By Patty Spykstra
The mission of the Retreat Centre is to be a place, which seeks to develop authentic love relationships between the Father and His children, inspiring them to live out their Kingdom calling in the world.
This December 25 marks the third Christmas here at Oceans Retreat Centre in Fish Hoek, South Africa. In many ways living here feels like home. We have a Christmas tree set up, a few decorations, and Tim bought me a poinsettia. We are blessed to enjoy fellowship with Thobeka, Sunny, and others through church and ministry.
We are told that this building is one with a rich history. In many ways the above mission has been going on for generations without us even realizing it. Over the year’s missionaries gathered here while they waited for a ship out of Cape Town to bring them back to Europe. Much singing around the piano, sharing of a cup of tea with warm milk, and many prayers were prayed on this property. In fact during our time here many have stopped by to ask if they can see the place and share their story of time spent here as missionary kids.
For those of you have been on campus you know that front room in particular is a place filled with peace. This room is where we have our staff meetings and gather for prayer. Many guests enjoy this space to sit quietly in the early morning hours of the day with their Bible and a cup of coffee. It is a place for teens to ask tough questions about their faith or ponder what God may have in store for them. Heartfelt conversations, prayer requests, worship and confession are shared in this safe place. Missionaries, Bible translators and leaders from impoverished areas have all gathered in the “living room” and spent a few nights in the guest rooms and been renewed.
I love spending time in the front living room; it is a place to gather, to fellowship, to develop friendships and grow in community. It is where the presence of the Lord is. As Tim, Thobeka and I prepare for guests we offer prayers for peace and rest and add a realistic prayer that the plumbing won’t back up, that load shedding won’t last too long, and that the much needed rains don’t pour down all at once causing flooding. The winds and rain and age have its effects on this place that Oceans offers as a respite and as a safe place for those traveling from overseas.
Over the past 3 years we have met so many authentic followers of Christ who live and minister daily in impoverished communities and we are well aware of how easily discouragement can set it. We are reminded of how important it is to encourage these leaders and give them a place to rest and be cared for and this building here at Oceans Retreat Centre has provided that many times.
In our mission for Oceans Retreat Centre to be a place to develop authentic love relationships and inspire others to live out their Kingdom calling we realize that a place of peace does not need the newest furniture or amazing light fixtures or perfect pillows. But broken things do need to be replaced, a leaky roof repaired, and perhaps some towels updated.
With poverty all around and so many without running water or a toilet is it an internal battle to do such things as tree trimming and preventative maintenance, but we also realize that by taking care of such things we are providing jobs for the community and this is a way we can directly bless others.
As we continue to gather with whomever God may bring to the Retreat Centre, Tim and myself, Mike and Dawn and the Oceans staff are so appreciate of the countless ways the board and you as a community have supported and walked alongside us over the years.
We want to wish you a blessed Christmas and wherever you may be don’t miss the Gift of Gathering with friends and family to worship the King of Kings born in a humble cave. Yes, Jesus has brought love, hope and peace to those gathering all over the world!