Crime and Peace in South Africa

News reports indicate the political and social unrest in troubled South Africa. Our Grace Fellowship mission members there have a strategic message in Christ-centered counseling and training.

A report that didn’t make the news involved our leaders in South Africa. On August 10th, Hendrik and Nehlsie DeBruto were attacked. God spared their lives, but this letter from them describes what happened:

The Lord is good. We had a good sermon last night at Isaac’s Church. It went on late and we returned home with our host and her daughter. When we came home, Hendrik opened the gate and the lady reversed into her yard and was about to enter the garage when gun shots were fired and two men were holding Hendrik hostage. She jumped out of the car and left me and her daughter in the car. She went to the back of her yard to pray. The one without the gun wanted to take the little girl. I asked him what he wanted with her and called on the name of Jesus. He let her go and she ran in the house.

He then came for me. I put up a fight because he wanted to pull me out of the car. I called on the name of Jesus and I had such power that this big young man could not get me out the car. He then slapped me and kicked me. I think I have a cracked rib from that. Then the one with the gun came to me, while the other one held Hendrik. I thank God that Hendrik stayed calm, because if he would have tried to help me or resist they would have killed him.

The armed one then took my wedding ring which Hendrik gave me 41 years ago. (I don’t think he will get R 5 for it!) He also took my watch and my handbag and all my bank cards, my ID book, drivers licence and my spectacles.

Then I got out of the car because I wanted to see what they were doing with Hendrik. They also took all his belongings. Then they forced him in the car and that broke my heart because I felt certain that they would kill him. I ran inside the house and just wept, crying out to God. The next moment my husband was standing next to me. They had left and not one of us was harmed!

South Africa is not a nice country to live in, but these people need us here. The neighbours came running and all felt so ashamed and asked our forgiveness. They love us so much and it is extremely painful for them that this has happened in their neighbourhood. They were so happy to have us here with them.

But for Christ’s sake I will remain where God has called us to be.


Hendrik and Nehlsie

Three days later she wrote a second letter. It is an inspiring testimony of the grace and healing touch of the indwelling Christ:

To all our dear friends,


Thank you for your prayers and loving support in this time.

I have to share God’s goodness with you.

At the night of our encounter I asked God why He allowed this to happen, because I know that He is my Fortress, my Stronghold, my Shelter. This must have passed by Him. He saved our lives, but why did He allow them to steal from us?

His answer was that what Satan meant for evil, He will change into victory.

The next morning I asked Him if I can be allowed to see the victory.

I first had to repent, because I told everyone that I was praying that all their [the robbers’] peace must be taken away.

The Holy Spirit convicted me. He said that these young men did not have any peace at all, if they had, they would not be doing such terrible things. They did not even know the meaning of peace, He said; they will not even notice the absence of peace. I repented.

Then Father God said to me, “You have made a list of all that was taken from you and you were amazed at the little gain they would have from those goods. Let us look at your list again. Not one of these items that were stolen from you was paid for by you. They were all gifts–love gifts.

“You know, my daughter, that just like Peter’s apron could bring healing [Acts 5:15], just so those things taken from you can bring healing.

“Do you know that I have allowed those men to be sent into an arena of love? The house where you were staying, according to your own words, was a house of such love. You commented on the love you have experienced in that community. The robbers entered into that love.

“Everything they have taken, was a token of love.”

Then the Holy Spirit led me to speak to the young man who pointed his gun at me and took my stuff. (He said in the Spirit realm there is no time and I could turn the clock back and speak to him.)

When the young man took my things he said “Come Mama, give me the ring.”

I spoke to him (in the spirit). I said: “If you call me Mama, I can call you son. Son, you want my ring, I will give it to you. It was given to me 41 years ago as token of my husband’s love towards me. I still have that same love. Giving the ring to you will not take that love away. I will still be loved. Maybe the wonder of this love can touch you. Take this watch which my daughter has given me out of love. Take this bangle which my daughter in law has given me, take our mobile phones which our daughters gave to us. Take my husband’s money pouch which I have given him as a token of my love for him on his birthday. Take even my Bible. In the front you will see a love letter which my husband wrote there when he gave it to me as a token of his love for me. Take it all and may you be flooded with the love of our heavenly Father, you, you who most probably have never encountered love in your life.”

Then I experienced just love for these poor men.

The Spirit then showed me, when they hit Hendrik, it was nothing compared to the beatings our Lord experienced when He was beaten for our sakes. When I was kicked, it was nothing compared to the kicks our Lord received.

That night I saw Christ in my husband. Although he was reviled and humiliated, he did not say one word. He was dignified in his silence. He just stood there, but I was encouraged by his quiet strength [1 Pet. 2:21-23].

I wish you all could have been there tonight when we had our first training session at Mabopani. One young girl stood up and gave us her cell phone. There was such joy and peace in our midst. They saw the goodness and mercy of our God.

Thank you for all your love,

Hendrik and Nehlsie

Please intercede for the DeBrutos and their associates there. They demonstrate Christ-centered, grace-oriented ministry in these troubled times.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed–always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:7-12).


Any designated gifts to GFI for them will be added to their support and forwarded to them in South Africa.

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