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.

The Power of Prophetic Words

By God’s good providence Patty and I ended up having lunch with a group of my daughter’s friends in a coffee shop called Gracefull Café in Littleton, Colorado.  Gracefull has an amazing mission to provide a home in the Littleton community where people of all backgrounds can gather, eat well and be inspired to give back.”

In the midst of some great conversation, one of the patrons a few tables away lashed out at the person she was seating with.  A verbal fight pursued and a young man was escorted out of the café.  In tears a lady came to our table and apologized for the disturbance. We assured her that we understood and not to worry.

In the course of our conversation we came to find out she was the founder and owner of this incredible place.  She shared the Christ-centered vision behind Graceful and the journey her family had been on to birth the Café 3 years ago.

But what happened next was the truly amazing gift of grace that God gave us that day.  The young ladies we were with asked the owner if they could share some words with her from the LORD.  The owner was more than ready after what she had just been through.

After a time of silence each of the young ladies shared impressions, which they sensed the Spirit had given them. Different Scriptures were shared that she took in with a receiving heart.  Our sister in Christ responded by telling us how the same texts had been given to her recently in other settings.

Then one of the young ladies exclaimed how God had displayed a field of flowers, in fact purple flowers and was calling the owner to lay down, rest, and allow the Father to minister to her.  A huge smile enveloped her face as she blurted out the purple flowers were her favorite and her name actually means, “purple flower.”

As I took this all in my heart was racing as in the midst of Gracefull Café-God’s amazing grace was flowing down from heaven into the room and filling up the owner’s heart.  We all felt the supernatural presence of the Father’s Spirit encouraging this woman in the midst of the battle she just faced that wounded her heart.

As Patty and I drove home we were filled with joy by what we just witnessed.  We said to each other “This is the body of Christ at it’s best!” These young ladies were willing to step out in faith and listen for the promptings of the Lord and than speak words of love and encouragement from the Spirit.

I believe this is where the Spirit is leading the Father’s Family. In a world that uses words to slander and destroy-God is raising a new generation to be His voice of love and truth to a society desperate for it.  As Peter preached in Acts 2, quoting from Joel 2:28-32:

“In the last days, God says ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions; your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy,” (2:17-18).

May we all join together in praying that our words would be His words-to bring His love and truth to a lost and needy world.

gracefullcafe.com

He’s a good good Father – Thats who He is!

The season of breakthrough
Oceans Conference Jan. 2018

Post written by Ray Haakonsen:

Just over 7 years ago, Sue I, with our 2 adopted daughters, Teka and Lineo, moved from Lesotho to Cape Town, following 24 years in ‘formal missions’. The last 10 years we had co-founded and built up Beautiful Gate Lesotho and saw how our stepping out as an ordinary couple caring for 7 abandoned and HIV/AIDS affected babies, resulted in over 350 babies coming through our Gates!

Many were found in atrocious conditions, left to die, But the heart of the good good Father motivated us to do something. The result was many babies saved, adopted and loved on, by many caring individuals locally and from around the world, who came to help with funds, material goods, their time and skills and presence. The Kingdom came to the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho through them all. At the same time the Father poured out His love on those who came and they were ‘Spoilt for the ordinary”, their lives changed forever by the Love of the Father.

However the work took its toll and by the time Sue and I handed over Beautiful Gate to a wonderful couple Bryan and Anita Geurink from Zeeland, Michigan, we arrived in Cape Town, totally burnt out and in depression. The last 7 years have been a time of searching, reflecting, at times floundering, trying to pray and seeking His plan for our lives and healing. I had handed over any plans to lead or minister again, believing I was ‘done’ and sought ‘secular work’ to provide income and Sue battled with constant emotional and physical pain. Together with nurturing our adopted girls, who are now teens, it’s been tough!

But we are so grateful for the love of the Good good Father and the very evident principle of Divine Appointments, one of them being our meeting and introducing Tim Spykstra and his Step Dad, Bill Bierling to Beautiful Gate in its infancy. That relationship blossomed from day 1 and has strengthened over the years, into one of mutual encouragement, challenging, unconditional love and prayer.

Sue and I were thrilled with the launching of Oceans Ministries by Tim just over 4 years ago and have always respected and admired Tim’s passion for prayer, discipleship, Father heart of God and His Kingdom.

So when Tim and Mike Verkaik (also now with Oceans ministries) visited us last month in preparation for a team coming to Cape Town, we had no idea God was moving to orchestrate Sue’s and my being invited to join Oceans! The beginning of 2018 I had felt the Lord give me the word “Breakthrough” but we weren’t seeing it. I also felt God telling me to stop trying to knock on doors as He would send someone to us! I had begun building establishing myself as a tour guide in Cape Town, with relative success and enjoyment. However I felt incomplete in what I was doing.

Tim’s challenge to us to pray about joining Oceans and ministering to the “spiritual and physical Fatherless” in our area, as well as Mentoring/discipleship, prophetic voice and showing the love of the good good Father to the vulnerable, began to excite our hearts. Sue and I went to our closet to pray together as Tim and the Oceans board prayerfully considered our appointment.

The result was a peace in Sue’s and my hearts, that despite not having a plan before us of what He would have us be involved in exactly, and a confirmation of the Oceans board approval, we have jointly excitedly agreed to spearhead Oceans Ministries work starting in Cape Town.

This 7 years in the ‘wilderness’, whilst very tough, has taught us that the good good Father is true to his promises and never lets us go. We have learnt to draw closer to Him as He is the God of the impossible and of the ‘Breakthrough’. We rejoice at what awaits us and Oceans Ministries as he establishes His Kingdom here on earth.

Let the River flow!

Full Circle – Oceans Welcomes Ray & Sue Haakonsen

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

These words from Habakkuk 2:14 resonated within my heart. While pastoring in California I would often schedule a day to spend praying on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.  As I meditated on this passage and listened to the rhythmic crashing of the waves I scribbled in my journal……one day I would be part of a ministry called Oceans and that ministry would share the love of God the Father all over the world.  That was 17 years ago in 2002.

Soon after that my stepfather Bill and I were in Lesotho Africa. What can only be described as a Divine Appointment connected us with Ray and Sue Haakonsen. Ray and Sue were just starting a care-center for abandoned babies-that care-center would later be called Beautiful Gate.

The Haakonsen’s displayed the Kingdom of God in a tangible way by demonstrating the heart of the Father by caring for abandoned babies. The tremendous faith of this couple would teach many of us in the States and through out the world what it means to be a follower of Christ.

Their faith journey would be an instrument to bring spiritual transformation to churches, schools, and countless individuals who would be forever ruined by their encounter with God at Beautiful Gate.

Seven years ago God called Ray and Sue out of Beautiful Gate and Bryan and Anita Geurink and their family faithfully carried on their heart’s mission. This season of rest in Cape Town South Africa has been one of healing and waiting upon the Lord. It has enabled Sue to focus on spending quality time with their adopted teenage daughters and Ray the opportunity to share with others his knowledge about this beautiful county as a tour guide among other things.

A year ago, January 2018, during an Oceans Leadership Event at Beautiful Gate Ray and Sue joined our group and blessed us with powerful teaching and prophetic words. Their gifts for ministry were evident to all.  The Spirit was definitely leading and preparing them for a new season.

This January 2019, Mike and I were in Cape Town preparing for a team opportunity. We were both overwhelmed by the desperate needs in the local townships.  As I lay in bed one night, the Spirit once again stirred within my heart. This time I was a few miles from where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans collide. This time I felt God say this too is where I want you to “Bring the love of the Father to spiritual and physical orphans and call them home to me!”

The next day we spent some time with Ray talking about ministry-and I was prompted to ask if he would ever consider joining Oceans Ministries.  After a few weeks of prayer by Ray and Sue and the Oceans Board a consensus was determined.  Across oceans and continents each of us was filled with an amazing peace and prompting that God was birthing this step of faith.

The Oceans Board is overjoyed to share with you that Ray and Sue Haakonsen will join the Oceans’ family in using their gifts to make the Father known in dark and difficult places in Southern Africa and Lesotho.

Our God is truly the God who brings things full circle. We ask you to join us in praying for Ray, Sue, and their family.  May our Good Father bring about divine appointments, grant the Spirit’s power, and provide heaven’s provision as we seek God’s direction to bring the Father glory in dark places.