A Sad Day.


I was going to rave and rant about NPO’s that are not what they seem. I was going to tell about the shocking discoveries recently made about the inner workings of such organizations. But I decided not to. Not yet, anyway. I’d much rather repeat an older blog that I’ve posted some time ago. It touches on the same subject, but refers to charities in particular. What I want to ask, is how many of these charities and organizations that look so good from a distance, are rotten to the core? How many of these are just a front used by top management to serve their own purposes? Does the good they do, balance the level of extortion, corruption and fraud? Have they all been Gupta-ed? Or has it become the norm to grab what you can and see how far you can get away with it?:

“Charities. Robin Hood in Reverse?

It is a noble thing to be involved in charity work. Everyone would agree with that. Especially if it is done voluntarily with no form or shape of remuneration. We do it because it makes us feel good. Good about ourselves, good about life in general. Good to know we do something for the needy, the under-privileged, the homeless, the lowly, the cast-outs and the drop-outs, the elderly and the orphaned.

We organize fundraisers to pay for all these services of compassion. The feeding schemes, soup-kitchens, the clothing schemes, the blankets in winter, the picnics in summer, the dinners and outings and treats. At the end of a hard days work doing good deeds, we sit down in our Lazyboys feeling warm and fuzzy inside because of all we have accomplished.

What do we accomplish? We put food in an empty stomach. We put clothes on a child shivering from the cold, because his parents are drunk. We hand over a blanket to a person sleeping on a cold sidewalk. We make the world better, one life at a time. This is all very good and noble and no one can deny that.

How do the receivers of these charity work feel about it? Let’s ask them.

We are thankful. Without it, we won’t survive. We look forward to receiving the next gift. Because we know it is coming. Don’t worry about today. Tomorrow there will be a donation. But tomorrow does not always bring a donation. Disappointment. Then days and weeks pass before the next gift is handed out. We sink into despair. No way to make our own living, we flee reality into the arms of intoxication to ease the pain, the hunger, the cold. We sink deeper and deeper because there is no way out.

Why does it take so long? Why are the gifts often so few and far between? Why are the gifts often so little?

On investigation it was found the many a gift never reaches the rightful receivers. Large grocery chains send truckloads of food to shelters and homes. But they do not always reach their destinies with all the stuff they left the store with. How many witnesses are willing to testify that they was a truck pulling up in a parking bay, uploading bags filled with groceries into the boot of a car? How many neighbours will testify that they saw a truck backing up into the driveway next door, unloading stuff into the garage before delivering to a shelter or home?

The next day a worker from the store asks someone from the shelter how they enjoyed the feast of steak and veg and pudding that was sent over. The person might answer something like: “What feast? We had bean and cabbage soup for lunch.” “What about the malva pudding and custard that was sent over yesterday?”  “Pudding? Are you crazy? We live in a shelter. We don’t get pudding. Ever.” So, what happened to the feast? At what point between shop and shelter did it disappear? We might never know. All we know, is that many donations to shelters and homes have been terminated because of this very thing happening.

So what do we accomplish? We actually steal from the poor. But what does the poor have that we can steel? Apart from the donations that fall into the cracks somewhere along the way?  We steal their dignity. We steal their motivation to help themselves. We even steel the opportunities to help themselves instead of creating opportunities. Most of all, we steel their freedom. We control them. We serve in committees  to help them, but we force them into puppethood. If they don’t do as told, we kick them out, or worse: We close the shelter, or home.

This is a Robin Hood in reverse, steeling from the poor and giving it to those that does not need it – this good thing that we do. What is the solution? As long as corruption rules our nation and greed and self service rules our hearts, there is no solution. Let us humble ourselves, turn to Yeshua so He can forgive our sins and heal our burning land.

 

The Death of a Town.


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This is a town with a church on almost every street corner.  Every Sunday and every “Christian” festival day these churches are packed with worshipers.  People’s speech is punctuated with “God is good”, “I am so blessed” and “if it is the Lord’s will”.  Talking about God all the time.  Why then, do their lives show no fruit of the Spirit?  Why are people plagued by illness and death, financial ruin, children on drugs, or living in sin, unmarried?  Why is there so much robbery and murder taking place? Why is this town so spiritually dead?

 

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Not only is this town visited by all these things, but drought, exceptional heat during summer, cold spells that do not usually hit this part of the country, not to mention severe and out of control felt fires.  Why?  Let’s go to the Bible and see why Israel endured the same troubles.  All through the Old Testament, the Israelites tested God with unbelief and disobedience from Exodus to the last prophet.  The prophets spelled it out: turn back to the Lord, keep His commandments and He will turn back to you. Worship the Lord only and He will bless you with all abundance.

 

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But what do we do?  Do we learn from all that?  It seems not.  We carry on in the ways of Israel and live in sin; we disobey every commandment going our own way and worship other gods.  What gods?  The goddess of luck, gambling away our wages, young and old disregard marriage and just shack up with no commitment to the partner, pleasure and substance abuse has become normal life style.  Worst of all is that we teach our children to do the same.  We laugh when they get drunk, we wink proudly when they commit fornication, we cheat and take bribes; we steal and commit fraud, trying to fill our bottomless pockets.  When disaster strikes, we blame global warming, the government and the economy.

 

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But who is really to be blamed?  Where are our spiritual leaders in this?  Why don’t they give us the answers?  Not the answers we want to hear, but those that will save us.  Is it because they have become as lukewarm as their followers?  Is it because they fear to tell the truth?  Who will remain in their churches if they tell people to repent and turn back to true worshipping the living God?  No one wants to hear that old story of repentance anymore.  People want to hear how blessed they are, how God loves them and how they can do whatever they want, because God forgives.  Anyone with a different message is weird and considered a fanatic.

Truth is, God does forgive, but not without repentance.  “Stop sinning” is the words of Jesus that we need to hear and obey.  But we’d much rather quote the “wise” of pagan religions and cults.  At the annual meeting of an organisation I attended a short while ago, where the CEO constantly refer to the goodness of God, the Dalai Lama was quoted,  J K Rolling, a writer of witchcraft books for children was quoted, an ancestor worshiper, who himself has become and idol, was quoted; not one word about Jesus.  Pagan gods are praised for their “wise” sayings, we look to other religions for solutions to our problems and quote their sayings.  Yet, when mentioning Jesus, everyone goes quiet.  Talking about God is OK, as long as His name is not mentioned.

Well, who is this God they are talking about?  Is it really the God, creator of everything that exists?  Is it really the Father of all who believe in Jesus?  It seems every other god has become acceptable, except the One and only God Jesus Christ who died to pay our debts with His blood.  The one who desires for us to be with Him in His kingdom forever, if we would only believe.  Why is it so difficult to believe in Jesus?  Is it because of the ugliness of His suffering for us?  Is it because  we refuse to be held accountable?  Is it because other religions are more “acceptable”? Is it because we cannot worship without seeing idol images or follow rituals? Is it because we prefer to earn salvation for ourselves so that we don’t owe everything to the only One who have already made it all available to us?  Have we become so proud that we cannot acknowledge and accept the free gift of eternal life, but want to do it ourselves?  Or does the answer lie in all of the above?  Everyone has to decide for himself.

As for me and my house, we will submit under the authority of Jesus in whom we believe as the only Saviour and Redeemer because we know He is the only One we can fully trust.  The only One who offers hope; the only One who loves us and does not ask for sacrifices and good works to earn His favour, because He has already done it all for us and expects only faith and obedience in return for glory unimaginable in His Kingdom for ever! All glory, praise, honour and worship to Jesus, the only wise God!

Head first into the Benguella


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The Hospice bookshop where I work, is going forward in strides. Getting organized better and better is no longer wishful thinking. It is happening. Volunteers are making bookshelves which will enable us to put more books from the store room out on the shelves. New donations of great books by great writers are coming in all the time, begging to be sold so that Hospice can make money to take care of the suffering and dying. So, come on, good people of the Boland, come and buy our fabulous books and make space for more books.

For the purpose of filling Hospice coffers, I do my part. I put my books up for sale a the normal listed price. I offer a discount  – on a signed copy of any one of my books – to anyone who is willing to answer a question about a book. The discounted amount then goes to Hospice as a donation. After all, they allow me to promote my books in their shop.

After hours I try to fit in a little writing. “Seagull’s Prey” is progressing slowly, very slowly. Stephany had to flee after seeing the face of the one who murdered the senior partner in the plastic surgery practice where she is a junior partner. To make things worse, she grabbed the wrong bag in the confusion, thinking it was her medical bag, but when she opened it later, a nasty surprise awaited her.

When she thought things could not get worse, a dog jumped on her, sending hear head first into the icy waters of the Benguella sea current. Contrary to her initial shock and anger at the negligence of the dog’s owner, the incident was Divine intervention. Ettienne proved to be the help she needed to get out of the mess she was in.

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The full length novel titled “The god of these Times” is coming along just as slowly, but surely. Here is an excerpt:

The three men watched in awe as the three dimensional hologram appeared before them. The image of the man was so lifelike, they almost believed they could touch it and smell the aftershave. The image was hovering six inches above the floor, then moving higher, growing bigger and back to its normal size again. This happened every time he wanted to stress a point in the speech he was making.

“Thank you for coming,” he said, as if they were given a choice.

“Sorry, where you are, it is still morning, so good morning to you.  My dear friends, I want you to know how much I value you.  Without you, I will not be able to reach my goals.  Without you my hands are tied.  See?”  Smiling, he held out is virtual hands to them to demonstrate how helpless he is as a mere image, and how much he needed their physical bodies to do what he wanted done.

“So let’s get down to business,” he continued with a stern face.

“Cassius, I read your report on religious matters in the middle-east.  I am well pleased at what you have achieved there.  Intensify the onslaught and spread it towards the north-east.  Pakistan and Afghanistan have not experienced the full intensity of our wrath.

Mercu, Walt, Tyco, your work is also good.  However, there is room for improvement.  Especially you, Tyco.  I expect you to deliver better results in Africa.  You said something about India.  Forget India for now.  They are growing in finances and technology, but leave them for another couple of years.  There will always be the castes that will keep them from breaking through our barriers.  Africa is different.  Make sure you crash the strongest economy in Africa, and do it soon.

Walt, you keep on entertaining.”  Again the image showed that devilish smile he often put on his face when he had evil in mind.

“Keep on giving the hungry wolves what they want.  The naughtier, the better.  Mercu will see to it, that the world learns all about it through his world-wide network of IT and communication systems.

An excerpt form a follow up titled “Puppets Dance”:

The dark side of life is shadows over the past.  The dark side of life is having no hope for the future.  The dark side of life is living with bad things on your conscience.  A bad conscience is like a hair in your mouth.  It is uncomfortable, you are constantly aware of it and if you don’t do something about it, eventually it will nauseate you, you will throw up, most likely in public and everyone will know your secrets.

 

That is how it was for Billy Fenton.  He knew he had done something wrong, but tried to ignore the fact.  He believed he would get away with it and nobody will know.  There might be consequences, but no one will suspect his involvement.  Until that day.

An excerpt from another follow up, titled “Zone Celebration:

Anton Joubert disappeared into the men’s room at the O R Tambo International airport. Ten minutes later a man came out. He had a mustache, curly brown hair and a slight limp in his step. Jonathan Smith was on his way to Heathrow. Having arrived there he went through the usual formalities, than made a phone call:

“Hello Lindie. Jammer ek bel nou eers.” Hi Lindie, sorry I’m only calling now.

“Anton! Als reg Ek’s net bly jy het veilig daar aangekom. Het jy heelnag gery?” Anton! It’s OK. I’m just glad you’ve arrived safely. Did you drive through the night?

“No, I was tired. I stopped over at Matjiesfontein. I arrived in Cape Town an hour ago”. They talked for a while, then Anton ended the call. He found a taxi that took him to his hotel in the center of London, the conversation with his wife in Johannesburg already forgotten.

This is as much as I will reveal right now. Next time, some more on the Hospice bookshop. Check it out on Facebook:

https://web.facebook.com/StelHospiceShop/?ref=br_tf

Also visit my page:

https://web.facebook.com/magdelwrites/?ref=bookmarks

 

Just another Story.


I recently came across this story.  It was among some papers in a box of books donated to the Hospice bookshop. I got interested and read it. Hopefully the writer will read it and let me know who he/she is. Donor unknown. Writer unknown. It was written halfway in Afrikaans. I had a hard time translating it. Translation is not my favorite pass-time.

Enjoy.

Dienie de Jager.

The surgeon heaved a sigh of relief, obviously sweating.

“It was touch and go.”  The theatre staff looked at him apprehensively, holding their breaths.

“She will live.  And although it is early to predict, if there are no complications, she’ll recover completely”.

The theatre doors open and three men walked in.  The doctor stared at them, stunned, the sister in charge opened her mouth to speak and chase the intruders out, but stopped in her tracks when one of the men aimed a firearm at her chest.  Then the Earl spoke.

“No, doctor, you’re wrong.  She won’t live.  On the contrary.  There were severe complications.  You were unable to save her.  She is dead.”

“No, you don’t understand.  She’s alive.  We saved her.  She … ”

“Wrong, doctor, she died on the operating table, just minutes ago.  That is the message you will send out to the world.  Do it now, while my medical team takes over from here.”  He looked through the room, looked everyone in the eyes and said: “If anyone contradicts the doctor, there will be consequences.  The world will learn that she has died in a car crash tonight.  Is that clear?  We know who you are.  We know where you live, we know the blood type of your children.  One word and you’ll regret it for the rest of your lives”.

One movement with his hand and a medical team entered the theatre to take over the medical care of the patient while the two body guards shooed the medical team out of the theatre into a room down the passage.  They were guarded for half an hour, then taken to a press release room where the doctor made the dreadful announcement that the most popular woman in the world has died.  The rest of the medical team nodded and looked glum.  After the press release they were ordered to complete their reports and finish the admin, all the time heavily guarded.  Three hours later they were escorted out of the building and ordered to go straight home.

Meanwhile in the theatre the patient was carefully removed to a recovery room on the far side of the passage. Before the medical team of the hospital left for their homes, the patient was taken out of the hospital through an unused back exit, into a waiting ambulance straight to the airport where a private jet stood ready for take-off.  Ten hours later the jet reduced altitude and landed smoothly at an airport on the south-eastern coast of South Africa.

Ten years later.  After several plastic surgical procedures, months of studying language, culture, traditions, ten years of learning new skills, ten years of developing a new identity, the lady was ready to be released into the new world on her own.  A new life was now hers to seek, to build, to live.  Dienie de Jager was on her way.

She had decided to leave the coastal area for the country side.  She did not renew the rental contract for her apartment, the furniture and most of her household goods she donated to Hospice.  All she took with her was her clothes, a few pieces of jewellery and some personal items.  Freedom at last!  Free from the paparazzi.  Free from body guards and personal staff.  Free from eyes watching her every move.  She opened the window as she drove off in her new little white Honda Ballade and let the wind blow through her dark brown, shoulder length hair.

Admiring the scenery, she went through one town after the other, up the mountain pass and decided to leave the highway.  She turned off to the left and booked into a small hotel in a small town just across the Kwa Zulu-Natal/Free State border.  To test her Afrikaans, she stayed there for two days.  As soon as people started to ask personal questions, it was time to move on.  And so she went from town to town, soaking in the culture and perfecting her accent.  By the first sign that her English accent was noted, she moved to the next town.

The Free State was a friendly place, especially the bigger towns, where she could maintain an amount of anonymity, which was necessary.  But she was lonely.  Trained for ten years not to trust anyone and to keep distance whenever possible, had its effect.  And as always, complaining to her brother, the Earl, he jumped on his plane and visited.  Sometimes alone, sometimes bringing her children, who had learned the truth and were sworn to secrecy for the sake of all mankind.  Still, it was not enough.  The longing for friends, real, long term friends, a place to settle and take root, her need to belong, grew stronger as time passed.

After five years of touring the whole country, staying up to six months in one place, she decided to go back to the Free State.  It was autumn, the leaves were all kinds of red, orange and golden as the afternoon sun caught the tall poplar trees, casting long shadows, she drove slowly into the small town of Clarens.  The air was fresh and cool and stirred up long lost memories of her homeland.

She needed a tea break, her car needed fuel, and the place was so charming, so inviting, she had to stop and explore.  As she got out of her car, the aroma of fresh, brewing coffee lured her into a corner coffee-café some ten yards away.

“Parked down-wind, did you Honey?”

“Pardon?”

“I said, you parked down-wind and smelled the coffee, did you not?”  The short, plump lady behind the counter smiled broadly.

“Come, get a table and I’ll pour you a nice big cup full.  And what about a scone? I baked them myself and it comes with jersey cream and jam that these two hands have cooked, by the way, my name is Doris, what’s yours?” she said and held up her hands for the visitor to see.

“Sounds wonderful.  I can do with a bite to have with my coffee.”  She sat down at a small table for two, close to the kitchen.  Minutes later the coffee and scone was delivered.  In all the time touring South Africa, she had never tasted a better scone, better cream or better jam than this one.  What she liked just as much was, differently from other small towns, no one paid special attention to her.  A few other coffee drinkers nodded a greeting, but most people hardly took notice.  Anonymity.  Which meant she could stay a while.  And so she stayed.  Quite a while.  Four years, to be precise.  And then it happened.

It happened like this:  She was sitting at her regular table in the corner coffee-café.  A man entered and looked around to find an empty table.  All tables were occupied.  Suddenly his eyes caught and held hers.  She gave him her famous, shy, half-smile, then obscured her face by taking a sip from the enormous cup.  He looked away, started walking away, bumped into the counter and almost knocked over a waitress with a loaded tray.

“Looking for a table, Honey?” Doris asked.  “I think this beautiful lady wouldn’t mind sharing with you.”  The man was literally pushed in her direction and he had no choice but to flop down into the only available chair in the place.  With a silly grin he held out a hand and said: “Hi, hope you don’t mind Doris, or me, I’m Henk Delport.”

“Dienie, de Jager, pleased to meet you and, no, I don’t mind you or Doris at all.  Welcome to my table.”  Three hours later they said good bye with a promise to meet again for lunch.  And they did.  After a few weeks, Henk invited her to visit his farm.  She had learned he was a widower; his wife had died in a car crash six years earlier; his sister on the neighbouring farm helped him raise his three children and he farmed with cattle, sheep and mealies while at the same time kept his wife’s home industry shop running under management of a good friend of his late wife’s.

A year later, Henk banged on the door of the cottage Dienie was renting on the edge of town.

“What’s the matter?  Why this banging on my door?  Do you think I’m deaf?”

“Sorry, but I had a strange visitor and I need to speak to you.”

“About a strange visitor?  Why?”

“He said he’s your brother and I cannot get serious with you.”

“Are you?  Serious with me?”

“Sweetheart, I’ve told you I love you.  Of course I’m serious.  I was, … I was going to ask you to marry me and now this person claiming to be your brother spoiled it all.  I have to tell you this way that I want to marry you instead of asking you nicely at a romantic dinner or something.”

“What did he say, my brother?  What did he tell you?”

“He told me you are … ”

“I’m so sorry, Henk.  I had to tell him about you and I tried to keep him from speaking to you.  I didn’t think he’d really come all the way just to tell you who I am.”

“So, it is the truth?  You are that gorgeous lady who ‘died’ in the car crash so many years ago?  The most gentle, most loving and loved the most famous woman in the world?”

“Yes. I am her.  But you exaggerate her, my qualities.”

“On the contrary.  You are more gorgeous, more loving and kind and more lovable than anyone could ever picture you.”

“What did you say to my brother?”

“I told him he’s a rooinek and you speak perfect Afrikaans, how can you be his sister.  Then I told him to get off my farm and do it quickly.  Then he said he won’t be intimidated and that he’ll be back.”

“Where is my brother now?”

“Who knows?  He’s probably somewhere assembling and army.”

“Yes.  He will be back, but it would be best to meet him on neutral ground.”

“I’m not scared of him.  I have an army of my own.”

“Henk, sorry, but you’re no match for him.  Just do as he says.  And try to win him over, not overpower him, because you can’t.”

“I’ll not let go of you, Dienie, I love you.”

“The Earl always wins, Henk, he always wins.”

Five years later.  Dienie sat at a table for two close to the kitchen in her favourite corner coffee-café.  A man entered, looked her in the eyes and sat down opposite her.

“Hello, Henk.”  He took her hands in his, rubbed her fingers and smiled.

“Thank you, Sweetheart, for choosing this place, this table for our fifth anniversary.”  She smiled that sweet, shy, half-smile while he rubbed the rings on her left hand ring finger.

“Do you want to know a secret?”

“You have kept secrets from me for five years?”

“Yes.  And now it’s time to come clean.  I’ve always known.  From the very moment you looked at me and smiled.  That moment I knew you were the famous lady, I just couldn’t figure out how.”  She paled a little.

“No! you … ”

“I did.  And I’ve been in love with her ever since I saw her picture the first time in my sister’s magazine.”  Colour returned to Dienie’s Delport’s face.

“I love you, Henk Delport.  But wait till I tell the Earl”.

“Here he is, right on time.”  Dienie jumped up when she saw her children entering behind her brother.  Then she turned to Henk.

“Thanks for a beautiful anniversary gift.”  They all left together to spend time on the farm.  Dienie de Jager Delport, with her husband, children and brother.