“Jesus is born, the Savior of the world, Merry Christmas!” Those were the concluding words from our Christmas program at the motel, and our greeting to each of you during this time of celebration.

The past weeks have been difficult ones at the motel. Residents have been evicted, others arrested, a resident trapped in addiction was taken by ambulance to the hospital again and a mother/grandmother, who lived at the motel for almost 3 years, passed away.

However, last Sunday, from the struggles of life three children, portraying angels made the following proclamation, “Glory to God! Glory to God! Glory to God in the highest! “, As they acted out the Christmas story.

In the midst of addictions, deception, ramifications of Covid-19, brokenness and death comes His story, His hope, His plan of salvation from the mouths of children. They are the ones caught up in the wake of lives that are broken, defeated, struggling to break chains of the past, or trying to get through the difficult times we are living in.

“Mary, it’s you. You are going to have a baby, a little boy. You’ll call him Jesus. He is God’s own son, He’s the one, He’s the rescuer!” said Ann, playing Gabriel. Samantha responds, “It is too wonderful, how can it be true?” “Is anything too wonderful for God?” replied Ann. “Whatever God says I will do, I am God’s servant”, ended Samantha.

These were the beautiful words spoken by two young girls looking for hope, for understanding, and identity in a world that has shown them little of their King, their Savior and Lord. Yet, our Father ordains them to boldly proclaim the salvation story to their parents, fellow residents and peers. As they quoted the paraphrased account of Jesus’ birth from the gospel of Luke, I listened to the words, and watched the children overcome their nerves and fear.

Just an hour before the performance I found Sally, one of the angels shouting “Glory to God”, leaning against her dad saying through her tears, “I can’t do it, I don’t want to go up there.” But God sent Brianna, a young girl who loves Jesus, to comfort and encourage her, and she left the arms of her father to proclaim the glory of her Abba Father.

Samantha, who played Mary, a quiet girl, who struggles with speaking to adults or in front of people. How amazing to have her say, “Whatever God says I will do.” After the performance her proud dad put his arm around me, smiled as he said, “I can’t

believe she did that, maybe this is what she needs to give her the confidence to step out of her shell.”

Did you hear it? Did you sense it? Hope, redemption, encouragement and joy. God, coming down and speaking His truth through the voices and lives of children to a community, and a world that is experiencing some difficult times. A church being birthed, standing in the gap, calming fears and insecurities, and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.

*All pictures used with permission.

A Good Father & Free Coffee


We have two great son in-laws Nick and Hunter. They love the LORD, my daughters, biking, and coffee, what else could you ask for. In fact, Hunter loves coffee so much that he roasts his own beans and works at a coffee shop.

Recently Hunter shared how a church in their community paid for free coffee and goodies for a whole day to anyone who walked in the door and gave the name of the church. Now thats an amazing gift for this small coffee business as well as for the community!

As I was having my devotions the other morning and thinking about the Father’s generous gift of the Gospel, my mind went back to coffee. Yes, a cup of coffee was in my hand but also what happened at Legends Coffee shop in Aurora, Colorado.

I thought about how during lockdown Oceans was given a super natural gift from the Father, Stag coffee shop for $1. And how God clearly showed we need to give this over to Kegan Haakonsen, Oceans Retreat Center’s manger at the time and let him run with it. By the way Kegan has done a fantastic job in the midst of a difficult economy.

As I sipped my coffee that morning I sensed the Lord’s prompting Oceans to give a similar offer to the Fish Hoek community, a day of free coffee from Stag. I emailed the board, talked it over with Kegan and because of some generous gifts from donors it became a reality.

So on Monday all people had to do was come up to the counter and meet a smiling Kegan and say “A Good Father,” and Venus, the barista, would make up their favorite drink. Yes, I know it is just coffee, but maybe, just maybe this small gift might ignite a thought about the Father’s generous heart in giving His only beloved Son as free gift to all who call out in faith to receive Him.

I praise God for Flatirons church and how their generosity reached us in South Africa and gave us the opportunity to experience the joy of giving and blessing others with the Father’s generous love. The day was filled with divine appointments, tears, prayers, shock, and opportunities to tell the story of a Good Good Father and His Son. It was awesome watching others pay it forward as well.

Listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit this Christmas season. How is your Father calling you to demonstrate His  goodness and kindness to those in your sphere of influence. Go for it, it may be your best and most joyous Christmas ever!!!

“Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from the Father above, who created all heaven’s lights. Unlike them, He never changes or cast shifting shadows. In His goodness He chose to make us His own children by giving us His true word (Jesus). And we, out of all creation, became His choice possession,” (James 1:17-18).



Jerusalema Challenge!

I’ve got a challenge for you during this Christmas season! Patty and I were invited to be apart of the Christmas celebration at the Ocean View Care Center. Pastor Raymond, a volunteer at the Center, taught us the Jerusalema dance. This song and dance was birthed in South Africa, swept through Africa and all over the world even making its way to the US.

To be honest I’m a little behind the times on social media so I had to go home and look up this catchy song and dance challenge that went viral during the pandemic. The song is in Zulu and has its roots in a much older gospel hymn, “Jerusalem Ikhaya Lami (Jerusalem My Home.)” The hymn celebrates a longing for a New Jerusalem, a hope for a better place where suffering will end. Jerusalema echoes those same desires. Here is the English translation:

Jerusalem, my home Rescue me, Join me, Don’t leave me here!

My place is not here, My kingdom is not here, Rescue me! Come with me!

Save me, save me, save me, Don’t leave me here….!

As I read these words and listened again to the song I thought about the joy we saw at the Care Center in both the children and the teachers. The whole Gospel was shared in both words and songs and it was a taste of heaven on earth for us. We both really needed it and came home so blessed by the day.

But at the same time pain was very present. Two teachers had recently lost family members one had been killed in a drive by shooting and another stabbed due to gang violence. Many children peered through the fence asking for food to feed their hungry stomachs. It made us both so sad to witness such real life situations for this community.

Yet here was singing, dancing and powerful prayers of hope right in the middle of a community filled with a hot bed of violence, corruption, and overwhelming needs. Quite a polarizing picture, the celebrations of the Christmas season and most of 2020. The gift of hope in Jesus and a brutal battle ground of reality. The gift of God’s only Son in the midst of so much pain is a potent reminder that this world is not our home. There is a New Jerusalem coming for all who have walked through the cross of Jesus Christ. His blood and forgiveness has opened doors both now and forever into an eternal Jerusalem. All who have experienced God’s saving grace are already in spirit apart of a heavenly Zion, a New Jerusalem where we can live out of His forever love.

Our faith response to the gift of our Heavenly Jerusalem needs to be singing and dancing for what has been given to us in Jesus both now and forever. As Pastor Raymond led us in the Jerusalema last Friday, we need to dance & sing in the midst of our battles & brokenness.

Patty and I actually pulled up a tutorial for the Jerusalema dance. We still have some practicing, but it created many laughs and served as a reminder that our hope and our calling to bring His Hope to all He leads us into contact with. We challenge you this Christmas season to sing, dance, and pray the Jerusalema wherever God has placed you and even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

“And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2)

P.S. If you want to see the dance performed by the local Fish Hoek High School click on the link below…..and if you and your family master this dance! Love to see a video!!!






Depending on the Wind

Summer is here in South Africa and at the Retreat Center it also means the wind is here. I’m not just talking about a summer breeze blowing gently off the ocean, but a sand-blowing, building-shaking kind of wind. In fact, it was blowing so hard the other night I thought Oceans Retreat Center was going to be picked up like Dorthy’s house in the Wizard of Oz.

As the windows were rattling at 3 am I was thinking about the brute power generated by this invisible force. It made me think of the Spirit’s power described in the Creation story as “hovering over the surface” and how out of this Wind life emerged out of nothing. I also pondered the “New Creation story” of Pentecost where the Wind of the Spirit shook a prayer- filled room with Holy Fire and the Kingdom of God broke forth.

As the curtains kept rhythm with the blowing wind, my mind wandered to ALL that has occurred in our world this year. I cried out in prayer to the Lord, “I need the Wind!” Jesus lived this dependency during His life on earth. He relied upon the Holy Spirit. Check out this list:

Birth = Conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).

Baptism = Filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18)

Sealed = Spirit stamped the Father’s love upon Him (John 6:27)

Led = He went where the Spirit told Him to go (Luke 4:1)

Joy = The Spirit brought Him joy in ministry (Luke 10:21)

Taught = Spirit gave Him the words to teach (Acts 1:2)

Miracles = It was through the Spirit that He performed miracles (Luke 4:14-15)

Resurrected = Spirit raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11)

Obedience = Jesus remained obedient even unto death by the Spirit (Hebrews 9:14)

If Jesus needed the Holy Spirit how much more so do we who are children of Adam.

2020 has been a tough year for the entire world. I know several people who have suffered with enormous pain and loss.  For me It has felt like a deep season of emptying, of God purging my heart of junk it doesn’t need-in order to make room for what is needed the most.

As we have been in Southern Africa for almost a year we have come to realize the demonic strongholds are deeply intrenched in our valley and no amount of human strength will break its bondage. As the prophet Zechariah so correctly declared that “not by might nor by power but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty,” (4:6).

The exciting aspect of what I believe is happening around the world and even here in Fish Hoek, is that weak, empty, followers of Christ are starting to realize we can’t do it with out the Wind. Recently Patty and I found a prayer meeting on Monday nights. It is hard to tell with social distancing and online viewers how many people attend the church, but what I can tell you is that pastor knew he needed help and called the people to cry out for supernatural power from the Spirit of God.  At first only a handful of people came, but in a few months it has grown to 70 plus people. What is really amazing is how many high school students attend as well as people of every tribe and nation. The Wind is starting to blow.

As 2020 comes to a close, I believe that in this new season of 2021- followers of Christ will be crying out for a fresh Wind of Revival; where believers will grasp the need to live in the radical dependence of the Wind of The Spirit just as Jesus and  the early church modeled.

May this “WInd-Prayer” be your prayer as well!



My Friends-the Prophets

Do you have any friends who are prophets? If you don’t I would strongly suggest you find a few. I have been spending a lot of time lately with my prophet friends. They are a unique breed for sure, not always easy to make friends with. Most of them are extreme introverts and struggle with popular culture.  If they were on twitter or facebook they would be constantly red flagged for their blunt honesty and incorrect political statements.

To be honest it can be really hard hanging out with my prophet friends at times. Their words can burn as the they uncover hidden sin and self-centered strongholds. I don’t always appreciate their judgmental tone and their strong rebukes. Sometimes I want to run out of the room as their prophetic rants feel like open heart surgery and I’m wide awake with no anesthesia.

Yet, over the years I have found their loving discipline and instruction has been exactly what I’ve need to turn me around into the arms of my loving Father. Without their constant loving support I’d quickly slide down a slippery slope of trusting self as god instead of placing my faith in the Sovereign of the Universe; as their wise prophetic words have proven true time and time again, self-trust always leads to self-destruction.

During the last several months here in South Africa I have spent many hours reconnecting and listening to my friends. Seeking their advice about my heart, the pandemic, ministry, and the future. Yes, at times the conversation has been difficult, but also filled with a great sense of hope and expectancy for the future.

Let me give an example from one of my prophet friends.  He is called the weeping prophet, and even wrote a book about crying called Lamentations. You’ve probably heard of him, his name is Jeremiah. He wept over the sin of God’s children, over his own pain, and judgement that was coming. Yet, in the midst of his tears, he found hope in the character of God:

“Yet, I still dare hope when I remember this: 

‘The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By His mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each day.’ I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him! The LORD is wonderfully good to those who wait for Him and seek Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD. And it is good for the young to submit to the yoke of His discipline,'” (Lam. 3:21-27).

In fact, all my 16 prophet friends from Isaiah to Malachi point to “my inheritance” found in the gift of my Savior Jesus. They keep telling me “Hope in Him!”  They reveal over and over again not to trust in rulers, governments, armies, money, position, people, but in a Child who has been born, a Son given, He is the one governments of the world rest upon His shoulders:

“The Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father , Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David, the passionate commitment of the LORD Almighty will guarantee this!” (Isa. 9:6-7).

I encourage you to invite one of the prophets over this Christmas season. It might not be an easy conversation, but if you listen carefully they will lead you to a place where you will find hope in Sovereign, Loving, Faithful, Forever King, Jesus!