Jandré Viljoen believes that “out of dust (Gen 2:7) God can give creative life from nothing.” In his small congregation in Ceres, he strives to think creatively about Jesus. Jandré is an opportunity seeker, who believes that memories form and guide us in life. “I love diversity. Everything about diversity calls out opportunity.”

Missionary work formed the basis of Jandré evangelistic life; from leading a congregation in Modimole to working in Botswana and Mozambique moulded Jandré into a leader for Jesus. His cheerful disposition and positivity help guide his decisions, in all situations, whether adverse or favourable.

Some of the difficulties South Africa faces are hidden in plain sight.

“Our diversity and the unwillingness to love this diversity is a hurdle we have to overcome.  Reconciliation is a way of life and not just an academic report or another PHD. Our complexity and diversity make us unique. But it is also the one thing that separates people.

As a South African who loves South Africa, I tried too hard to live reconciliation in the past.  I looked at reconciliation as an academic process that has discrete steps. Now it’s become a sensory process where my senses are seeking the unfamiliar, the delicious, the sounds of unity, a high-five, or even just a smile from someone different from me.”

Fortunately, within each of us lies the tools to move our communities toward harmony.

“Life is not about me, the individual. As a humanitarian, my view is subjective. But we have to focus on the broken, unwanted, persecuted, and unloved people to improve our country.

We need politicians who don’t just worry about themselves. The world has created a system where greed and selfishness govern the behaviour of society.  Everything is about me, myself, and I. The day politicians worry about other people, things might just change. We need more Mahatma Ghandis and Mother Theresas.

The church can play a significant role in our country. It is a pity that the bigger church, the assembly of religious people in South Africa, cannot work together. We are so busy trying to convince people to come to our own churches that we have forgotten to ask Jesus where we must go to be his disciples. If you think politicians are bad, our churches are worse. As Christians, we need to do more loving and less finger-pointing.

We need more of the following: objectivity, less subjectivity; honesty, less dishonesty; community, less self-righteousness; loving and less hate.”

From their grassroots, the NG church in Ceres works to guide community members to be the change in South Africa.

“Since last year, we have become involved in early childhood development. We have taken the responsibility of a school in Bella Vista, near Ceres. One of our congregation members became involved at the school and ever since the project has grown. We initiated an after school programme, called the Mooiuitsig Project, and appointed a full-time nanny whose salary is paid by supportive families in our congregation.

Last year we had 15 families supporting the programme. This year, 30 families are involved. Each participating family are responsible for a child in the after school programme. They attend their sports days, birthdays, and participate in a few other activities. Many of the families involved have grown due to their participation. This initiative has also given hope to the children enrolled in the programme.”

Seeing opportunities in South Africa brings hope.

“Hope is a subjective feeling that everything will be okay. Nothing will ever be okay as long as you look at life through the lens of “I”. But when you look through the lens of “we” you’ll find hope everywhere.”

Find out more about the NG Church in Ceres via their website here: www.ngkceresvallei.co.za.