Hi and welcome to this page! I am so pleased you are here; so let me tell you about myself.
AN ORDINARY SOUTH AFRICAN GIRL
I am a pretty ordinary girl – a South African, born and bred. I lived through the awful days of the apartheid era and was exposed to the horrible injustice and inequity of that time. It would be wonderful to say that this needless injustice roused me to action on behalf of the oppressed, but that would be crediting myself with a piety that did not exist. I would like to have a captivating story to tell about being imprisoned, beaten, and tortured for my desire for justice, and my activities on behalf of the oppressed, but it wouldn’t be true because I was still a young girl oblivious to the political situation in which our nation was immersed. I have fantasized about how amazing it would have been to have a story of imprisonment and heroism – though I haven’t gone as far as fantasizing about martyrdom.
MY GLOBAL FAMILY
I imagine you could be thinking; “She’s not ordinary, she is crazy!” Well, you are probably right, but don’t tell my mom she would be devastated. I was the second attempt at a normal human being, my mom had three other failed attempts. Gaille, my older sister, and her husband Vaughan, and their family live in Perth, Australia. My parents are blessed to live with them in a sweet little 'Granny flat' in their home. My brother Geoff and his wife Karen are missionaries in Asia. My younger sister, Tracy, and her family live in the UK. We are blessed that our children live in the United States. Anna and Rich and our two beautiful grandchildren live in North Carolina. Jason, our miracle, lives in Sherman Oakes, Los Angeles.
A RUN AWAY
I left home; well maybe I should say I ran from home at the age of 17 years. No, not because I was unhappy, but because I was passionate about Jesus. I had a safe and secure upbringing with a Mom and Dad who loved me. I ran to Bible College to follow my calling with the man of my dreams. I feel as if I haven’t stopped running since. We were both committed to Jesus, had an insatiable desire to touch His world, and we were head over heels in love with each other. To say we were single minded would not be an exaggeration!
MARRIED AND LOVING IT
After Bible College, we were married in a 12th Century Norman church, nestled in a little English village. A horse and trap took me along a tree-lined pathway, down a narrow street, through a quaint village to an old stone church. It was a beautiful warm summer’s day. My family and friends gathered as Paul and I committed our lives to each other and to Jesus who is the absolute focus of everything we do. He is the center of our lives!
AROUND THE WORLD
After a one-week honeymoon, we began our ministry adventure. We traveled to over twenty nations and preached about Jesus. We had no income and trusted God for everything. What an incredible time we had as children, youth, dysfunctional people, substance abusers, religious, and some really desperate people came to know and experience our beautiful Jesus.
OUR TWO GREATEST GIFTS
Over the next number of years, our lives took a somewhat different twist. We pastored a church in England for a year and in that time our beautiful baby girl Anna was born. It was 1978. To say that she was a ray of sunlight in our lives would not be overstated. When she was five months old, we returned to South Africa because Paul had received his ‘call-up papers’ to serve in the military. Two days before he left for service our baby boy Jason came kicking and screaming into the world. He has filled our lives to this very day.
I hope you aren’t exhausted because there is still more!
We served in a number of churches as associate and then Senior Leaders and then our lives were turned upside down and inside out. Yes! Sometimes God does those sorts of things!
A KISS AND RUN
One beautiful morning, I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes when I heard a car screech up the driveway. Paul came barging through the door. He kissed me, grabbed me gently by the arm and led me down the passage. He looked at me and said; “We are leaving our church (at that stage we were pastoring Fairview Assembly, in Johannesburg) and we are going to live a life of faith and adventure.” So we kissed and got ready to run again. And ‘Africa School of Missions’ was birthed. It is a long and beautiful story and you can read about it in our book, ‘A Certain Life.’
What an adventure we had over the next ten years. We saw provision and miracles. Hudson Taylor said: “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” Well, we never lacked anything! A generous businessman came into our lives and gave us a beautiful hotel situated on fifty acres of land. That was just the beginning. Over the next number of years, we trained and released men and women into over 52 nations around the world.
Maybe you should pause and go and get yourself a cup of coffee. I can be exhausting…I know!
So where was I? Yes, we were seeing men and women leaving our shores to take the message of Jesus to a world hungry for the hope that He offers.
UPSIDE DOWN AND INSIDE OUT AGAIN!
After ten amazing years, we left South Africa to take up the Senior Pastorate of a church in Australia. What a beautiful country, and what an incredible opportunity we had to grow in our leadership capacity. Seven years later, we left the city of Brisbane to pioneer a ministry based in the United States called ‘Prepare International.’ For a number of years, this ministry reached into different parts of Europe with the aim of inspiring leaders to be missional in their calling and service. And then, God did what He sometimes does and turned our world upside down and inside out again. I was beginning to question God about His strategy. I thought He should know that all this upside down stuff was making me a little giddy.
A NEW ADVENTURE AND TWO TREASURES
Leaving out a lot of detail, we headed off to England to lead Mattersey Hall College and Graduate School. We had fun! During that time, our lovely Anna married her first and only love Rich. Joyous! But the very best event of that time was when our little grandbaby Ava Carol came into the world. A couple of years on and Tylan Alexander joined her and together the two of them have turned my and Paul’s world upside down. They have crept into our hearts, twisted us around their little fingers and have us hopelessly and helplessly besotted and in love with them. I am certain that every grandparent out there knows what I am talking about!
I know this is a very long story, but stick with me because the next bit is really very exciting! Maybe you need some chocolate or coffee now, sugar or caffeine…whatever works!
I HAD A DREAM
In November 2011, we were beginning to pack up home because we were leaving Mattersey. Everything would have been perfect, until I had a dream. Yes, I know everyone dreams. However, this was an unusual dream. Unlike my other dreams, which are crazy, and reminiscent of someone hallucinating from an overdose – this dream was crystal clear in my mind and I knew it was a God dream.
It was 5.00am in the morning. Paul was not too happy when I woke him up to tell him about my dream. He mumbled and muttered, “Go back to sleep darling.” I have a feeling he was a little bit afraid that the dream could mean that God was going to do some of that “upside down and inside out” kind of stuff He has done so many times before.
A CUP OF TEA
A good cup of tea is the cure to many of life’s ailments. And so I had a cup of tea later in the day and said, “God I need to know what my dream means.” Before I had said, ‘means’ I knew what God was saying.
In my dream Paul was sitting in a car behind the steering wheel. I was beside him. I became aware of something on the back seat of the car and turned around to see what it was. There on the seat lay a dead baby. I began to weep inconsolably and said to Paul, “The baby is dead, the baby is dead.” We were both crying. I suddenly felt prompted to turn around and touch the baby. When I did, the baby stirred. I looked at Paul and said, ‘the baby’s alive, it’s alive.” And we both laughed as I picked up the baby and nurtured it. And that was when I woke up.
God spoke to me! "That is your next assignment."
We returned to the States and had a six-month sabbatical. It was so wonderful to be back in the States and I breathed slowly, deeply, and joyously over the next number of months. I savored every moment. My parents were visiting us from Australia and we were reveling in uninterrupted time with both of them. Opportunities for ministry came our way, but none of them fitted with our hearts.
ELLENDALE, NORTH DAKOTA WAS NOT ON OUR BUCKET LIST
I knew God had a pretty clear picture of where we would go next because I had been so clear and precise in describing it to Him – white sand, continual sunshine, coconuts, mangoes and palm trees. God had to understand that I was describing Hawaii. However, I didn't insist on Hawaii - I left my options open, if it wasn't Hawaii, then California or Florida would also do! When an invite came from Ellendale I thought God was punishing me! I knew God was clever, but He had surely missed something here. You don’t go from Europe to Ellendale! You just don’t – everyone knows that it does not make sense. It’s ludicrous! Ellendale has 1500 people, it is a nowhere town, in a nowhere State…or so I thought.
Reluctantly, and I cannot overstate that word, we went to do a spiritual emphasis week at Trinity Bible College in Ellendale. It was the coldest day of the year. What can I say about the place? Um… bleak, barren and isolated! I got out the car and said to Paul, “Let’s do what we have to do and get out of here.” But something strange was beginning to happen in the deep recesses of my heart. I really didn’t like what was happening and I didn’t understand it. My heart was warming, being stirred and challenged. Weird!
We were shown around the beautiful campus and then went into chapel. I was sad at the lifeless worship and the obvious lethargy in the place. But when Paul finished preaching there was a phenomenal response to his message. The students responded with such enthusiasm. I thought, “It’s not as dead as it appears.”
The next day we met with some of the Board Members of Trinity. We were conversing somewhat awkwardly. They were trying to be tentative and cautious in their approach, and we were uncomfortable because we were unsure of our future plans. So our conversation went around and around until one of the Board members looked at us and said, “I am going to be honest now. About a year or so ago we thought we would have to close Trinity. We wondered if the baby had died.” And I thought; “Whoa, wait a minute this is scary, I have heard those words before.” He continued, “but we felt that if someone would pick up the baby and nurture it (now he was using the words I used to articulate my dream) that it could come back to life (he used my words again!).
I had only shared my dream with three of our closest friends and mentors and they all lived in England. But here was a man using my vocabulary and almost describing my dream. I knew this had to be God. I said ‘Yes” to God that day. I wanted palm trees and white sand, but Jesus knew what my heart really wanted and really needed, and that was a Bible College called Trinity, in a little place called Ellendale, with enough potential to turn the world “upside down and inside out” for Jesus. Yes, I do think Jesus loves doing all this "upside down and inside out" kind of stuff!
JOY IMMEASURABLE IN ELLENDALE
And so, we find ourselves in Ellendale, North Dakota leading Trinity Bible College. Our lives are full and we are living with a wild hope. Yes, a wild hope because we believe God is doing something phenomenal here. He is raising up the next generation of young men and women who are going to bring wild hope to a hopeless world.
I am still passionately in love with the man I have been married to for 40 years. He is the kindest and most loving human being in the entire world. Jesus brought us into each other’s lives and we are both eternally grateful for one another. I am devoted to my precious children Anna, Rich and our son Jay - and I am hopelessly besotted with my grandchildren Ava and Ty. I am so thankful that both my parents are still alive and healthy.
Jesus is the center of my whole world and I love Him more than words on a screen could ever express. He is indescribable and no amount of adjectives are adequate for a description of my beautiful Jesus.
Paul and I are relentlessly committed to ministry training with deep theological reflection and missional passion, in order that people and communities everywhere will hear the good news of Jesus and see His love demonstrated.
So that’s about it! I hope you follow my blogs as I continue sharing the journey and adventures of our lives with you.
My life has been rich and full. There have been challenges on my journey, much laughter, and many a dark night. I hope to share some of those stories and the lessons I have learned along the way.
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,
P.S. Please feel free to leave comments on any of my posts. I would love to hear from you!