Saturday, December 27, 2008


I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas day with family, friends and feasts of some sort!!! Follow the link to see some of our memories in photo's by Bernard (who is becoming an amazing photographer!). 

Friday, December 19, 2008


We just had breakfast with a really great young family from Church.

Dad turns 40 today and his wife and kids (boy 11, girls 9 & 7) arranged some worship at a coffee shop for him (he was so surprised). This is a family orientated family. The 5 of them do almost everything together and with 21 months between all 3 kids the dynamic is amazing. I thought I needed to share this.

I pray for more Godly men, who will lead their families in Godly ways.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Fourth picture in the fourth folder in our iPhoto. Random, just as I said! 

Martin & Jon are cutting our Thanksgiving Turkey that Sara cooked in Monte & Amy's oven - 2007. This was a great day full of many memories! Martin is holding Jon's iPhone that has the 'cutting procedures' spelled out for them! Needles to say, it was cut perfectly and tasted DELICIOUSLY! 

If you read this, you are tagged!!! 

Friday, December 12, 2008



Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Baby Art & some musing

Some GREAT artwork from our two, two year old girls at Thembiso! Just so cute! We currently have 5 children, our last baby boy was placed with his family middle of November.

I've had a couple of rough days, I happen to really miss my USA friends... Thanksgiving will never be the same again to me, no turkey, no green bean casserole, no pumpkin pie :( ... It took me a week to write a blog about not having Thanksgiving.

Wow, it is almost a year since we saw most of our dearly loved friends. Sigh...

Tonight is out small groups last meeting for the year. We are having a BRAAI (BBQ African Style) at church. It is going to be great fun...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vacation - second week

Living in Cape Town we have so much to do at our doorstep so -  

Tuesday we took our bikes and met Martin's mom for breakfast half way at a Wine Farm - 63km!!!

Wednesday, Martin went to the Aquarium and I met Mari for coffee at the V&A Waterfront! Sitting in a balcony looking out over the Cape Town Harbour, good coffee, good friends, good view! 

Thursday we drove to Pringlebay a little vacation town next to the ocean! We had a wonderful dinner at Hook, Line & Sinker and on Friday rode the bikes from Pringlebay to Kleinmond - 53km!!! We stopped and had breakfast and on our way back took a scenic route and got these beautiful Mountain bike pics (3km gravel road - AWESOME).

Friday night and Saturday night we had a braai with friends and Sunday went to see 007's new movie. 

It was a great vacation!

Vacation - first week

Martin had 3 Sundays off in a row! The first week we drove to George and visited Daniel & Elzette and Andre, and DeWyk. 

We took a long bike ride from George to Wilderness which was a 52km ride! It was awesome with beautiful view points and a fabulous breakfast once we got into Wilderness. 

It rained for 4 days straight! We got to hang out in the mall and ate sushi with Andre! We watched Body of Lies, Hortan hears a Who, and yes Jack Black in Natsho Libre! 

Last couple of days we stayed at a condo called Sea Breeze with room for 8... It is situated in Victoria Bay and is a wonderful little post stamp beach. A dead whale washed out on the rocks, so the little beach at Victoria Bay was a little fishy. We drove to another beach and had one day in the sun before returning to Cape Town.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Cape Point

We drove to Cape Point on Saturday morning and had a great time there! This place is filled with history of our country of the first ships to arrive - 1488

On our way we stopped in Kalkbay, drove by a ton of baboons (big and small) and walked to the top of the light tower, to find the most amazing view! 

We finished our day with a beautiful African sunset and braai (bbq).

Table Mountain

My first time up on Table Mountain was shared by our American friends! It was amazing to hear other people talk about our country and exclaiming how postcard beautiful it is! There was a cloud rolling over the mountain after we got up there, and it was COLD (but we loved it anyway). 

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ouma Loraine's 80th

This is my family - from the front, left to right: Luan (Ben&Elanie's 4 year old son), Ilze (my sister), my mom - Ida, Chanel (my foster sister), my brother Johan, me, my sister in law - Elanie, my grandma, my dad - Johan, Martin, my brother Ben, and way in the back my dad's family, Uncle Kobus, his son Gerhard and my dads sister, Renche.

My grandma Loraine turned 80!!! 
We had a HUGE family get together yesterday (Sunday)! Martin & I flew to Gauteng on Thursday and spent the weekend with my family! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our American friends, Grant and Jennifer arrived safe in Cape Town last night! It was absolutely amazing to see old friends. Martin and I had some good laughs over our english, every word you say sounds funny for we hardly ever speak english, (and when we do it does not sound American)...

After about 12 hours we dropped them back at the airport, to fly to Namibia! I'm really happy that we will see them again next week for a few days! 

The most amazing feeling to open a suitcase (thank you Sara) with long forgotten belongings, scrapbooks, corduroy paths, and my wonderful soft MK bathrobe!!! 

How can I ever thank all the ladies who made it possible for our Ladies Ministry here in Cape Town to do the Beth Moore Studies! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!! 

Hope to see more of you here in Cape Town! 

Monday, October 06, 2008


I want to leap with joy as I write this blog! (leap leap leap!!!)

I had the opportunity to see how our super star baby boy from Thembiso met his new Belgian parents today (and go home with them)! 

He had a big heart operation about 5 months ago and recovered very well. He is a handsome almost one year old! With his brown eyes and marshmallow legs and arms... he is adorable and will be missed at the baby house!

I can not get over the joy in the room (I'm still crying...)! The mommy and daddy was thrilled with their new son... this little guy has a FUTURE, and a big healthy heart! 

*the story sound a little loose, but it is in protection of this family! 

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Go Go Mexico

In '06 & '07 Martin and I had the opportunity to attend Passion in the USA. This year, we had the privilege to take our fellow countrymen - South African Young Adults to the Cape Town Passion one night event! 

Here are four of us, still wearing our bracelets, praying for Mexico City coming up THIS  weekend. As you can see, Eugene's wristband has seen better days...

We are still praying and believing great things for Mexico City.

Monday, September 29, 2008

HALLO everybody!!!

This is my nephew - LUAN!!! He is turning 4 in October, loves RUGBY and the outdoors and will become a BIG BROTHER in February! My brother Ben and his wife Elanie is expecting another baby boy! 

We also got to see my aunt Monica (first picture), who is battling breast cancer and my Granny who will celebrate her 8Oth birthday end of October (my sister Ilze is in the picture with us)! 

The reason we got to see the family was - a Doxa Deo (the church we attend) Family Conference in Johannesburg last week, which is in the Gauteng Provence. My family live close by so we got to see them on Friday and Saturday before flying back to the BEAUTIFUL Cape Town.  I'll share about the conference later! 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Many of you might know that I volunteer at House of Thembiso, which means PROMISE in Xhosa… It basically is a safe house for babies between 0-12 months! In the last 18 months we have had 24 babies move through the house, either by national or international adoption, placement into foster care or reuniting them with their families.

House of Thembiso is one of 80 homes that is part of the uMephi project!

In September I became the project manager of this amazing home… this is so big and so wow to me! God is so big and it is an amazing project to be apart of.

House of Thembiso has eight cots, which means we have eight babies at a time in our home. There is a wonderful house mom, 24 hours a day that live in one part of the house and permanent staff that works in shifts. Then we have volunteers who come in and serve the staff and love the babies.  To look after eight babies costs a lot and we are currently working on a fundraiser, called ‘SPONSOR a BABY DAY’.

For each baby to be at Thembiso, it costs R80 ($10) per day! Which isn't that much if you break it down… The plan is to launch this project at two of our community churches in October! Each cot will get a name, that will represent a baby and you can choose a ‘baby’ and one day, two days, three days… in a month to sponsor a ‘baby’.

There are still many other final details to work out, but I’m so excited about this house and the amazing adoption stories we have so far!  

Feel free to give your opinion… Ask questions, anything that will help me with detailing this project so that come launch day - it can be smooth!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Famous Warrior

My dearest friends, Flaps wrote this amazing tribute to Jacques-Louis, and I just had to translate it for those of you who followed this journey! You can follow the link to Flaps blog!  

"Daddy’s little elf, your Daddy loves you so much, and he is so proud of his son! You’ve meant so much to so many people but you’ve meant the most to Daddy and Mommy. The best time of Daddies day was when he was visiting with you. And we played so well together. When Daddy would play with your fingers and make rhymes with your toes and feet, and when you would play back. Or when Daddy would kiss kiss kiss your forehead, and Daddy could see you love it. Or when you just hold your Daddies hand. Daddy loves you so much. You fought so bravely! When your kidneys stopped working, you kept on fighting. When your stomach wasn’t feeling well, you showed the doctors… Every time the doctors said 50/50, you showed them… And your little heart would just pump so beautifully! You were so pure my little elf. Your 2 weeks on earth was without spot, without sin. Daddy wishes he could be like you.  Daddy wishes he could be half the man you were. Daddy honors you for showing us the way. Daddy wants to make his Heavenly Father proud like you. In you 2 short weeks on earth, you probably reached and touched more people for God than Daddy could, in 20 years.  You will always be a part of our family my little elf. You got just got to go home first! That’s all. But you will always be a part! And when you look down on Daddy and Mommy and Riccardo, we hope we can be as pure as you and touch so many lives as you did!

Jacques-Louis van der Merwe. Daddy’s little elf. Famous Warrior. Daddy loves you so very much. Daddy loves you so very much. Daddy loves you so very much. And your Daddy will continue this race! So that we can be together again one day. And play and laugh and wrestle together!" Flaps van der Merwe, Daddy

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jacques Louis died last night! Please pray for Flaps and Amanda, and their oldest son Riccardo! 

Go to the link below for more details!

Friday, September 05, 2008


DEAR FRIENDS, if you are still reading this blog, please continue to pray for Jacques-Louis!!! Follow the link on the blog below (Update 2)


Monday, September 01, 2008

Jacques-Louis Update 2

Please see blog  for the update on this little miracle in happening! 

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jacques-Louis Update

Update from Flaps - 

"So we visited Jacques-Louis this morning. He looks great! And now has a drip in his head!! Because his little arms and veins are giving the doctors a hard time to find. He looks a bit like a unicorn with an off-center horn. Also Amanda fed him this morning. Not breast feeding, no - but a little tube with milk running through his nose to his stomach - Apparently his stomach is in a better condition than his heart!!"  

I can just hear Flaps in high spirit... 

"His operation will only be on Sunday at this point - seems his stable enough to hold out another day - and also the doctors are doing another major op today and will prefer to be rested when they work on him. I prefer that too." 

I can also hear his is exhausted...

Keep this family in your prayers with us, please! 

Friday, August 29, 2008

Please pray for Flaps and Amanda, and their son Jacques-Louis!!!

Their second son Jacques-Louis was born yesterdaywith a heart defect. His left ventricle is under developed. The left ventricle is one of four chambers (two atria and two ventricles) in the human heart. It receives oxygenated blood from the left atrium via the mitral valve, and pumps it into the aorta via the aortic valve.

Jacques-Louis was transferred to Sunning Hill Hospital in Johannesburg today. Several tests need to be done to decide on the best and most effective way to fix Jaques-Louis's left ventricle.

Things to pray for -
Pray for Flaps and Amanda to stay positive and not loose faith in this process.
Pray that they will hear the Lord's voice during this time of uncertainty.
Pray for Ricardo, their first born, he does not understand why his father and mother do not come home.
Pray for the doctors so that they will make the correct prognoses.
Pray that the Lord will heal Jaques-Louis. That he will stay strong during all the test and the clinical stay in hospital.

Go to their facebook pages for updates. Please leave them some notes, messages, words of encouragement as you keep them in your prayers!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Passion Cape Town...need we say more...

What a great evening!! Six thousands students and young adults got together for one purpose: His Renown! We were at Passion 07 in Atlanta and got really excited about the possibility of Passion coming to South Africa, and that day finally came!! Thanks Louis and the team for bring this great message to Cape Town.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Don't mind me...

As I sit in the study working on my eight assignment since I started on this new journey on development in an unequal world.  With the African winter sun on my back, I feel previledged! Previledged to matter enough to have a journey, to believe in a calling and to know where I am, is where I need to me right now!

Saturday was WOMEN’s day!

In a developing country this matters a lot! “Three-fifths of the 15 million children currently out of school are girls! Two-thirds of the 876 million of the world’s illetrates are women.” (UNDP 2003a:v).  See what I mean…

It is just a previledge that I, an African (ok, an Afrikaner African) am litterate! I can even spell color in Brittish or colour in American English! The more I study, the more I realise how easy it is to create our own little save world, with technoligy and a bank account! BUT it is not so easy when you have to live on less than an US $1 a day!!! Try as hard as you can to climb out of that extreme poverty trap. To most of us, this might just seem so far away… yip, far away it is but realise, our Christ would have been right there, in the whole, pushing as hard as He can to lift these people out/up from the trap. I want to scream really loud and shake some people to forget about their own kingdom, and get real… but we don’t speak our minds, we smile and walk by and hope someone else will see the need.  Enough of my heart…

Passion World Tour is here on Wednesday and our Young Adult Ministry is geared and ready to attend! We are excited and ready! 

Friday, August 08, 2008


Reichard Bravenboer 
born August 6th @ 08:01 (am)

He is a healthy baby at 4.1 kg and 51cm long!

Congrats to the proud parents, Ferdi and Lelanie!

Monday, August 04, 2008


I think Cape Town is one of the most beautiful place on earth! 

On Saturday we went hiking with our Young Adult Ministry... the picture is what you see if you climb Table Mountain from the back! 

God is establishing great people in this country who will not compromise! Please continue to pray for us as we journey on HIS road! 

Love you all! 

Monday, July 21, 2008

Q 1

Many of you might know that I officially started (with small steps) towards a Degree in Social Work. I currently have one subject (two modules) - DEVELOPMENT, and will be an official first year student come January! 

In my studies I was ask to name two 3rd world countries (Developing) and say why! I thought that might be a good Q to ask on my blog. So go ahead, name a couple in my comments and state some facts why you would say that! 

You can also name a couple of 1st world (Developed) countries, and state why if you'd like!  

HAVE A GREAT summer/winter day (depend on if you live North or South of the equator).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Youth Day

June 16th was YOUTH DAY in South Africa. Everyone at P E P (if they wanted) wore school clothes to work. Due to school uniforms it was GREAT! We had so much fun.  My Tea Lady, Jacky with her other Tea Servers won! 

I did not wear my GREEN school uniform (it is still at my parents) but borrowed my aunts jacket, that is actually our school rivals... I loved it anyway.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Short Update

It is WINTER in the Southern part of the world and there's no HEAT in our brick homes... I am more cold now, than in the heart of the MO winter... (ok, not really, but it is still cold). Thanks to the Holohans, Martin & I have heating bags! Man, I don't know what they call it in english. It is a rubber bag that is a big envelope size, you fill it with BOILING WATER, close it tight and you have a little heater. 

I'm still at PEP and Martin is getting more settled at Doxa! God is absolutely amazing with people... We needed drummers, and we got one! We needed a bases, and we got one (just once, so we are trusting God for more), but it is happening!!!

Got to go! 

Love ya'll

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Martin’s grandma, Oma Nel turned 87 this past week, and we got to have lunch with her and Opa Bob and the rest of the family. Martin’s mom decorated the table in Old English Pink Roses and it was so beautiful. 

Martin also got to record again for a CD project - he flew to J’burg on Monday and back Tuesday night. These projects are good for him, but I know ministry right now, is his calling.

From Wii, have a great blessed JUNE in the WARM northern part of the world! 

Wii bought the Wii

Martin finally got us the Wii on Friday – so I don’t think I need to explain what Wii did this weekend.

This is an enourmous blessing and due to the Wii Fit, we can now be a little more active… It is GREAT!

As I wear my Sara Christmas Socks in June, I do my thing on the Wii Fit Board! (I love you Sara) Yoga Baby is what I’m rocking right now, and Martin is killing me softly on the GAME side of Wii.

We miss you all and trusting God for big things, due to happen soon! 

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Without sometimes realizing it, you brush shoulders with someone who will forever change your life.  By Shoulder Brush, I mean, sometimes it literally means, seconds... or minutes, hours or during a period of years. I write this blog because Martin and I met with my Aunt and Uncle today, whom live in Australia and whom I haven't seen since May 2001. It was such a glorious meeting. We had great wine, great food and just a great conversation.

They would brush shoulders with me, now and again growing up and they installed so many core values into my life.

They are one of the best roll models of how a marriage should be (according to me), how I would want my house to be run, and how I would want to go on vacations (they took me with time and again)… 

Then there are the silly things, floss before going to bed, always use gift wrap paper that is big enough and ‘new’ (even if it was used) to let the receiver know you really care! If you visit with friends be home before your husband, and make him feel like the KING of his castle!  

Anyhow, just wanted to brag with my great family! 

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Martin & I drove to McGregor Thursday morning (we had a LONG weekend due to holiday’s in SA).  We met up with two friends, Andre & Retha who drove from George (from St.Louis to Springfield) to see us. What makes it so great is we have two other friends, Johan & Elsabe that lives in McGregor and has a coffee shop – Villigares there.


We spent our entire day in this little quaint town. It has one tarred road, no traffic lights, and they still have a water lay system that runs through the town, to water their gardens.  You get the farmers, the Brittish and the people who no longer care to live in a busy city life sociaty, and don’t forget the tourists.


McGregor is about as far as Tulsa from Joplin, except that you drive into the mountains, past wineyards and the only thing that is remotely close to I 44, is you pay TOLL.


Anyhow, we had a great time visiting with old friends, and talking about how good God is in our lives. It is not always easy, but it is good.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Iska & Etienne

My best friend in South Africa got married on April 12th. It was a fantastic day for a fantastic couple! 
Martin & I got to attend the wedding in Magaliesburg. I was one of her 3 brides maids and had a great time with the girls. I flew up the Wednesday after work and had some time with Iska before the big day. 
We got to visit with Tollie & Heidi, Elsabe and some of our other South African friends whom we have not seen since being back in the country! 

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Learning to SHARE, in SOUTH AFRICA

Our country has experienced a growth spur the last few years, everywhere you look the little old farms are being changed into housing developments… There used to live one family and cows, now there lives 200 families with at least one car.

This growth has been good but it is teaching us to SHARE in more than one way… The biggest lesson we are all learning is to share POWER (electricity).

Our country doesn’t have enough POWER for everyone, this might sound funny, it did to me in the beginning but it is TRUTH. They (Eskom, our electricity company in South Africa) call it LOAD SHEDDING. This might continue till 2013 till they have enough POWER saved up again.

‘Luckily’ Pep’s Central Office, where I work has a generator. Every Wednesday afternoon (according to the load shedding schedule) for a couple of hours we have dark hallways and no coffee at lunch time. But at least we can work…

On Thursdays from 8am-10am we have no power at our apartment, ‘luckily’ we are at work during that time.

LEARNING (forced) to SHARE in this beautiful country, full of its own corky problems (like all countries have).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter Weekend w/ Family - update

The long weekend, Easter and birthday is over and I have to say, it was a very good weekend.

We went to church Friday morning and then after wards took my mom to Dolphin Beach for a birthday pick nick. It was a great day for a pick nick, Table Mountain was clearly visible and with almost no wind, the day was perfect. After we ate, we bought ice cream and sat on the sidewalk eating, while being entertained by Ilze.

Saturday, Martin stayed home because he had to preach Sunday night… (He did so well you guys would have been so proud) We drove to Houtbaai, to eat fish and fries (chips) at the harbour. The wind was blowing to much so that Ilze got up on Sunday ant the first thing she said was – I HOPE THE WIND DOESN’T BLOW AGAIN!

Sunday was a early and long day. We went to church, had lunch with my parents, Martin’s parents and the Besselaars (they are friends I grew up with who have 2 children). After lunch Martin & I went back to church to prepare for Sunday night church. There were almost no technical volunteers so I did ‘easy worship’ (I don’t know why but I go into a stress ball when I have to that, I don’t like it to say the least). Martin talked about STORY and how God is the writer of our story, he got a lot of his material from Donald Miller.

Monday we slept in and went to a goat & cheese farm with my dad’s step brother who is also the Senior Minister at our church, Lofty & Petra and their son Rian. We had great cheese cake and Martin took beautiful pictures.

My parents are staying till Monday.

Thank you for all of you’alls birthday messages. I feel loved and even though we are so far away from you’all my spirit feels close.

Know that we miss you more than words can say.

PS. Passion is coming to Cap Town in August 08, for those of you who would consider combining missions with a visit

Monday, March 17, 2008

We had a great, very busy weekend.

Friday night our woman’s ministry had a great time of ministry. We dressed up and wore beautiful feathered masks. We talked about the different masks we were as woman and how with Christ, we need no mask.

Saturday afternoon we went for a hike. There’s a ‘koppie’ (little mountain)– Leeukop, next to Table Mountain that we climbed out! The wind was insane and it felt like it was going to blow your clothes from your body. We made it and it was a great adventure. (Martin kept saying Johnny needs to do this…J)

Friday, March 21 is a holiday in South Africa, Freedom day, my mom’s birthday and Good Friday. My parants are driving down to visit us this coming week! It is going to be great.

My you have a great week and enjoy the last bit of winter!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dear Friends,

Yes we are alive! God is so good to us there's no way around it.

We are both working and we have our own 2 Bedroom Apt on the 3rd floor! It is great.

Please know that we love and miss you all!

All our Love,

Martin and Jani

Ps. I'll try to update more often!

Monday, January 14, 2008

George and Mosselbaai

We had a great weekend!

We drove to George on Saturday and spent time with Daniel and Elzette, who travelled with Believe. They got married two years ago and are so happy! There are great opportunities in George.  

Today, we drove to Mosselbaai. Barry and Ine Stander, from The Crossing, IL is planting a church here. Amazing story and once again, great opportunities.

Please continue to pray for us.

We will be driving back to Cape Town this afternoon, it is about 5 hours.

Thank you for your prayers, and support. We miss you guys so much.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

up til now

~ It is 2008, and summer
~ Martin's brother Ferdi and his wife is pregnant (due in Aug)
~ We bought a VW Polo Classic (maroon), a little older 1996 but with 121 000km it was a deal
~ We are finding out about health insurance because people drive insane here...
~ We've met lots of people
~ We've had to tell all those people about the journey we are on
~ I've sent my resume (CV) to one place so far, we will see
~ Many sun sets in the beautiful Cape Town

Still waiting for that 'place' we need to be!

Til later