Our Mirror Journey
Early beginnings of our Mirror Bible Journey
Having lost all our stuff in a fire that took our house, in 1992, we were so grateful to find this wedding photograph many years later. Significant, early reflections in the “mirror”!
During my 3-year studies at the University of Pretoria [1975-1977], I was triggered with the intrigue of the richness of the language, and how so much of the nuances and early meanings of words have remained hidden and were ultimately lost in many translations over the years.
I remember one day in the Assembly of God church, which we joined just after we got married [January 1979], we attended a Bible-study meeting. I excitedly shared from John 14:2, The word, μονή mone, is only used here and in verse 23. The verb form, meno suggests a seamless union. [John uses meno more than anyone else.] As in the next chapter, John 15:4. …the branch abiding in the vine. So, Jesus was not about to become a building contractor in heaven. He is not in the mansion building-business, as some translations will imply! He is standing on the threshold of the cross; in his death and resurrection he would prepare a place for us of restored, intimate oneness with himself and the Father in Spirit and in truth. Now we may be where he is, wrapped up in the same, inseparable union. See verse 20.
Our pastor [the head of the AOG at the time], immediately stopped me saying, “If the King James says it’s a mansion then that’s what it is!”
This early encounter inspired me even more on my journey of regularly referencing the Hebrew and Greek text in studying the Bible. During our Acts team days [Dec ’85 – Jan ‘91] I translated several of the Pauline Epistles which were never published; although printed along with other booklets which I wrote and distributed amongst our students.
Leading up to my studies at the University of Pretoria, I was involved with YFC [Youth for Christ], where we pioneered their work in Namibia, and then for the final term that year (1974) we worked at night, on the streets of Hillbrow and Doornfontein in Johannesburg with drug addicts and prostitutes. It was during this time that I felt a very strong desire to impact people’s lives in some form of ministry, for the rest of my life.
A friend of my dad, Dr Louw Alberts, who was also a director of YFC, advised that I should first study for a degree in theology.
I must admit that it was a major adjustment for me coming out of a very engaging and intense ministry experience with young people outside of any formal church-context; and having had such wonderful encounters with Jesus and witnessing fantastic miracles and seeing life changing fruit.
I thoroughly enjoyed the University though – especially the Greek and Hebrew languages, but could never quite fit in.
I was a bit of a rebel too – the only student in T-shirt, sandals and jeans – and long hair – kind of stood out between all the neatly dressed suits- and ties-group.
Shortly before I had the meeting with the DRC ministers and professors, [mentioned further on in this note], I was having my devotions one morning from Galatians chapter 1, and was so touched by Paul’s testimony about the gospel he preaches – how he did not receive it from man and was not taught it – but it pleased the father to reveal his son IN him!
I remember calling my dad on telephone and telling him this, and then had to also tell him also about my meeting with the Profs!
My parents had high hopes for me – my marks were very good, and my dad was the chief elder in their DRC congregation – also, my eldest brother, Leon was already a Reverend in the DRC church.
So, it was a bit of a shock – especially when I told my dad I felt that for the rest of my exams I was not going to answer the questions at all but just witness to my professors – he then fully released me and said I should do what is in my heart. My precious parents were such lovers of Jesus.
Reflecting on those years though, there are no regrets!
I am so grateful for the 3 years at University and how God used that time to ignite in my heart a desire to dig into the original text.
Oh yes, it was also the time when Lydia and I would sneak away to visit Pastor Ed Roebert’s meetings at the beginning of the Hatfield Baptist Church revival in the Hatfield student cinema house Pretoria.
Prior to our “Acts-Team” days, Lydia and I would do leatherwork, making shoes and sandals, belts, caps, bags and Bible covers, and I would daily do the SCM meetings in 10 of the rural schools and the teachers training college in Kangwane. I loved getting to the schools on my 500cc Honda thumper on dirt roads and tracks, with my guitar strapped over my shoulder and my leather bag with bible and books.
We converted the old tobacco barns on a friend’s farm [Paul and Ann Dell] where we then lived, into a dormitory, kitchen, ablution and a lecture hall. Another friend would lend us his truck to transport students from their schools and colleges to our weekend camps.
We would often take teams of young people from YFC [Youth for Christ] or YWAM on ministry. This prompted the thought that we could also engage our local young people in ministry.
During our South African summer holidays in December 1985 we invited a bunch of young people from our church which we started and pastored, to spend their holidays with us. We would daily engage in Bible study and spontaneous outreach.
Just on a side note – we didn’t even realize it, but because the core of our message was 2 Cor 5:16 – no longer knowing anyone according to the flesh, our church was one of the only ones in South Africa that was fully multiracial, 10 years before the New South Africa.
Our house turned into an instant dormitory (including the veranda and kitchen) for our 19 students, joining Lydia and I and our 2 children at the time. At the end of the holidays, no one wanted to return to university or home, and miraculously they were all released by their parents to stay on for the next year. (Their parents were members of our church.)
Already in the first year, (1986) the “Acts team” bible school grew way beyond the walls of our house. We were graciously given the use of Petra Mountain Hotel by Jerry and Mary Schoonby, near the Numbi gate of the Kruger National park. Over the next 5 years, more than 700 young people from all walks of life, and from all over South Africa and even a few from overseas, participated.
By the following year , I was booked out a year in advance to teach in various churches across South Africa and Zimbabwe – including several leadership conferences of both the AFM and Full Gospel churches. This was also when my cousin, Steve Hewitson joined us – he was flying for Mission Aviation, and God miraculously gave us a lovely 6-seater Saratoga. We never asked for money and the students all studied for free – we witnessed the most amazing miracles of provision etc. – none of us took a salary.
I was always shocked and surprised when I learned that, sometimes the recordings in some of the places, would be destroyed after we left! This was after amazing ministry impartation where many of the pastors would weep and say they’ve never heard the gospel like this before!
Many years later my dear friend Alan Platt told me that he still had the tapes from these AFM conferences where my 1st teaching was 3 hours long!
Every weekend many people from Gauteng province [5 hours away] and other areas, would drive down to attend our weekend and Sunday meetings.
One dear couple from the Vaal-Triangle would often treat Lydia and I to a dinner at a restaurant. We would feel guilty since we knew that our hundred plus students would just eat what we always do – which was, whatever there was in the kitchen! [I must say that we have witnessed fantastic food provision miracles throughout our Acts Team days!]
I never had any money or even a credit card, my friend just always paid the bills at the restaurants. I remember how, one evening driving back to our house, I wondered where I would have been financially, had I not gone into ministry, and immediately it was as if God said to me, “I release you! Go and make money!” I backed off and was so startled at this that I said to God, “No, I’ll just carry on!”
Yet, in a strange way, I knew that we were about to embark on a brand-new chapter of our journey.
At the time I was busy translating Philippians and was arrested by what Paul said in Phil 2:12 “Not only in my presence, but much more in my absence…!” This immediately reminded me of Jesus introducing us to Holy Spirit, … “It is to your advantage that I go!” Also, the “economy” of his ministry, introducing the woman at the well to the fountain-source within her!
What is so amazing was, that during that same time, I had the honor to have a meeting with Professor Johan Heyns at his home in Pretoria.
He was the moderator of the Dutch Reformed church in South Africa and one of the key initiators and role players in bringing an end to Apartheid and introducing the New South Africa under the honorable Madiba, President Nelson Mandela.
Sadly, Professor Heyns was tragically assassinated in November 1994.
I managed to secure an appointment with this wonderful man, who was one of my professors at Pretoria university.
Just to give you a bit of background, my 3 years at University ended when I was called in to a representative board of DRC ministers and professors in October 1977. They informed me that they did not see a future for me in the DRC system. This was just as I started my final exams for the BA degree for admission to Theology, which would have been a further 4 years to qualify as a Reverent in the DRC church. [Professor Heyns was well aware of this.]
So, in 1989, I had this strong urge to connect again with Prof Heyns, to give testimony to what had happened in our lives in the meantime.
This humble, giant of a man, listened very intently to our story, then asked me the following question, “Francois, what would happen to your ministry if you’re no longer there!?
I was startled by the question, since I’ve been pondering Paul’s words in Phil 2:12. “…much more in my absence…”
I immediately answered him with another question, “Prof Johan, what was the legacy that Paul left us with? Was it a neatly packaged recipe on how to structure church or was it the content of his message which he called, “my gospel!?”
I still see him holding his head in his hands, when he said, “I must admit, that even though we, as the DRC church have our yearly programs neatly organized for decades from now, we have somehow, somewhere, lost the core message of the gospel!”
(Here is Philippians 2:12,13 in the Mirror… 2:12 Considering this amazing outcome of what our faith sees and celebrates, I strongly urge you my darling friends to continue to have your 1ears tuned to that which inspires your conduct to give full expression to the detail of your own salvation in a most personal and practical way. See salvation in its earth-shattering awesome and ultimate conclusion. I know that my personal presence encourages you greatly but now I want you to realize an inspiration in my absence that supersedes anything you’ve known before. This would mean that even if you were never to see my face again or receive another Epistle from me, it will make no difference at all to your faith! (The success of Paul’s ministry was not to enslave people to him but to his gospel! He knew that he would be more present in his message than in his person! Ministry success is not measured by how many partners you can congregate, but by how absent you can preach yourself! The word often translated, obedience, is the word 1upoakoo, to be under the inspired influence of what you hear.)
Philippians 2:13 Discover God himself as your inexhaustible inner source; he ignites you with both the desire and energy that matches his own delight!)
This meeting with Professor Heyns, deeply stirred my heart, and just over a year later, [February 1991] also confirmed in me, the steps that we were about to take in closing our church and ministry doors.
At the time many churches and groups wanted us to form a “covering- structure” for them to “submit to”, etc etc.
Now, looking back, I know that it was all in Abba’s amazing plan to bring us to a place where we would become anonymous. A strategy I believe that we only understood much later when we came back into “ministry”, how even our sense of isolation, contributed and still does today, to keep our hearts and minds focused on our assignment and mission.
Someone told me years later that they felt that God answered their prayers since a handful of our Acts team and church members had regular prayer meetings behind our backs that we would close down and that our message would die!
They had further confirmation to their “answered prayers” when, about 18 months after we left the ministry, we lost all our material possessions [plus my study books, lexicons and writings etc.] in a fire that took our house in 1992.
In the ashes, where our bedroom was, we found our wedding card!
The scripture printed inside was 1 Peter 2:5. Here it is in the Mirror Bible, “Likewise, you yourselves are living stones and are co-constructed, and seamlessly joined into a spiritual house!” We just cried as we realized that what God has constructed within our innermost being would not be destroyed in contradiction.
During those, almost 9 years of doing business and absence from ministry, we also experienced how quickly one can forget what manner of person you are! James 1:23.
Even though we remained aware of God’s faithfulness and favor, there was also a strange and unfamiliar sense of distance and loss of desire to engage God and his word – I would sometimes just stare at scriptures that once lit a flame in my heart, and there seemed to be no voice there! We drifted in a wilderness of spiritual darkness and isolation.
For the first time in our lives we were doing business and made and lost money at regular intervals. We secured a contract with the Kangwane education department to supply stationary. At the same time managed a fruit juice business for several years in Nelspruit, packaging and selling sachets to schools and businesses. Lydia also sold secondhand clothing, and live chickens. I was also agent to Fuz Caforio selling his beautiful paintings. After building our lodge in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve I continued to employ my two builders and ran a small business constructing thatched Bomas.
During the course of 2000 I was experiencing an increasing awakening and sense of God’s presence again.
In December of that year, I began to write bits and pieces in little notebooks which in time became the book, “God believes in You” [which was only completed and published four years later].
Somehow a few of our old ministry friends contacted us and we slowly began to be invited again to speak at their camp conventions and churches. Having lost all my books and bibles in the fire of 1992, I remember having to borrow a bible from one of camp the attendants. I would also photocopy hundreds of the first pages of God Believes in you to distribute freely.
The whispers in the wind became a cloudburst of thought.
Lydia shared a powerful moment where, towards the end of those “quiet years”, she was driving to see a friend in a neighboring town about 40 minutes from Hermanus where we then lived. She was crying about the fact that we’ve wasted so many years out in the cold; she then heard God say to her in her heart, “I’ve blinked my eyes! Now get on with your life!” She then cried so much that she had to stop the car!
Lydia’s sister Karen was living in Zurich for many years and in 2000, our tour business was doing well, and Lydia sold her car, [a beautiful 1957 Morris]. So, we decided to take our 4 children and visit Karen for our 1st white Christmas, [all of us in her bachelor’s flat but massive, beautiful heart].
Here are some extracts from a chapter of “God Believes in You”…
My family and I live in Hermanus, near Cape Town. This is certainly one of the most beautiful towns in South Africa, and famous for the world’s best land-based whale watching.
The Southern Right Whale visits our bay every year between June and December to mate and calve. For many years Hermanus remained a quiet fishing- and holiday-village. But you cannot hide a 14-meter, 40-ton mammal forever. Certainly not up to 200 of them frolicking, breaching, spy hopping and lob-tailing galore!
We moved here in December 1996 after a most devastating crisis year. Our business, and almost our marriage, crashed. It felt as if we had fallen into a deep dark pit. Not only did I lose my father, but also one of our dearest friends died in a motorbike accident.
For years, nobody close to us, died. Suddenly, within a few months six people whom we knew, died in five separate light aircraft accidents.
I crashed my own plane in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve but miraculously got out of the wreck without a scratch.
I was flying provisions to our game lodge and left at 6 in the morning. Driving the 45 km from our farm to the aerodrome, I had a rare, but precious encounter with the Lord. I was crying and felt enveloped in God’s amazing presence!
The weather wasn’t ideal, and I had to turn back to Nelspruit airport 5 times before I could eventually get visual over the Legogote mountainous area to make it through to our lodge. With all the recent rains, the dirt airstrip had deep furrows on both sides, which made the approach very narrow. The airstrip was also at a steep gradient, and I have only converted to a tail dragger 6 weeks prior to this. My Instructor then told me, that even with a tailwind, which was very rare for the area, I would still need to land uphill.
Just as I touched down, I felt the wind pushing the aircraft towards the deep furrow on my left and had to make a split second decision, to either hit the furrow with the front wheel, which would have forced the plane into a ground loop, or, to take full power and try to take off again – I took the second option and just as I got airborne, being still below the horizon, I was pushed by the wind into the bush and saw the left wing torn off by a large Maroela tree. I felt no fear at all – just a strong awareness of the presence of God, like a steel cocoon around me!
Later, that same year, we were introduced into a ‘wonderful’ investment opportunity, which turned out to be a pyramid-scheme. Millions of Rands of investors moneys were involved, and many people were badly hurt.
But for four years prior to this we lived our dream. I negotiated an agreement with one of the owners of a farm in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, bordering the famous Kruger National Park. We designed, built and managed our own Bush Lodge with five en-suite double rooms. [We would buy and sell things from the popular Junk Mail, a weekly secondhand mail, to make money to buy building material.]
The camp was rustic and warm with ambience and character. While Lydia won the admiration of the guests with her cooking-talent on the open fire, my brother’s son, Hanri and I entertained them with walking safaris. During weekends and school holidays our four children practiced their hospitality skills. Shinga was located in pure African paradise. This was certainly a time of fantastic experience and rich memory. We met wonderful people and shared unforgettable moments.
In 1996 I involved a partner who impressed the owner of the farm with his financial connections. We then reached an agreement to proceed with the upgrading of what would become one of the most luxurious lodges in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The plans for the new lodge were finalized and all advance bookings for Shinga were cancelled.
While on holiday in Rooi Els near Hermanus in December of 1996, we received news that shattered us: apparently the Sabi Sand Committee had rejected all our plans for the new lodge. We were further informed that we would not be allowed to re-open since the owners of the Sabi Sand decided to restrict the number of beds per farm. By now we had already discovered that we had lost everything in the investment scheme, and with the unexpected turn of events, we were forced to make sudden and dramatic decisions.
My mom and dad’s parents as well as my father’s grandparents lived in Hermanus for many years. We spent most of our holidays here. The ‘De Wets-huis Museum’ was my great-grandfather’s house. He did not want to have his children study under an English teacher, so he imported Hemanus Pieters from Holland! He had farms in Worcester, Caledon and Greyton.
The Western Cape have winter rains and the summers are often so dry that in those days the farmers were forced to trek with their livestock along the rivers to find better grazing.
It was during one of those summer vacations that Teacher, Hermanus Pieters followed the ‘Elephant path” along the Onrust river and across the mountain tending my great grandfather’s livestock. He discovered the most picturesque bay with plenty grazing and freshwater springs all along the coastline. News about this beautiful bay with its natural harbor and its massive schools of fish spread rapidly. It soon became custom for farmers to move to the area and spend their summers camping here, grazing their livestock and indulging in the abundant fish! The village that spontaneously sprang up in time, was named after Hermanus Pieters. The lengthy name of “Hermanus Pieters Fontein” was later shortened to just Hermanus. Until the 1890’s my great grandfather operated six boats from the old harbor.
With our dreams shattered in the Sabi Sands, it was not a difficult decision for us to relocate. The attraction of the sea and the possibility for our children to live in a town for the first time in their lives, with both the Primary and the High Schools a mere block away, helped us make up our minds.
In the meantime, ‘back at the Ranch’, the partner and the owner of the farm intercepted the plans for the new lodge. Since we were now living two thousand kilometers away from the bush, news about the new developments only reached us six months later via the grape-to-cape-vine.
But no one feels sorry for you if you live in Hermanus. And it does not even help to feel sorry for yourself. I tried for two years. I sulked and whined until Lydia one day observed that my conversation had become reduced to sighing.
We were surrounded by exquisite natural beauty, and do we really have to own before we can enjoy? In fact, we never really own anything in the material world beyond the fleeting moment or memory.
One day on my way to Cape Town to install swimming pool covers, a feeling of desperate hopelessness pressed upon me; nothing seemed to make sense anymore. I had such a desire to just hear a voice that would somehow direct my confused thoughts. When I turned on the radio, I heard only one line of a song by Mike and the Mechanics, ’…you’re a beggar on a beach of gold!’
Nothing you could ever lose can leave you feeling more poverty stricken and desolate than losing your awareness of the wealth within you.
What lies behind you and what lies before you are small matters compared to what lies within you. Ralph Waldo Emerson [To be continued in God Believes In You.]
In 2001, I downloaded the 1st chapter of James in the Greek/English interlinear text, which I stumbled upon on the internet. This “James chapter one” encounter became a fresh flame in my heart and for the next few years I continued my tourism work and would in between write my thoughts into little booklets.
A few years later, February 2004, we “sold” our business and went to Argentina, Uruguay and Chili for 5 weeks as a family. [The deal never materialized, but we still had an unforgettable time. This is an entire chapter in our story which will eventually be written J]
I would daily write with urgency to add to my book and felt constrained to connect with Christians and preach in their churches – God opened amazing doors where I could communicate with the help of sometimes, 2 translators. In Uruguay, the only translator I could find in the one church, was a young man who was saved from a drug addiction only a few months before; but he learned a bit of English watching movies with subtitles! He was shaking with fear, but I prayed with him and we had a marvelous time. People were in tears and so touched.
In a beautiful little town in Chili, Caleta Horcon, I was trying to buy a souvenir, but our youngest son who could speak Spanish was helping one of his siblings somewhere else for the moment. A young man and his girlfriend who was standing next to me at the stall, turned to me and spoke perfect English and immediately offered to assist. (You just don’t find people speaking English there!)
I complimented them on the beautiful little coastal village, and he said, “I know, my girlfriend and I would come here almost every weekend all the way from Santiago [Chili] – because, you know, we only live once!”
Without thinking, I heard myself respond, “Hey but the bread you ate this morning lives again!” He was startled and said, “Oh, I can see you believe in God!” And again, without thinking I said to him, “That’s not the point! God Believes in You!”
I will never forget that moment – he staggered back as if I hit him in the chest! “He then said, “All my life I’ve defended the fact that I don’t believe in God, but I’ve never given it thought, that maybe, God believes in me!” They just hugged me and with tears I told them, “Thank you, you have just given me the title of my book that I’m writing!”
Back in South Africa, we stepped out of our business and returned to “full time ministry”. I began to travel again, often just with a suitcase and at times even hitch hiking in South Africa and Zimbabwe. I couldn’t carry books but did tear out the book of Romans from a Greek Interlinear that I bought. Here are a few pics of my scribbles and notes that eventually became part of the Mirror Study Bible..
A few years later though, I was able buy a small laptop to continue my mirror-adventure. Oh, and what a joy it was to carry my office with me on all our many travels!
From 2004-2011 we criss-crossed South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenia and Uganda.
Now, translating the scriptures again, precious Holy Spirit opened the most exciting opportunity for me – a door that no man can shut!
I realized that even though our message carried enormous impact and anointing, many sincere leaders and believers would still struggle with so many scriptures in their Bibles that would contradict the good of the Good News!
The urgency to translate the Mirror Bible became an all-consuming passion in me. Today, I am addicted to the adventure of discovering the manifold amazingness and depth of ancient thought sustained in eternal freshness and relevance in Scripture.
I love breaking up words into their building block-components and remain overwhelmed by the priceless treasures that are unveiled there.
In any conversation words are only as valuable as their relevance to the context of what is said. In cross referencing many translations in my studies, I often feel so frustrated that on one page you read a beautiful translation of a word or thought and then that same thought is not consistently carried through. This only leads to more confusion concerning the character of God, the Father who Jesus introduced and revealed!
Look at the word, χαρακτηρ which is where we get our word, character from, in Heb 1:3 The Messiah-message is what has been on the tip of the Father’s tongue all along! Now he is the crescendo of God’s conversation with us and gives context and content to the authentic, prophetic thought. Everything that God has in mind for mankind is voiced in him. Jesus is God’s language. He is the 1radiant and flawless mirror expression of the person of God. He makes the 2glorious intent of God visible and exhibits the 3character and every attribute of Elohim in human form. His being announces our redeemed innocence; having accomplished purification for sins, he sat down, enthroned in the boundless measure of his majesty in the right and of God as his executive authority. He is the force of the universe, 4upholding everything that exists. This conversation is the dynamic that sustains the entire cosmos. (The word απαυγασμα 1apaugasma, only occurs here, and once only in the Greek Septuagint, LXX, in the book of Wisdom 7:26, “For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness.” [The book of Wisdom 7:26.]
The word, δόξα 2doxa glory is the expression of the divine attributes collectively. It is the unfolded fullness of the divine perfections. Vincent.
The word χαρακτηρ 3charakter from χάραγμα charagma – to engrave – translated “mark” of the beast, in Revelation 13:16,17. Either the character of the Father or the character of the fallen mind will influence our actions (hand) because it is what engages our thoughts (forehead).
“Having accomplished purification of sins, he sat down …” His throne is the very endorsement of mankind’s redeemed innocence! See Eph 1:20-23; LXX Ps 109:1.
The words, φέρων τε τὰ πάντα – 4upholding all things, are not static, but “They imply sustaining, but also movement. It deals with a burden, not as a dead weight, but as in continual movement; as Weiss puts it, “with the all in all its changes and transformations throughout the aeons.” Vincent.
More than two thousand years ago the conversation that had begun before time was recorded—sustained in fragments of thought throughout the ages, whispered in prophetic language, chiseled in stone and inscribed in human conscience and memory—became a man. Beyond the tablet of stone, the papyrus scroll or parchment roll, human life has become the articulate voice of God. Jesus is the crescendo of God’s conversation with mankind; he gives context and content to the authentic thought. His name declares his mission. As Savior of the world he truly redeemed the image and likeness of the invisible God and made him apparent again in human form as in a mirror.)
In 2007 I started a Facebook page and posted sentences out of my book, God Believes in You every day. This took 2 years to work through the book which we did in both English and Afrikaans. We also made our Mirror Bible portions available for free downloads on the internet until we finally published the Mirror in May 2012
I will never forget the 1st of January, 2011. I like numbers, and 1/1/’11 was indeed a special one! Lydia and I enjoyed a 9 o’clock in the morning picnic on a high sand dune overlooking beautiful Hermanus. It was a perfect day, crisp with loveliness and freshness as we greeted and celebrated the new year.
We began to just speak prophetically over 2011 and then suddenly felt a strong desire to also visit America. [This would be after a 22 year absence when we did several ministry trips in the late eighties. A visit which also opened the door for some of our Acts team to visit America and several of them even relocated and still live there today.]
A few weeks after our New Year morning picnic, John Crowder, whom we’ve never heard of before, invited us to do a weekend of ministry in Santa Cruz. We immediately confirmed that we’ll be there and then contacted a Facebook friend, Rod Williams who often commented on our posts. His fb name is Rodeen Williams which includes his wife, Eileen’s name. We didn’t even know that Rod was connected with John in ministry.
Rod and Eileen are amazing people and they organized a six week schedule from the West coast to the east coast and in-between of non-stop amazing ministry! Through one of his friends Rod also connected us with Baxter Kruger in Memphis where we were staying with one of our Acts Team students who lived there.
This was a most memorable trip opening a brand new chapter in our lives. We were overwhelmed with American hospitality and their generosity. Everywhere we went people already downloaded and even printed the Mirror and raved about its impact in their lives!
Two years after that trip we met a South African couple in Hermanus, who lived in Redding and were part of the Bethel ministry for 5 years. They told us about the following amazing incident,
They joined a group of Bethel students to attend John Crowder’s “Holy Ghost Old Year’s Eve Night, for 2010, into 2011. During the course of the evening John Crowder asked them if they knew us and the Mirror Bible. They didn’t.
What is so amazing though, is that Santa Cruz were 10 hours behind us! Exactly while Lydia and I had our picnic on the Dunes and felt so prompted to get back to America!
Until our final trip in Feb 2015, we returned to the amazing US of A for 2 months a year.
Our traveling schedule was chock a block at the time in South Africa, Africa, Europe and the USA.
Here is a brief testimony of a trip to Europe: (1st Sept till 7th Oct 2010)
Hermanus, being such a popular destination for both South African and overseas visitors. As much as we enjoy fellowship and engaging with people, we became more and more aware of a new chapter happening in our lifestyle. I remember often jokingly referring to Paul in prison and John in Patmos, from where they wrote their priceless contributions to the Bible.
Lydia and I both began to feel a growing sense of urgency to focus our time exclusively on translating and writing.
2015 indeed marked a most amazing beginning of a new and very significant chapter of our lives.
During our last visit to the USA, which also included ministering on the wonderful Caribbean Religious Detox Cruise in February 2015, we spoke to several friends about our decision to cancel existing bookings and all our travels in order to fully engage with our translation and writing work.
In fact, it was exactly six years ago on the 13th of May 2015 that we did our first conference in America in our absence, via video, in St Louis!
Link to one of those videos, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeA_H9wjsmY&t=1s
On that same day, en-route back from Pretoria to Hermanus, we supernaturally discovered the farm against the Swartberg mountains, where we now live. It was certainly one of the most divine interruptions of our lives. Even the selling of our house in Hermanus was so miraculous in making it possible for us to relocate.
Here, the Mirror now continues to grow exponentially, while Lydia already released 5 new children’s books as well as managing all our admin and correspondence etc.
We released the 1st edition, a small A5 size 246 page Mirror Bible on the 16th of May 2012. I wrote this on Facebook on that day, …
”The Mirror might not be the complete New Testament (yet!) but there is enough in the present Mirror to complete your understanding of the whole BIBLE!”
Another amazing happening was towards the end of 2015 with our 3rd annual Mirror Safari. Our 10 Safari Guests, who were from all over the world, approached us during our final evening together, and shared their amazing vision with us: some of the business men felt prompted to begin what was later called The Mirror Word Foundation. For the next 5 years this wonderful incentive supported us and helped release our time to continue this marvelous work.
We are daily in such awe at every reminder of Abba’s loving, sustaining love and guidance, enabling us to initiate such a vital platform to reach the world.
The impact of the Mirror Study Bible is reaching far beyond where we could ever have gone in our travels.
We know without a shadow of doubt that the mirror message is most relevant and will continue to be that, in touching the multitudes; awakening people of every age and culture and igniting in them the greatest discovery of all times: the unveiled mystery that was hidden for ages and generations, which is Christ, tangibly incarnate in you, and you, and you….and all flesh shall see it together.
A work in Progress…
What I thought at the time, would only take a few years to complete the New Testament, has unfolded into a lifetime commitment to engage the amazing wonder and nuances of the ageless Logos in print and incarnate.
My next assignment in 2016 was the book of Revelation which occupied our first 2 years on the farm! [In-between we also designed and built our house]
I have not studied or read any books about Revelation, and having completed the first Epistle of John and then the Gospel of John by December 2015, it was inevitable that I would now also tackle John’s Revelation. I thank God that the name of the book is indeed “Revelation”. The unveiling of the slain and risen Lamb!
I will never forget posting this on fb, in April 2016, “Unveiled beauty where my new office is happening and the book of Revelation opens in splendid vistas, here on our Patmos!”
Then, the next two years were a total engagement with the beautiful gospel of Luke. Oh how I loved doing Doctor Luke’s amazing testimony to the life and ministry of Jesus.
It was also most significant that towards the end of 2020 I was deeply engaged with Luke chapter 20 and then chapter 21. These chapters are so significantly mirrored in our times!
Precious Holy Spirit, how wonderful it is to flow in your thoughts.
We are indeed living in the most exciting days and have nothing to fear.
Our world has never been more globally ready to have the desire of the nations unveiled in their hearts. Love is so beautifully packaged in each one of you!
Both the Book of Revelation [The Apocalypse Uncovered] as well as the separate book of Luke are 10 x 7 inch [254mm x 178mm] books with more than 300 pages each, [320 and 380], which is considerably bigger than our 1st edition A5 red Mirror Bible!
During lockdown in 2020, I woke up one morning with a strong urge to update and edit Divine Embrace – it was a book that I’ve already updated a few times over the years and the last time in 2012 when it had 10 chapters and 144 pages.
What I expected to possibly take only a few weeks, became a wonderful, almost 7 months engagement with the core of the Mirror message.
I’ve cried many tears of joy doing it and finally releasing the new 30 chapters and 444 pages, loaded with bliss book, in September last year.
We are so super excited about the new, 1148 page, 10th edition of the Mirror Study Bible which was released in May ’21.
Amazing dream by E. Mitchell (2012 when we first launched the Mirror)
I dreamt last night that I’d given birth to a stillborn baby.
The baby itself painted its own image and likeness in red and green watercolour on a newspaper.
The image on the page transformed into a live baby that I held in my arms with great joy!
Thank you Francois for The Mirror translation bringing the Word to life.
Alan Bradley writes a review on the Mirror Bible,
This wonderful paraphrased collection from the Greek New Testament by Francois du Toit is the most refreshing and enlightening translation I have EVER read. Seriously. To my knowledge, no one else has so painstakingly done a translation quite like this, and I’ve pretty much read them all. Every bit of God’s glorious truth is accurately retained and boldly expressed but in a fresh conversational form that takes the reader even deeper into God’s inspired revelation of himself. Reading the Mirror Bible is as if you are in a small restaurant sitting across the table from Paul, John, James, or Peter as they explain the Word to you personally. The language Francois chose to use strictly expresses the accurate meaning and with tender reverence, but all in a delightful conversational tone that my modern ears and sensibility can grasp quickly and thoroughly enjoy.
My friend, Lloyd Douglas Clark wrote this beautiful poem,
“As He breathed into me and my eyelids fluttered open… I was immediately awakened to an awareness of his loving and joy-full admiration.
Spontaneously my heart swelled in response and my lungs were filled with fragrance. I was face to face with him; captured by his radiance.
And instinctively I knew him and knew that I was known by him!
A huge smile broke over my countenance and convulsions of laughter tumbled unrestrained from my mouth!
Overwhelmed by this union we joined hands and then arms in a holy raucous twirling dance!
To this very day his nearness and presence overwhelms. Every sunrise a reminder; each new day I’m awakened afresh to wonder and beauty!
“I am my beloveds and he is mine;”
His nearness as close as my breath!”