Dan and Karyn Hassman are not flashy people. It is precisely this lack of “flash” that makes them excellent missionaries. They are quietly and systematically working with the people in a context where flashy ministries abound. We have seen all kinds of churches. Most of these churches are Pentecostal-charismatic type of churches where the leader is known as the prophet and people clamour to hear him say something or “bless” something to make their lives prosperous. So it is encouraging to hear Brother Hassman explaining to people that they have access to God through Christ, without the need for a prophetic intermediary.
I suppose the reasons for the success of the Charismatic Movement in Africa are complex and perhaps difficult to delineate in a single blog post, but this much can be said. In many cases, the ancient traditional religions of Africa, with the village holy man (witch doctor or Shaman), have simply been replaced with a Christian “spiritual man” who functions the same way. This kind of teaching is spiritually disastrous and fundamentally flawed. Jesus has opened the way to God (John 14:6), and it is through Jesus that we come to God.
That is why, when Shane and I travelled with Dan to church for a Saturday morning/afternoon bible institute, I was so impressed. No, people were not lining up to hear the “holy man’s” words, they were simply listening as the Bible was opened and carefully taught (all 4 of them). Questions and discussions were encouraged and Dan thoughtfully and diligently led the class.
For 4 hours on a Saturday afternoon, Dan taught, we listened, talked, questioned and turned our hearts to the scriptures for answers to our questions. It is this careful approach, coupled with a deep commitment to making disciples, not just converts, that I believe will lead to the long term success of the Hassman’s in South Africa.
For their part, Ashley and Janet stayed home with Karyn and the girls, helping entertain the younger Ones so Karyn could get schooling done with the older two.
When we returned from the Bible study, we enjoyed an afternoon and evening together, and Shane barbecued (known locally as a Braai) steak and the fish he had caught the previous day. Some of the adults and kids played table games in the evening, but myself, Elianna and Analisse played Legos, hide and seek, and connect 4.
Thanks for praying for us, we love and miss you all!
(I have included some pictures of the Bible study where Shane and I gave our testimony as well as some pics from some yard work we did!)