THIRTY ONE: Issue 12

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I S S U E T W E LV E

IRENE BESTER

D O R I E N VA N D E R WA L T

ME2 MAGAZINE

M A S H I E S TA N D E R

RUTH MICHAELIDES

EDNA ELS

MEGAN CARRIE

CHENELL DUNKER


#12 CONTENTS P O W E R N O T E 0 1

- Edna Els F R E E D O M I N F O R G I V E N E S S

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- Megan Carrie F E AT U R E S T O R Y: D E M Y S T I F Y I N G P O S T- N ATA L D E P R E S S I O N

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L I F E I S A T E A M S P O R T

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-Irene Bester -Mashie Stander I ’ V E G O T Y O U

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- Dorien van der Walt W H E R E M Y H E A R T B E L O N G S

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- Ruth Michaelides M Y C R E AT I V E J O U R N E Y

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-Chenell Dunker W E A R & E AT

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Š This publication is produced by Victory Media for m e 2 M e n t o r i n g J e ff re y s B a y. A l l a rt i c l e s a re w r i tt e n b y members of Victory Church unless otherwise stated. Th i s m a g a z i n e i s n o t f o r s a l e . Fo r f u r t h e r i n f o r m a t i o n o n any of the articles, do not hesitate to email us at me2@victorychurch.org.za Issue 12 - August 2018 me2mentoring.com // victorychurch.org.za



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IT DOESN’T CHANGE THE FACT THAT GOD IS GOOD AND KIND IN THE MIDST OF IT.

Hello again, my friends! When God prophetically declared 2018 to be a season of Acceleration, we had no idea what that would look like practically. All we knew was that whatever was about to happen would happen FAST. We haven’t chatted for a while, so I have no idea whether you’ve been stuck in a difficult place and spinning your wheels to get out, or enjoying a season of ‘Everything just keeps going right for me.’ However, I do know that “This too will come to pass.” Regardless of how you’re experiencing your present season [a time period characterized by a particular circumstance or feature], it doesn’t change the fact that God is GOOD and KIND in the midst of it.

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...THE DESTINATION IS A DWELLING PLACE, A PLACE CALLED HOME, IN HIS HOUSE, FOREVER. 3


David wrote,

Don’t you just LOVE the promise that follows in

“You prepare a table before me in the presence

verse 6?

of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My

“Surely GOODNESS and MERCY shall FOLLOW

cup runs over” (Psalm 23:5 NKJV).

me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

At times, the intimidating presence of our enemy is a greater reality to us than the Truth and Grace

That means I have a stalker… and so do you.

that came through Jesus Christ.

In fact, they’re twin stalkers called Mercy and Goodness, and their assignment is to FOLLOW

Yes, we understand and believe that we are

you. In the Hebrew context, it means to ‘run after

seated with Christ in heavenly places, FAR above

and HUNT down, to pursue, to chase, to secure.’

principalities and powers, and the enemy is under our feet. But there are times when we

In today’s context, it simply means, “He’s got

inadvertently give the uninvited enemies of

you!”

guilt, shame, and condemnation a seat of prominence at our table.

It’s forever, my friend⎯ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR LIFE⎯and the destination is a dwelling place

When we focus on the ‘presence of our

called Home. In His house, forever.

enemies,’ fear, doubt, and unbelief become choice fare that the enemy dishes up at our

My friends, regardless of what season you are in,

table. That’s a nasty meal that only fills us with

may I encourage you to take your seat with me

lack, blame, and offense.

and feast at His table? Look to the left and find Goodness. Look to the right and find Mercy.

But when He anoints [prospers and fattens] your head [the centre of your thought processes],

Let’s enjoy the party together!

to the point where your cup [that which holds it

Much Love

together and contains the content] overflows, the abundance of your renewed mind and changed

Edna

life will impact the lives of those around you.

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Prior to the 3rd of December, we were a tight-

This, my friends, is a moment where I’m going

knit bunch, bonded by our mutual love for roast

grab my remote and press pause. I’ll shift over to

chicken and quality family time. A weekly dinner

the side of my couch and invite you to sit with me

brought us together, and if you were to drop by

so that I can look you in the eye and explain to

the Carrie’s on a Monday night, you would find

you what really happened in those ten seemingly

us all around the table⎯my parents, John and

menial seconds.

Debs, my oldest brother Steve, and his wife Nikki, and the two younger siblings, Andy and I, along

It is a moment that I never want to forget. A

with some additional friends that had become

moment that I will reflect on and thank God for

family. The room would be filled with laughter,

extending His forgiveness to and through me.

stories bouncing from every corner of the table,

It was in that small 10-second interaction that

rib nudges and giggles and bottom-of-the-belly

blame, anger, rage, and un-forgiveness were laid

chuckling.

at the foot of the Cross. In a single moment, God untangled my head and my heart from what could’ve been 50-plus years of painful mess. At that moment, I chose to forgive that man. I forgave him for drinking too much and making the decision to get behind the wheel. I forgave him for killing Andrew. I forgave him for running away when my brother was lying on the side of the road alone. I forgave him for making a

On the 3rd of December, the accident scene

mistake because he never went out looking

was a cloud of strangers and lights and anger.

to bring death. I forgave him because He first

I remember seeing a woman screaming at the

forgave me.

back of a police van, spewing out a host of words that I won’t repeat. Rage made itself

You see, un-forgiveness sneaks in like a wolf

known with every phrase that pushed out of

dressed in sheep’s skin. It tells you that withholding

her mouth, landing on the van with a cold,

forgiveness will hurt the other. It whispers in your

hard punch. I remember thinking at that exact

ear that ‘they deserve to feel the pain.’ It reminds

moment, “There’s no time for that, and there will

you, every day, that they are not worthy to be

never be time for that.”

released by your forgiveness, and that the trap you have them in is ‘justice being served.’

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The opposite of this is true, though. The damage

• Is there someone you need to make right

that you are attempting to inflict on them rots

with? It may mean laying your pride aside and

inside of you instead. It will sit at the bottom of

humbling yourself before them with a painful

YOUR heart, it will weigh down YOUR shoulders,

“I’m sorry.”

it will consume YOUR thoughts, and skew YOUR vision. The damage is more internal than external,

Is everything in your humanness pushing back

and the longer you listen to those whispers the less

at the thought of forgiveness? Take it to the

you can decipher truth from reality.

ultimate Forgiver. Let Him work in you and through you because the freedom you didn’t

As a family, we have always openly

know you needed is on the other side.

communicated with each other. We had the

• Maybe you need to forgive yourself. Have you

hard conversations, we thrashed things out⎯both

ensnared yourself in the trap of unforgiveness?

as a group and one-on-one. I am so grateful

Unlatch the grip.

for this. It meant that my brothers, Steve and Andrew, who hadn’t always seen eye-to-eye,

Sometimes forgiveness looks like a practical

could sit across from each other two months

step: make a phone call, write a letter,

before the accident and forgive each other. They

send a message, ask for their time. Don’t let

exchanged apologies, made it right with each

unforgiveness rob you.

other, and even declared “I love you,” even though everything in them was shouting, “But I’m

Deal with it today,⎯deal with it now. There is

right, and you’re wrong.”

freedom in forgiveness. n

Friends, this is a challenge… My brother knew how

Meg is a creative and digital marketer from

to forgive. He knew how to say sorry. He humbled

Durban South Africa. She is part of Harvest Church

himself countless times in front of me for mistakes

in Umhlanga where she is part of their young

he’d made, and also sat in front of people who

adults community.

had hurt him and forgave them. Today is a good day to take a look at your heart and analyze the deep places. Ask the hard questions, the ones that you ignore. • Is there someone you need to forgive? It might mean sitting across from them at a table and chatting it through.

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AS A FAMILY, WE HAVE ALWAYS OPENLY COMMUNICATED WITH EACH OTHER. WE HAD THE HARD CONVERSATIONS, WE THRASHED THINGS OUT— BOTH AS A GROUP AND ONE-ON-ONE. I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR THIS.

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Romans 15:13 MAY THE GOD OF HOPE FILL YOU WITH ALL JOY AND PEACE AS YOU TRUST IN HIM, SO THAT YOU MAY OVERFLOW WITH HOPE BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Photography: Impact Photography

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M Y J O U R N E Y W I T H P O S T - N ATA L D E P R E S S I O N

IRENE BESTER

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Depression indicates weakness, something underperformers hide behind when they cannot keep up or need to justify their failures.

IRENE: I want to begin my story by first sharing my husband’s perspective. JOHAN: After being married for some time, we decided to take that mighty leap of faith and start a family. Nine months later, this bundle of joy dropped into our lives. The pregnancy was wonderful. Irene stayed active and continued working, even going to the gym, right up until her due date. Being busy with life and work, we did very little to educate ourselves regarding the actual birth or anything that followed. However, we had a brilliant midwife, and felt totally safe and at ease knowing that she was assisting us in the delivery. Our gynaecologist was also extremely professional, and every visit to her rooms turned out to be a delight. Mikayla grew steadily and ticked all the right boxes, which left little doubt in our minds that this was not only a dream pregnancy but also a ‘dream child.’ When Irene’s contractions started, she was admitted to Linkwood Clinic’s maternity ward in Johannesburg.

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The plan, her choice, was to have a water birth.

to terms with having PND, but the signs were evident.

The birth itself took a different direction though.

She was very emotional. One day, she walked into

Our midwife discovered that Mikayla was not

my study, holding Mikayla tight against her chest,

positioned correctly and they had to manoeuvre her

crying. “Mikayla is going to leave us one day,” to

into the right position. This process was very stressful

which I replied, “Not anytime soon, Babe.”

on Irene as her contractions were also increasing and everything indicated that Mikayla was ready to

Irene also suffered from severe bouts of insomnia

exit. At long last and after some serious prayer, the

and would periodically have anxiety attacks. She

little one was born.

was forgetful. Most of all, she became very needy, to the point of being obsessive about where I was

Irene was in good health and recovered well after

and when would I return from work.

the ordeal. It was time for mommy and baby to come home. We were told that Irene would most

My parents lived close by, and I would collect daily

likely experience some form of baby blues but that

meals from them, or they would come and visit if

it was normal to do so. We were assured that after a

it was safe to do so. Worryingly, Irene became a

couple of weeks her mood would return to normal

recluse. She avoided contact with people as

and life would be ‘back on track.’

much as possible, which made any type of visit very stressful.

The pressure of having a new-born baby was, to say the least, overwhelming. Mikayla was a healthy

Sadly, besides a very good friend (who happened

baby with normal baby tendencies. However, Irene

to be going through her own PND struggle) and me,

was taking strain. The broken sleep, breastfeeding,

Irene did not get much sympathy from the world

constant worry whether Mikayla was ingesting

we lived in. PND was something like ‘Yuppie Flu’⎯

enough milk, her erratic growth spurts, and all the

it’s all in your mind. The consensus was that she

niggling tummy issues of a new-born baby were

had to ‘buckle up and get over it.’

taking their toll. It was becoming clear to me that Irene was not in a healthy emotional place.

To add insult to injury, three months after giving birth, Irene had to go back to work at SABC as a Presenter.

On a visit to see the baby, our midwife observed

She had a rotating schedule of live on-air slots, either

that Irene was showing signs of post-natal depression

day or late-night shifts. This just meant less sleep

(PND), or at least that her baby blues were lasting

and more pressure. We had a drop-off and collect

longer than usual. She suggested we consult our

routine with the grandparents. For the next eight

doctor.

months, our lives consisted of drop off, collect, get home and repeat. We were both taking strain.

The idea of being ‘depressed’ freaked us out.

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Depression indicates weakness, something under-

It was during this time that we decided Irene needed

performers hide behind when they cannot keep up

to see our doctor. The doctor informed us of the

or need to justify their failures. Irene could not come

perils of PND and continued to prescribe some


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Fortunately, we had people who loved us and cheered us on throughout the process of recovery

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We never stopped praying and being thankful for all the small wins.

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aggressive medication to get it under control. It

IRENE:

took a while before we could see any improvement,

Four years later our beautiful son Kaiser was born.

though. It felt as if Irene was locked in a never-

I knew what was lying ahead as we were warned

ending cycle of fatigue, insomnia, and anxiety.

that PND might strike back, which it did.

She also had increasing outbursts of anger, which were acting as a release valve for piled-up emotions

The second round was hectic, but being more

and frustration.

prepared, and acting sooner rather than later, reduced the effects of the PND considerably.

Fortunately, we had people who loved us and

Unfortunately, I had a double dose in a shorter

cheered us on throughout the process of recovery,

space of time, which ended up making it as

most notably our doctor who monitored Irene very

difficult as previously.

closely. We never stopped praying and being thankful for all the small wins. These wins were

Our backup systems were in place, and the food

crucial to us, as they indicated that we were

run, babysitting, and support were called upon

progressing in the right direction.

again. However, seeing me suffer such mental anguish was something Johan had not encountered

Irene started to understand what was happening

during the first round, and it ‘threw him for a six.’

to her. Her first step to healing occurred when she finally conceded that she needed help, and began

It soon became nearly impossible to cope with.

to receive it. She adjusted her lifestyle, got some

My demand levels skyrocketed as I could not go

sun and exercise, and changed her diet by adding

anywhere without Johan chaperoning me and

Omega 3, 6 and 9.

being physically present. My daily menu consisted of antidepressants, anxiety medication, sedatives,

One of her significant breakthroughs came when

and sleeping tablets. A regular phone call from my

she read Brook Shields’ book, “When the Rain Came

doctor to ‘check in’ became the norm.

Down,” detailing her daunting journey through PND. It was comforting to Irene to know that she was

Johan started to discourage people from visiting

not alone or crazy for feeling all these things. She

us, and he prevented any form of social interaction

started to get out more, and over a period became

that could trigger more PND symptoms. This had an

‘better.’ Her confidence grew, her interactions with

adverse effect on our family and friends, but they

people improved, and her mental state became

were very understanding about the whole situation.

indistinguishable from her pre-baby days. Despite what I was going through, Kaiser was a very Mikayla was a star, all-be-it a strong-willed one

easy, happy baby!

at that, and she gave us much to be thankful for. We were able to celebrate her 1st birthday as a

During this dark period of my life, I remember thinking

milestone for both mommy and baby.

to myself “This TOO, will pass. I won’t always feel like

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THIS.” I never had that resolve the first time I suffered

I found myself suddenly waking up, realising that I

from PND. I knew of women who suffered silently and

had slept for three hours without any medication.

never took the necessary medication because of

I thought, “Ok God, if you can get me to sleep

shame and guilt.

for three hours, then I know I can sleep four hours tomorrow night.” Within a short space of time, I was

It is a lie to believe that you are a failure as a mom if

able to sleep for longer periods, and I knew God had

you need medical assistance. You owe it to yourself,

delivered me from insomnia. This was a breakthrough

your husband, and to your family to seek help.

in my health, and in trusting my Father.

At that time, a friend of mine who was a clinic sister

Mikayla is now 14 years old and Kaiser is 10, but the

and trauma counsellor told me of cases of women

memory of PND is still fresh. We actively encourage

who suffered clinical depression for ten years,

moms and dads who experience these symptoms

and it could be traced back to PND that was left

to seek help quickly. Unchecked PND can lead

unchecked. Recent studies have confirmed her

to deeper emotional issues and prolonged and

observation.

deteriorating depression. People assume that you can just ‘snap out of it.’ This is not true⎯you cannot

In both of my PND experiences, I stayed on my

snap out of PND, but sadly, you can ‘snap’ if you

medication for a minimum of twelve months and

don’t seek help.

then weaned myself off of them with the help of my doctor. When I look back, I realise it is imperative to

In closing, as I retrace my steps, I can see clearly

• walk closely with your doctor,

how God led me every step of the way, from doctors

• have trusted friends that you can talk to and

to my supporting husband, to family and friends. I

pray with,

promise you, Sunny Days do return!

• and sleep! I trust my story has demystified PND and has given Through all of this, I had to trust the process, and trust

permission to many moms to face their own PND

God was with me even if I didn’t ‘feel’ Him.

issues and deal with them in a healthy, constructive manner. It is time to shun the shame of PND and

One night, I had a conversation with God and said,

celebrate the journey and the victory to good

“Father, I am not going to take my sleeping tablets

mental health. n

anymore, and You are going to help me sleep.” It was very late at night, and there was no sign of my

Originally from Sydney Australia, Irene and her

brain switching off. I started watching a healing

husband Johan currently live in Jeffreys Bay, South

crusade on ‘God TV,’ and just enjoyed watching

Africa. Irene and her husband are a much valued

people getting miraculously healed.

part of the Victory Church Pastoral Team where they love and care for God’s people

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Through all of this, I had to trust the process, and trust God was with me even if I didn’t ‘feel’ Him. 22


Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

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Photography: Marzaan Aldridge

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Life is a team sport

MASHIE STANDER

There is one type of person who never fails to tug at my heart strings: the overwhelmed mom. I see her everywhere, in the mall, at school and in church. She is often the woman who gave up on maintaining an adult hairstyle ages ago and doesn’t even try to conceal the shadows around her eyes anymore. If she was to make eye contact, you would probably see sleepdeprivation and a good dose of hopelessness there. I know all this because it used to be me. I often avoided eye contact, mostly because I was juggling so many balls, but—on a bad day—for fear that one sympathetic word or gaze in my direction might cause that very fragile dam wall to burst. Yes, the whole mothering-thing came as quite a shock to me almost two decades ago. My whole life seemed out of control and I couldn’t even imagine the happy, young girl I used to be. I was simply trying to get through each day without losing all my marbles. Today, seventeen years and three kids later, I’d love the chance to go back in time and have a heart to heart with my overwhelmed self. Life just wasn’t meant to be so tough…so lonely. I see the person I used to be in so many young mommies around me and think, Little Sister, you need help. That was the bottom line of my dilemma. My downfall as a young mom was not that I was incompetent, it was that I was attempting to be perfect. I pretended to be making it, and loving motherhood, because everyone else in my shoes

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seemed to be. The worst was, I did it all flying solo,

We learned from each other, challenged each

because I was so convinced I was the only one.

other and prayed together. We got mad at each other and had to learn to confront, and

My life started changing when we became active

work through, offence. We learned to forgive,

in church life. We had been church-hopping for

to love and serve unconditionally. We covered

a while, and finally found a home and a family in

each other’s sins in love. We weren’t just friends,

Oakhill (then Durbanville Family Church) in 2003.

we were a family of vastly different personalities

I joined a women’s mentoring group—a big step

doing life together.

seeing as though I am an introvert and not all that fond of girlie group-fests— and opened myself

I couldn’t have done it without my sisters back

up to being mentored. Too purposefully walk a

then, and I can’t do it without them now. Today,

road with someone to grow and mature in my

we’re all wading through the currents of raising

relationship with God. It was tough at first (mainly

teenagers together. Through mentoring—not

because pride and independence still counted as

only in organized groups, but as a life style—we

virtues in my book back then), but breakthroughs

get to speak into the lives of our younger sisters.

started coming when I took that first leap of faith

Firstly, pointing them to our Father, and secondly

and allowed myself to be vulnerable and real with

encouraging them to work hard at building

my new friends. It wasn’t always easy being real

precious relationships within our family. And, yes,

or open about my carefully masked insecurities

even as mature women in Christ we all still get

and hang-ups. I often feared that showing my

that overwhelmed-mom look some days. It’s great

weaknesses would leave me open to hurt and

to know that I have several sisters just a phone

rejection in a time when I barely made it as it was.

call or a text away. And because authenticity, unconditional love and Word-based truth are

Today, I am so glad I took a chance on God and

core values in our relationships, I never have

His daughters. The friends I made soon became

to pretend to be someone else or conceal the

my sisters, and suddenly I wasn’t struggling on my

struggles I face.

own anymore. Whenever someone had a new baby, the others would provide meals for a time.

This precious treasure I have found in my beloved

A sick friend’s kids would be taken off her hands,

sisters: the freedom to be just who I am and the

so she could rest. It was an unspoken rule that if

inspiration to become so much more. To God be

someone needed a break, or just to spend some

the glory for every relationship He has gifted us

time in the company of another adult before

with to grow in, and become more like Him. n

suicide hour struck, it was only a phone call away.

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And because of our one mutual goal—to grow in

Mashie and her family is part of the leadership

Jesus—I knew my kids would always have more

team at Oakhill Church in Durbanville, South

than one home: physically, emotionally, and

Africa. She is also involved with Oakhill’s lively

spiritually.

me2 Mentoring women’s ministry.


I COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT MY SISTERS BACK THEN, AND I CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT THEM NOW.

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G O D S E TS T H E LO N E LY I N FA M I L I E S , H E L E A D S OUT

THE

PRISONERS

WITH SINGING; BUT THE REBELLIOUS

LIVE

IN

A

S U N - S C O RC H E D L A N D .

PSA L M 6 8 : 6

Photography: Sherah Krause

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DORIEN VA N DER WA LT I’VE GOT YOU 31


“I’VE GOT YOU, I’VE GOT YOU, I’VE GOT YOU!”

moving, aren’t we?” Soon after, we packed our

“DON’T YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO SAY?” I

belongings and moved to Jeffreys Bay.

WOULD SCREAM AT GOD IN MY QUIET TIME (YES, THAT’S THE KIND PERSON I AM). BUT HE WOULD JUST

Lourens quickly got involved with the worship

SMILE AT ME AND EMBRACE MY TREMBLING HEART,

team and started searching for a job. I signed

RUN HIS FINGERS THROUGH MY HAIR, AND LISTEN

myself up for Moms & Tots and began making

TO MY FEARS AND WORRIES.

friends. We also had our second child during this time, Liané Selah (which means ‘willow/fruitful’

I knew that living for God would be unpredictable

and ‘be still and know God is Good’). The two kids

and scary at times, but that it would ALWAYS be

together were a handful, but I tried not to cry too

worth it in the end. But I did not expect this…

much. Slowly but surely, I started to feel normal

“Oh God, what have we done?”

again and realized that living without my family, culture, and Mom was possible!

This is my story. Before long, we started working with Victory Gap I met Lourens in 2005 when we both attended

Year (VGY), Worship Academy. It was a dream

Victory Gap Year in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. We

come true. Playing music ALL day and positively

were both young and felt the call of Father God

influencing young people’s lives… what more

on our lives. I was an 18-year-old Dutchie, and he,

could we want?

an 18-year-old South African, but we were in love, and we were going change the world for Jesus!

We lived with the VGY students, ate with them, cried, laughed, shared victories, and sat with

After we got married, we lived in Phalaborwa

them in their dark valleys. Living with students

and led the youth group and worship team in

was a rollercoaster of joy and heartache. My kids

Lourens’s church. I thought we would live and die

loved it because it was like having older brothers

in Phalaborwa. We were making an impact on

and sisters around all the time. The biggest

the community, and I was happy. We also had

challenge was that we’d always have to say

our first son there, Jaden Lourens (which means

goodbye at the end of each year.

‘seeker of truth’ and ‘crowned one/worshiper’). During this season, we also welcomed our One morning, I woke up and knew something

beautiful adopted son, Colin Nkosinathi (which

had changed. Lourens walked into the bedroom

means ‘victory of his people’ and ‘Emmanuel,

with my morning coffee (yes, I know, I’m spoiled),

God with us’), into our family. Lourens and I have

and in a serious voice, he told me he had a

always wanted to adopt a child as it is very close

dream. We look at each other, and I said, “We’re

to our hearts. After a long process, we finally went

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to fetch our ‘blessing baby.’ He was only four

heart was full of gratitude towards Father. He DID

months and three weeks old at the time. Relaxed

hear all my prayers and His timing was always

as can be, he has always been full of smiles and

perfect.

sweeter than sugar! In the weeks that followed, Father kept speaking Our time at the Gap Year was marked by

to me about ‘seasons’ and how they end. I, of

continual change and moving locations; where

course, thought He was talking about my season

we lived each year was reliant on how many

of waiting and trusting for breakthrough… for a

students there were and where we were needed.

baby, for friends, for a house, etc.

My heart longed for a home of our own, where the kids could paint their rooms any colour they

One afternoon, as the kids were playing outside,

wanted, and where I could have a vegetable

Lourens received a call from my brother-in-law in

garden.

Holland. I felt a shift in the atmosphere and clearly heard God say, “Your season in JBay is over.”

At one point, I had actually given up on my

I promptly walked to my bedroom, sat down

dream of a home, but God hadn’t. He always

in defeat on my bed, and cried. How can this

knows the right time. At the end of 2015,

happen now? I felt Father say, “Will you trust Me

someone blessed us with the deposit, and

with your family, and will you answer My call?”

then we miraculously qualified for a mortgage.

After the call, Lourens walked into the room, and

God was all over it!

we knew with just one look into each other’s eyes that this was it. Father was asking us to walk a

Finally, we could have our own place! We

narrow road, one that didn’t make sense to my

designed the house ourselves and selected

broken heart.

everything according to our wishes. We even dug a hole and buried a Bible and letters of

After careful consideration with friends and family,

gratefulness to God in the foundations of the

we decided to move to the Netherlands to assist

house. I was so happy.

Christ Centered Church in Zwolle. Christ Centered is a church planted from Victory Church by

Soon after we settled into our new dream home, I

Matthijs and Judith Brouwer (Judith is my sister).

was blessed with a plane ticket to visit home with

To make a long story short, our transition to the

my twin sister. It had been five years since I was on

Netherlands didn’t quite go as planned.

Dutch soil. I felt like breakthrough was happening

• We packed up in November 2016 and went

and all of my prayers were being answered!

to live with Lourens’ parents in Phalaborwa. We were only supposed to be there for two

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It was amazing to be in Holland again, and spend

months, max, while we wait for our immigration

time with my parents, brother, and sisters. My

documents.


I F E LT L I K E B R E A K - T H R O U G H W A S H A P P E N I N G AND ALL OF MY PRAYERS WERE BEING ANSWERED!

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• While we were waiting, our pastor and his family

had to make new friends, reconnect with family,

got into a serious car accident. We were able

and redefine what our role in ministry looks like.

to be there for the family and help their team,

Yet, through it all, God keeps whispering those

not only to maintain but to build and grow the

tender words to me, “I’ve got you.”

congregation. (We believe that wherever you are, you should leave a mark.) • Our papers were delayed a couple of times,

I know without a doubt, that He is good, and His timing is perfect! n

and we ended up staying for seven months. ­— During this season, I learnt, once again, that no

Books that encouraged me in this season:

matter where you are, Father wants to use you

• The Bible (The Passion Translation)

every minute of the day. There is no perfect time

• Instinct, by TD Jakes

to live out your calling. In the waiting, I drew

• Emotionally Healthy Spirituality,

closer to Father and found healing for my heart.

by Peter Scazzero • Heart Made Whole, by Christa Black Gifford

When the day finally arrived for us to leave,

• Fierce Faith, by Alli Worthington

we packed our whole life into eight bags and arrived at my sister’s place in Holland with only

Songs (just a couple):

our clothes and guitars. We planned to stay for a

• Not Today, by Hillsong United

couple of months until we found our own place,

• I’m Listening, by Chris McClarney

but a year later we are still looking and, in MANY

• Thirsty, by Chris McClarney

ways, still in transition.

• Jesus is Willing, by Kristene DiMarco • I Am No Victim, by Kristene DiMarco

Once again, I feel the Father smiling at me and

• Hills and Valleys, by Tauren Wells

saying, “I’ve got you now.” Scriptures: When you feel Father speak to you about

• Philippians 4:7

stepping out of the boat or making significant

• Ephesians 2:10

changes in your life, I encourage you not to do it

• Colossians 2:10

alone. Surround yourself with people who know you, love you, and will encourage you to keep

­—

going.

Dorien lives in Holland with her husband and 3 children. She is part of the thriving community at

This has been a journey of finding our feet again in a strangely familiar place and culture. We’ve

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Christ Centred Christian Church, Zwolle.


ONCE AGAIN, I FEEL THE FATHER SMILING AT ME AND SAYING, “I’VE GOT YOU NOW.”

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B U T L E T A L L W H O TA K E REFUGE GLAD;

IN LET

YO U THEM

BE EVER

S I N G F O R J O Y. S P R E A D YO U R P R OT E C T I O N OV E R T H E M , T H AT T H O S E W H O LOV E

YO U R

NAME

P SA L M 5 : 1 1

R E J O I C E I N YO U.

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M AY


Photography: Sherah Krause

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My name is Ruth and I am a daughter of God. Reading that sentence a year ago, I would have cringed. There are many nouns I would have thought of using to describe myself. Plenty that were more adventurous, exciting and fun, but calling myself a daughter, knowing the weight it carries, is more powerful than all the words in the world. It’s amusing to see how the enemy attacks the very thing wherein we have the most power.

Where my heart belongs

RUTH MICHAELIDES

My life is an example of this. I was born in George, where I spent the first seven years of my life. When I was five, my parents got divorced. My older brother, Luke, and I stayed with my mom. A few years later my parents got back together and we all moved to a game farm in Limpopo. It was every child’s dream – the typical Parent Trap situation. Luke and I were home-schooled and spent five years adventuring and missioning around the farm, taking in orphaned animals, swimming in dams and hiking over mountains. We moved towns and provinces every few years, which presented me with the undeniable truth that God was everywhere; His glory displayed in nature and through people along the way. Yet, I pulled away from truly connecting with people. I told myself many reasons for why it wouldn’t be wise to build lasting relationships. As a young girl, all I wanted was for my dad to be present, truly present and engaged in my life. I believed that there was something wrong with me, and that I was hard to love. I struggled with someone I cared so much about being secretive and isolated. I began to believe that I had to

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be the same. As much as I appeared to be a sociable person, I began to harden my heart. I was fearful of rejection and scared to talk about myself, always believing that no one would truly care about my opinion. When I was twelve I decided to commit my life to God and made the decision to get baptised. A few months later I went to Israel with my aunt and had an immensely real encounter with God at a conference. I was shaken – just hearing how people would devote their lives to God, even die to honour His name, because they were assured that He loved them. I couldn’t comprehend that love, but I knew that it was something that I wanted and needed in my life. With this newfound belief, and after having been home-schooled for five years, I started high school believing that everything was sunshine and rainbows. Reality hit me rather soon. I got hurt by the expectations I formed of people and was shocked to realise the people who hurt me the most were ‘Christians.’ I had this burning love for Jesus, but the moment I looked at others who claimed to have the same love, I just wanted to run away. I was on an inconsistent mission to feel something; anything actually. I see-sawed between striving and rebellion. I longed to feel worthy and valued, but my secretive actions pulled me in the opposite direction. I had no idea who I was. My older brother Luke naturally excelled at sports and academics, but I was never competitive. I made friends easily, but I had this giant void in my life. I enjoyed my

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I LONGED TO FEEL WORTHY AND VALUED, BUT MY SECRETIVE ACTIONS PULLED ME IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION.

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own company and still feared rejection, so I

I realized how closed I was, and how little I knew

tried to withhold myself from fully engaging. I got

about God and His Word. I never actually realized

into a toxic relationship and when I attempted

how self-destructive it was not to talk about my

to speak to people about it, I experienced a

fears and feelings. I slowly began to open my

lot of judgement. This really broke down my

heart up.

confidence. It wasn’t easy. I spent every month wanting to I began to believe that God hated me. From that

leave, and then re-realising that this was where I

point, whatever irrational decision I made went

needed to be. I realised that by thinking I could

along with the motto of “Well, I’m going to hell

do everything alone, I had harboured a lot of

anyway.” I was a hypocrite. I said the right things

pride. I still struggle with fully trusting in friendships,

when needed to, but used the trust I had gained

but I know this is something God is continually

to go on my own mission.

working on in me.

At this stage my relationship with God was

After staying for a 2nd Year in Jeffrey’s Bay I still

basically non-existent. I longed to feel like

don’t have all the answers, but I know that I am

someone was proud of me. Not the ‘me’ who

a daughter I feel safe calling the name of Jesus.

I portrayed, but the true ‘me’. I longed to be a

I know He has granted me favour when I don’t

daughter. Deep down I knew that there was a

deserve it. Most of all, I know I am loved; with

love that sacrificed and supported, a love that

real, sacrificial love.

was patient and kind, but I always pulled away too quickly to really experience it.

No matter where I go, I know deep down that my heart will always belong to the one

His ways are higher than my own. After realizing

who created it.

my life was a mess, I decided to attend Victory Gap Year. I arrived in Jeffrey’s Bay in

This is enough for me. n

January 2017. People were nice, and I couldn’t understand why. I was not used to people

Ruth is in her 2nd year at Victory Gap Year. She is

investing into my life without a hidden agenda.

currently interning at Victory Church in the Media department, where she can be found sketching

The hardest part was learning how to accept

her way through the day. She is planning to study

love, from people, but mostly from God. I couldn’t

Fine Arts in Capetown in 2019.

grasp the concept that someone out there loved me, created me, and wanted nothing more than for me to spend time with Him. I started intentionally searching for answers and trying to understand and justify this love and this God.

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I KNOW DEEP DOWN THAT MY HEART WILL ALWAYS BELONG TO THE ONE WHO CREATED IT

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TWO

ARE

BETTER

THAN

O N E , B E C A U S E T H E Y H AV E A GOOD RETURN FOR THEIR LABOR: IF EITHER OF THEM FA L LS

DOWN,

ONE

HELP THE OTHER UP. ECCLESIASTES 4:9-10

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CAN


Photography: Impact Photography

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CHENELLDUNKER

M Y C R E AT I V E J O U R N E Y I N TO T H E S E C R E T P L AC E


GOD HAS BEEN AND WILL ALWAYS BE PART OF MY CREATIVE JOURNEY, AS HE IS THE ONE WHO HAS CREATED ALL THINGS. Dreaming has been part of my life since I was a young child. But I’ve only recently partaken in it and used it as a source for my creativity. A processing platform and an encouragement to dig deeper in what God has for me. Through dreaming, I’ve encountered the character of who God is, the Father heart and the adventure that lies within God’s Kingdom. ‘Journey Through the Secret Place’ is a poem I wrote during my final year as a design student. Looking back, I realized I can’t explain my creative journey better than this poem. My dreams play a big role in my creative journey, as this is a place of no limitations and boundaries. It has given me endless creative possibilities. It is a place of exploration. Dreams are just one element that plays a role in my creative journey, but it has definitely been an important one. Creativity for me is a lifestyle and adds colour in the midst of the grey. A way in which we experience more of God and His nature.

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‘There is no introduction because none is needed. This is not about me, but about Truth A creative space A real place A home for the orphan Hope for the lost This is not a story It is reality’ She is a friend of Dream, But what is that really They may call her strange But her eyes have beheld Marvelous things This is not a story, But reality Curiosity consumes as wonder grows Inspired to take in everything before her Empty spaces waiting to be filled By the glory which He beholds But soon very soon All mysteries will be revealed 
 Selah A moment A pause Eyes closed Letting go of one world and entering another Taking in a breath The rhythm of the night starts beating to her heart As she abandons herself She falls into the dark of the night Trusting that He will catch her And be by her side Every step of the way

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Taking her hand as she sleeps He slips her away into the adventures of the night With her heart she shouts and calls upon her Creator Excited to see what adventures awaits A journey to the deepest of sacred places A place with gold and things of the old Treasures yet to be discovered Unseen to the world As anticipation peaks, she takes a leap Into the unknown A place for the brave and bold Taking the first few steps She reaches a view of what’s been told Stories of the old As she looks into the eyes of the night She enters a world of thoughts As she walks Sometimes she’s called to be a warrior Picking up her armor, fighting for the promises at stake Fighting the battle of the night Sometimes she’s called to invite people in Sharing the promises, the future beholds 
 She reaches out and grasps the final destination A place of hope Knowing it is not for nothing A safe place Her home space Even if you’ve seen the unseen There is still much more to be discovered. But only in time, His time 50


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Through my journey I’ve realized a couple of things which are important for me as a creative. My biggest challenge has been finding the ‘source’ of my creativity. We are bombarded with creative ideas through many platforms and therefore it’s easier to create ‘2nd hand creations’grabbing inspiration from others and creating similar work. I’m not saying it’s wrong to be aware of others’ work, but to just depend on them is not the best solution. That’s why it is important to seek God first, through scripture, places, nature, dreams, conversation and research. To be creative is so much fun. I think I’ve always placed such a ‘perfect expectation’ on what I’m creating that I lost sight of the journey. For when I create, it’s an invitation to create freely as God watches over your shoulder, excited to see what you do next. In this, I have the freedom to create and design from a place of peace. My creative journey has definitely been an adventure, but I know there is still lots to discover. n Chenell graduated from Stellenbosch Academy in 2018 and is now working and living in Jeffreys Bay. She is blessing to the worship and creative ministry at Victory Church.

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Photography: Unsplash

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WEAR BY R U T H PA S Q U E S

C O LO U R Fashion trends across the world have shown that designers have traded in the Pantone colour chart for a more exciting primary colour chart, tomato red, emerald green and bright yellow are making an appearance, and we’re loving it! These uplifting shades and feel-good tones are a breathe of fresh air in a time of heightened political climates. Oscar Wilde famously said “Mere colour can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways” So why not brighten up our daily lives and those around us with a little, actually not “so little” colour. n

Photography: Pinterest

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EAT

K R I S ’ S S U GA R COOKIES

B Y A N N E G A L LO WAY

A beautiful girl in our connect group made these for one of our gatherings. It sounds simple but oh are they addictive. Enjoy it with a cup of tea, or in my case, a glass of milk, for that ‘afternoon’ treat.

INGREDIENTS: (MAKES 5 DOZEN)

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1 cup softened butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup vegetable oil

4.5 cups cake flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

1 cup icing sugar

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 large eggs

1.

in a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugars. Beat in eggs until well blended. Beat in vanilla

2.

in a separate bowl, combine flour, bi-carb and cream of tartar. Then gradually add to the wet mixture.

3.

Drop teaspoons of batter onto greased baking sheets. Flatten the batter with the back of a fork.

4.

Bake at 190 degrees unitl lightly browned. Approx 8 –10 minutes

5.

Place onto cooling racks and test your self control.


P h o t oPg h roatp o hgyr :a pu hn ys :p luansshp. cl aosm h

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