In Episode 1 of this inspiring testimony series South African missionary Lydia Venter shares how she and her husband Wilco came to Christ and how He delivered her from racism. In this episode she tells how God added three children to their family before they set out for the mission field
I was seven years old when I told my mum that I would not have children, as there were already too many kids in the world who need love. Psalm 8:2 talks of the strength God ordains from the mouth of babes, but of course, growing up as a staunch racist, I had no idea how the Lord would make that prophetic utterance a reality.
In 1995 the almost-3-year-old granddaughter of Tsidi, the lady who worked for us, came to visit her. Tsidi would give her a handkerchief and soap to keep her busy, and because I was indulging in the Word and the work of God, I hardly took notice of this little child. What a sad example of faith without works that was, but Abba had so much to deliver and sanctify me from. In early April Tsidi told me that her granddaughter Maki would be celebrating her 3rd birthday on the 2nd of April, so I suggested we invite a few friends over.
On the day of Maki’s party, her grandmother told me that Maki lived in Smithfield in the Free State where her teenage cousins looked after her. She said she was on her third visit to Gauteng to recover from malnutrition. I cried for three days, seeing visions of how this little princess was in danger of just getting lost in the masses with nobody ever to look over her shoulder as she sits at her little desk doing homework, complimenting and encouraging her.
I felt the Lord was telling us to take her into our home. Hubby did not share my enthusiasm. Knowing that we’d probably lose our parents and most of our families if we adopted a Black child, he came up with every excuse in the book. And for every excuse God had an answer: Matthew 16:24 – to pick up our cross and follow the Master; Numbers 12 – the story of Moses marrying a black wife and God approving of it; Judges 14 – Samson’s parents wanting him to marry a “circumcised” woman from his own people, but then v4 “His parents did not know that this was from the Lord …”
Wilco finally and reluctantly had to give in, and so Maki came to live with us. The Lord told us on three different occasions to adopt her, but because her biological parents were still alive, we felt unsure. We finally sat down with her parents Anna and Sipho, explaining to them what we felt the Lord was inviting us to do. For weeks they remained silent.
One morning, during my devotion, I read about Abraham and how he had to sacrifice Isaac. That day I decided to do the same with Maki. A few days later Anna asked me to take her to the hospital in Carletonville and on the way, she uttered these words: “Since the day you spoke to us I’ve been praying day and night. God told me that Maki is not your child. But God says that Maki is also not my child — she is His child and God says that you and Wilco will take her on the path she’s supposed to go.”
Wow, wow, wow!!! Such wisdom from this woman. A few years later Anna passed away. God in His infinite wisdom, didn’t want this girl to grow up without a mother. Praise and glory to His everlasting name.
This testimony about Maki brought “a bit” of an imbalance in my husband as he was ‘slightly pushed’ into accepting what God wanted to do. But God knew how to bring us full circle. In 1996 the Lord told us via a prophetic friend, Lynn van Eck [I will tell you more about her role in our story in the next episode] that we would have a son who would be fair in colour and his name would be Stèfanus.
We then contacted the children’s department telling them that we were interested in adopting a son. Anja, the social worker assigned to us, told us that there was a woman in Toekomsrus who was expectant, but they didn’t know how far she was in her pregnancy. We, in return, told Anja that we couldn’t commit ourselves as God clearly told us that we should wait upon “Isaac” and never settle for “Ishmael”.
So, there we were, emotionally preparing ourselves for a boy. One day, as Maki and I were doing some shopping, I saw some baby bibs near the counter, so I took a blue one. Maki grabbed it from my hand, replacing it with a pink one. I explained to her that God had told us we were going to have a boy. “No matter”, she said, “just take this!” I felt the authority in that little 5 year old girl’s voice and couldn’t argue.
In April 1997 the Lord started speaking to me from the Amplified version of His Word, highlighting the word “JOY”. One day I was reading through Isaiah and as I came to chapter 55:2, it just stopped me in my tracks. At that point I was doing temporary secretarial work through Kelly Girl in Johannesburg. The scripture says: Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy].
I immediately knew I should not accept more temporary contracts and so I stopped working at the end of that month, not knowing that the Lord was preparing me for yet another exciting adventure.
On the morning of the 22nd of May, Anja phoned me, telling me that the lady in Toekomsrus had given birth the previous evening to a healthy baby girl. A girl!! After explaining to her that God clearly told us we would be having a boy, she begged me to just come and pick up the new-born child and care for her while she looked for other foster parents.
Wilco had already gone underground, so I couldn’t get hold of him. My friend, Charlene, was visiting me that morning, so I asked her to drive out with me to Randfontein. My heart was like that of Pharaoh. I took the girl nonchalantly, knowing that it was only a temporary arrangement.
When Hubby came home for lunchtime that day, he had to sit down at the kitchen table laid with milk bottles, formula and nappies. While he was holding the baby girl, I babbled non-stop about how it would only be for a few days blah-blah-blah … He didn’t say much.
When he came home later in the afternoon he again held her tightly in his arms as I still rambled on. At 5pm that afternoon he said words which I’ll never forget: “When a child is born, he or she will never die again. Do you think I’m going to give this girl to someone who might raise her for hell? This is my daughter!”
Oh man!!!! When he uttered those words the blindness in my soul immediately vanished and I could clearly SEE!!! Everything suddenly made perfectly sense. Maki with the pink bib, God speaking through the Scriptures about Joy and prompting me to stop working. Hallelujah!! Ha!!! In that moment God also restored my husband. We named our second little angel Joy and what a joy she had been throughout the years.
In the meantime the children’s department was still looking for a baby boy. Little did they know that Joy was a little busy body who was sapping all our energy 😊. Although we advised them otherwise, they persisted in communicating with us every time a baby boy was born.
One Saturday morning Anja phoned us, telling me that there’s a boy in Vereeniging who had been born prematurely at seven months and whose mum had disappeared after giving birth to him. She added that he was two months old and had to be released on that Monday. They had nowhere to go with him.
I started screaming and shouting on the phone: “Our son has arrived! Stèfanus has come!” Anja had not seen the boy at that stage and did not know that God had told us our son would be fair complexioned. When we picked him up on that Monday, he weighed only 2.7kg. Although from a mixed family (Indian and Coloured), he was indeed fair in colour. Another one of God’s prophetic revelations had been fulfilled. What a joy and an honour to walk with Him and what an exciting journey it has been!!
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date with God stories of Africa and beyond
DONATE — Thanks for reading Gateway News. Your financial support can help us to keep on reaching people with uplifting news that glorifies God and strengthens His people
You are welcome to engage with our articles by making comments [in the Comments area below] that add value to a topic or to engage in thoughtful, constructive discussion with fellow readers. Comments that contain vulgar language will be removed. Hostile, demeaning, disrespectful, propagandistic comments may also be moved. This is a Christian website and if you wish to vent against Christian beliefs you have probably come to the wrong place and your comments may be removed. Ongoing debates and repetitiveness will not be tolerated. You will also disqualify yourself from commenting if you engage in trolling.