As a young boy Johann Kikillus spent some wonderful holidays running around Wellwood lodge, now Oceans Retreat Center. It was to his great surprise several years later he was asked by Azusa Pacific University, new owners of Wellwood lodge, to help lead and disciple college students from America.
Johann comes from missionary roots. His relatives arrived from Germany to the Western Cape of South Africa in the 1880’s with a heart to share the gospel and plant churches. The story continues as God grabbed Johann’s heart with the same missionary passion. He states, “God zapped me!” This happened in a mud hut in Angola while leading a group of high schoolers from his church. So he left a comfortable life working in horticulture at the well known Kirstenbosch Gardens to follow in the steps of Jesus.
From there God opened doors to prison ministry, and gang ministry in one of the toughest townships in Cape Town, then 10 years ago he started Ocean View Care Center for at risk children. Ocean View Care Center became the vehicle to transform hundreds of preschoolers and APU students lives. Both experienced God’s Kingdom in one of the most violent communities in the Southern Cape. What a God!
You can understand the disappointment that Johann felt when he heard APU was selling Wellwood and cutting back on the program. In response to this, he decided to prayer walk around the campus, asking God to bring another ministry from the United States to experience God’s Kingdom in South Africa.
It was a beautiful, sunny February day in Michigan. I was out helping lead a retreat for a small group of men. We were preparing to spend the next 3 hours in personal prayer. I thought I’d better quick check my emails before I headed out into the woods. And it was then and there that I received an email from Johann telling me about the sale of the retreat center and the rest is part of God’s story with Oceans.
Those barefoot feet that ran around this property as a boy became big feet (Johann is a big guy) crying out to God in prayer for a ministry to come from the US and experience what God is doing in Southern Africa. So it is fitting that Johann and Soteria Ministries teams with Oceans this year to make the love of the Father known to Fish Hoek and our surrounding communities.
I often shake my head in wonder as we gather together on Tuesdays mornings for a time of prayer with the community, just to think of how our Father God brings things full circle. From a little boy playing on holiday to a man filled with passion for Jesus, discipleship, and US students sitting in the same building years later. Only God could do this!!!!
Keep Johann, his wife Marsha and son James in your prayers as together we bring the Kingdom to this part of South Africa. Oh and keep your eyes open, you never know how God will brings things full circle in your own life!
“Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out…For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. Rom. 11:33,36.