Mabusa and Lebo were married on 13 December 2014, and are working through CAPRO Missions based in Pretoria. They did training in Senegal, and are serving in Mayotte. On 28 February 2017 they celebrated the birth of their first child, Philippe.
April 2017 news
“Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat. Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the Lord fell, and make it a sin offering.” (Lev 16:8-10)
“Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering which is for the people, and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.” (Lev 16:15)
Jesus took our sins on His shoulders, died and gave us a way out of darkness and into God’s light!
Easter greetings beloved,
It’s been some time since we wrote a newsletter, and what better time than this to catch up. Its official, we have been living in Mayotte for over a year now, and we are now three in the family and as we look back at the year, God’s grace has been astonishing. Through your prayers lifting us before the Lord we have made it and for that we are truly grateful.
Our son Philippe is 6 weeks old now and growing so quickly, it feels like he has always been with us. Though we were away from home (South Africa), God has given us family here who have looked after us and celebrated Philippe’s arrival with us and we thank God. And we pray that the rest of you will meet him soon, by God’s grace as we desire to visit home at the end of November. Being parents is a new exciting challenge for us, especially in an Islamic society, one that we know that we have all your prayers to lift us up before the Lord for. Having a child has opened up a whole new avenue of relationships for us as we have come to know several more Maoré families that have had babies around the same time as us. We are very grateful for this because at times having a baby can restrict our movements, but if our movements are around people who have babies, our efforts of building relationships with local people don’t suffer – in fact they are enhanced.
God has been at work in Mayotte and continues to work harder than we ever imagined, in our time here we have come to learn that there is a kibushi brother who goes to the Expat church and that he is engaged to a recent kibushi Believer. We met a young girl from Madagascar who now stays with her Moaré father, she came to Mayotte to do her final year of school. This girl was friends with our team mates’ girls who found out 2 weeks before they left that she was a Christian. These young girls spent the last few moments they had with their friend in fellowship and Bibles study. We hope to keep in touch with her and encourage her in the Lord. We also hope to spend Easter with her by God’s grace. Another way that God has shown us that He is at work is through the ministry among the immigrants from the other Comoros islands, they are more open to the Gospel than the Maoré are and our team mates living in a more largely immigrant community are seeing fruit. In fact they have regular bible study with a small group of men every Thursday.
Most recently we have started attending an expat church in Mamoudzou which is some distance away, and we also attend one of their Home Groups, Tuesday evenings. We found this very exciting because of the effort we see this church making in reaching the unreached. The diversity in this church is a picture of the early beginnings of Revelation 7:9, the church is made up of Réunionese and French, but it also has a large number of East and Central Africans. Moreover, what is exciting for us are the few Muslim background Believers (MBBs) from the Comoros islands and a Maoré couple in the Church. About two weeks back the church had a baptism service that was at the beach, where 7 people got baptised, 2 of which were MBBs. We took this opportunity to invite our dear friend Mr C and his family to join us, which they did. This was great because it exposed them to what life as a Christian on the island might look like and it gave us a reference point to carry on our discussions in the future. Mr C at the end of the day admitted that he was pleasantly surprised with what he experienced.
Finally, we have friends of ours who lead one of the prayer cells for Mayotte who will be coming to visit and pray with us at the end of the month. This will be a welcomed visit and we hope that it will better help some of you back home to better understand our ministry here as they come back and share.
- Thank God for His work of salvation among these unreached people of the islands.
- Thank God with us for His faithfulness and His grace for bringing us here and sustaining us over the past year and teaching us all that He taught us.
- Continue to pray for the salvation of all the people we have encountered and are building relationships with who are yet to give their lives to the Lord. Pray that they will see Jesus who takes away the sin of the world this Easter.
- Pray for Philippe’s papers as he has a French birth certificate but it doesn’t entitle him to have a French ID and Passport so we have sent a request for passport application papers to the South African Embassy in Paris. Pray that all will go well and that he will have his papers as we plan on coming to SA this year Nov-Dec.
- Pray for God’s provision for us to go home and if possible have some time for a holiday.
Thank you for continuing to stand with us in God’s Calling, may He richly bless you and your family as we remember His finished work on the cross! Also, if you would like to get more details about our life and ministry here in Mayotte, please feel free to get in touch with us.
Mabusa, Lebohang and Philippe
March 2016 news
Island Greetings Beloved in the Gracious Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ
We’ve arrived safe and sound on the island of Mayotte and are settling into life here well being welcomed by the Power family whom we’ll be working quite closely with. It has been about 2 weeks going to 3 since we’ve arrived on the island and we are already in the thick of things with learning the Kibushi language and learning the Maoré culture.
The Island is very exotic, very green but hot and humid. The ocean is beautiful and tranquil, the warm waters are great for even amateur swimmers like us. We live in a little village called Chiconi in what is known as “Quatier Pauvre”, literally meaning, the Poor Neighbourhood. We have a little apartment behind the Centre we are volunteering in. The Centres name is MIDZOROU TSARA, which means Study well in Kibushi, and we will be working with the Power family there teaching English and tutoring learners. This serves as a platform to bless the people and also gives us a respectful identity in the community. We have already started joining in the lessons with the students.
Since we’ve arrived, we’ve seen 3 funerals and 1 wedding, there is a lot happening on here and it is our prayer that God would teach us as we live here. The funeral is within 24 hours of death and people gather from all over the village and beyond to attend it. Throughout the ceremony men and women are separated, from the home of the deceased to the burial ground. One curious thing we saw was that they dug a hole in the middle of one of the rooms in the house where they would wash the body on a burial bed and then wrap it. In the funeral proceedings it is only men who accompany the body to the mosque and take it to the burial ground in the forest for burial. All the while women remain at the house of the deceased, inside, outside, on the street quietly seated to show their support. In contrast, women go all out for weddings; they never wear the same “salouva” (the islands traditional dress) twice! These formal salouva can cost from the equivalent of R2000 to R5000 while the one for everyday use can go for +/-R700. Wedding ceremonies are so extravagant and expensive that couples can be married for years with children before having the “grand mariage” which means the big wedding.
Life on the island is very different as compared to life back home but at the same time somewhat similar, everything is smaller and more expensive here. To put it plainly, the standard of living is low as compared to South Africa but the price of living is significantly higher. For example food prices here are higher than what the norm is in SA – a whole chicken can go for 20 euros (R350), fish is +/- 6 euros (+/-R100) directly from the fisherman but the moment they refrigerate it the price shoots up to 8 to 10 euros for 1kg and there is not much to choose from. As we’ve come to learn, to open a bank account one needs 260 euro’s (+/-R6500) as a starting deposit. And not forgetting about the salouva, which women can’t live without!
The people seem friendly and welcoming and we are getting to know our neighbours. Lebo visits the women in their homes and I’ve joined the veteran soccer team that meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 8pm to 10pm for games. Although the Maoré are of African origin, culture and religious expression, they are, in fact, French. Since Mayotte became the 101st department of France in 2011, the Maoré have become more and more French influenced in social culture and in other aspects too.
Also thank God with us as we have found a family that is willing to host us for what is known as “Home Stay” were we will be living with a Maoré family in their home for a couple of days to get a close-up experience of everyday Maoré life. This family does not speak any English, very little French, they only speak Kibushi and Shimaoré fluently. Pray for this Home stay that God would use it to build long-lasting relationships that will result into something of eternal value and that we will learn as much as possible!
We have also started processing our documentation so we can get our “Carte De Sejour”, which is like a resident permit at the “Prefecture”, which is their Department of Foreign Affairs. We had thought that having received the long stay visa that would be it, but going to the Prefecture we’ve learned that this is just one of the stages. We ask that you pray along with us in this respect, that all will go smoothly as we prepare the documentation. We need to do this in the first 2 months of our time here or there will be consequences. One of the requirements is that we’ll have to make a doctor’s appointment in order for us to get a Medical Certificate that serves to confirm that we are in good health. Another requirement is that we would have to pay an additional 260 Euros each for administration at the Prefecture.
Going through all this, we are reminded of the saying, doing something meaningful is never easy/ or cheap. We are at the stage of our ministry journey on this island in which it seems like it is going to be lots of paper work (administration) and learning the ropes. But we are encouraged in the fact that what we (you and us included) are sowing now and we will one day reap a harvest of the Gospel, and on that great Day, we will be rewarded by our Lord who will say (Luke 19:17) “well do my good and faithful servant…” – and so we hold on!
God said in (Isa 66:19-20) “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations — to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations.”
We thank you for your constant prayers, for your friendship and partnership, and for your sacrificial financial gifts. Without which (your obedience to the Lord in these things) we wouldn’t be where we are today – Thank you for playing your part.
November 2015 news
Greetings from Dakar Senegal in the Name in which all are saved, Jesus Christ.
We are so thankful to be co-builders with you in God’s Kingdom and we know if not for Christ bonding us together, all our time here in Senegal would not have been possible. And as our time in Senegal is quickly drawing to an end, we are grateful and humbled by the faithful role you continue to play in our lives as a family and in the mission God has called all of us to be a part of. We personally cannot wait to see what God will use us, His holy temple, to accomplish on the island of Mayotte in the near future.
Beloved, Lebo and I are rounding up our time here in Senegal and by God’s grace we plan to be back in South Africa to finish raising the financial support still needed for our final move to the island.
Our time in Senegal has exceeded our expectations in that when we came about 5 months ago we didn’t know a word of French and as time proceeded we thought it would be next to impossible to learn this difficult language but now we know enough to be at least confident that we are on the right learning track. This language that seemed so foreign in the beginning is not so foreign anymore and we are confident as we continue to study it and use it on the island we will soon master it.
The other aspect of our time here that we are thankful for is learning about ministry to folk in an Islam society and being given the opportunity to experience the life of a church planted in such an environment. The work that CAPRO Senegal is doing has been eye opening and it has given us a lot to think about when it comes to planting a church on the island. We are also reminded of another language that will help us cut through the veil of Islam, which is Agape, the love of God. This love is the single universal language that all man can understand and cannot resist. As we struggled to communicate through the French language with people it became more evident that fellowship and genuine love was the primary tool to be used in this kind of work. Love moves us into action (John 3:16) and our prayer is that love will continue to move us forward together on this journey to reach the lost and unreached with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. A love of our Master, a love for each other and a love in seeing God’s Kingdom being built even to the most distant lands.
Please pray with and for us on the following points:
- Thank God for His faithfulness thus far, for keeping us safe in all our travels, for good health and all our experiences in Senegal.
- Thank God for faithful friends and supporters like yourself, who have stood with us till this point in prayer and finances.
- The Salvation of the people of Senegal and Mayotte, and grace for the missionary teams who are reaching out to them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For safe journey back to South Africa and open doors in all that we still need to do to prepare for the our final move, visa etc.
- For more monthly financial supporters who will give R200, R500 or R1000 every month so we can meet our monthly financial quota.
- For a vehicle for us to move around with on the island, that God would bless us with one in South Africa with the means to ship it over or the finances to get one on the island.
- A place to stay in our short time in South Africa as we prepare.
23 July 2015 news
We are excited to write to you after our first month in Senegal, knowing that you’ve prayed for this moment and are still praying for greater things to come by God’s grace. Your love and support means the world to us. If God called us to be eagles in the mission field, then He has also called you to be the wind beneath our wings – without you, we would be crawling on mountains.
We are really enjoying our time here in Senegal and have settled into this new environment by prayer and God’s grace. As we previously mentioned, we are living with a fellow CAPRO missionary couple, the national co-ordinator of CAPRO’s work in Senegal and his wife, and they have been great blessing and help, even in language learning. We are coming to terms with the food and pace of life here, especially the food. The food is quite different to what we are used to back home, especially because of the oil content (Senegalese food has a very high oil content), rice and fish are the main ingredients in most meals. But our hosts really go out of their way to make us as comfortable as possible and we are learning a lot from them about Senegal and the work that God is doing here. Their planning and on-the-ground help has really helped us in settling in, even though in their country co-ordination role they are quite busy. As if that wasn’t enough, our host has been going through medical treatment on his eye which has limited his movements. He is recovering well but last week as he was going up and down preparing for our mission’s annual International Congress in August, the eye being treated got infected because of dust, but he is getting treated for it. So that is a great prayer point.
We are fighting the good fight of French language acquisition. In our first month here in Senegal it has been a roller-coaster of emotions, expectations, ambition and crashing into reality. We arrived here in high spirits and great expectations, not to say that has changed, but now that we know a little more of what it will take to achieve these expectations, our prayers is for supernatural grace (especially for pronunciation). The French language is a difficult and complicated one, but the good news is that we know and understand that so we are better prepared to tackle it. Lebo and I are enjoying our class at the French Institute in Dakar, the programme is well organised and user friendly.
We travel every working week day by bus to the administrative centre of Dakar to our school by 7am for an hour bus ride standing, and sometimes when we come back in the afternoon the bus ride can turn into a two hour journey. But God’s grace is sufficient, We are slowly adjusting to it. Some days we feel like we can do this and other days we feel like it’s a lot to do. The session we enrolled for is about to end next week and we are praying and contemplating if we should enroll for the next section or look for an alternative. The reason is that if we continue at this institute, as we have discovered, we would have to pay around R4500 for both of us for each session which runs for 18 days (2.5 hours a day). And at the end of our six months in Senegal we will have only attained A1 and A2 language levels (which are only the beginning stages of language learning) having done 6 sessions with them. So please pray for us in this regard.
As a family we are, to a certain extent, settling in this new environment and at the same time we are still learning so much about each other since it is our first time outside our comfort zone, South Africa, together. We are enjoying married life in this new environment that seems to test the depth of our creativity as a couple and we are winning so far. We try to do fun things together here in Dakar apart from studies and work but there seems to be not much to do. The other day, after class we wanted to go for a romantic walk on the beach and so we looked on the GPS for the nearest beach in town from where we were and started walking. The romantic walk ended up being a long sweaty walk looking for a public beach that didn’t exist. But like Lebo said, it was the thought that counted and the time spent together doing something other than School or work. And truly we enjoyed ourselves and we discovered new parts of town.
On Sundays we go to church at the Evangelical Church of Keur Jamm (Keur Jamm means House of Peace in Wolof), an indigenous church planted by CAPRO and fully handed over to be run by Elders in the church. And what a blessing it is to be a part of what God is doing in the spiritual life of the people of Senegal. Before the morning service we join the brethren for Bible study in French where Elders and Deacons lead small group bible studies while we do ‘smiling ministry’. The worship during the service is what blesses Lebo and me the most because we follow much more in song and praise, and some of the songs they sing have English equivalents. The Sunday message is preached in French or Wolof with an interpreter and we can maybe follow the scriptures being mentioned. We may not follow the sermon in its entirety but we are at least learning some French theological terms and at most we know that our spirits that are not bound by language barriers, are being blessed and fed.
Dakar is a noisy, hot dusty and at the same time humid Islamic wonder land with its people busy up all night because of Ramadan – so we thought at first. But now that Ramadan is over, the people are still busy at night – well our neighbours at least. It seems that one of our neighbours is a big follower of a Marabout. Marabouts are syncretic Islamic teachers with “supernatural powers and favour” from Allah, and they are followed all over Senegal and parts of West Africa. The Marabouts are the real spiritual stronghold of this land and all over Dakar you can see their portraits on walls, bumper stickers, amulets and in the homes of those who follow them – which is the majority of the 91% Muslim population. The Marabout dictates not just the spiritual life of people but every other aspect too. Simply put, the Marabout is like a Sangoma back in South Africa and people follow them even more than they follow the teaching of the Koran because they believe that if you follow what the Marabout’s teaches you are guaranteed a place in paradise. In some cases people follow Marabout as messiahs. This knowledge has given us insight into why such a liberal nation with freedom of religion continues to be over 90% “Islamic”. We hope this information will give you greater insight into how to pray for Senegal.
In our time here we have been reminded that the whole Body of Christ is at war and we all as God’s children need to count the cost of following Him and stand to be held accountable for the truth He has entrusted us with – which is not an easy feat to achieve without Him. It doesn’t matter where God has called you to, whether back home in SA or here, we all have a great battle before us and we need to take courage in the truth that the One who called us is able and willing to keep us to the day of victory.
So that’s been our first month in Senegal, and what a lot to digest. We look forward to learning more and experiencing more by God’s grace in this beautiful land and from its people.
We trust you are doing well by God’s grace, we would love to hear how you are faring and to know how we can also pray for you as you have been praying for us.
All our love
Your hands on the mission field (The Ramokgopa family)