Zebras at a Waterhole in Okaukejo, Etosha Pan, Namibia . PHOTO : J . Rieck

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

PRAY FOR NAMIBIA : Pray for the Walvis Bay Baptist Church


The Walvis Bay Baptist Church  was constituted  in  1975 under the leadership of Pastor Herbert Syré.  A  modest Sunday School work had  already begun by  a  Baptist  couple  in their garage  in 1959.  

My own  relationship with this church  has been very special.  After I was converted in  Cape  Town  in  1978   I eventually had to  return to Namibia and to my home town, Walvis Bay. I had asked my Pastor  in Cape Town where I  might find a place of  worship    since there was  no CESA church [1]  in Walvis Bay. He  told me  that  I could always  go to a Baptist church. He assured me then that Baptist Churches  were  usually faithfully committed to the preaching of the Word. ( Note : That was  true  30 years ago !)
And so it was. Arriving back in Walvis Bay in 1980, I  found the local Baptist Church  and was warmly welcomed  by their members and the  pastoral couple,    Don and Sue Watson. My heart found  a real  home there. It was  there that I was baptized and first became  a member of the church.  

The love of Christ was  genuinely expressed through  this  small church. The people, who were like a big family   gathered faithfully around the  Word  on Sundays  and  during the midweek .
The  home   of the Walvis Bay Baptist Church
I was given  soon opportunities to  lead youth Bible study groups, and  I grew  spiritually.   Soon thereafter, Pastor Watson  received a call  to  another church. Our church then  called  Pastor  Peter  and Lynda Radmanovich   from Claremont, Cape Town  to  be our  new pastoral couple.  Peter  Radmanovich  was  a godly and very zealous  pastor. He led the church  to  acquire   a property  that would  eventually house the congregation. He taught us how to live  the life of faith  through prayerful dependence upon God.  The Sovereign Lord did miracles in those  years  in terms of providing a relatively poor, small  congregation  with  all the means  we needed to build  that place for the glory of His Name.  Our heavenly Father directed  the resources  as we prayed. As a result  of the church’s testimony  a number  of  people  had begun to ask ultimate questions  and were  subsequently converted .
So,   it is no wonder  that I have a ‘soft spot’ for this church. It is the  first church  to which I belonged.

 Pastor  Callie Rossouw (l) and Marinus de Bruijne (r)
The church  has had two other pastors  since then  and as we now  speak, Pastor  Callie Rossouw  has been the pastor  of the church for the past  11 years. He is a faithful pastor  who loves to preach the Word. He loves the  doctrines of Grace  and seeks to see them applied in the lives of the congregation. He is married to  Carol  and they have three precious  adopted children,  Hazel, Rachel and  Charlie.  Under  Pastor Rossouw’s  ministry   the church  has matured.  Being  a port city  the church has  developed an international flavour.
A  former teacher   in the congregation, Marinus de Bruijne had sensed  the call to the pastoral  ministry some years  ago, and is currently being trained up  in the context of the local church  and with the help  of the Bible Institute  in Kalk Bay, in Cape Town,   South Africa.
Marinus  is married to Ilze  and their children are  Janke  and Jorik.   Besides  ‘learning on the job’ he has proven to be a great  asset  in the ministry of the church. Marinus has also  been instrumental  to  bring  young people together from our Reformed Baptist Churches  at an annual youth  camp. This is always a demanding  task  in a country like  ours, which is so big and where our towns are so far apart  and where we have relatively few people. Namibia  is the  second least populated country in the world!  

So why should we pray for the Walvis Bay Baptist Church ?

Walvis Bay, like the rest of Namibia  does not  suffer a lack of churches. But, like the rest of Namibia  the church  is  generally very man centered. Liberalism,  and much of the Pentecostal/ charismatic  phenomenon  and  the ‘new evangelicalism’ which focuses on entertainment  and relevance  have undermined  and supplanted  the old gospel message. Very few people in Walvis Bay actually live like  converted men and women. The city is caught up in  all the vices of a port city; many families are dysfunctional ; materialism is rife.
But it is a city like this that needs the Lord Jesus !  
I believe  that the Walvis Bay  Baptist Church occupies  a unique place in that town, since  the focus of that  ministry is intentionally Christ centered. The heart of the worship  service is not  to entertain, but to make known  the glorious riches of God’s Word. There is an uncompromising call to discipleship ,even though many  refuse  to follow that  call.
Pray for this church brothers and sisters, because it is  a faithful church. The church has  been often  mocked and scorned  for its uncompromising stance.  Pray then  for them what is also  true of the church in Philadelphia  (Rev  3:7-13): ‘  hold fast to what you have , so that no one may seize  your crown ‘ ( Rev 3:11)


[1] Church of  England in South Africa

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Brother - Unless the trumpet plays a clear sound, who will go to war? Keep on preaching the gospel and May the Lord give Eastside gospel success - we stand with you in prayer - George