I have just returned from attending Fired-Up 2014, an outreach mission at Pretoria University. The mission with the tagline “Can you stand the heat” is taking place from August 24 to 29, 2014. I spoke on Monday the 25th on the subject ‘Should We Consult the Dead?’ and was encouraged by the questions and debate that ensued afterwards. This mission is organized by a host of churches and Christian organisations based in Pretoria while African Enterprise (AE) is the facilitator.
It is featuring the likes of Loyiso Bala, Venessa Goosen, Gary Kirsten, Mahlatse Winston Mashua, Graham Power, Michael Cassidy, Angus Buchan, Pierre Spies, The Arrows, and many other prominent Christians from different walks of life. Tuks, as Pretoria University is affectionately known, has over 50 000 students and therefore it was going to take many people to make this mission a success.
Besides the array of carefully chosen speakers there was also an army of volunteers from various churches and Christian organisations. Henda Marais who, for the last three months has been helping with the organising of this mission told me about its two-pronged goal. The first goal is to help students discover God in their field of study and secondly it is to equip believers with a Biblical worldview.
The speakers chosen were there to field questions related to religion, science, law, culture, and other fields and others simply shared their personal testimonies on how their lives have been impacted by Christ. On Tuesday afternoon I sat through such a testimony by Venessa Goosen, a former beauty queen who was jailed in Thailand for drug trafficking. Vanessa’s heart wrenching story is something I plan to cover in its entirety for Gateway News readers. It should appear here in a few weeks time.
For over an hour Vanessa shared about her ordeal of going shopping in Thailand and ending up spending 16 years in one of the country’s correctional services centres. First time decisions for Christ and people being healed emotionally occurred after Vanessa’s talk. After the session with Vanessa I attended an evening service that featured the Christian band ‘The Arrows’, Pierre Spies and Michael Cassidy.
After The Arrows finished with their repertoire of songs that connected with a lot of students, Pierre Spies stood up to share his journey with the Lord. Raised in a Christian home Pierre saw his ministry parents inexplicably divorce while he was still in his teens. This led to him rebelling against God until he was restored again following his father’s death from a heart attack. His father died while Pierre was doing his B.Sc. in Construction Management at Pretoria University.
In all of this turmoil Pierre still saw God make him a first class rugby player and become a regular for the Blue Bulls and the Springboks. After many attempts, a friend finally managed to cajole Pierre to attend church with him and this helped to bring Pierre back to God again. He shared that he and his wife Juanne married as virgins in December 2008. Pierre Spies’ testimony was followed by Dr Michael Cassidy who spoke on the subject “The Conquest for Inner Space – Is there Meaning to Life?”
The thrust of Dr Cassidy’s message was that meaning can only be found in Jesus Christ and Him alone. He illustrated this by using the example of many accomplished people who discovered that it was futile to look for peace outside of Christ. One such person is James Irwin, a US astronaut who had an encounter with God during an expedition on the moon. This encounter led to him to conclude that “Jesus walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon”.’
Michael Cassidy ended his session by making an altar call at which there were many responses.