It was a special joy to be invited to the 40th anniversary of South African Action for World Evangelisation (SAAWE) this last weekend. Over 100 Mission-minded leaders, intercessors, friends and supporters of the Mission gathered at the headquarters of SAAWE, Kempton Park, on Saturday, 19 November, to give thanks for 40 years of the Lord's provision, protection, guidance and blessing. The original SAAWE Co-ordinator, Bettie Loock, is still faithfully serving 40 years on!
Mobilise to Evangelise
Over 1,000 Missionaries have been sent out to 49 countries through SAAWE over the last 40 years. This includes Dr. Chris Steyn who is now the president of Hospital Christian Fellowship International.
An Ideology for South Africa
This was a particularly meaningful event for me, as SAAWE was the first Mission that I had the privilege of serving in. SAAWE was founded by Francis Grim. In 1976, Francis Grim, the Founder and President of Hospital Christian Fellowship, (now Healthcare Christian Fellowship International) launched South African Action for World Evangelisation. I first came into contact with the dynamic ministry of Francis Grim through a booklet he authored, An Ideology for South Africa. It was on a train that I saw this striking publication, with Table Mountain in the background and three hands, white, black and brown, holding up a cross in front of the South African flag. Francis Grim's Message in An Ideology for South Africa was that God has placed us at the foot of Africa to take the light of the Gospel of Christ throughout Africa. The purpose of the existence of South Africa is to fulfil the Great Commission throughout the continent.
The Gospel is our Most Valuable Export
South Africa's greatest export is not gold, or diamonds, but the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Francis Grim was adamant that there could be no political solution for the conflicts prevalent in South Africa, only a Spiritual one. South Africans will only find unity in Christ Jesus. Mr Grim urged us not to allow denominational divisions, racial discrimination, or personal and political differences to prevent us from working to fulfil the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. Missions is the purpose of our existence, our destiny. We need to mobilise our resources to win the lost and to effectively evangelise the continent of Africa.
Convicted and Called
This vision gripped me and I immediately wrote to pledge my services to Francis Grim for this Mission. There had barely been enough time for a response to come back to the letter when I saw the same Francis Grim ascend the pulpit of my local church, Pinelands Baptist, to present the Sunday morning sermon! As he preached on the need for us to give our all for the fulfilment of the Great Commission, my heart burned within me. This was the Missionary call that God had placed upon my heart the previous year (1977), when I had been converted. At the conclusion of the service, I eagerly committed myself to joining this South African Action for World Evangelisation.
A Mission Dedicated to Prayer and Action
At that time, SAAWE was an integral part of Hospital Christian Fellowship. Days at HCF always began in corporate prayer. Each lunch was followed with a time of prayer. Each work day concluded in prayer. Some days we had a full day of prayer. Some nights we had all night prayer meetings. Francis Grim taught me what it means to prevail in prayer. Kneeling next to him in those extended times of intercession were some of the most meaningful times of discipleship in my life. Uncle Francis also taught me to live by Faith.
The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom
By the time my military call up came, Francis Grim had sown the fear of God in me, so that I handled by basic training with comparative ease. No Sergeant, or peer pressure, could deflect me from my path of discipleship. I feared only God and Francis Grim.
Mentored in Missions
To a large extent God prepared me for my ministry in the military and the Mission of Frontline Fellowship which grew out of that, through the mentorship of Uncle Francis. When my two years national service was over, I went back to Hospital Christian Fellowship and it was under the ministry of SAAWE that our Mission developed. My first Mission to Mozambique was undertaken while still serving in SAAWE. It was for that reason that I dedicated my book, In the Killing Fields of Mozambique, to Francis Grim. Throughout the years, I maintained correspondence with Uncle Francis and regularly had the privilege of visiting him at the HCFI Headquarters. His example of uncompromising dedication to the fulfilment of the Great Commission has been a tremendous inspiration. Listening to his uncompromising messages from the pulpit, kneeling next to him in days and nights of prayer and working under his direction transformed me and laid the foundations for the Missionary work to which I am still dedicated.
Muslims Are Coming to Christ in Record Numbers
Murray Louw, the Director of SAAWE, welcomed us to the SAAWE 40th Celebration, noting that he worked for years before meeting a convert from a Muslim background. Now he is meeting a constant flow of believers from Muslim backgrounds. We are living in a time of the greatest ingathering of Muslims into the Kingdom of God in history. He shared testimonies from Algeria, Egypt and Turkey, from persecuted Christians, many from a Muslim background.
To Die is Gain
One workshop he went to in the Middle East was entitled: When I Die for Christ How Will I Make the Best Use of the Opportunity? One of the comments made during this day seminar, was: "Do not think that you take my life from me - I lay it down of my own free will - so that you can be saved through Jesus Christ my Lord!" "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21. Evidently bad times are good for Spiritual work.
A Fountain to Reach the World
SAAWE strives to be a fountain that reaches the world with the Gospel of Christ. SAAWE serves as a Christian Personnel Consultancy and catalyst to advance Disciple-making movements among the least evangelised peoples. You can contact SAAWE through email@example.com or phone 011-396-1225, or visit their website www.saawe.org.za.
"Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His Name; make known His deeds among the peoples!" 1 Chronicles 16:8
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
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