Ficksburg Cherry Festival 2012

As a modern-day circuit-rider I travelled 398kms with my “mechanical-horse” from Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal to Ficksburg in the Eastern Free State with my family late on Wednesday afternoon the 14th November. This year the brethren were unable to accompany me, but they were with me in prayer for the outreach. We thank you all for your prayers and partnering with us that made this trip a reality where we stepped out in faith which “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1) and God provided for our necessary needs through your love offerings in giving to our Lord’s work.

Thursday 15th

On the first day of the Ficksburg Cherry Festival many “Are You Ready?” and “How to Live Forever without Being Religious” Gospel Tracts were dispersed to the revellers – young and old – who would be attending the festival. The literature was also distributed to some mounted Policemen and Air-force servicemen too. The latter tract was a love offering (600 English, 300 isiZulu) given to the ministry by Brother Louis Ackermann for which we thank him.

The following selected witnessing encounters – for there were many more, some very brief, as the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ was shared, took place:

*          Molise (pronounced Mo-dee-se) ~ A Sesotho man approached me and told me that he remembered me from last year (2011). He asked where the other gentlemen were. I explained to him and then he told me that although he did not speak to us last year, he sat to one-side and listened to us. His recollection of the events and even the finer details of Brother Sello Rasephei using his iPad to video our preaching was profound, as he even showed with his actions what took place. He is a born again believer and he told me that he had said in his heart that he would see if we would come back next year. This was a truly encouraging way to launch the preaching of the Gospel of God this year – Our Father’s encouragement! To know that people listen and take in what you say and do is encouraging. Praise God!

*          A group of youngsters (aged 13 to 15 year olds – names unfortunately were not taken down) ~ This was the first discussion with a group of youngsters that our Lord Jesus Christ allowed me to engage. There were four Afrikaans children (3 girls and 1 boy) – who spoke and understood English – and their one English speaking girl friend, whose appearance was possibly Portuguese. Whilst taking them through the “Good Person Test” the Afrikaans children readily interacted, especially the boy, but the English girl remained pretty much out of the conversation at first – in fact she even denied believing in the God I was revealing and even asked me a question whether I believed in evolution. She truly wanted a Yes / No answer, but I explained that micro-evolution “yes”, but macro-evolution – altering of species – “no”. The conversation continued in preaching our Lord Jesus Christ and Him crucified, when this young girl then asked in a hurting manner: “Then why does God take away people and let them die?” It was at this point that whilst explaining that we die because of our sin that she turned away and started crying. Our Lord had me approach her as I enquired of her the pain she was experiencing and she said her two year old brother was taken from her. I too was moved with compassion as tears welled in my eyes at her hurting, but explained to her that her two-year old brother would not be cast into hell by our loving and merciful Father God and that her brother was in the arms of Jesus as he was not accountable or had come to an understanding of right and wrong and knew his sin, as I explained to her the death of King David’s son where I told her of the account in 2 Samuel 12:22,23 ~

22And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? 23But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.

I did plead with her that if she would want to see her brother, she would have to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ who she had said I would never convert and change her from what she believes. She also said that she will see her brother some day, but not the way I was explaining it by believing in Jesus and going to heaven. Whilst this young girl is resistant to the Gospel, the seed has been planted, and we request prayer for God to open her heart to understanding and salvation. Please pray for her friends too, that although they profess to be believers in Jesus Christ, God would work in their lives too and they will be true friends and share Christ with her. The young girl also took both Gospel tracts even though she said she does not believe!

*          Elizabeth, Joy and three other friends ~ A group of five Sesotho schoolgirls in uniform were engaged in conversation with the Gospel of our Great King Jesus Christ. They were extremely open to the Good News and asked searching questions with regards to sin, judgment and how to be saved. They left knowing that they must repent towards God and have faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). They were very thankful and grateful for the conversation that we had together, especially Elizabeth and Joy. But we know salvation is of our Lord and the Word went forth to them all. Please keep them in prayer.

*          Blessed by a lady on the street ~ Whilst our first and foremost reason to be on the streets is to evangelise the lost and preach our Lord Jesus Christ and Him crucified, our Great God also moves listeners’ hearts so that we are encouraged by fellow believers verbally and whilst we do the work of our Lord to reach the lost, our Father is also gracious in rewarding us – sometimes financially when we least expect anything! Please pray for all those who give, not out of compulsion, but out of love for our Great God.

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. ~ 2 Corinthians 9:7

*          Joseph of Setsoto 93.7FM ~ Whist handing out the Word of God, for I also handed out some “Thuso E Tsoang Holimo” (Sesotho for “Help From Above”)[World Missionary Press, Inc.] Scripture booklets – which were incidentally sent to us in a parcel from Brother Michael Miller in the USA together with isiZulu booklets a few months back – a reporter from a local Sesotho radio station approached me and took some material and asked if he could interview me. I agreed and later whilst open-air preaching and lifting the precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the reporter named Joseph returned and approached me, and after explaining the manner of the interview of how this event can impact the community, I said to him that I am not here to “promote” the festival in a secular way, but was here to preach and call all to repentance. He then told me to share what was on my heart, and so he recorded me. Well the “interview” was broadcast just after 18H00 South African time (www.setsotofm.com), however from what I did hear whilst on a short break – I never listened to the whole programme due to the language barrier and I was at the time 9returning to preach in the evening – it would appear that the “interview” was shortened / censored! However, what I heard I am sure our Father God will use for His Glory!

Friday 16th

*          Muslims take Gospel Tracts ~ Had two Muslim men approach me and take Gospel Tracts that I held out without me asking them to take them. One put it in his pocket and the other can be seen carrying them. In the past we have seen Muslims cast the literature to the ground as soon as they realise it speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not today! We do pray that they will read the Good News and come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ of Nazareth alone!

*          Unfortunate incident ~ Witnessed a very unsavoury incident where some Nigerian hawkers had taken down part of a municipal fence to hang their merchandise on and the festival security treated the incident very unprofessionally with much filthy and xenophobic language towards the “perpetrators” (the ruined fence was evidence enough, but was it sufficient proof that they had done it?). However, as Scripture says in many places we are not to do evil for evil. After much contention, unnecessary hatred was harboured in the parties’ hearts; the mounted police came and even investigated whether the hawker had legitimate papers to be in South Africa. He passed that test, and even though he was labelled “riff-raff” by the security personnel it showed the conditions of all their hearts. Once the simmering situation calmed down, they were summarily given tracts with the Word of God! This is the reason why the Word of God must be preached in the open-air!! We truly are in “as the days of Noe were …”

*          A brother and a sister ~ Whilst open-air reading the Holy Bible, the Sermon on the Mount by our Lord Jesus Christ, as I read the portion of Matthew 6:12 ~

12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

… and immediately at that point I skipped ahead to stress the point of FORGIVENESS and read verses 14 and 15 ~

14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

As I looked up from the pages of Scripture, here stood this young man about a half-arm’s length in front of me listening to what I was reading, and I said to him straight up: “Do you have unforgiveness in your heart?” His response was: “How do you know me?” God had brought that man at His timing to coincide with my reading to speak to this man. This opened the sharing of our Lord Jesus Christ with this man, when we were soon joined by his married sister. This man has unforgiveness towards his brother, and I stressed unless he forgives his brother, God will not forgive him. It was during this conversation that Brother Pierre De Wet and his wife, Sister Irené, had arrived on motorbike through a heavy stormy downpour, to meet me and had witnessed the encounter taking place. When the Sesotho siblings left me after we spoke some more, the man said he was going home to make good with his brother and forgive him. The sister also said she is married, but her husband is not a believer. Please keep them in prayer (their names escape me), and all Praise to God for divine appointments!

*          Amy Wang and Charmone Ludolph ~ Witnessed to two teenagers (about 15 years-old) Amy and Charmone. Amy came to Christ one year ago and she attends King’s Christian School in Ficksburg. She told me that her school teacher shared the Gospel with her. When I heard she was from China, I asked her if she was a Buddhist before, but she said she was an atheist – one who believed in nothing – but her parents are Buddhists and she is praying that they will convert and be won over to our Lord Jesus Christ. Please keep this as an urgent prayer request for Amy. Awhile later, these two girls came back, and Amy asked me how long I was out here. I started to give the “long answer” then realised she meant today. So I told her briefly the course of the day. She then offered me some coffee, she was drinking, for the period I was out there. I thanked her for her kindness, but reassured her that I would be meeting with my friends, Brother Pierre and Sister Irené later for coffee. This was so touching for a ‘baby-in Christ’ to think of someone else and whether they had something to drink. Please pray for their growth in Christ and that they will be taught the Truth of the Holy Bible for there is much lukewarm churchianity in Ficksburg!

*          Brother Gil Neves ~ It was good to see our Brother Gil come out after the stormy downpour to greet me as they were also getting ready to travel through to Bloemfontein. He came out to encourage me and bless me. Thank you my dear Brother and we hope the dedication of your and your wife, Sister Eunice’s son Ethan was a joyous occasion. God Bless!

*          Emily ~ Whilst waiting for Pierre and Irené to return to the preaching spot after freshening up from their bike ride from Bethlehem (in the Free State, South Africa), by God’s Grace through the storm, I was busy open-air preaching when a Sesotho woman came up to me and interrupted the preaching – which I was glad she did – when she asked me: “Will God forgive a person for killing someone?” I at first thought she had murdered someone, maybe a husband. I reassured her that God in His infinite mercy and grace can forgive whoever He will forgive and for whichever sin committed, including murder! As we spoke I enquired of her the reason for the question, when she told me that as a young girl she had had an abortion and murdered her child. I ministered to this young woman and asked her to speak to God and ask Him to forgive her, if that is what she needs to do. Without hesitation, there in the cool night under the street light and with passer-by’s coming and going, she started to pray to God asking Him to forgive her for the murder of her child and that she repents of her sins. Emily then told me that I was – besides our all knowing God – the first person she had told about her abortion – not even her parents know – and she had been carrying this burden around with her. I then prayed for her asking God to forgive her and grow her in the faith with His Son Jesus Christ and to set her free. On her leaving, I asked her how she felt, and she responded: “I feel light!” Praise be to God for His Grace and Mercy, this is all Glory to Him!

*          Fellowship with Brother Pierre and Sister Irené ~ I then spent the remainder of the evening having fellowship with a truly loving couple Pierre and Irené, family-in-Christ who came to true faith through the witnessing by Brother Gil Neves who also shared a Paul Washer sermon with them. And we rejoiced in the Lord’s work done thus far! Another Brother and Sister in Christ met through Facebook and by God’s providence we have met in person! On our way down a side street to have a cuppa, Brother Pierre also witnessed to a young African boy ‘dobbeling’ (gambling) on the sidewalk with a group of other youngsters who were working as car-guards, when he blasphemed the Name of the Blessed Son our Lord Jesus Christ, when Pierre had tossed in a Million Dollars (tract) and the blasphemy was the opening to the Gospel being shared! Praise God for the opportunity, the youngster’s mouth was stopped!

19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. ~ Romans 3:19

Saturday 17th

*          Ladybrand ~ I went with my wife Tammy and the family on a day-out through to Ladybrand, about an hour’s drive away, to see the farm where Koos and Jan are building on. On the way back we stopped off in the town Ladybrand where we got some refreshments and also gave out some Gospel tracts to some locals and visitors at an eatery and in the car park. I imagine that when they woke up this morning they never thought they would be confronted with the Word of God!

*          Street and Stall witnessing ~ Whilst Sister Irené had gone to see her sister’s new baby in Gabarone, Botswana; Brother Pierre joined me sharing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in Ficksburg at the festival. It was a very interesting afternoon. There were much bigger crowds of people in attendances, and whilst Pierre went stall to stall sharing Christ and distributing the Million Dollar tract and others too, I read Scripture and heralded the Gospel of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Had an elderly Afrikaans man cuss me and the Gospel with profanity, but he was sharply rebuked and told that he has a filthy heart and he needs to repent! Earlier there too was a husband and wife that also had potty-mouths spewing forth filth in front of this preacher. When Brother Pierre returned, there were Muslims busy setting up shop to hand out their lying paraphernalia opposite where I was proclaiming the Truth of Christ! In time brother Pierre went over to engage them in conversation, but they are indoctrinated and do not allow you to get a word in edgewise. I interrupted the one Islamist and asked him to give Pierre an opportunity to speak and explain without interruption. It never lasted too long, but Brother Pierre exercised much patience. What was also a first, we saw a Koran in Afrikaans! What has happened to the point Muslims make that you must read and recite the Koran in its original tongue of Arabic? Whilst Pierre engaged them and showed them their errors and that they speak of a false jesus (isa), a law enforcement officer came by and said it looks like the antichrist has seen what you have been doing for two days and now come as opposition against your preaching. He got it spot on, for Scripture reads ~

7For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. ~ 2 John 1:7

9Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. ~ 2 John 1:9-11

Whilst Brother Pierre was faithful in sharing the True Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with the Mohammedians, I read large portions of the Book of Hebrews’ Scriptures openly for all to hear the supremacy and true deity of our Great King and God, Jesus Christ!

A mention must also be made to some of my family members who also came by and took some Gospel Tracts and distributed them which were outside of their normal comfort zones! Later Pierre and I went home to my family to fellowship around a braai (barbeque). Thank You to God our Father for blessings received from Brother Pierre and Sister Irené, and Brothers Sello, Lungisa and Gil and their families, and from our family Koos and Jan’s hospitality for which the work of our Lord would not have been accomplished! May our Father reward you all as He will with both physical and spiritual blessings for His Glory!

Sunday 18th

*          Preaching in Meqheleng Township ~ On Saturday whilst filling up with some petrol to travel to Ladybrand, I was called over by a ‘pastor’ Robert Mohanoe of ‘Fire Revival Fellowship Centre Int.’, Ficksburg. He had asked me if I preached the Gospel and if I would come preach at ‘his church.’ We exchanged contact details and whilst I had said to him I would possibly come and preach on another occasion when we come up again, on waking up Sunday morning I could not stop thinking of the apostle Paul who was called by the man of Macedonia to come over and preach, as we read:

9And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 10And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. ~ Acts 16:9,10

We were to leave for Pietermaritzburg at 11H00, but I mentioned this to my wife at about 07H30, saying if we go home, I might be disregarding a command from God and then I will feel ashamed and have to spend time repenting again. This is when she said that she too had been thinking about this so why I don’t phone him? Incidentally, my wife’s sister Jan had also said she was thinking about this, too. And so a text message was sent and we started making plans. As it played out, I contacted Brother Pierre who also accompanied me to the gathering in Meqheleng. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was preached by me, and Pierre and I spoke about it afterwards, and we both noticed by the reactions of those present that the congregation were possibly hearing this Gospel for the first time, or at least they were coming under conviction by examining themselves. It was truly a blessed opportunity, and my repentance is that I don’t be a ‘Jonah’, but just respond in future and go to ‘Nineveh’ or wherever the Lord leads! Many of that congregation thanked us afterwards and we also handed them an “Are You Ready?” Tract as they left the corrugated building. All Praise to our Great God for giving us opportunity to “go over” and “assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.”

The Crous family then left Ficksburg after the Church preaching at 14H15 and in total, the “mechanical-horse” carried this modern-day circuit-rider 998.1kms on a round trip with much love in providence and prayers from the remnant Body of Christ!

All Glory to God,

Amen!

_______________________

Previous Ficksburg Cherry Festival Evangelism Outreaches 2010 & 2011

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