SHOCK OR PLEASANT SURPRISE:
BEN AND MARTIE RETIRE FROM RIMONI MINISTRIES AFTER APP. 10 YEARS OF HAVING FOUNDED IT
It is Monday the 1st of March, 2.30 pm and the dust of the past weekend’s hectic activity down here at Philippolis has somewhat settled. So what was it all about: a “skaap braai” or a gathering to pray for more rain?
No, no, it was the long awaited board meeting convened for the handing over of the reigns of Rivoni Ministries to our Board members, Francois du Plessis and Willem and Maureen Raubenheimer. Francois has now also taken over as Director of the Mission. With Martie at 72 and me at 75, this step just could not be postponed any longer.
What a wonderful time we had together as we reflected on the different aspects of the work such as the qualities of a spiritual leader, management and dealing with conflict, the Mission’s calling, presenting of discipleship courses, finances, staff, infrastructure, etc. Although we made an effort to maintain a cheerful atmosphere, our eyes were at times swimming in tears. In the end we were convinced that we were absolutely within the will of God in effecting this transition. We also unanimously decided, and committed to writing, that for the following five years, the Mission would stick to the principles laid down by the founders, namely the making of disciples of the Shangaan people of Mozambique by presenting to them Bible based discipleship courses, dealing with it, book by book from Genesis to Revelation and that the Mission will continue to function on a cash basis, not incurring any debt at all.
May the Lord be with our loved and esteemed successors as He had been with us. Some ten years ago He asked me: “Ben, you have seen the need of these Shangaan people; are you now willing to lay down your life for them?” Martie and I hesitantly accepted the challenge though we did not even know the language and knew only one Christian in Mozambique. In the beginning we floundered, not knowing how to set about the task, but once we got the recipe of discipleship training from the Lord, the work expanded rapidly. Recently the discipleship class numbers ran to 74 classes and 959 students. What a mighty God we serve!
Discipleship training has tremendous potential and we trust that the Mission will not only reach its goal of making disciples of most of the Shangaans of Mozambique, but will be able to “franchise” the principle to many other nations in Africa.
As for our successors; we have great confidence in them for they have been undergirding the Mission almost from its very outset and are deeply rooted in the Lord. They have also been very successful in their secular professions, proving both their own abilities and God’s favour upon them. Francois resigned from Reutech after 25 years of service to take up this present calling and Dot, his wife, was a teacher until recently when she joined a firm of auditors. They live at Pretoria and will operate from there with Francois frequently visiting the team in Mozambique. (By the way, Francois is no green horn to missionary work and has led a number of prayer groups into closed Muslim countries, placing cassettes and literature with the Gospel message. Dot once accompanied him; so they know what it means to risk your life for Christ!)
A farewell meeting will be arranged during March or April for us (Ben and Martie) to say goodbye to our Mozambique staff.
The work at Philippolis will now also be terminated, including the monthly “Philippolis News” which was read widely, even overseas. Martie will now be freed from Mission responsibilities but I will vigorously endeavor to build up the “Pottebakker” website ministry and will also run Rivoni Ministries’ website for them. There is a tremendous potential in Africa for websites containing Bible study material in vernacular languages and this is what I believe the Lord would want me to do during the foreseeable future. The building of the Kingdom of God is such a glorious project that I feel honoured to be allowed to continue having a part in it, though I am grateful to be released from the responsibilities I have been carrying up till now.
In closing: thank you, thank you, thank you to each one of you who has been assisting Martie and me in the task the Lord gave us in Mozambique. Thank you for your prayers! Thank you for your donations! Thank you for visiting us down there in Mosquito Valley and doing practical work such as the building and renovation of our buildings, etc. You are real champions and have been such a blessing to us. See you all in heaven! Wow, what a day it will be! And do keep up the good work. Bless our successors as you blessed us, yes, bless them even more and draw in others to bless their work. That part of Mozambique where we are operating is absolutely thirsty for the Gospel and for the Lord Jesus. Let us saturate that area with the Gospel before the time may come that they may turn away and seek fulfillment in politics and other worldly promises that cannot satisfy the human being that was created to find life in His Creator. Bless you!
(PS: I managed to obtain a late entry for the Cape Argus cycle race over 109km held on 6 March and so we went down to Cape Town. I participated and finished the race in 5 hours and 26 minutes, 45 minutes slower than what I did two years ago! Is the writing on the wall? Perhaps Martie and I should now switch to bowls. )
Here ends the discourse and deliberations of BEN AND MARTIE LUBBE
FRANCOIS DU PLESSIS WRITES:
“STEADY AS SHE GOES”
As I was pondering our recent board meeting and considering what to write in this newsletter, the words “Steady as she goes” came to mind. Knowing it to be a shipping term, I consulted Wikipedia as to its real meaning. The explanation was awesome and so appropriate as to where we as a steering committee now find ourselves, that I felt that our Heavenly Father Himself was, in His wisdom, giving me advice. I quote (abbreviated and highlighted where necessary ):
“A professional helmsman maintains a steady course, properly executes all rudder orders, and communicates to the officer on the bridge using navigational terms relating to the ship’s heading and steering. A helmsman relies upon visual references, a magnetic and gyrocompass, and a rudder angle indicator to steer a steady course. The mate or other officer on the bridge directs the helmsman aboard merchant or navy ships.
Clear and exact communication between the helmsman and officer on the bridge is essential to safe navigation and ship handling. Subsequently, a set of standard steering commands, responses by the helmsman, and acknowledgment by the conning officer are widely recognized in the maritime industry. The helmsman repeats any verbal commands to demonstrate that the command is heard and understood
“Steady as she goes” (the words the Lord gave into my heart) therefore means that the helmsman must steer as needed to continue on the current course and that is exactly what we had decided to do.
OUR EARLIER INVOLVEMENT WITH BEN AND MARTIE
We (my wife Dorathea and myself) have been part of Rivoni Ministries for 5 years now as field assistants to Rivoni Mozambique. I also served as treasurer for Rivoni SA. I first went into Moz in 2011, accompanying Ben and Martie to collect their few belongings before finally leaving Mozambique. I witnessed the tears of the staff as they greeted “Oom Ben and Ta Mart” when they said what was to be their final goodbyes. On that morning I was also welcomed on board the Mission. I then escorted them to SA.
Soon afterwards I procured the “Moz Trooper” (a Toyota Hilux) for the work and started regular visits to Mozambique to encourage, maintain and promote the work of Rivoni at our base and amongst staff and friends. But maybe I have been part of Rivoni for much longer….
It was some 20 years ago, in May 1996 that I had just surrendered my heart to the Lord Jesus after being confronted about the sinfulness of man and his own inability to save himself. I was baptized at a men’s camp and started my walk with the Lord. I had a passion for the Lord Jesus and wanted to see all people saved. I needed to walk this new foreign road under the guidance of a mentor, strong in the Lord and with a passion for the Word of God and for people.
Dorathea and I then stepped into our first home group meeting of the Hatfield Christian Church North (HCCN) and we met the cell leaders, Ben and Martie Lubbe. With them we walked a long road together. As we matured, we were in turn appointed by them as home group leaders with them overseeing us as shepherds. In due course they entered into full-time missionary service but we kept contact as friends and we later on began supporting the Mission they had established. I was fortunate to be available at the right time when they had to leave Mozambique. Father then laid it on my heart to minister to them and to the Mission and once again I became a student in the whole new environment of Mozambique. with Ben and Martie Lubbe as my teachers.
OUR VISION FOR RIVONI MINISTRIES
What then should we expect of Rivoni Ministries in future?
- While serving there, the Lord has shown us the success that comes by heeding the Father’s voice and the results of Rivoni stems first and foremost from obedience and an intimate relationship with Him Who is our All in all! This recipe, accompanied by teaching the people the Word of God so that they can come to know not just the God of the Word but a Father in Heaven to all who are dear to Him, shall remain the course we will be pursuing.
- I will continue encouraging all mission hearted people to join me on short trips of about 4 days (2 of them over weekends normally) to meet the Mozambicans, see and experience the work, pray with our staff and encourage them in Word and deed. The next visit is planned for departing on Saturday 28 May and returning on Tuesday 31 May 2016. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 083 641 5525 to book or for more info.
- We are in the process of planning deputation visits to the UK and trust that it will result in bringing visitors over to see for themselves what we are doing in Mozambique.
- By using a GPS we have already mapped many of the classes and outposts where we are operating and will continue to do so in order to have a bird’s eye view of both the reached and unreached areas within the southern three provinces. We will then be in a position to pray for God’s provision in terms of funds and staff to reach those that are still in darkness.
- We will also look at the possibility of future moves into central and Northern Moz.
- Oom Ben will endeavour to write our remaining study guides and manage Rivoni’s website.
- Lastly and most importantly, we will give our all to keep our focus on Him and on leading others into a relationship with Abba Father and His Son Jesus, based on love as opposed to lifeless religion.
None of what is said above is really “new” but just a continuation of the vision we have been given to ”Go,make disciples of all nations, teaching them…”. (“Steady as she goes!”)
It is with much expectation that we as the steering committee, myself as Director (with my wife at my side supporting me faithfully for the past 30 years), Willem Raubenheimer, (Secretary) and Maureen Raubenheimer, (Treasurer)) look forward to continue this work that God has begun till He shall pronounce it to have been completed.
We also look forward to work together with you as “oom Ben and ta Mart” did and hope to meet as many of you as possible, face to face, if we have not met before. I pray that you will continue to support us by your prayers, words of encouragement and funds and that you will join us on some of our visitor’s weekends, year-end functions or work weeks when we go to do maintenance and repairs.
BLESS YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
The following anonymous donations were received for which we thank you so much: 2016-01-28, Vereffen, Rivoni; 2016-01-29, IBANK betaling, 6 months till June;
In the love of Christ,
FRANCOIS AND DOT DU PLESSIS
(PS. Because this is a very special newsletter, it has reached to a very considerable length and we compliment you for your perseverance in reading it right through. If you still have time to spare, please also read the annexure dealing with our recent visit to Mozambique.)
MOZAMBIQUE VISIT 16 TO 25 FEBRUARY 2016
DID SOMEONE LEAVE THE OVEN SWITCHED ON?
Africa’s climate can be extremely harsh towards animals, man and machine. The Mozambique region where our headquarters for Rivoni Mozambique is based, is no exception. High humidity, extreme heat, malaria, tropical storms and winds of hurricane strength are all part of the environment that our staff and equipment are facing. The toll that rust was taking, a long time leak on our water tank and wear and tear on the caravan’s body and electrical system, necessitated some maintenance and we set off on Tuesday 16 February for a 10 day trip to try and repair some of these items.
We replaced the water tank, repaired and replaced security lights, fixed a broken window on the caravan, reconnected our “Laboratorium” power supply feeding the flat and offices, repaired a rusted area on the container roof, spent time with all our district supervisors on their monthly visit to Chinhacanine and visited a new class in Chokwe, amongst other things. I was accompanied by Wayne, a brother in Christ and he was a huge help, doing much of the driving and assisting with the practical work.
On Sunday we went to a local church where one of our part time teachers, Alson, is teaching a class and I had the privilege of sharing a message with the church on being part of God’s Great Plan. Boavida Baloi, our vice director for Rivoni Mozambique, translated for me and, on finishing, invited people to come forward for prayer if they had never before felt God’s call to be part of His Plan and His Kingdom. Several came forward, some in tears and we could minister to them. What an awesome privilege our God gives us to allow us to be Jesus’s hands and feet on earth!
It was not all work though. Wayne spent some time having fun with the kids, repairing their ball made of plastic bags and paper and kicking it around, showing them photos and repairing a toy constructed of reeds with some self-made wheels which they pushed around. He even went for a refreshing shower under a sluice at the barrage as we experienced temperatures of 36 degrees C even by 9 in the evening. The very high humidity accompanying the heat, results in a high degree of discomfort.
We had a great trip and good interaction with the people. We got a lot of work done and we would like to invite you to join us on the next short trip.
We plan to do a visitors weekend on the 28th of May, leaving from Pretoria on Saturday the 28th and returning on Tuesday the 31st of May. Please contact me (Francois Du Plessis) if you are interested to go with. We will be visiting some of our outposts and meeting with some members of staff as well as with students. They will be so proud and excited to have you there! My contact details are: email@example.com and 083 641 5525. I may be off-line from 17 to 27 March.
FRANCOIS DU PLESSIS
DIRECTOR: RIVONI MINISTRIES