October 2001 we started a ministry called Amana Bible School. It was located on a small 30 hectare plot outside Usakos.
We had a big orchard with 100 citrus trees and a vineyard. We were free to work the ground and stay there provided that we took care of orchard.
Our vision was to take in refugees and needy people and give them the opportunity to work while they attended the Bible School. Their labour was their "school fees" and we provided accommodation and meals.
We had drug addicts, alcoholics, refugees from Congo, DRC & Angola. At times we also accommodated newly married couples and single mothers. We also ministered in the community, especially in the location Hakaseb.
The work was very broad and many times we felt the Lord working more in us than in the people we were ministering to.
During this time Llewellyn had the privilege to join two couples together in marriage; first Fritz and Karola Dwinger
and then Michael and Monika Lingenfelder. These two families contstitute the fellowship in Usakos.
Two things started working in our hearts in December 2003. We felt our time on Amana was turning into retirement because we wanted to expand the work but the owners of the ground wanted to sell. So we started praying for new open doors elsewhere or that we could buy the plot. The Lord brought something else to pass.
The Lord started moving in hearts and soon in 2004 a door opened in Windhoek that would provide accommodation for our small family to move into a flat that went recently empty at Llewellyn's father's home. He stayed all alone and could do with some company.
We started finalizing things on Amana and by June 2004 we were moving out.
We were having a small home fellowship of just the family and a few brothers and sisters getting together for worship on Sundays and Wednesdays. We would go to the different homes of those attending.
In 2005 we started praying again if the Lord maybe would want to move us again. This time into rural Africa for missions, but the Lord said no. His calling was clearly to be missionaries in the city and start by ministering in our home to our family first.
In October 2005 new brothers were added to our numbers. One of them moved in with us to receive support after a divorce and we picked up again with Bible school training where we left off on Amana.
The other brother worked full time at a children's home which opened another avenue of the ministry to orphans and abandoned children.
Our ministry increased from a home fellowship with just us as a family having Bible studies to a church service on Sundays and Wednesday evenings that were filling the chairs.
Many people made our home their refuge for seasons. Still alcoholics came and went at times. Only eternity will tell the fruit of this labour.
A very big part of our ministry at that time was the distribution of sermons via audio tapes and cd's as well as DVD's, especially the Godly Home by Denny Kenaston and other messages from Charity Tape Ministries. We also distributed videos teaching about Biblical Creation and the lies of evolution. These were all copyright free material
The teaching on the home and child training were penetrating our lives and that of the brother in the children's home. The children were likewise positively influenced.
This made us friends of those who saw the fruit of teaching children according to the Word but eventually it also made some enemies for us.
Those who were overseeing the house were not pleased with our interference when it started addressing issues of worldliness and keeping the children from it.
We also became aware of financial discrepancies where funds did not reach the children. When we started addressing the issue the brother was kicked out and the door to the children slammed shut. We were threatened with court orders not to see them again. This was 2007.
The little church was more than halved and we went back to barely more than a home fellowship again. The Lord was still with us and that in itself was enough encouragement to continue faithfully regardless of the disappointment.
We were moving into a new season. God was opening new opportunities and Brother Llewellyn and Brother Jaco were on their way to a Leadership Seminar at Ephrata, PA. February 2008. The brothers stayed with Denny Kenaston's family for the seminar and afterwards visited numerous other homes.
They formed precious connections in the States with other like-minded brothers and their families. It soon started bringing visitors from the States to Namibia. It also opened doors for us to visit missionaries from the States that were doing mission work in other nearby African countries, and even some of them visiting us.
We also had fellowship with brothers and sisters in our neighbour country, South Africa. We would travel to meet up with them in South Africa and they at times with us in Namibia.
These things were like cool water to a thirsty soul. It kept us continuing steadfast in the faith knowing that others, many whom we may never meet, labour along side us though in far away places all over the earth. We all look to one Head, our Lord Jesus Christ to lead us on through valleys and over mountains.
This was the also the year our online mission work started. We saw an opportunity and need on the street corners of the World Wide Web. We started to build websites with the godly sermons we previously distributed, now available online that reached out further to different groups and denominations.
The Lord blessed Brother Llewellyn to quickly grasp all things to do with websites and it quickly became clear the Lord was blessing our labours in this area with reaching thousands with audio and video sermons.
Llewellyn also spent many hours helping other Christian brothers with building their websites.
Slowly we were meeting new people locally.
These were people where God had started His work already long before us. We could share in the joy of entering into His labour.
January 2012 we visited a family outside Windhoek on a farm recently bereaved of their wife and mother. God had been doing His preparation work for many years and slowly the Lord started drawing them into our circle. More about the father's testimony here.
In other areas of the country the Lord was also busy. The father of an new family came to the Lord and was at first under very wrong teaching but the Spirit was moving and set up a meeting for this man with Brother Jaco.
At this time Brother Jaco was being loosed from his business obligations and given the opportunity for early retirement which was only an open door to start a traveling ministry in the north of Namibia in the rural villages.
On a secluded road Brother Jaco met this eager, newly converted brother and the Lord ordained for them to travel together a few hours. Brother Theo was marvelously helped on in the faith. Read his testimony here.
This was also the beginning of a new work and vision for ongoing work in the North.
At the online front things were also rapidly developing. The Lord was increasing Brother Llewellyn's capacity to start building applications for websites. He was setting time aside to study programming and he built his first application - Get Bible.
This was truly God-given. It has placed the Bible in the hands of many all over the world in their own language. Even more than that it provides an API that others can use freely with no strings attached that displays the Bible on websites in their chosen language that makes use of this application.
Through the years there have been a few families across the country whose hearts have been knit with ours and we would share our messages live with them through various ways like Skype and online streaming.
As the Lord was adding new families which were also scattered in other areas of our country we've been constantly looking for means to share our messages. This has brought about a radio channel that broadcasts our messages every Wednesday evening and Sunday morning.
Another ongoing project has been Sermon Distributor which refines and simplify the process of uploading sermons onto a site significantly firstly for the owner of the site as well as downloading it again by the user.
The Lord was still building His church over the kilometers, joining His children together with the same spirit and calling to holiness. At the same time multiplying our capacity 100 fold by online distribution work taking the gospel to the far corners of the earth.
By God's grace upon grace we've continued following after that for which we've been apprehended. Not that we have already attained perfection but forgetting those things which are behind us we are reaching forth toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phl 3:12-14
In middle November 2016 we started planning a building project we've prayed for and talked about for years. We were not expecting it anywhere in the near future but suddenly the Lord opened the door and we started demolishing the unwanted inner walls by the last week of November.
As we were praying whether we should increase our space as well by moving outside walls the Lord reminded us of a promise He gave our family back in 2000. It is from Isa 54:2-3 and in faith we moved the front wall of the house which was not in the budget originally.
Construction continued into the new year seeing God's providence time after time. By the end of March 2017 we could close the front door again and start moving into our new living space.
Very soon after this Daddy & Mommy van der Merwe left their children with Grandfather Jaco for the first to travel to South Africa and Tanzania for the month of May. A short business trip of Brother Llewellyn enabled us to visit family and friends along the way.
We planned to visit the mission in Mbeya, Tanazania specifically Brother Melvin Kauffman and their work with the orphans. There we met many other brothers, some old acquaintances and other new. It was a very encouraging time for us.
Brother Marvin Kauffman was sharing with us about the SALT Microfinance project by Christian Aid Ministries. It sounded like something we would want to do in our outreaches and we made good work of it when we got back home.
We contacted Brother Gary Miller who coordinates it and soon he started making plans to visit us.