We were adjusting well to our new environment. Magda was working hard as nursing sister for Lancet Laboratories and a Doctors' practice in Lonehill. I was enjoying the challenge of being involved in all the organizational and administrative work of a denominational congregation. It was a steep learning curve and I gained valuable experience in administrative and organizational development and leadership.
Hardus was a grade 1 learner in Halfway House Primary school and Thea-Marie was in a creche on the Church premises where my office was. Hardus joined her in the afternoons and I took them home when I left my office at the end of the day.
We were very involved in the outreach ministry of the congregation and this brought us in contact with many people in the missions fraternity. This led to an invitation to attend the Global Conference on World Evangelism (GCOWE), held at Hatfield Church in Pretoria in 1997. This was the largest gathering in the world, of leaders in the field of Evangelism and Missions, to that date.
My clearest memory of that conference was how it fanned the flame of interest in Turkey in us. At one meeting to pray for the unreached people groups and regions in the world, participants were randomly handed cards with prayer information to pray through. Between me and Magda we received almost all the prayer cards for the unreached regions of Turkey!
We also had contact with missionaries working in Turkey through their newsletters and we used that information in the prayer meetings in our congregation. Shortly after the GCOWE meeting one the missionaries called us. He was back in South Africa after working many years in Turkey and he was inviting us to a prayer journey to Turkey during July 1997.
We were immediately interested, but we knew that only one of us could go. After talking with our pastor and close friends we prayerfully decided that Magda should go. We agreed that if we were ever going to be missionaries to Turkey, it is important that she experience the country and the people for herself. The children was now old enough to stay with me for the two weeks that Magda was going to be away.
With the support of the church board and missions committee, funds were raised to cover the cost of the prayer journey. One of the more successful efforts was the showing of "The English Patient" in one of the local cinema theaters for invited guests. The management agreed that we could book a whole theater and use the funds raised for this outreach to Turkey.
Within a short time the funds were raised and Magda was on her way to Turkey with a group of four other people. She was excited but also uncertain because she has never travelled abroad.