Maranatha Media

Allan's South African Missionary Trip

Posted Nov 10, 2022 by Allan Gathoni in Testimonies and Stories
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Introduction

Given the opportunity, I was able to visit South Africa. This came after a call was made that it would be good to join and meet other brethren there for the Feast of Tabernacles. So I flew from Kenya to the western part of Cape Town on 26th September 2022.


Flew from Nairobi to Cape Town

I have never flown before, nor have I ever left Kenya. I didn’t even have a passport. So this process was much, much harder than I thought it would – particular getting the Visa. I often felt like giving up, but I remembered the comforting words of our Savior who overcame every challenge by resting in His Father's promises. I was encouraged and said to myself, "You can overcome this, Allan".

During the Visa interview, the questions asked were heartbreaking because they needed sensitive personal information about the person who had invited me. On a scale of 1-10, the chance of getting the visa was 3 basing on the interviewee response. After that, all the documents inclusive of my passport were submitted to the South African Embassy in Kenya on the 16th of September 2022 and now I had to wait for the results. Either way, I was ready for the outcome. I thought traveling was easy but this first encounter during the interview made me sad.

I remember the preparation day for Sabbath when the documents were submitted. I knelt down on my knees and said, "Father, I don't know what kind of temptation is this since I have never been asked so many irrelevant questions by anyone, but, I thank You for helping me finish the first process of the visa application. As I wait for the results, may Your will be done. If I really need to go to this trip, then, so be it. If not, withhold it and give it next time as it pleases You."

Later on, 21st September 2022 (Wednesday), I received a call from the postal address that there is a parcel I need to take. I was shocked to find out that it was my visa! This was a tremendous miracle. It came unexpectedly fast: only 3 days. Indeed, this was a God given opportunity for me to travel. For the first time I’ll be on an airplane, and this would be the longest distance I have ever gone. Many brethren I had shared with about my trip couldn't imagine this, but our Father works in ways which will always bring honor and Glory to Him: ’His ways are not our ways.’’ (Isa 55:9)

KJV Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

It is a great joy of Our Father when He sees His dear children express and exercise their faith. This will only be evident when we believe in "every word that proceeds out from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4) to be the true and abiding principle of our lives. Faith is the manifestation of the belief. We cannot believe, if we do not have faith. And this Faith comes ‘’by hearing and hearing by the word of God’’ (Romans 10:17). Christ is the word of God sent from Heaven. “He is to the Father as a word that expresses the thought, —as a thought made audible. Christ is the word of God.……. His words were the echo of God’s words.” {SD 21.2}. He testifies of Himself through His word.


Allan and Morris

Inspiration tells us that, "God was not pleased with the unbelief of Thomas" (EW 188.1). She proceeds to relate to the time we are living in, especially when we are privileged to share the Three Angels Message, where it says, "In like manner those who have had no experience in the first and second angels’ messages must receive them from others who had an experience and followed down through the messages." (EW 188.2).

Thanks to the Father who helped me to understand this through the inspiration that, “when a message came and it was accepted, those who accepted that message, were then prepared to receive the next message, which then prepared them to receive another message.... Those who failed to receive the first message, were not able to appreciate the light of the second message.’’  

When we allow Our Father to tell us of His identity and the kind of Being He is, it strengthens our relationship with Him every day. We will never fail to respond to His call to meet us at His appointed times because He has helped us to know and understand for what purpose He is calling us for.

It is the love of self that destroys our peace. While self is all alive, we stand ready continually to guard it from mortification and insult; but when we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall not take neglects or slights to heart. (MB 16.1)

That God who reads the hearts of everyone, will bring to light hidden things of darkness where they are often least suspected, that stumbling blocks which have hindered the progress of truth may be removed, and God have a clean and holy people to declare His statutes and judgments. (1T 332.3)

The Captain of our salvation leads His people on step by step, purifying and fitting them for translation, and leaving in the rear those who are disposed to draw off from the body, who are not willing to be led, and are satisfied with their own righteousness. “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” No greater delusion can deceive the human mind than that which leads men to indulge a self-confident spirit, to believe that they are right and, in the light, when they are drawing away from God’s people, and their cherished light is darkness. (1T 333.1)


Drove from Cape Town to Outdsthoorn for the Feast

Feast of Tabernacles

Christ being our best example in everything, the four gospels show our Lord observing the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2,14) and Zechariah as well prophesied that the Feast of Tabernacles would be honored at a time when "the Lord shall be the King over all the earth" Zechariah 14:9.

Inspiration also says;

‘’Well would it be for the people of God at the present time to have a Feast of Tabernacles—a joyous commemoration of the blessings of God to them.’’  {PP 540.6}

We all arrived at the camp site in the city called Oudtshoorn, western Cape at Cango Youth Accommodation Centre.

I prepared my mind to start experiencing the manifold blessings that Our Father bestows upon His appointed season. I remembered a statement I had read in relation to the book ‘’Sabbath Fountain’’ and ‘’Living Bread from Heaven’’, that ‘’The measure by which the spirit of God comes to us depends on our desire to have it. Just like how the Israelites tapped the blessings of the Sabbath with a sacrifice, we also need a sacrifice (Psalms 51:17). This sacrifice that the Lord needs is a broken and contrite heart. This comes from acknowledging the suffering and pain that we have caused Christ. It is allowing sin to abound so that grace might be much more abound. We can only receive more grace when we acknowledge the sinful conditions of our minds (2 Cor 1:5).”

My sincere prayer to all who were in the program to preach was that we would open our hearts to the Spirit of the Lord, lay aside all our anxieties, pride and concerns. This is the holy time of His Feast, and He needs us to allow ourselves to be a clear and open channel of blessing. Put all our trust and faith in His ability to speak through us. Put self aside and let the Lord shine through us.

Christian Fellowship

As we opened the Holy Convocation/Sabbath at Oudtshoorn, I looked forward to tap into this Feast blessings. "Fallow grounded needs to be broken up for seeds cannot be planted in a hard ground." (Hosea 10:12). This represents our hearts that are naturally hard because there are those who care more of their own opinion than the Word of God and this affects the channel of blessings.


Frikkie preaching

During the Sabbath, we had approximately 60 people who joined us for worship. At the same time, sister Nina decided to display some books on the tables so that anyone can choose for themselves the books they’d wish to read. Nina told me in the afternoon that 2 cartons of the books had already been taken. Praise Father! Prayers for discernment to those who showed interest in books.

  

Trip to the Cango Caves

The following day after breakfast, we purposed to go cave crawling. Huh, this was scary to me at first when one said to me that it’s riskier than using a plane to travel. What if I won’t come back from the cave? What will they tell my people back in Kenya of what happened to me? These questions came into my mind. What made me wonder is that some kids had entered the cave already and they had the confidence they will come back, so why am I afraid then? I just followed God’s guidance and trusted He would help us make it to the end.

Unfortunately, on our way back from the end of the tunnel my torch light went off and I could see nothing other than darkness. Now I saw the importance of light lol. I thought of how many of us are creating God in our own image and still claim that we are right, whereas everything He speaks of Himself is open through His word. We might be in spiritual darkness but we don’t know just because we love assumptions. What if I decided to proceed the journey out of the cave without light? More harm and injuries would have resulted out of ignorance.

Our Father don’t leave us in darkness when we allow Him to give us His Light. It’s the same way I thank Him, because the moment I “shouted for help” He sent Shavaro’s wife, who I didn’t know was actually near me. She gave me her phone to use as a torch. It was such a pleasant, accomplished experience.

I was really nervous to give my first presentation. How does it feel presenting to white people when I’m only used to colored people? Anyway, I went to a room first to pray that the Lord would give me words to speak, having in mind the promise of “Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” They were also eager to hear from a new person who spoke English as his third language.

I was moved into tears after I did my first presentation when half of the congregation came to me privately and praised God for speaking His word through me. To some, it was the message they had been expecting to hear during this Time. Thanks to God for His doing. It actually rained that same evening, lights went off, but Our Father has more than a thousand ways to provide for His dear children.

We would sing the Camp song joyfully and I could see faces glowing as if light had shown into their jovial faces. Indeed, Jesus is coming soon. Our camp meeting exciting  theme songs were ‘’What a day that will be’’ and ‘’Lead me to the Rock’’ by Gary Hullquist.


Snyman Family

Trip to the Waterfall

We decided to go for a nature walk on Sunday afternoon.

Study Time

I reflected back on the sermon on the mount where Jesus set forth the true principles for life in His kingdom. He turned the minds of His hearers to blessings and blessings alone. How wonderful that Jesus presented hope to the hopeless. I felt the need for a heart change and chose to listen to Our Savior’s words through His children because when Jesus speaks, we learn something, and it pays to listen. Even though most of the presenters used Afrikaans language, Praise God for dear sister Nina who helped translate.

Therefore, I took all the sermons presented speaking directly to me. All through the Tabernacles lessons, it reminded me of how God has revealed to us His true character, but He cannot clear the consequences of our sins. The interesting part of it is that we sin and then ask God to fix our problems; and if He doesn't, we blame Him. I became so grateful to God when I was pondering about my sinful life as this text (James 4:7,8) came to mind. The solution to our troubles is to draw closer to God and walk in His ways, ‘’Close to thee Oh Lord, Thou art my everlasting portion. Oh Savior, help me walk with Thee.”

This is such a personal experience, because I could sense some hidden sins in my life from the things I did that didn't seem to be harmful, but in reality they were. I felt that it’s the spirit of God speaking to me, showing me my problems. I was confronted and overwhelmed with a sense of my own weaknesses; I had been satisfied with a cold, lifeless ceremony in my worship of God. I thought of how many books I had given out, studies I have done with people, and at times self screamed up at me lying to me that I'm the one who actually did it. I could not see my true condition. How little now appeared "my wisdom and talents".

There is nothing in men, in all of himself that desires the things of God (Romans 8:7). Paul's letter to (Romans 3:10-13) became clearer to me, that when we're seeking for the blessings of God, or to understand the scriptures....it is because the Spirit of God is drawing us to do that. Hallelujah!!! What a blessed thought.

What an assurance that if you acknowledge yourself to be a sinner, you are forgiven. This is the beauty of understanding the Character of God and His Son. When we see our own transformation in heart in response to the Cross of Christ, our perception of the covenants becomes two heart experiences as we will allow Christ to work through us. In His wisdom, He uses His people's old covenant thinking, where they keep all His commandments relying on themselves, in order to lead them to the New Covenant experience where they will trust Him to fulfill all His promises for them.

When Jesus sees us hurting ourselves and others, He comes to us and warns us about those very things and encourages us to put them away. He does this with a tender spirit, desiring that we be freed from the pain which our words and actions are causing us and others. We can be confident that our Heavenly Father will never turn His back on us. God desires to destroy our old life of sin and woe; and to heal and restore us with new life in Christ through the gentle rain of His Spirit.

I would see the victory God offers when I take time and effort to reason with Him (Isaiah 1:18,19: 1John 5:4). If we praise God in word and song, while living our lives contrary to His will for us, we are not truly glorifying God. People will be confused about what God is like if we don't show them our love for them in our teaching about Him. Jesus’s life matched His words about His Father. We should be like Jesus! The outpouring of the Spirit of God in our lives is the Best Gift that you can ever have in this world. It made me have the desire to always spend time with the Lord in prayer, studies, showing love to others, learning how to exercise the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22), and never to miss His timing but always through faith to experience the joy He can give/bring.

One of the elder sermons captivated my heart and made me think and question myself about the angels who take part in our salvation too. Where do they live? What kind of work do they do? How do they feel when they are sent to planet earth to look after sinners? Do they yell at us when we are wrong? Do they give up on us? Do they call us stupid? Do they ask for "another job" simply because they are tired of coming to us? Do they choose whom to attend to? Do they work conditionally?

This came after the subject of, ‘Who is our neighbor?” was presented. As Allan, ‘’do I love only those who love me back? Do I talk only to those I feel like talking to? Do I see others as a burden to me and the only way to stop this is to cut them off? Is that how Our Savior acts? If so, who will be saved?’’

By the time he concluded his study, I would understand that they (angels) love to be what Jesus is, and they love to do what Jesus would do. This should be our aim too: doing as Christ would have done if He was in our place. This is contrary to humans who are constantly defending self and having self-interest. Pride is always ready to fight, no matter who gets hurt.

I thought of the aggressive people we meet at different places: streets, social media etc. At times we feel like nothing can be done for them. Friends, Jesus loves them! We can always pray for them to not to let them perish. Paul went from being a Pharisee to an Apostle of Christ, from being aggressive to humble, from being proud to meek. Christ can transform a person's life.

We look to Jesus, waiting for His hand to lead, listening for His voice to guide. The apostle Paul had this experience, and he said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. (MB 15.1)

If you desire something better for your life, God has wonderful promises for you, that is, (Psalms 107:9) ... for He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.

God institutes worship for our betterment and development, not for some selfish desire to receive attention and influence people wrongly. We are transformed into the image of God forever by His Spirit, which shows us the truth and where to go.

It was really encouraging that even though people have different beliefs, they don’t fight each other. The best way is to reason out with God and He will give you His truth as it is. May we not be tempted to fix our own opinions to satisfy our research, but rather, allow the spirit of God through His word to tstify to us of His truth. We can all be united as one family called by Our Father. How this refreshing message would advance if we could hold hands and be guided by Our Captain!

Baptism

We accompanied 4 candidates to public witnessing through baptism, who felt the need of following the footsteps of Christ and embracing His precious message.

 

 

Conclusion

One month in South Africa has really impacted me. I’m full of joy to have met different people whom I look forward to keep in touch with for eternity. I was really blessed by the whole experience nd being able to interact with people of a different culture. I express my deepest gratitude to everyone who took a part in making this a reality. I’m eternally grateful to Frikkie and his wife who hosted me for a month at their apartment.

Praise to the Father for helping Maranatha Media ministry to respond to the call of translation of books in different languages that makes it easier for people to read in their own language. I could see quite a number having different books. Hallelujah!

Our publications should be printed in other languages, that foreign nations may be reached. [When these words were penned, in 1871, only a beginning had been made in the preparation and publication of denominational literature in the various languages of Europe and of other lands.] Much can be done through the medium of the press, but still more can be accomplished if the influence of the labors of the living preachers goes with our publications. Missionaries are needed to go to other nations to preach the truth in a guarded, careful manner. The cause of present truth can be greatly extended by personal effort. {CET 211.2}

My God give us wisdom on how to proceed. May all things be done in the Spirit of Jesus. Each has a special work to do related to the gifts God has given. May Our Father send more laborers to the South African region since there might be a need for it, especially for the present truth message.

I have found the fountain of Life. There is nothing in this world that can quench my hunger and thirst as this fountain that flows from the throne of God.

God takes men as they are, and educates them for His service, if they will yield themselves to Him. The Spirit of God, received into the soul, will quicken all its faculties. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the mind that is devoted unreservedly to God develops harmoniously, and is strengthened to comprehend and fulfill the requirements of God. The weak, vacillating character becomes changed to one of strength and steadfastness. Continual devotion establishes so close a relation between Jesus and His disciple that the Christian becomes like Him in mind and character. Through a connection with Christ he will have clearer and broader views. His discernment will be more penetrative, his judgment better balanced. He who longs to be of service to Christ is so quickened by the life-giving power of the Sun of Righteousness that he is enabled to bear much fruit to the glory of God. {DA 251.1}

I pray we all would be willing to follow His footsteps and be His hands, be His voice, be His warm, compassionate and non-judgmental character with all that we meet – and at all times and in all circumstances. I pray that His Spirit would rule and govern our lives, NOT our fallen flesh and its desires. Precious lessons will be learned and experiences will be realized that will be of the greatest advantage in times of trial and temptation. Our Heavenly Father is an ever-present help in every time of trouble.

If we will trust Him and commit our ways to Him, He will direct our steps in the very path that will result in our obtaining the victory over every evil passion and trait of character that is unlike the character of our Divine Pattern.

Blessings, Allan

Compilation of pictures taken during the Camp meeting season are also available in YouTube: https://youtu.be/LzqAG-Zpm18