Mark 16:15 NIV
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
African Enterprise was founded in 1962 by Dr. Michael Cassidy. A man with a mission to evangelise the cities of Africa, through Word and Deed, and in partnership with the church. How wonderful that Michael is still here, looking back over the past years with all of us, and being grateful together, for the work that was done so far in the Lord’s Harvest field in Africa.
This year we are celebrating African Enterprise’s 60th anniversary. 60 years of sharing the Gospel, bringing aid to the needed, finding ways to overcome the unreachable.
All we can do is say thank you heavenly Father, for being able to bring the Glory of God to the African nations.
In 2013 Dr Stephen Mbogo became the third international team leader. A man with a heart for preaching the Gospel since he was a little boy. He once said: “We seek, with the help of God, to take this ministry, and the message of Christ it enshrines, to the territories that still remain unconquered with Christ’s love.”
Click on the link below to see Dr Stephen Mbogo’s message of prayer and giving for the 60th celebrations.
Video: 60 Days of the Gospel
Prayer Points – We are thankful to the Lord for the 60 years He has journeyed with African Enterprise, as we have sought to evangelise cities in Africa!
We will start our 60 Days of The Gospel from 29th July 2022. Please join us in these 60 days of prayer and thanksgiving.
Gratitude – Pray and be grateful for all the blessings given to us over 60 years, a milestone indeed. (29 July – 7 August)
Open heavens – Let us pray that God will continue to shine His light on the African nations. (8 August – 17 August)
Social Action – Let us pray for each one of the social action programs. Pray that we’ll be able to continue to reach out to more and more people each year to give them a hand-up in life, so that they may escape poverty and find new hope as well as sharing the wonderful news of the Gospel. (18 August – 27 August)
Proclamation – During proclamation week let us pray for thousands of people to gather in Jesus’ name, to hear the good news of the word of God. To drink the message in and to give their lives to Christ. (25 August – 4 September)
Empowering the youth – Pray that our Foxfire teams will reach the young people of Mombasa, show them who the True God is and win them over for Jesus. Pray that they will be able to see where their true Hope lies. (25 August – 4 September)
Loving the new believer – Pray that our new believers will be well supported and loved in a partnering church. Pray that they will continue to grow in their faith and become stronger in Christ. (5 September – 14 September)
As long time supporters of African Enterprise, begun by Michael Cassidy in 1962 to “Evangelize the Cities of Africa through Word and Deed in Partnership with the Church.”, the fiftieth anniversary in 2012 was one to celebrate. With Ann, who makes and sells jam to support AE, I took the opportunity to join a team from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, France, Belgium, Canada and ten African nations to share in the week of “Choose Zikhethele” mission to Pietermaritzburg, KwaZula Natal, South Africa on 12-19 August, and stay for the week of Jubilee following.
The first AE mission was 12th August 1962 and Michael Cassidy was at the PMB City Hall for the opening rally on 12th August 2012. Also present was Paul Birch, a Canadian who was one of the original team of five. He played the magnificent organ pictured.
Over 600 events were planned in the week of stratified mission, ranging from nightly tent rallies in up to 8 venues around the city, a youth rally and a bikers rally, open air meetings, and visits to townships, informal settlements, government departments, factories, bus stations, the magistrates court, prisons, police and fire stations, post offices, primary, secondary and trade schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, aged care facilities, children’s and retirement homes, hair salons, disabled centres, shops, restaurants, businesses, street workers, banks, community centres, outreach events and feeding stations run by local churches – anywhere people could be found. Evangelists had come from near and far to share the good news of life in Jesus – that by all means they might save some.
The Australian and New Zealand team, (including a 92 year old from NSW) took part in church services and rallies, visited businesses, schools and hospitals, church outreaches, speaking and praying. Some with computer and graphic design skills employed those for AE work. We never knew what we would be doing each day.
There was a march of witness before the closing celebration rally. The Mayor of Pietermaritzburg City, Councillor Chris Ndlela, asked African Enterprise (AE) members of staff and the organisation’s supporters to pray fervently for God to solve the problems dogging his city with challenges like corruption, crime and racial and tribal friction.
Based on the number of response cards received, a total of 3550 people made first time commitments, accepting Jesus as Lord. Another 1450 re-committed their lives to Christ during the mission. A long-term phase of the campaign has immediately kicked in, aimed at running a number of sustained activities that will help to create a model city that reflects the glory of God over a decade, according to the organisers.
The week of Jubilee saw guests from the USA, Australia and the United Kingdom as well as other parts of South Africa join in a week of looking back and looking forward, connecting and reconnecting with the Team Leaders from South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Rwanda and Ethiopia showcasing the work of AE in their nations.
I found this week particularly interesting, with the opportunity to meet team and staff. I had known of Bishop Festo Kivengere of Uganda as a teenager growing up in the UK. Festo had begun AE East Africa 40 years ago. Bishop Edward Muhima, past Chairman of AE International, spoke a number of times and presided over a moving communion service on the final day together.
Fifty trees were planted in memory of those who had played a significant part in AE’s history, and Edward planted the first in memory of Festo, who died in 1988. Some may remember his visits to Australia with African Enterprise.
During the Jubilee week a photo exhibition on reconciliation over 50 years was opened by Rev Frank Chikane, an Apostolic pastor and former advisor for Thabo Mbeki and member of the African National Congress, at the KwaZulu Natal Natural History Museum. He spoke later in the week on reconciliation. This was particularly appropriate as agents of the apartheid government had attempted to assassinate him in 1989!
“A Witness Forever,” hosted by AE to reflect on 50 years of city mission, civic engagement and leadership development by the organisation in South Africa was held on 21st August in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall. Over 300 invited guests heard KWAZULU Natal (KZN) Province Premier, Dr Zweli Mkhize, thank African Enterprise (AE) for taking a leading role in propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ and also for being outstanding peace brokers in South Africa and abroad. He paid tribute to AE for being an institution that has preached the gospel faithfully, “with footprints all over South Africa and elsewhere in the world… (and) also going all-out to work with communities.”
There were a couple of sightseeing opportunities, one walking around Pietermaritzburg’s historical precinct and the other to the Nelson Mandela Capture site, which had opened on the 6th of August. It is significant that Nelson Mandela was captured near PMB, a few days before the first mission in August 1962. The new centre is part of a regeneration project to reinvigorate the rural community of Howick.
Since Michael Cassidy stepped down as International Team Leader, he has been investing much time mentoring young evangelists in Barnabas Groups in South Africa. Some 90 of the 200 in the groups were able to come together for the first time. I met three ladies from East London who were pleased to meet someone who had been praying for them!
The final event of a momentous fortnight was the gala dinner at the Alan Paton Hall of Maritzburg College. Some of the Aussie team had a hand in the stunning table decorations and place settings for some 600 friends and staff. Stephen Lungu (whose story is told in Out of the Black Shadows), completed six years as International Team Leader on this night. Michael and his wife, Carol, were honoured and thanked.
Stephen Mbogo, a Kenyan was inducted as the new ITL joining the International Board of African Enterprise with Jonathan Addison (Chairman) and Mike Woodall (Chief Operating Officer), who are both Australians.
I came back with 50 ZAR (less that $A6.00), lots of wonderful memories and a desire to make this great organisation better known.
Diana Dow (long time supporter of AE and coordinator of the Melbourne Prayer Group)
AE is blessed with the fact that there have been many people, and still are, who have supported us through decades, and some even since our inception in the early 60’s. This is an immense privilege and AE needs to register this with great gratitude to the Lord and to those long-term donors who are still alive.
However, the real challenge facing the ministry now is to establish a new base of new donors and prayer partners who will themselves become dedicated and long-term supporters. In my view we need a new and imaginative strategy to find and identify these younger donors not only in all our support countries, but in all the countries where we have national teams.
This is a necessary investment made in the present now, but which will establish our strength in the future. This is what AE’s early pioneers did in the 60’s and 70’s and it has stood us in very good stead.
In the next edition of our African Harvest, you can read more about the friendships AE has built across the ages. Inspiration, support and friendship from Billy Graham, John Stott, Francis Schaeffer and more.
‘The Threatened Miracle of South Africa’s Democracy’ is an inspirational documentary based on the book ‘A Witness for Ever’ written by Michael Cassidy in 1995. Michael is the founder and leader of African Enterprise, and was involved in many initiatives to support and promote the peaceful transition in South Africa in 1994. Also included in the documentary are the thoughts of younger generation leaders who bring insight into our context today.
From 1992 to 1994 there was a spontaneous movement of unbroken 24/7 prayer in South Africa. The nation was on its knees, and apartheid was breaking down the human dignity of people. By the late 1980s the national party was under enormous pressure to abolish apartheid. Michael Cassidy was one of many people deeply involved in facilitating that change.
Michael also initiated and participated in The South African Leadership Assembly, and a succession of conferences and prayer initiatives between the 1960s and 1994. But the long history of tribal violence in South Africa continued to threaten the idea of a peaceful and fair election.
After the assassination of Chris Hani in April 1993, Michael and the agency started pushing for the creation of a body that would ensure a level playing field in order to transition South Africa to a peaceful democracy. African Enterprise hosted conferences in an effort to bring peace and reconciliation. In total 92 senior political leaders attended, and a network of new friendships were formed.
A prayer gathering was put in place by Michael Cassidy and African Enterprise to call for peace. This was a faith venture. “When we put our trust in God, we also know that we are co-laborers together with Him,” said Michael. “We had to depend on that, and God really was working on our behalf because He had his own plans for this country.”
“I had a sense of the spirit of God saying to me, the stronghold has been broken and the walls have come down.”
After years of struggle, freedom was found from this moment on. The first democratic election in South Africa commenced peacefully from 26 – 29 April 1994.
Only God can create a miracle. Something extraordinary and astonishing. He makes this happen through people. He is able to turn sworn enemies into friends.
“There was a new feeling in South Africa after that election. And that’s what we had been fighting for all along.”
South Africa may still have some serious challenges, but the miracle story of their democracy teaches us that God can use ordinary people to bring about great change.
Feature photo – Michael Cassidy and FW de Klerk, after the passing of FW De Klerk earlier this year, Michael Cassidy said the following:
The passing of FW de Klerk (11 November 2021) reminds all South Africans of the historically important role he played in bringing South Africa through to becoming a non-racial, democratic country. Had de Klerk not released Nelson Mandela, unbanned the Liberation Movements, & instead tried forcefully to screw the political lid down even more, our country would surely have descended into the abyss of epic political & social tragedy & ongoing civil conflict. But de Klerk made the highly courageous decision to break not just with his own party, but his own history, which included being Transvaal National Party leader for many years when he sought to implement the dreadful policy. His cynical critics will see his change of heart & mind as totally opportunistic because he finally saw no other way could pragmatically work. And he was out of options. But I personally believe he had some sort of genuine Damascus Road experience, whether spiritual or political or both, which he in his last speech to South Africa called “a conversion”. In that last speech he also apologized to South Africa for the pain & injustice caused by that dreadful system. I felt this apology was genuinely sincere & expressed the pain & remorse of a man who had finally realized with deep regret that most of his political life he had embraced & propagated an iniquitous & unjust policy. One hopes all South Africans, particularly those most wounded by Apartheid, will, like Mandela, extend forgiveness to de Klerk & all who misguidedly inflicted that horrific system on our country. All this is part of closing past chapters of our story, learning the lessons from them, & opening a new chapter of a happy, prosperous, & just South Africa. In this I would hope de Klerk will be given his rightful place in our history alongside Nelson Mandela, Oliver Thambo, Govan Mbeki, Robert Sobukwe, Desmond Tutu & others. We in African Enterprise extend deep sympathy to his wife, Elita, & family.
15 December 2021HappinessFirst of all I would have to say that it has been a good year, and one in which I have experienced a great measure of unusual happiness. And no wonder, because, as I think I said before, I have been locked up in a place I love, in a home I love, with the woman I love, and doing the thing I love, … which is writing. I have also found enormous joy in just being with Carol for the kind of extended times which were not easily possible over all those years when I was in the full swing of ministry with so much travel. And never before has it been possible after supper, just to listen to the news and then perhaps some fun TV such as the series, When Calls the Heart. We have also got into Heartlands which, apart from some rather silly teenage romances, is all about horses, and I find this particularly enjoyable because I grew up on horses in old Basutoland, and riding was part of my daily life. After these sorts of indulgences, we can each do some letters or general reading. What more could one ask for? As to general reading, for some years when I was very weakened in health, I did not have good energy for serious reading, but that has now returned and I have been reading history, biography, ethics, and cosmology. At bedtime, after Carol and I have prayed together, I used simply to read my devotional book and then go to sleep. But now I find myself eager to put in a further half hour or forty five minutes of general reading. Then at the end, I do the devotional book, and go to sleep quickly, praise God, with the Lord and His Word in my heart. All of this adds up to a very rich time for which I cannot thank the Lord enough. Perhaps on top of this I should add that I am increasingly blessed by Nature and Carol’s truly lovely garden. One of my very favourite verses is: “Day to day pours forth speech” (Psalm 19:2). I find when I look at the garden that I feel the Lord and experience afresh the revelation of His Supernatural Creativity. Orville Dewey, a devotional writer of yesteryear, once wrote: “A new day rose upon me. It was as if another sun had risen into the sky; the earth fairer; and that day has gone on brightening to the present hour. I have known other joys of life, I suppose, as much as most men; I have known friendship and love and family ties; but it is certain that till we see God in the world – God in the bright and boundless universe – we never know the highest joy.” Family newsCarol is well and in good shape. We walk every day to keep our blood oxygen up and I am fed on a very healthy diet by this great girl. We also try to have one dinner date out per week where we can observe Covid protocols. Carol is incredible the way she does all of our family admin from finances and bills through to funerals and wills!! We find it quite a battle to know to whom we should leave our family plastic, or our coffee mugs, or our two silver teaspoons! Carol still does flowers regularly for our local church and these lovely arrangements we are able to see in the excellent online YouTube services we receive from our Church of the Ascension. Carol has not been able, because of Covid protocols, to keep up her Bonginkosi work in Sweetwaters, a nearby township, amongst the poorest of the poor. Her garden is her particular delight and this year I think it excels all other preceding years. Thankfully, we are also able to be in touch by phone daily with our kids and Cathy rings very faithfully from the States every day. The Scott family in Chattanooga are in quite a few transitions. Jonathan has a new job, and Cathy gets increasing responsibilities as CEO of the parachurch ministry The Bible in Schools. This involves raising money for salaries of Bible teachers where the government won’t fund the activity. Cathy has turned into a remarkable fundraiser and this year her budget is three million US Dollars. Andrew, now 21, is training to be a pilot, and Cameron moving towards the end of his high school years. Gary and Debs lead very full lives, with Gary still having cricket coaching jobs and Debs having an ever expanding ministry, along with Jackie Moll, into the lives of women, and especially young mums. This is called Strongest Story (Writing a Stronger Story with Your Life). More info at www.strongeststory.com/. The big thing in that family is that Joshua has come up here to Michaelhouse for his last two years of school. We are delighted that he is a school prefect for next year, and Vice-Captain of the First Eleven Cricket and its opening bowler. We love going to watch him play and having him for weekends. Martin and Sam press on merrily with their lives in Johannesburg, Sam teaching, and Martin being CEO of a rubber factory with some 250 workers. Very demanding. Martin has become a class act game photographer and they relish in regular visits to his father-in-law’s game farm up near Kruger. Their three kids are all excelling and bless us with messages saying, “We love you to the moon and back!” I said to Samantha the other day, “It’s not fair for one family to have two future Miss South Africa’s!”
Dear Special Friends and Family, I am overwhelmed with embarrassment at the very long time it has been since last I wrote to you all in this way. But life, waywardness, mental laziness and procrastination can all play havoc with one’s plans and intentions. Carol told me the other day not to procrastinate on something, and I replied to her: “Sweetheart, one must never put off till tomorrow what one can put off till next week!” Now with my feeble excuses over, let me give you some of my news for 2021.
My sisters, Olave and Judy, are still in good health, and likewise their families. This is a mercy indeed.
On the work frontI am thankful that I have finished my two Lockdown books; Deep Waters of the Disciple and Great is Thy Faithfulness. These will both, Lord willing, be published next year and please pray with me that they will touch many people. We are also republishing my book A Witness Forever about the South African ’94 elections and this will be out in a few weeks’ time. This is intended especially for supplementary reading along with our new documentary, The Threatened Miracle of South Africa’s Democracy which is based on the book. This documentary was launched on September 24th, South Africa’s Heritage Day, and coincidently my 85th birthday when Theuns and Charlene Pauw and AESA gave me a truly marvellous day. Martin and his two girls, Jessica and Emma, came down, but Sam stayed in Johannesburg to support Mattie who was playing for a regional team in a big cricket tournament. Coming back to the documentary, the mantra at the end of it is “DO YOUR BIT.” This is the film’s strong challenge to all South Africans to become involved, each person, in seeking to make a contribution to the rescue and healing of South Africa at this rather perilous time. We would profoundly appreciate it if you would be willing share the YouTube link for this documentary with your family, friends, church groups, and spheres of influence.
Faith Like Potatoes, who has done a really marvellous job. In fact, the film has been placed among the award finalists of International Christian Visual Media. The awards will be announced at a ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee, in February next year. This is a feather in the caps of both Frans and Charlene. I have also been privileged with a few others to launch a South African Christian Leaders Forum (for discussion and action) and a Christian Leaders Fellowship (for dialogue, interaction and prayer for one another and the country). We meet monthly with growing numbers and I think this has the potential to be a very useful and relevant contribution to the needs of both church and nation at this time. On the wider Pan African front, Stephen Mbogo, our International Team Leader, is most admirably leading the work forward. In fact, AE has launched two new teams, the first in Southern Sudan, a desperately needy country under Rev Alex Aggrey. The team is focussing into evangelism among Members of Parliament and trauma healing among students. The second is in Zambia under Dr Lubasi who is now serving also as Southern African Regional Team Leader, and securing strategic cooperation between the teams in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia itself. Their reach will also extend to Angola, Mozambique and Botswana. The team in East Africa also coordinated, just this last week, a three-day virtual evangelism training conference drawing in some 31 countries, including South Africa which was represented by AESA Team Leader, Theuns Pauw. And I will be happier still, Lord willing, to see next August, first in South Africa, and then in Zambia, our 60th anniversary celebrations of the first mission to Pietermaritzburg. There is huge planning going on for this and in South Africa it will include another Mission to Maritzurg, and in Zambia, another mission to Lusaka. How good is our God! All of this I find gratifying and it makes my heart happy and ready for a nunc dimittis. HealthI guess some of you out there may be wondering how we are going with our health. Carol’s, as I said, is remarkably good, and I feel pretty okay most of the time. Sadly I do still struggle with shingles (two and a half years now), or perhaps what I should call its aftermath in Post-Herpetic Neuralgia, otherwise called Neuro-Pathic Neuralgia. This is a trial indeed, and I long to be delivered from it. I do rattle the Lord’s cage on it a bit, but I know He has His own purposes in leaving me with this struggle. My leukaemia is stable and non-aggressive and every four months I go for two days to the hospital for Polygam Immunotherapy. My little congregation of nurses in the hospital all seem to be doing quite well and greet me like a long-lost pastor when I go there! My Myasthenia Gravis (Google will help you!) is kept under control by medication I take every six hours every day. I continue to see the medical fraternity as God’s special agents in the world for His healing and loving care. Heaven and HomeI suppose being 85 it is not surprising that I think a lot about Heaven. And I must say it excites me tremendously and fills my heart with glorious hope and anticipation. C S Lewis, one of my special spiritual friends, from whom I read a daily extract in a CSL anthology, writes: “Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next…. They all left their mark on Earth precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’. Aim at Earth and you will get neither.” So I am enjoying aiming at Heaven and finding Earth joyously thrown in! In my new book Deep Waters of the Disciple, I have a final chapter on Heaven – At Last! This chapter opens: “I have to say that I am incredibly excited about Heaven. And I must agree with Peter Pan that ‘to die will be an awfully big adventure!’ And I must think of the unimaginable and inexpressible wonder of what is to come when I reflect again and again on Paul’s words ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has there entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV). So if a student in a varsity mission ever said to me, and some did: “All you are into is this pie-in-the- sky stuff”, then my reply would be: “But suppose there IS pie in the sky?” The question is central, says my chapter, “to our life on Earth, bringing us, as it does, a world-view of breath-taking significance: telling us that this life is just a preliminary, a prelude, the cover and title page, and that that there is more to come, as C S Lewis says in ‘The Great Story which goes on forever, and in which every chapter is better than the one before.’” And we will know that at last we are Home! With all that said, I nevertheless do ask the Lord for extra-long life so that I can drink and fully drain the Cup of Marriage, knowing that in Heaven, “there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage”, something which I’m going to chat to the Lord about in a quiet moment when I’m not deafened by angels singing, and ask Him for a special plan for Carol and me! And yes of course, I also have a very deep desire to keep ministering the Gospel of salvation and Christian life to as many as I can through writing and preaching, as the Lord enables. Well, I guess that’s it. So if you haven’t gone to sleep, or hit the delete button half an hour ago, I’d like you to receive Carol’s and my warmest best wishes for a blessed and happy Christmas and a New Year full of joyful and fruitful Kingdom Exploits. After all, we have to “keep working while it is day because the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). Much love…. Michael…and of course Carol
The vision for this 90 minute film came from Charlene Pauw, wife of SA Team Leader Theuns, and the Producer was Frans Cronje, brother of the late Hansie, and Producer of Angus Buchan’s
I guess the very heart of the AE vision that has brought us to this great sixtieth anniversary day would lie in the very nature, context and wording of the Lords clear call to me in Madison Square Garden in 1957 during the Billy Graham New York crusade (photo). Can you imagine. I was visiting relatives in USA during a summer vacation during my university studies in England and was invited by a student in Fuller seminary to go down to some of the crusade meetings. There, night after night, I heard Billy Graham faithfully and clearly preaching the Gospel. I was touched and stirred. In fact, inspired.
One night after one of the meetings I was down in the basement of Madison Square Gardens where people where respondees were being counseled. I was pensively walking up and down and reflecting on what I was seeing. Then, like Isaiah, I can say, “I heard the voice of the Lord…” (Isaiah 6: 8) It was a pivotal moment in my life and the Word was clear and unmistakable. “Why not in Africa? I want you to do evangelism in the cities of Africa.” Over and out! I was startled, even shocked, because I only saw myself as capable of evangelizing young school boys as a Christian School master and I was terrified of public speaking. I tried to protest my inability but the message of the Voice persisted and that night I left Madison square gardens a called man.
And it was on that word and that experience that AE came forth with its vision “To Evangelize the cities of Africa through word and deed in partnership with the Church.” The Lord brought many others to share in this call and that is why 60 years later we are here celebrating the anniversary of the launching of our ministry in the mission to Maritzburg in 1962.
Praise His Name!