The initial reason for my journey


My trip to South Africa germinated about a year ago when Esme Bowers, a friend from Cape Town came to visit.  As she and Emily Voorhies, president of Tirzah  International,were talking about plans for networking women leaders in ministry in South Africa, they casually asked, “Why don’t you join us?”

That invitation resonated with what I’d been subconsciously desiring.  One last trip back to South Africa to see the changes and to connect with people I’d known so many years ago. At my age I felt I shouldn’t travel alone internationally.  But this would enable me to travel with  my good friend, Emily. I felt the Lord had put this desire in my heart, and then opened the door without my even pushing it!

So a year later I found myself actually on this long journey. When we arrived in Johannesburg after two over- night flights and a day layover in Frankfurt, we parted ways.  She met up with Esme, and Caesar, the man who took over Youth Alive in 1976, picked me up and took me to his home.

A week later I reconnected with Emily  at a retreat center near the O. R. Tambo airport—a new state of the art complex.  Esme had invited a small group of women leaders from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia to meet each other and share experiences. This was the initial purpose for my trip.  I was asked to share my life’s journey and God’s faithfulness,  and to encourage the women to know how to “pass the baton.” We spent one session studying how to use my book, Lessons in  Leadership,  which Emily had given to each participant.

Whenever I’m with international women I’m impressed with their courage and persistence in following God’s call on their lives.  For example, Maria belongs to a mission minded church which sends teams to prayer walk in the Middle East.  Maria has been to Iran, Iraq and Yemen where she and a partner have knocked on doors offering to pray for women.This is but one example of the growing mission interest among South Africans today.

One young woman brought  a power-point presentation of  the media ministry she and her husband are involved in.  She gave each woman a packet of beautiful designed books for teachers to use discussing problems youth face in today’s culture.  Remember, eighteen years ago , under apartheid, there was no opportunity for an African, least of all an African woman, to learn how to use computers, much less produce 21st century media!

Nqobile was our youngest participant—only twenty. By the time she was twelve, she’d lost both her parents and cared for herself in abject poverty. A social worker threatened to put her in an orphanage, but she maintained her independence, working weekends and persisted in her schooling.  When her stepmother (who had not taken her in) died, “Q” as we called her, suddenlyfound herself with full responsibility for a five- year-old half-sister.  But under God’s providence, an Afrikaans women “adopted” Q, who is now studying part time at UNISA (University of South Africa) and working as a teacher’s aide.  We saw tremendous potential in this young woman. It was a special delight to have Annejie, her adoptive white mother, participate in our program. Another major change since apartheid

Elisina originally came from Zimbabwe .  After  earning her Ph. D. in theology she came to South Africa to teach at the South African Theological Seminary in Pieternmaritsburg. (One of our keen Youth Alivers, Moshe Rajwili, was president of the seminary until he was hit by a car and killed  a year ago.)Elisina has designed African based curriciulum which is accredited, but she does not want to leave behind any woman who is willing to study.  She has written some courses which grant a certificate enabling those women to be recognized in ministry.Her desire is to see the historical abuse of women corrected.  But she says it won’t happen over night.  She encouraged  the younger women to be patient . In their eagerness to use their gifts they must be careful not to destroy the church.

Even the oppportunity for sharing in a multi-generational setting is a change. As I witnessed the desire for unity, the giftedness and the wisdom portrayed in this group , it was evident that African women are carrying the baton to the next generation.


My husband and I spent 22 years working with African young people in South Africa under Apartheid, which deepened my passion for the disenfranchised. During regular returns to the US I earned my MA in Communications at Wheaton Graduate School. Later I became head of publications for Partners International and edited a quarterly magazine. In the 90's I directed the AD2000 Women's Track networking with thousands of international women leaders in Christian ministry. I have written/published twelve books on missions, biography, fiction, most recently two biographical novels about Dr. Katharine Bushnell, nineteenth century crusader against what is known today as trafficking. Daughters of Deliverance and The Queen's Daughters are available in Kindle as well as print on Amazon. I was married to Allen, now deceased, my lifelong sweetheart. We had four sons,( one deceased,) one daughter, and 18 grandchildren. How can I help but praise God for the full life He's given me, and the opportunities even in my senior years, to live purposefully.

One response »

  1. Dear Lorry, what a privilege it has been to meet you and sit at your feet ,so to speak,for 2 days to learn from you! May we carry on with the good work that you started so many years ago in South Africa – taking the aroma of Christ to so many broken people. Be blessed and keep on with rhe good work!Much love from rural South Africa



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