leaders, those who spoke to you the Word of God”… (Hebrews 13:7)
I was converted in Cape Town in the June of
1978, whilst studying at the University of Cape Town. I attended St James
Church, Kenilworth under the leadership of Frank Retief, who was used so
mightily of God in those days- those 70’s. I am convinced that those were days
of revival. We saw many men and women converted under the preaching of the Word
of God in the morning and evening services.
In returning to my home town and country,
Walvis Bay in Namibia, the question now arose - “which
church should I attend”? There was no Church of England in South Africa (CESA,
now known as REACH) in our country.
Pastor Frank Retief suggested that I could always attend a Baptist
Church, as these were generally faithful, Bible based churches.
With this in mind I came to know
of the Walvis Bay Baptist Church. At that time Don Watson was the pastor. I
loved the small, warm and intimate fellowship of the church, and was duly
baptised and joined the membership of the church. Don Watson left us soon
thereafter to join the Airforce chaplaincy in South Africa.
Enter Peter and Linda Radmanovich
in 1980! Peter Radmanovich was called to
be our pastor. He was a recent graduate of the Baptist Theological College in
Cape Town, and a member of the Claremont Baptist Church.
Peter’s ministry in Walvis Bay was
relatively brief – 7 or 8 years. Thereafter he received a call from the
Durbanville Baptist Church, where Peter and Linda served for a short while before
planting the Goedemoed Baptist Church in the greater Durbanville area.
Back to Walvis Bay! Those few years were filled with spiritual
vigour and a profound sense of God’s presence. If you would ask me what defined
Peter’s ministry, it was this: He had a profound trust and faith in God. He had
a profound sense of trust in the promises contained in the written Word of God.
This was coupled to a real habit of prayerfulness, and this is the abiding
impression I received. Peter and Linda taught us to pray. I remember the many early
morning prayer meetings at which we rose at 5 AM to present our many prayers
and petitions to God.
In those years Peter led our
small 17 member congregation in trusting the Lord for the provision of a church
building. That story and the many wonderful anecdotes surrounding it must be
told another time, but the result was that we saw a building built (or rather
restored- for it was an old building) to the glory of God, by prayer, and debt
free! It was a true miracle, as we were led
by a pastor that truly believed in the power, promises and providence of God.
What was even more glorious was that men and women were wonderfully converted in this
season, leading to true church growth.
It was Peter that substantially shepherded,
discipled and nurtured me into the obedience of Christ. It was his wise counsel,
along with Charles Whitson, founding pastor of the Eastside Baptist Church
(1985) that led me to consider the Christian ministry. I
responded to the call of God in the June
of 1985 and went
for my 4 year seminary
training at Peter’s Alma Mater, the Cape Town Baptist
Seminary. At Peter’s advice I also joined the Mowbray Baptist Church in 1986 as
a youth worker. It is here that I would meet my wife Marcelle in 1986. Wonderful providences!
The rest is history. As I write I
am now ending my ministry to the Eastside Baptist Church after 34 years at the
end of December 2023.
I have stood on the shoulders of spiritual
fathers and mothers. For these I now give profoundest thanks to God! Among all
these I salute you now, my dear faithful pastor, Peter Radmanovich. You have
entered God’s promised rest (Hebrews 3
&4). I’ll see you in glory.
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
Joachim Rieck, Windhoek, 19th December 2023