I was a missionary in North East Namibia for 9 years.
I left as a young 24 year old, with my first baby, Luke, who was just 3 weeks old. We worked amongst an unreached peoples group known as the Hambukushu. This was in 1984 during height of the war in Angola. We lived right on the Okavango River on the Namibian side. I have loads of stories to tell around this.
Most of our members were those displaced by the District Six removals. I was influenced as a young church leader, just 20 years old and a Bible student, when I worked alongside Pedro in Manenberg. We were still dating, then got engaged—green and naive, but I knew I was called. I made many mistakes.
I was told that I was not actually missionary material
I was told that I was not actually missionary material because of my family background which was poor, unchristian and involved in the drug world in Cape Town. My sister-in-law was murdered by one of the drug lords in Cape Town during the PAGAD (People Against Gangsterism and Drugs) uprising. This was whilst I was still in ministry at Edgemead. My world fell apart as a result, and God took me on a journey of healing, but I believed that God had called me and I was quite insistent that this is what God had wanted me to do.
In 1989 I had a breakdown whilst on the mission field
In 1989 I had a breakdown whilst on the mission field and came home for our furlough year, and during that time I went into counseling to deal with the brokenness of my life and my sexual abuse as a child. I felt that I would never be able to put the pieces together again, and that it was over for me.
My husband was my greatest support and absolutely believed in me.
I established a lay counseling service at our church
Years later when I took up the pastoral role at the Edge Church (which had sent us to the mission field), I established a lay counseling service at our church which is run by volunteers (who are trained) and work with a large professional referral base. It is, indeed, a very well run counseling service and we get to come alongside those who are needing to go on a journey of healing and wholeness.