Written by Ray Haakonsen
Just over 5 years ago Tim Spykstra, a pastor of 23 years in various CRC churches in the USA, whilst praying on a beach in California, sensed a whisper from ABBA regarding his being a part of a movement called “Oceans”.
Father whispered to Tim “Now is the time to devote yourself fully to making my love known to the world. Trust me as a faithful Father, leave what you know and step out into the unknown as Peter stepped out of the boat into the sea.”
A significant fruit of Tim responding to that whisper was the amazingly unexpected opportunity for Oceans Ministries to purchase a wonderful property in Cape Town South Africa, based 5 minutes walk from…..you guessed it……the Ocean!
In January this year Tim approached me to pray about serving with Oceans Ministries as its ambassador to South Africa and Discipleship leader and the Holy Spirit showed my wife Sue and I this was His desire for us, not knowing the purchase of the property was even on the radar. By March the opportunity supernaturally presented itself and Tim and a close friend Steve travelled from USA to look at and make initial offers for the property after board approval.
An offer was made, after some negotiating, accepted, and the final transfer of the property to Oceans Ministries International happened on 11th October. The facility, now known as Oceans Retreat Center (ORC) is a residential property with accommodation, kitchen, dining and lecture facilities for up to 40 people. Last week we had the first Bible Institute of South Africa Pastors conference (from various parts of Africa) to be held at ORC, with 30 staying over and 58 there for daily conference.
The small team of myself, son Kegan the Manager of ORC, Thobeka a part time staff member who served full time with previous owners Azuza Pacific International, and Michele a short-term USA volunteer, along with contracted Gourmet caterer Helen and helper Cheryl, did an amazing job. All combined as a unified team, fully caring for and hosting this pastors’ group -which included 58 people during the day. Together sharing love through preparing, clearing rooms and kitchen/dining areas and supplying amazing food to the guests.
Hosting this group was not only a tangible way of moving into the whisper to Tim from Abba of “now is the time to devote yourself fully to making my love known to the world’, but my observation was that the hosting of the group was a ministry to the team as well. For a group that had not worked as a team before, the unity, joy and efficiency achieved was such a blessing. Helen, the amazing cater who we were using for the first time and doesn’t share our faith, stated “It is such a pleasure to work in such a great atmosphere. It was awesome”. The celebration of an ice-cream cone with the team afterwards was fair reward 😊
Neil, Director of BISA reported; It was great to have the 11th Pastor’s Conference hosted at Oceans. We had a blessed conference and were able to settle both our resident and non- resident guests down comfortably. Thank you for the support given and bending over backward to accommodate us. I know it stretched the facility, but we were well hosted and the catering was excellent. Thank you again for hosting our conference… the men and women return to their ministries enriched and refreshed!
It has always been my contention that ‘ministry’ is not so much what we do, but being released into being who the Father created us to be. Sharing love of the Father is living out what the Spirit has gifted in us. The World will learn who the Father is when they see it in us, even in our mistakes and failures, when we keep our hearts toward Him and allow His Spirit to lead us.
That whisper from Abba to Tim on the beach in California those years ago, is already beginning to bear fruit across the Oceans here in South Africa. I believe ORC will continue to become a base of sharing more of the Love of the Father to the “Fatherless” as He called us to do……More Lord….that is our cry 😊