From the Illinois side of the St. Louis region, Bob and Judi Bertels founded African Vision of Hope (www.africanvisionofhope.org). It began in the simplest of ways, and now has led to AVH currently providing for 3,000 poor Zambian children … daily! It is a great ministry … with many steps of faith, obedience, and action involved to get there.
It all began several years ago when their Pastor at the time, FRED WINTERS, asked that his congregation provide overnight hosting for Zambian children in a African choir, singing in a concert in their First Baptist Church of Maryville, IL.
Bob’s hand shot up – in obedience to God — to volunteer!
(Pastor Fred Winters, then Pastor serving the church in Maryville, Illinois (half-hour northeast of the St. Louis Arch), was later shot dead on a Sunday morning in the pulpit of his church! It became international news. Just before his being murdered and going to Heaven, Pastor Winters recorded a 5-minute video, titled “Why Do We Exist,” which can be seen anytime by clicking on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfUBY11DXHY . See his terrific wife, Cindy Winters, depicted by his side, in her wedding gown, as Fred shares his short message.)
A larger lesson revealed through God’s use of crisis …
Months later, on an Easter Sunday evening, Bob Bertels received a surprise, perhaps shocking, phone call. Bob was told that the sponsors of the Zambian Children’s Choir had abandoned the choir in Dallas! One of the children that the Bertels had hosted was calling, looking for help. The Dallas police had temporarily placed them in their jail for safe keeping.
This crisis turned out to be a major factor in the formation of African Vision of Hope! The realities of the situation is a reminder of what Joseph said to his brothers following a series of crises that bought him to national leadership: “You intended to harm me, but God meant it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)
In fact, there may not have ever been an African Vision of Hope were it not for this crisis!
Such a simple act of obedience to God began, eventually, in the great ministry to poor children in Zambia, titled “African Vision of Hope.” (See www.africanvisionof hope.org)
Bob concluded our radio conversation with what he repeatedly teaches and keeps before his Zambian children:
“YOU LIFE IS TOO VALUABLE …
YOUR CALLING IS TOO GREAT …
YOUR GOD IS TOO GOOD …
TO WASTE YOUR LIFE ON THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER!!”
WONDERFUL WISDOM FOR ALL OF US
Another great lesson emerges: Looking for fulfillment and happiness? It is found by giving yourself by repentance and faith to Jesus, and being involved in this kind of God-pleasing ministry to those in need!
Related Links to this Great Story …
To hear … “Bob & Judi Bertels: hosting one African child led to schooling, feeding 1,500 children in Zambia” … (Now it is 3,000 children in five schools ) … click on … http://haroldhendrick.com/2013/10/18/bob-judi-bertels-hosting-one-african-child-led-to-schooling-feeding-1500-children-in-zambia/
To hear a five minute message form martyred Pastor Fred Winters, click on … http://haroldhendrick.com/2006/08/07/hendrick-ministries /
To hear a … “60-second radio tribute to martyred Pastor Fred Winters, aired on www.bottradionetwork.com stations” … click on … http://haroldhendrick.com/2009/05/02/60-second-radio-tribute-to-martyred-pastor-fred-winters-aired-on-www-bottradionetwork-com-stations/ … and …
To hear the very fine widowed Pastor’s wife, Cindy Winters, titled … “Pastor Fred Winters murdered in his pulpit. Widow Cindy Winters talks about it” … click on … http://haroldhendrick.com/2009/03/26/winters-cindy/. With grace, composure, and articulation, she made Jesus-honoring statements carried by the media that were heard by multiplied millions of people!