1997 - 2001
As Bruce explains it:|
My wife Heidi and I attended the Walk to Emmaus in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa in April/May 1997.
Don Bartlett served on the music team for the walk that Bruce was a pilgrim on.
It was shortly after attending Emmaus that we felt a call from God to start a Christian mission on the farm, which is in a rural area outside Pietermaritzburg in the KwaZulu Natal midlands. The road leading to the farm is called Ekukanyeni, which means, “light” in Zulu.
One thing led to another and due to business commitments and the start of our young family we were unable to get the mission off the ground.
Our son Ryan was born in April 1998 and our daughter Keryn was born in September 2000. 3 months later and a week before Christmas Keryn fell critically ill and was diagnosed with meningitis and Heidi and I cried out to God to save our 3 month old daughter. I sent emails all over the world to people who had attended the Walk to Emmaus and the prayers flowed in and 3 days later she left hospital completely healed. I promised God that I would now follow Him more closely.
Heidi and I have been actively involved in Emmaus since our pilgrim walk in 1997 with myself being appointed to the KZN board in November 1998 and Heidi in 2000. It has been such a privilege to work on Emmaus and we have both served in many positions over the last 5 years.
I was appointed as Community Lay Director for KwaZulu Natal Chrysalis and Journeys in November 2001 and led a men’s walk in April 2002. Heidi will be a Lay Director for Journeys in July 2003.
In April 2001 I was serving as a board rep on a men’s walk. One of the table leaders – Geoff Taylor who was a pilgrim with me on walk 13 in 1997 – was doing a talk entitled “The Body of Christ” and had to leave the walk on the Saturday night due to his father being critically ill.
Geoff was able to be with his father and to pray with and for him until he passed away a week later.
The lay director of this walk then asked me to read out Geoff’s talk to the pilgrims the following morning. It was during this talk that God spoke to me in a powerful way and I felt Him say that it was now time to put the mission into place. In Geoff’s talk he spoke of him and his wife starting a small outreach mission, Hamba Ekukanyeni, on their farm, which is about 100 miles (160 kilometres) from ours in the mountains of the Drakensburg.
He concluded by saying that they realized that it was difficult for them to maintain this mission, and that they could not do it as “LONE RANGERS” but had to build a team around them. This really hit home for me as I realized that I had tried to do everything in my own strength before and I now needed to build a team of people who could implement the vision that we had been given.