Originally, it was an invitation to speak to DTS students that would bring YWAM Burtigny base leader Edwin Fillies from Switzerland back to his hometown in South Africa last week. But what began as a simple teaching engagement God quickly grew into a Nations 2 Nations (N2N) Conference that will leave a lasting imprint on the social and political spheres of South Africa. Stories of God’s miraculous powers of restoration and healing are still pouring out from participants, but one event in particular will forever change the lives of 4.5 million South Africans. History was made Friday night as leaders from the two clashing factions of the indigenous Khoi people met, for the first time ever, to unite for peace, hope, and their future at N2N Mossel Bay.
Located between the three DTS schools in Muizenberg, Worcester, and Jefferys Bay, the base in Mossel Bay was initially chosen purely for its geographical convenience. Only after the dates had been set did Edwin and the other leaders of N2N begin to realize the deep history and significance that the city holds for the rest of Southern Africa. Not only was Mossel Bay the original meeting place of indigenous peoples and Westerners in Southern Africa when the Portuguese arrived in 1488, it was also the first soil to see conflict resulting in blood spilt between the two. Furthermore, in this port town on the Cape the first altar was built to worship the Lord in South Africa. As it was a gateway for God to enter then, it was felt by the N2N team that it was to be “a gateway opening from Africa to the world” for today.
As these symbolic roots were uncovered, the plans gained momentum. Edwin, N2N founder, explains that, “the committee focuses on restoration of identity, dignity, and the renewed destiny of cities and nations around the world. We felt God saying, ‘This is the time’ for Mossel Bay.” A call for citywide involvement was put out and God provided wide open doors with city officials, law enforcement, schools, and social services. Last week Mossel Bay received over 140 DTS students, staff, volunteers, N2N members, and other supporters. Throughout the week students ministered in 17 public schools, reaching over 7,000 students, and spoke to more than 600 prisoners with several accepting the Lord – two of which found students afterwards, seeking to know more about becoming missionaries themselves. What N2N staff intended to be a simple 15 minute protocol meeting with the mayor became an hour and a half visit as a nervous student, Mowande, was able to boldly give the mayor a Word from the Lord that God remembers her dream of 14 years ago. Emotionally, she confessed that she could not believe that after so many years and so many mistakes, God still loves her. Moved by the Lord, she flung the doors to the city open even wider for next years event.
For Edwin, the most personal highlight was being invited to speak at his old high school. Packed into an auditorium on a steamy afternoon were 1,900 students, faculty, and staff. Edwin took the microphone and shared his testimony, God’s story, and a challenge for Christ. When the call to make a personal commitment to the Lord was made, every single person rose, not even one remained in their seat. Edwin shared, “it was deeply moving for me because 25 years ago it was I who sat in one of those auditorium seats and listened to a young YWAMer on her DTS outreach share the gospel. And it was there that I stood and gave my life to Christ.”
The week’s exciting events reached their climax on Friday as N2N staff gathered around a hotel conference table and witnessed history being made. For generations the indigenous Khoi people have been split into two factions, each group bitterly holding on to pains and offences from the past. This fall, for the first time in 300 years, a bill is being passed in parliament to recognize the Khoi people constitutionally, but division and disagreements have caused many setbacks. On the brink of political justice, it is critical that this group can stand united. Around this table there took place not just a peaceful meeting, but open sharing, weeping, repentance, forgiveness, grace, prayer, and a restoration that only our Lord can bring. That evening the leaders of these two groups sat together at the head of the N2N closing ceremony and worshiped as a united people through song, dance, and drama led by the children of the community. Upon seeing the faith of the youth, one tribal leader expressed, “for the first time I have hope for our people, hope for our future.” This incredible breakthrough has left ripples in the political climate over the past week as these two factions gathered again for their first open hearing in which they began by dedicating the meeting to the glory of God, and spoke with one voice, for one people group.
The power of God for restoration and reconciliation was seen last week in individuals, communities, and an entire nation. Please join those of us in Burtigny in praising God for all of last week’s transformations, for the continued unfolding of the Khoi story, and in lifting up future N2N projects. Currently the team is praying for breakthroughs for projects already underway in Cuba, Sydney, Australia, and the Reunion Islands. Nations 2 Nations will be hosting a conference in the city of Geneva on November 3rd and 4th of this year. Please join us in praying for open doors and unity amongst the various churches involved. It is our vision that N2N will be a catalyst for change in communities, bringing freedom, unity, and the love of Christ to cities around the world.