faith not fear {Mark’s Africa trip}

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He was just one year old, the youngest of five sons, born a year after a brother he never knew died too soon, when his little feet touched the soil of South Africa. As the son of a missionary builder, he learned to work with his hands, problem solve with his mind, love and appreciate people and cultures different than his own, and trust God. His parents made sure the boys experienced life. Camping across Europe on their way to and from Africa, hiking in the Drackenburg Mountains, exploring around Victoria Falls, camping trips to the Indian Ocean, going to mission stations in the bush, he grew up having experienced what some only read about. Daily life was adventurous, dangerous even. He recalls getting caught once in a sand storm, telling how he had to crawl by feel, blinded by the sand, along a fence, until he found a gate and then a door to knock on for help. Veldt (grassy plains) fires were common and moved quickly. One day he found it necessary to escape one. The only way out was to jump down an abandoned unstable mine shaft.

Every day life taught him about fear, courage, hard work, faith, perseverance and God’s Protection. Lessoned learned decades ago and on another continent continue to remind him today, that whether it’s groping in the dark to find help or trying to survive the current economy, we are called to go forward in faith not fear.

Not liking school very much, it thrilled him to work alongside his father on a mission project. He learned construction skills and innovative thinking that serve him well many years later as a talented and respected builder.

DeJong family 1972

David & Esther DeJong return to the US with their family, 1971

It’s been forty-three years since Mark, his father and his brothers have all been together in Africa. His father and stepmom have been making trips to Africa for the past few years, spending two to three months participating in conferences and working on various mission projects. Next month the four brothers and their father will work and play alongside each other in Africa once again, going to Kenya where his brother, James and his family, have lived and worked for many years. One of the things they will be doing is fabricating a roof for the Muunyini church. It’s not only an opportunity to give back and enrich the lives of the Africans, but a time to honor a father and strengthen brotherly bonds.

daring adventure

Fear can tell us a million reasons not to go;  it’s not a safe adventure, the resources won’t be provided, our business will suffer with his absence, you’ll get sick, and so on. But life has taught us that the safest place in all the world is living in faith; doing what God has put before us. It would encourage us to have you pray with us. He will provide all that is needed and prove Himself Faithful.

Trying something new with my photos. If you run your mouse over each photo a little caption with pop up. And if there is an advertisement below (video), it is WordPress’s doings not mine. Just so you know…

7 responses »

  1. Your work is very inspiring Ruthi…….The article on Mark’s life is fantastic. And the pictures of his projects are beautiful. I know you are proud of him and all the Lord has allowed him to accomplish in his jobs over the years……….Keep up the good work Ruthi:)auntalice<

  2. So happy Mark is doing this! I look forward to hearing all about this next chapter of his adventure! He’s a wild at heart man! Love you guys!

  3. Hey Ruthi,

    thinking of you and Mark as he is with his sibs and Father. What a treat to go back. I was able to do that in 1996 with my kids and hubby. My mom and sister were also there, but things in Trinidad looked so different. I had grown up. i was glad my kids along with my hubby got to see where i grew up. It was a treat. Thanks for posting your life Ruthi. I love to keep up with you.

  4. Pingback: faith in the middle of fear | Ruthi's Reflections

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  6. Pingback: healing faith (life in an Africa hospital) | Ruthi's Reflections

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