In this episode God tells Lydia and Wilco Venter where He wants to send them as missionaries but they have to wait 10 years for the right time to go
Two days after giving my life to Christ (July 31 1991) I started seeing visions. Please note that I had no idea about the working and the giftings of the Holy Spirit. In one vision we were sitting in a hut somewhere in the middle of Africa, eating “pap” (porridge) with our hands. The other one was of me standing in a remote village carrying and caressing a semi-naked black baby boy. In my ignorance I shared the visions with everyone and, being the only born-again Christian in our circle at that time, they all thought I was losing it. I knew at that point that we would become missionaries and carefully noted everything down on paper.
After Wilco surrendered his life to Christ (April 1992) he still didn’t share in my enthusiasm to serve God in another country. The Lord gave me Luke 18:1 and encouraged me to continue praying and not to lose heart. One day – about a year later – Wilco came home from work and told me that God spoke to him about becoming a missionary. I casually looked at him, saying: “Is it?” while in my spirit I’d gone “YES!!!!!”
We still had no idea where or how or when. One day in May 1994, I was reading a book by JC and S de Ferrières who, at that time, were doing mission work in France. At some point they shared that one of their friends’ daughters had been called to serve in Kenya. Upon reading this, the word “KENYA” just jumped out of the page and I started weeping … but from deep within my spirit. I knew at that moment that that is where we would go.
A week later while we were dropping two girls, Amanda and Antoinette, at the AGS Children’s Home in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg, after they had visited us during their school holiday, Wilco suggested we visit our spiritual parents in Pretoria. But I said I wanted to visit a woman, Lynn van Eck, who I had only met briefly at the children’s home. One day she passed me, stopped, turned to me and said: “You know the Lord …” Another time my neighbour and I were dropping the girls after a weekend visit when Lynn entered the sitting room area of the children’s home. She suddenly took off her shoes, turned to my neighbour and told her: “You have an eye condition, and God is healing you right now!” After that day this “scary, scary” woman haunted me in my thoughts, so on this specific day I felt in my spirit we should visit her.
Wilco parked our car at the side of the road, prayed and opened the Bible. It fell open in the book of Esther, so the “lot” fell on Lynn. We had to then get her number from the children’s home, and after speaking to her, we headed to her house in Sandton. We thought we’d just say “Hi”, drink a cup of coffee and be on our merry way, not knowing that the Lord was orchestrating everything in fine detail.
We were sitting in Lynn’s living room when suddenly she took off her shoes (by that time I already knew how ‘”dangerous” that could be, lol). She turned to us and said: “The Lord is sending you to Africa … He is sending you to Kenya. You will be in preparation from this moment onwards and will go in the new millennium.” She then went on to say many, many things which only God knew about us. What an encounter! What a confirmation just a week after reading about Kenya. How faithful is our God!
In the years following the Lord had to often confirm this calling to Kenya, especially when we got discouraged and doubt wanted to enter. Two specific occasions jump to mind as I’m writing this. The one was probably somewhere in 1995 during a service at Little Falls Christian Centre, Roodepoort. As Pastor Harold Weitz announced the speaker of the day, we were stunned to find it was a man from Kisumu, Kenya called Pastor George Akoth. I never heard one word that was spoken during that service as I was crying the whole time.
After the service we wanted to go forward and greet the visitor, but because all the leaders were gathering around him, we decided to leave it. As Wilco and the kids were standing around, talking to people, I wanted to briefly go to the bookshop. As I came out of the bookshop, Pastor Atieno walked straight up to me, saying that the Lord told him to visit us at our home. Please understand that Little Falls is a large church with more than 1 000 people attending a service. At that time there were about 11 pastors, and because we were more in fellowship with our cell leaders, the leadership of this congregation did not know much about our calling. What a lovely surprise, orchestrated by the King of kings and the Lord of Lords.
Another time was when I cried out to God one morning during my devotions, asking him three distinct questions of which two had to do with our calling to Kenya. In that same week an Indian friend who suffered many illnesses, heard on Radio Pulpit of a pastor in Alberton with a healing ministry. Because she didn’t own a vehicle, she asked us to take her there that Sunday.
As the pastor finished praying for the people, he suddenly called Wilco and me forward, answering all three questions which I had asked Father earlier that week. The Scripture the Lord highlighted that day was Ps 16:6 … “Lord, you have assigned (us) (our) portion and (our) cup; You have made (our) lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for (us) on pleasant places; surely (we) have a delightful inheritance …
We had many such experiences which kept our faith in God’s promises, and our hope to eventually move to Kenya, alive.
On August 27 2001 we left South Africa to embark on a 9-day journey to our destination, Kenya, a beautiful country in the heart of East Africa.