Friday 30 October 2015


My friend Grizelda was trafficked at 18. We met at the trafficking conference last year. She shares her story to raise awareness and empower others. She's so brave and I really admire her courage in being able to share her story to strangers. I'm privileged to know her!

Thursday 29 October 2015

Circle 18: Communicating with Integrity

As I prepare to send out the latest edition of Djembe - a magazine to serve the YWAM staff in Africa, I am also looking to launch Circle 18 in my local area. This is not an initiative from me, but a vision cast a few months ago by people within the mission that want to see a maturing of our approach to communications. Circle 18 is, in fact, a simple way of re-thinking communication globally. I am not abandoning AfriCom, rather looking to mature it and push it into something that it needs to become. To understand why the move away from having an Africa Communications office towards a Circle 18 'gathering', I have to unpack a bit of history for you...

Youth With A Mission (YWAM) has always been broad structured and decentralised. In fact, it's a value that was set out from the beginning. It's in our DNA. The principle is that we are a global family of ministries held together by shared purpose, vision, values and relationship.  Yet at times we have formed into a grove that isn't ours. A grove that suggests we are a single organisation that is centrally co-ordinated. That grove took more shape during the past 20 years since we started adopting titles within our operating locations and global gatherings. These were business titles, which included chairman and director. But our foundations aren't based on such a structure. An international director within a decentralised movement has little power to direct and so (as was often the case) becomes frustrated and ends up facing burnout and exhaustion.

But this was never the heart of what makes YWAM what it is. The heart of YWAM is laid out in the book, Is that Really You, God, where the founder, Loren Cunningham explains the beginnings of this missions movement. Here's a summary that can be found on

It all began with a vision. In June of 1956, Loren Cunningham, a 20-year-old student from the United States, spent a part of his summer break in Nassau, Bahamas touring with a singing group. One night after a busy day, Loren had an unusual experience. “I lay down on the bed,” he recalled, “doubled the pillow under my head and opened my Bible, routinely asking God to speak into my mind. What happened next was far from routine. Suddenly, I was looking up at a map of the world. Only the map was alive, moving! I sat up. I shook my head, rubbed my eyes. It was a mental movie. I could see all the continents. Waves were crashing onto the shores. Each went onto a continent, then receded, then came up further until it covered the continent completely. I caught my breath. Then, as I watched, the scene changed. The waves became young people–kids my age and even younger–covering the continents. They were talking to people on the street corners and outside bars. They were going house to house. They were preaching. ‘Was that really you, Lord?’ I wondered, still staring at the wall, amazed. Young people–kids really–going out as missionaries! What an idea! And I thought ‘Why did God give me this vision?’”

The true director of YWAM is, and always will be, Jesus Christ. It was Jesus who gave Loren the vision and Jesus who laid out the Great Commission. Anything that takes us away from that will cause us difficulties. Therefore God has been speaking to us, as a mission, over the past few years to repent. That has been manifest in a step away from the corporate and into a missions mindset. He called all the directors to lay down their titles and positions and trust God for the next step. It was a bold move, but a necessary one.

Now that we have no field directors, no chairman, no president, we are starting to see God step in and take his place as our leader. Former directors are now becoming elders, and conveners. Rather than international meetings to lay out the way forward, we are having global gatherings that spend the majority of time in worship and prayer. Elders are not there to direct, but to advise, chastise and champion young people who are being encouraged to trust in the Lord as their guide, rather than look to a corporate for the directions. A releasing is happening on a major scale and many are rising up to do many new things to fulfil the gospel calling, as laid out in Matthew 28.

The development of Circle 18 is to hopefully fall into line with where YWAM is right now. The principle is to have conveners (I am looking to convene a group in Cape Town) who will gather staff to pray, worship and seek wisdom in specific areas. We will ask for Him to speak into the area of communication and ask Him where we are going wrong. In AfriCom, whenever we have simply gathered, sought the Lord and trusted Him for his word for that season, we have seen much fruit. Often times when we have developed our own strategies, we have not seen the same level of success.

Please pray with us, as we take this bold step away from the corporate and into a time of trust and obedience.

Monday 26 October 2015

Media campaign against trafficking.

Trafficking goes on in your neighbourhood. We like to think it doesn't, but it does. The rising of the deep web and the ease of access to all sorts of vice shows us that far from being wiped out, slavery still exists and is getting worse.

But most of us are totally unaware of the sheer number of people affected by trafficking. It's a hidden evil that is in every town and city in the world today.

The Media Campaign Against Human Trafficking (MeCAHT) is a conference, held in Simonstown, South Africa, designed to raise awareness of this issue and share resources and ideas to combat slavery through media. Becky went along to this conference where she was able to network with some prominent members of the anti-trafficking community. She also spoke on trafficking from Benin City, Nigeria (where she grew up) to Europe, where 80 per cent of the African human trafficking victims are from Benin City. Becky also shared about her trip to Nigeria a few years ago to raise awareness of trafficking.

At this conference last year, Becky met Tony (below) who is a Nigerian man who was trafficked to South Africa. He was promised a position as a soccer player and thought at the time that it was a dream-come-true, only to find upon arrival in Cape Town that he had been trafficked himself and was now expected to sell drugs and be a pimp. He was rescued by Anne and Alex Abok, YWAM colleagues and the founders of MeCAHT, who personally funded Tony to enable him to escape from his desperate situation. We are praying that Tony will be able to do a Discipleship Training School with YWAM in January 2016 and we're trying to fundraise for this.

Saturday 24 October 2015

Arise Adoption conference

Arise Adoption Conference today was great! Lots of reminders and new information too. Thank you so much Steven Nicholson, you're doing amazing work!

This year’s conference covered topics from grief and loss, attachment disorder to racial identity, blended families and parenting older adopted children.

We can't wait for our journey to start!

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Adoption: on God's heart

We have had adoption on our hearts for a long time now - before we even had children ourselves. Yet, it can be such a difficult process. We know of plenty of people who have adopted successfully and they have such a rich experience. We also know of people who have wanted, desperately to adopt, but been unable for a variety of reasons. We are currently the latter, where adoption is firmly in our intentions, but the opportunity so far has not arisen for us to pursue this fully. Thankfully, so far, we've not been turned down for adoption, as we have never officially applied to adopt, here in South Africa. We haven't because we know that we would not be able to, without a permanent residency status. We are therefore patiently waiting and praying for God to guide us in what to do next to bring us closer to adopting a child.

In my research into adoption, I noticed this infographic, courtesy of American Adoptions News who put together a list of some famous/successful people who have been adopted. This is so interesting. I had no idea all these celebrities were adopted!

I'm not saying that our adopted child will be the gifted one to achieve everything/anything. What I am saying is: adoption is a godly thing to do. It is a wonderful, self sacrificial thing to do for another human being. With two biological children, I am excited about increasing the Clemison herd. We don't know where, when or how they will come, but God knows our heart and knows we would love to have more children. Please keep praying with us that we can do this in His timing, under His authority, and in His way. Thank you!

The presence of children in the house has changed our lives. Neither of us knew much about children or childcare when we were first pregnant and it scared us quite a lot! We stocked our shelves with books about feeding, weaning, discipline etc. We subscribed to so that we could get daily updates on 'what to do next'. Becky formed a mum's group to discuss parenting ideas. You name it, we tried it. And it wasn't easy. But somehow we did it (so far). We've fallen head-over-heals in love with our two little ones and can't imagine life without them. For me (Pete) it took a little time for the bond to happen. Not sure why, but I had to really invest time and effort in both children, when they came along, to develop a bond. I'm so glad I did. 

So, here goes on the next season, as we learn to teach our children the right way to live and look to continue serving God as missionaries, please pray that we can get the balance right! 

Thursday 15 October 2015

Celebrating 25 Years of YWAM Muizenberg

This week we gathered together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of YWAM Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa! God has been faithful over this quarter of a century and we enjoyed gathering with some of the original staff to celebrate his goodness and kindness towards us. There were over 300 people at the event, including the founders, Gerrit and Celeste Wolfaardt!

We, personally, have been serving with YWAM Muizenberg since January 2010.

Monday 12 October 2015

MeCaht conference

This week Becky had the privilege to speak at an anti-trafficking conference. She addressed a group of professionals who gathered to discuss the issue of modern-day slavery at the Africa MeCaht (Media Campaign Against Human Trafficking) conference in SimonsTown. Becky described her upbringing in Benin City, Nigeria and how so many girls from that city now end up in forced labour and prostitution in Europe. One statistic is that 80 per cent of African human trafficking victims in Europe are from Edo State (Benin City). In most cases Juju (witchcraft) is usually involved in the process. This makes rescue and restoration more complicated.

It is great to see so many organisations gathering to work together on this issue. Trafficking is an international issue which affects all of us, but it is so hidden from the everyday lives of so many. Thanks to MeCaht and their hard work to put this issue on the table, we are hoping to see steps towards ending people trafficking. 

If you would like to know more about human trafficking in Nigeria, then do not hesitate to contact us.

Sunday 11 October 2015

Church outside

This past week has been Muizenberg festival, where cultural arts, crafts and activities are displayed at local coffee shops and halls. It's a time to celebrate the diversity of our community and see the creativity of the residents. We held church outside on this Sunday to 'be' part  of the community and welcome people walking in the street to come worship with us!