“My one word for our time in Hoedspruit, well for all of life as a Christian really, is RISK. There is no adventure without risk, but oh if you allow God to lead you on the adventure He so longs to lead you on, you will see His provision in ways you could never imagine.” As Margaret van Vuuren says these words, she turns to look at me with an infectious smile on her face, and tears of joy in her eyes. Speaking of her and Ivan’s many adventures with God over the last few decades has this effect on her. This is a woman who knows her Saviour with every inch of her being.
Margaret (who is in her mid 70’s) goes on to tell me how the move to plant this church, ‘The Gathering Place’, has been the best decision they could have made. “If we had stayed in Melkbos and chosen to remain comfortable, Ivan would have died…he really would have died. We have been here for 6 months and I can’t tell you how many ‘God moments’ we’ve had,” Margs says to me. At this, Ivan starts bubbling over with excitement, as he tells us of his heart for this community, their hunger for Jesus, and the incredible way they’ve seen the children especially, encountering their Saviour.
This from a man who once tore up salvation pamphlets, rejected any attempts at the local town’s pastor’s efforts to evangelise him, and even once told his wife that she couldn’t possibly love two men at once- she had to choose: him or Jesus. [Margaret was saved 4 months after she and Ivan got married, and Ivan was saved 4 years after that- that episode in their lives, in itself, carries many stories of its own.]
Hoedspruit is a tourist destination. There are over 200 game lodges in the area. Reaching this people means dealing with the reality that a lot of your Sunday visitors will most likely be out of town (country) tourists. Rather than discouraging Ivan, this fact instead excites him- at the thought that these people could be exposed to the Gospel and, in turn, take the Gospel back home to wherever it is they came from: A precious revelation and truth!
The van Vuurens don’t know what their future in Hoedspruit holds, but they couldn’t be more excited to find out. They’re so thankful to be a part of a family like Four12, a group of churches which includes the church that released them to plant here, Joshua Generation Church. They shared with us how the support that this family of churches has given them, has been incredible.
“There is a confidence in knowing that you are where God wants you to be, a peace in your heart when you’re walking out His plans for your life.” These words echo in my mind, as I reflect on this precious time we’ve had, with Ivan and Margs in Hoedspruit. Where will I be 50 years from now, when I, too (God willing) am experiencing life in my 70’s? I pray, by God’s Grace, I’d be just where the van Vuurens are…passionately, and eternally secure, in His Grip!
What can we pray for, for the Van Vuurens and The Gathering Place?
Photo(top): From Left to Right: Margaret van Vuuren, Pam Marais, Juliet Marais, Ivan van Vuuren
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juliet, also known as Jewels, is a member of the Four12 admin team. An 80’s baby she grew up in Cape Town as a ‘PK’ (pastor’s kid), the youngest of four children. Most days you’ll find her out running, hanging out with her family, enjoying a good cup of coffee or getting her thoughts on ‘paper’ blogging.
Share this Post