As Christians we are often unaware of the effect we have on other people and wonder if there is any purpose in much of what we do, said David Cape, who over the last 26 years has walked thousands of kilometres through more than 30 nations carrying a cross and a bowl to demonstrate the servant love of Jesus by washing people’s feet.
But recently — just before and during a trip home to South Africa from his United States base at Ormond Beach, Florida — he says he got the privilege of “getting a glimpse of where some seed had fallen” as he received some unexpected feedback about how his ministry impacted some people many years ago.
“These are just nuggets of encouragement from God to let you know it’s ok and reminding us as Christians never to underestimate the way that God uses us when we least suspect it,” said Cape in an interview in Port Elizabeth last week.
A few weeks ago he told his wife, Carol, about a young Johannesburg man, Matt Carter, who follows him on Twitter. He told her the man seemed to be a coffee fundi and he suspected he could be a Christian. He also mentioned the young man to his nephew who is also a coffee expert. Then out of the blue he received a ‘thank you’ letter from Carter saying : “You don’t know me but 26 years ago I was a little boy who happened to be at the Union Buildings when you were starting out [with his cross and bowl] and you washed my feet and it changed my life”.
Cape said that Carter told him in his letter that he now leads missions into Africa where they minister to coffee growers and help them secure markets. They also help some NGOs to benefit from the proceeds of certain coffee shops.
Days before he left the US for South Africa he received another surprise letter via his website. The writer, Durban businessman, Russell Watson, said: “You won’t remember me but in October 1990 — 24 years ago — you were in Durban and I was walking away fro you and you called me and I gave my heart to the Lord that day.” Watson said the encounter changed his life and healed his marriage. He shared that he had been on one or two mission trips and that his wife had been healed of a serious illness.
The encouraging letters reached Cape at a time when he has been experiencing some frustrating delays in completing his latest cross and bowl walk — a Great Commission Walk from Jerusalem, through Judea, Samaria and to the “uttermost ends of the earth”. He completed the first three legs in Israel two months ago but his plans to get a berth on the boat to Tristan DaCunha which is the most remote humanly inhabited place in the world, has suffered several delays. He plans to deliver letters from the churches in Jerusalem, Nazareth (Judea) and Bethlehem (Samaria) to the believers on the tiny island that is home to 297 people — and a letter from the Mayor of Bethlehem to the Administrator of Tristan DaCuha. Originally he was scheduled to get on the boat to Tristan (the only way to reach the island which has no airport or harbour) in May. Space on the boat is limited and emergencies take precedence, and Cape’s booking was pushed to August and has since been pushed to the New Year. “I am waiting urgently,” said Cape, adding that he accepts that “God’s timing is perfect”. As a member of the apostolic leadership team of Church of the Nations, he has much to work on while waiting for an opportunity to reach the ‘uttermost ends of the earth’.
Cape, who is back in Florida, said he experienced another rare time of encouragement during his recent SA visit.
One day he saw his wife weeping and she said wasn’t it tragic that they had seen thousands upon thousands of people come to the Lord and yet they had never shared the Gospel with her elderly aunt, Joyce Faragher, who was seriously ill in hospital in Johannesburg.
“We decided we absolutely had to share the Gospel with her and I was expecting this could ruin the friendship.”
They broke their journey to visit the aunt in hospital. They learned that a few weeks before she had chased away a Christian group that was ministering there. She was still on an oxygen machine when they saw her and he asked her whether in her recent life threatening experience she had peace in her heart. She said she was sometimes anxious.
She started to listen
“I started explaining to her that she could know peace and I thought at this point she’s going to throw me out but she started to listen. And I said: do you know if you would have gone to heaven if you died? She said ‘no’ she didn’t know.”
Cape confirmed that she had never asked Jesus into her heart. He explained the Gospel to her and eventually asked her if she would like to receive Jesus.
“She paused and looked me directly in the eye and said: I would really appreciate that.”
Cape observed that sometimes, as Christians, we hold back from reaching out to our own family members. But God makes divine appointments in our families for us, he said.