Episode 1--“The Call”
A few years ago, through prayer and fasting, reading in the Bible, motivational preaching and books, our church, friends, family and circumstances we came to the conclusion that our family had been called to the foreign mission field. As the journey began we realized that our heart was for the orphaned children of Africa. First of all because the need is so great, and secondly because we saw a ministry that although ‘long term’ could have ‘long lasting’ effects, in that children could be raised in the Hope and the Knowledge that there is a God who loves them and desires to change their hearts and lives.
As a result of this call we began looking into organizations that work in this area. Through many hours surfing the internet, emailing, traveling to Mission Fest, and communicating our desires with friends and coming into contact with many different options, we made contact with some missionaries in Angola. During our times of communication we felt God leading us in the direction of coming with the UIEA church here in Angola.
After much prayer, fasting, and guidance we made a decision to send Pete on a scouting trip to check things out. His trip was encouraging and the decision was made to go to Angola.
Next in the mini-series “Part 2—‘Preparation’”
The Knightly Family
After the decision was made to go to Angola the preparation began. In hind-sight if we had known all of the work, hassles, and headaches that would go into it, we would have given up before we started! However, God is gracious in not showing us ‘everything’ and so we began.
The first order of business was getting the paperwork prepared for our work visa. This process was cumbersome and difficult at times, but we managed to get all of the things we needed in order to start the process (this included: police checks, a medical, sending paperwork to be authorized by the Canadian Government, finding a translator, having every paper translated in Portuguese, getting immunizations, money, etc). Finally the process was sent in at the end of December 2004.
The next step was to downsize our possessions, fix up our home, put it on the market and wait for a potential buyer. During this time the fever caught, in our hearts and minds, it was becoming a reality and the excitement grew, along with many trials. The day to day struggles and joys are on our website (knightlyfamily.blogspot.com) if you wish to take the time to reminisce.
Our church bravely decided to put us on staff and funnel your donations, for which we are truly grateful. With that came the time spent speaking with lawyers, accountants, and other mission organizations concerning the legalities involved. Not everything is ironed out presently, but we trust that God is in control, even in this area!
Then came the big day, the house sold and we went into mad-dash mode to pack and arrange a day that we would have all of our belonging in Toronto to place in the container to be shipped to Angola. We purchased our truck only a week before leaving Kamloops! The 17th of May we drove out of Kamloops, No Turning Back is a song that came to mind as we drove out of the city. With great anticipation and sorrow we set out on our journey into the ‘unknown’.
Finally we drove to Toronto accompanied by Pete’s parents, a memorable time for all. Delivered everything to the warehouse, and set out the next day by Greyhound bound for NB to spend some time visiting with family.
Next in the mini-series, Part 3 “The Farm”
The Knightly Family
Episode 3—“The Farm”
Although our journey is ‘in detail’ laid out on our website, I decided to make Part 1 and 2 a summed up history lesson! This part of the series will give information into our time here in Angola along with our hope in the future grace of God in our lives.
To begin with I would like to describe “The Farm”. Several years ago the UIEA (the church we work with in Angola) purchased Agro Sul here in the Namibe area for the purpose of building an orphanage. Two years ago, with the risk of losing their investment, they asked an SIM missionary family to move to the farm with the purpose of getting the ‘farm’ part up and running and paying off some debt.
In the last two years, Strauss and Sanette Joubert and boys, have worked hard to develop it. There have been many trials and struggles for their family, the workers, and the church in regards to Agro Sul. At present, however, things have begun to work together for good and with God’s provision, hard work and perseverance has paid off.
Presently the farm employs many people in the surrounding village/area, helping them to supply for their families. A pastor of the Bom Deus church up the hill from the farm has been employed by the farm to drive the pickup for errands to the city. This is a blessing for the farm and the pastor. For the farm because they have someone trustworthy to rely on, and for the pastor because it supplements the meager income that he receives as a pastor so that he can feed his family and continue with his ministry.
Agro Sul has also started 2 stores, one in their community and one in a community further east, Hmuambo. This has been a great service for these communities that are a long way from town by foot, or taxi which costs a day’s wage! It has also generated much needed income in order to get the farm up and running.
Another facet of the farm is that each worker of the farm receives a little plot of land to work for their family, and if desired to generate another source of income.
Strauss is well-known all over the valley (actually as Senor Branco, Mr. White), and well-respected. The ministry that the Joubert’s provide to the people of the Giraul River Valley is not only ‘Spiritual’, but ‘Physical’ and as a result people are coming to know the Love of God in a tangible way. In July the Joubert family will move back to their native South Africa, moving on in their calling to a new location. They are going to be missed.
The orphanage project was part of a vision of the church around 6 years ago when this piece of land was purchased, and I feel they still hold out hope that one day it will become a reality, but here in Angola things work very slowly. Here in Africa is it understood and accepted, but in North America we live by 6 month, 1 year, 3 year and 5 year goals/plans and we do not understand the African way of thinking. This is part of the adaptation process. This brings me to the next part of the series…
Next in the mini-series, Part 4 “Adaptation”
The Knightly Family
No one can fully prepare for this portion of ‘the journey’. Although we had lots of knowledge in regards to adaptation, the experience puts a whole new twist on things! Circumstances that are beyond your control, physical challenges, health issues, etc can cause different reactions that what you ‘thought’ you may have, and we have had our fair share of all of these since arriving here in Angola.
The first issue, which is harder for Pete than me, is the issue of TIME (what’s that? I tossed my watch after arriving here)! Very little happens when it is ‘supposed’ to happen. This has been evident in our wait time in Namibia after arriving in Africa, our wait time in Lubango before the house was ready in Namibe, our wait time for the container, our wait time for fuel, the lights to come back on, water supply to return, at the bread store, for the stores to open after their siesta, our wait time for our visas, a meeting with the pastors, etc! The list goes on and on and one cannot realize how much it can ‘drive you crazy’ until you are experiencing it (especially when it is for the thousandth time).
The second (and these are not in order of degree) issue is the visa situation. We came with the information given us, and it did not include a renewal ‘every’ month, a trip to Namibia every 3rd month, the expense, and the length of time previous people have had to wait for a visa (some up to 5 years, leaving the country every 3 months to renew). I cannot express how much frustration and anxiety this has caused the family; from the expense, the interruption, the horrible road, and now the inability to renew in Namibia! We are finding another true statement in scripture: to work out your salvation with fear and trembling!
The third issue is language learning. This has been very difficult for Pete as he has found his mind is not a sponge but a rock. I don’t mean this in an insulting way, just that he is having a hard time with retention, and because he is more tense about the issue of TIME he sets unrealistic expectations for himself, and when he cannot meet it he becomes frustrated. For me, Pete says I live life with ‘rose coloured glasses’ on. I just realize that it is going to take time, and somehow I feel I will learn by osmosis. Frankly, we know a lot more than when we arrived, but we are not fluent and have a hard time properly conjugating verbs and joining sentences with the proper word, and the list of vocabulary is LONG! All of our learning has been done on our own, as the two teachers we have had just disappeared… a common occurrence here. The teenagers from the church who drop in regularly to visit have been a great help.
Other issues include, dealing with regular power outages, no water, fuel shortages, no hot water heater, exchange rate fluctuations, HIGH prices for ‘everything’ except fuel, sickness (Talitha, and Tavis have both had malaria, and Pete has had it twice now, I have issues with my stomach and constant infections), the Angolan system, drivers (you think they are bad in North America, please come here for a few weeks!!!), people with a great lack of knowledge in the area of hygiene, health, and the outside world (including doctors, nurses, and other ‘so-called’ health professionals) and a deficiency in financial support has made it difficult to find our feet.
But! God is faithful. He has sustained us through some pretty difficult adjustments in this past year. We have ‘not arrived’ yet, but I pray one day we will at this:
Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
God is good (even when it ‘looks’ really bad) all the time!
Next in the mini-series Part 5 “The Blessings”
The Knightly Family
Episode 5—“The Blessings”
We have seen and experienced ‘many’ blessings in this past year, and it is now that I will take the time to name a few and what an impact it has had on us and where we are.
I will begin by saying that we were blessed by very sound doctrine and theology that stimulated us to have a desire to serve God with our ‘whole’ hearts! Motivational preaching by Pastor Zach at Hillcrest, sound doctrine from Fred Eaton while at Hillcrest, the excellent ministry of John Piper (pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist, Minneapolis Minnesota www.desiringgod.org ), and the love and encouragement from many brothers and sisters in Christ, friends and family! When the going gets tough, we need to remember 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.”
Before leaving Kamloops there were many blessings flowing… friends who came to help pack and clean the house, the purchase of the truck (I will share later just how much of a blessing it has been to us and the people of Angola), a very generous donation for the payment of our container, BC vehicle tax refund for our truck, a trailer to haul our things across Canada, my mom’s speedy recovery from her heart surgery, and the support and prayers of friends and family as we set out on this journey.
Once in Africa, we experienced the blessing of great new friends in Cape Town, South Africa, safety traveling the train, safe travels flying, and missionaries to travel into Angola with.
In Angola we have received many blessings. Our family has faithfully telephoned us to encourage and uplift us. Many friends have called at just the right time! The Joubert family has become a great source of encouragement and friendship. The youth at the local church have been wonderful. Care packages from our church, friends, and family have been a source of excitement! My brother taking Talitha in so she can finish up her schooling is a great comfort. The blessing of supplies being sent in a container, donations from a church and individuals on the east coast, and packages sent from the west coast, and of course our family chipping in more than we can really thank them for! The kids have adapted quickly, learned the language well, finding friends, and loving Angola! That is more of a blessing than you can imagine. The friendships at church and other local people has been a blessing. Last week we were blessed beyond belief by a pastor (whom Pete took to Kuvango) and his wife here in town, I guess they felt the Lord was blessing them and so they decided to bless us. When we were leaving they handed us 1000 kwz (over $10 US… 800 kwz is $10) and told me to buy eggs (which costs 900 kwz for 30), at first I thought she meant for her, but she said no, no, no for our family! I was humbled and struck with emotion. They have so little by worldly standards, but their hearts are overflowing by heavenly standards!
Last but not least we have been blessed by being a blessing to others. We have had visitors, some by surprise and some planned… both a blessing! One missionaries’ vehicle broke down and so we had 2 visitors for a few days (a great distraction to some of our ‘life’ challenges), 1 visitor got ‘left behind’ by her group, and she stayed for several days (she was such an encouragement to our family), other missionaries have popped in for a few days of respite from their work (we have enjoyed their visits), we had 3 visitors (one a neighbour from Kamloops) who came for a respite from their province in the north/east. What an enjoyable time of encouragement and refreshment! There is rarely a trip made in the “TRUCK” that we are not stopping to ‘bless’ someone. It may seem small to you, but stopping and picking someone up here in Angola is met with such praise and thanksgiving… and when you can say ‘In the name of Jesus’ and they see the ‘church’ sticker on the truck and can make a connection it brings such joy. People walk for ‘many’ miles, some with extremely heavy loads on their heads. We do it so often but there are some that stick out in our minds. The Mukubali lady (they wear nothing on top, only strings to tie down their breasts) and her baby on her back and a 6 or 7 year old daughter had walked a several hour drive (2 day walk… or more) out of the desert with a sack that I could hardly lift up into the truck and another sack too heavy for a 6 year old… they were hungry and thirsty and thankfully I had some bread and water in the truck to share with her. There is a military base just out of town that we drive by to get to the farm, Pete has stopped so often to pick them up (and since the truck is EASILY noticeable) when they see us driving the opposite direction they wave and smile just to say hi! We picked up 3 Mukubali men (I call them ‘men in skirts’) when we were taking the missionary girls from the north on a ‘fun’ day… their skirts are made of a panel on the front and a panel on the back, connected by a waste cord… that was fun to watch the girls on the back of the truck with these 3 men… they were sharing with the girls how many wives (one had 25 or more) they had, and livestock!!! I think he was looking for one more wife! One couple we picked up late at night and drove them out to a lighthouse way out of town, when they got out they were clapping and thanking us over and over. We have taken the women, children and youth on different trips. The women’s choir has gone twice with me to Tombua, the day I took the children out for their outing there were over 40 kids in our truck (10 in the cab), and last weekend we brought about 30 youth home in the truck (after making 2 trips IN to the farm). Pete’s trip to Kuvango, was a blessing to the pastors and people of the villages they visited, and a blessing for Pete too! We get reminded every time just how much a blessing this truck has been. However the wear and tear has been a lot more than we budgeted for!
Rosa and her 5 children, blessing her has been a blessing to us. She is a trustworthy, hard worker and friend. She is content living in a house without a roof (although she has our tarp on it now), and dirt floors. We picked her up in the middle of the night a few nights when it was raining here in the desert. What a mess her house was, broke our heart and we wished we had more that we could give her. We not only pay her a wage but we send her home with coal to cook her food, and food for her and her kids to eat. Only now has she felt she can tell us when her kids are going hungry, we have insisted that she let us know! We are looking for a new house for her to rent, but we are not sure how she will survive if we have to leave Angola, we are her only real source of income, and we have grown very attached.
We are thankful that there have been ways of blessing others during this time, as some days we can feel as though we are not accomplishing anything for the purpose that we intended. However, God knows what our purpose is here, Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways, declares the LORD.” We may not see until eternity what His purpose was in bringing us here to Angola.
Next Episode 6—“Present work in Angola”
The Knightly Family
Episode 6—“Present Work in Angola’
Although our first year was primarily set aside for language learning and adaptation, there have been opportunities for work, as small as it may seem to us.
Relationship building is one area of ministry.
There is a man named Dada who comes over to visit Pete regularly. They work hard at trying to communicate with each other (Dada stutters which makes it even more difficult). Pete has invited him to church many times, although he hasn’t come yet. Pete’s parents sent some great tracts in Portuguese and we were able to share them with Dada and one of his friends. Dada has decided to make us his daughter’s godparents (we aren’t too sure what that means as we are not Catholic).
Our x-language teacher, Augusto, still comes over to check on us, and help with translation once in a while. He has become a very busy man in the last while, taking correspondence course and running an English school and pursuing the ‘almighty’ dollar. We have had an opportunity to share with him what is really important in life, and that having money is not going to be what fills his desires for ‘more’. He has read a couple of our John Piper books. His father was a pastor in the north but was taken hostage during the war and never seen again.
We always have a group of children in our yard or house (just like in Kamloops). Although I cannot communicate with them well, I hope that they feel loved and wanted, and they all know that we are here with the church.
Again the truck is God’s and we will use it for His service as long as He keeps it on the road.
Again Rosa and her family is part of our work. Through financially supporting her, physical support and also by bringing her kids here for sleepovers (which they LOVE, as soon as their heads hit the pillow they are sound asleep… they sleep together on a skinny mattress on the floor, under a mosquito net that we gave them… Rosa sleeps in a bed, if you can call it that, full of lumps and springs with her mosquito net and Minda, the youngest, and for a while she shared her home with her sister), we hope we are showing her the Love of Christ… we really would love to do more for her financially but honestly our budget does not allow it.
The youth of the church… this has been a great opportunity. Most of the ‘boys’ can speak a little English, and they ‘all’ want to learn more, so we have enjoyed our time with them. They generally drop over in the evenings, most times after a church function when they are walking Meagan (and Talitha when she was here) home. One young man, Gilberto has improved incredibly in his English and has helped me with my Portuguese. He brings a lot of laughter to our family; he has a great sense of humour and can joke around with us in English! We have spent time discussing the Bible with them and they want to know more… preaching is constant, but teaching is missing in the church here. Some of the young men wanted to start a Bible study but time has not worked in their favour as of yet… almost every night there is an event at the church, and everyone is expected to be there. There are generally 2 choir practices a week, this month there are 3, and before the youth festival there were practices every single day, for a month! The church is almost programmed to death. The country has come out of a communistic state and the middle generation is ingrained in it, one of the symptoms is the passivity toward authority, and so people don’t ask questions, or question things! The younger generation though is asking questions (although they have come to realize that they cannot ask them of the leaders in the church), and so having us here they have shot the questions left, right and center. We have enjoyed sharing with them that there are different points of view, even from church to church, Christian to Christian, not everyone thinks the same, interprets scripture the same, and it is good to ask questions and ‘think’ about what you believe and why you believe it. I feel the next generation coming up could bring the church ‘to life’, and what a blessing it would be to see the results. There are many in the ‘older generation’ that I am sure love the Lord, but they are all stifled by such legalism and its effects on ‘joy’ and ‘grace’!
The farm is Pete’s area of work. He has done a lot to assist the farm with the truck. Hauling produce to Lubango (a 2 hour drive), also into town to the market, going on fuel runs into Namibe, hauling barrels of water up to Mhuambo (when they were building the store), bringing sick children into the hospital, and many other errands. Strauss was gone for 6 weeks in December/January and between Pete and the Pastor of the Bom Deus they did all the trips. Two of the three foremen had to be ‘let go’ when Strauss got home as they were not performing their tasks honestly and/or effectively and had taken advantage of Pete and his lack of Portuguese. However, now they have a new foreman who is an honest hard-worker, which is a huge asset.
There are many things that we would like to do, as we can see a need for them… which brings me to the next episode.
Next episode “Challenges Ahead”
The Knightly Family
Episode 7—“Challenges Ahead”
The first and most notable challenge we face is the VISA situation. When we were in Oshakati renewing our visa the last time, we were told that it would BE the last time! Which leaves us with a feeling of discouragement and we wonder where we will be at the end of July! We have not been given any clear direction from the Lord in this area, but I will lay out one option that we have and then share some of the ideas IF the work visa was to come through.
First of all, while we were out in Namibia we met with the country director of Christ’s Hope International ( www.christshope.org ). They work with orphans in several countries in Africa. There are presently 3 orphanages up and running in Namibia, and one more on the way. The orphanages were meant to be for children who have been orphaned by AIDS parents, but the government has been placing a much different mix into their orphanage. This raises some concerns for us (in regards to bringing our own children into some situations that could very well be potentially dangerous). However, we have sent them a letter and our church has sent a letter introducing us to the organization. We will see how God leads, if our visas should not come through. This however will require an extreme move… to a whole new country… Pete likes the fact that they are ENGLISH there! It will involve selling our truck and vehicles are VERY expensive on this continent! There is much to look into, although we are down to only 2 months now!!!
If we do get our visas, the plan was to move out to the farm, replacing the Joubert’s who leave in July. The thought was that we would move Rosa and her kids out with us, repairing a half-existing house and putting a roof on it. Pete would take up overseeing the workings of the farm, and help develop it more. I could see many areas of ministry with the families who live on the farm and in the surrounding areas… just a few are education on health and hygiene, educating the younger children who do not have an opportunity to go to school, continuing with Sanette’s literacy program with the ladies (who can’t read or write), and perhaps teaching English (a treasured gift, here in Angola). None of these things would happen overnight… they would take years to develop, but would also be worked into an orphanage program. The other thing we would like to see is the local churches taking more of an interest in the UIEA leadership’s projects… so it would be nice to get the youth involved in helping out.
Presently in Angola there is not a massive HIV/AIDS positive rate, like there are in the surrounding countries. Mostly due to the closed borders and war, people just didn’t move in and out of country… but now they are! Many of the refugees are moving back, and where are they coming from? Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa… where the HIV/AIDS rates are extremely high. It is said that at the border of Angola and Namibia there is an HIV positive rate of 80% (this is from a doctor here in Angola). It will spread and it will spread quickly with the tribal practices of sharing wives, having several wives, and general promiscuity. The need to protect and care for AIDS orphans ‘now’ may not be great but in 5 years the need will be there. Which is why continuing to establish the farm, pay off the debt, and working toward having a self-sustainable orphanage in the future looks exciting.
Next Episode 8 “Current Needs”
The Knightly Family
Episode 8—“Current Needs”
I will share with you some of our current needs, both spiritual and physical. I can say that with all that has been happening over the last month we have felt as though the wind was knocked out of us. We are seeking God’s direction in our lives and we need your help.
We know that God called us. We do not know if his purpose is for us to stay here forever, or move around. We do not know if it is even to always work with orphans, or if he has something else in mind. We KNOW we were called… how, where, etc that plays out ONLY God knows. Some days however when we are feeling tired and weak we even question the call. Some days everything looks hopeless. So we would ask for your prayers in that area.
We can always use some encouragement, either by an email or a phone call, we appreciate those who have taken the time, and it does make a big difference in our outlook for that day.
We are lacking in the area of fellowship. Fellowship with like-minded believers who speak English and that can make one worn out spiritually. So please pray in regards to that.
We need strength to endure and we appreciate your prayers for that.
Our health has been up and down here in Angola (which was to be expected). Pete has had malaria twice, and it can take a big toll on your body. I have suffered from diarrhea frequently, Guardia, and infections (both bladder and skin) that hang on and won’t go away without a long dose of antibiotics. On the plus side my asthma is almost totally cured here at sea level and the strength in my lungs has increased immensely in the last 8 months. The boys have also had the skin infections that won’t go away! Meagan has been very healthy. Please be in prayer for our health.
The obvious one is for our visas, and for direction should God wish to lead us somewhere else. Also, should Oshakati reconsider and say they will renew our visas; we would like wisdom to know if this is a process that we should continue with. Which brings me to the next point!
Finances. Always a topic we would rather leave alone, and never discuss. However, it is fact of life, we need money to eat, have a roof over our heads, clothe ourselves, and to meet the basic needs of others that God places in our lives. At present our support is at 50% of the budget that Pete worked out when he came to visit, and of course not worked into that budget was the trip to Oshakati every three months, and the almost $400 US for visa renewals… MONTHLY. Thankfully the UIEA has been gracious in dropping our rent from $300 US per month to $100 US per month, which is an incredible blessing. We are also shocked by how expensive it is to live in this ‘poor’ country. We are not entirely sure how everyone survives with the prices as they are, we can barely squeak by, we just don’t know how they do it (except to say there is a lot of corruption and people in the city have many different business ventures). Tourists who come through are in shock especially with the price of food, and you can check out the knightlyfamily.blogspot.com site for Grocery Shopping in Angola for more information. This is the primary reason we do a great deal of our ‘food’ shopping in Namibia when we go out to renew visas.
We will leave this area in God’s hands, and if he is impressing on your heart to give you can do it one of two ways… if you live in Canada and wish to have a tax receipt you can do it through our church (you are welcome to send post-dated cheques) or if you don’t desire a receipt you can mail a cheque (or series of post-dated cheques) to Pete’s parents who have access to our accounts (which I will give the details in a bit).
We do thank you for your prayer support, and we also thank those that are supporting us financially, we are blessed by your giving. Please feel free to drop us a line anytime and ask questions, we would rather you ask than wonder!
This is the end of the Mini-Series on the KNIGHTLY FAMILY. There was a lot more that I could add to fill in the pockets of time, but I will spare you the ‘details’… just keep in mind that if you have questions as to ‘what’ we are doing here, we would be happy to answer if you just ask. Don’t sit at home wondering why there is no orphanage yet without being able to see ‘what’ is happening and ‘how’ differently things work in a foreign land… ask questions. We hope this has been informative and helpful and that you will hold us up in your prayers more fervently!
Thank you for your friendship,
With God’s Blessing,
The Knightly Family
In reference to giving here are the addresses that you can send to:
If no receipt is required:
Pete and Charlene Knightly
c/o Ron and Marge Knightly
19-14th Ave S
If you would like a receipt:
Please fill out the form below and mail to Hillcrest Baptist Church if you feel called to support our ministry:
Make checks payable to: Hillcrest Baptist Church
MISSIONARY YOU’RE SUPPORTING: Name: Pete and Charlene Knightly/ Hillcrest Mission Fund
(Please be sure to include this on the memo section on your cheque)
Monthly Support $
Yearly Gift $
One Time Gift $
PLEASE NOTE: This form is to be sent to Hillcrest Baptist Church with your first contribution for the missionary.
SEND T0 HILLCREST BAPTIST CHURCH
Kamloops, BC V2C-3X6