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South Africa Mission Report

December 2005

On Wednesday, December 14, 2005 we arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa. We were greeted by Winnie Williams, Father Shaun, Gracinda and the prayer group. The group told us that as they waited for us to come through customs, the police had everyone clear the path around the exit and asked everyone to be quiet just as the doors opened and Vassula walked out. The TLIG group waiting for us said they felt a divine presence and it was providential that the security asked everybody to be quiet and clear the path. As soon as the TLIG people saw Vassula enter through the doors, they shouted out loud, "Welcome Vassula." They were so kind to bring her flowers and they had chocolates as well for both of us.

Winnie and Gracinda then drove us to where we would be staying at The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Houghton. As we approached the residence, the street had beautiful tall trees on either side and they looked so majestic on the street. We were greeted by his Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim and Father Minas, a Greek Orthodox Priest. A beautiful lunch was prepared for us, fresh South African salmon. Martin who is also in the prayer group came to the residence for lunch as well. We rested a bit after lunch and then we were escorted to an event that was taking place at the Greek Orthodox Church, St. Andreas, in Krugersdorp. There the community was gathering for a thank you dinner for all the volunteers that helped during their church festival. His Eminence addressed the community and told them that Vassula is a special guest and that she will be speaking on "The Meaning of Christmas" (www.tlig.org/en/news/2005-05-01/1965/), Friday at St. Anargiris Church after vespers. He told them that she had shortly arrived from the Philippines and spoke to four hundred thousand people in one gathering (www.tlig.org/en/news/200
6-07-22/1996/
). He invited them all to attend.

We stayed here at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
We stayed here at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

As we were having dinner, people were coming to greet his Eminence. He would introduce Vassula as he was so enthusiastic to tell them that she had just come from the Philippines and spoke to the four hundred thousand (www.tlig.org/en/news/2006-07-22/1996/). He also told them that she speaks on Christ and has written many books (www.tlig.org/en/bibliography/bibmessages/). There was a Greek Orthodox lay theologian who came to our table with much interest and wanted to know more about Vassula. It was nice to see a Metropolitan be so approachable and down to earth with his people, especially the children. You could see they were like family. Father Dimitrios is the parish Priest of that community. The Greek-Cypriot food that was prepared was so delicious, especially the fresh strawberries and watermelon. The land is so fertile there and it makes the fruit so sweet. The strawberries were unforgettable.

Bishop Buti Thlagale and Vassula

On Thursday, December 15, 2005, after having a lovely breakfast at our residence, Vassula had an appointment with the Catholic Bishop of Johannesburg named Buti Thlagale, at the Cathedral of Christ the King. She explained her situation to him about the CDF and the communication that was going on between Cardinal Ratzinger (www.tlig.org/en/testimonies/churchpos/cdf2005/). She told him that she had a private meeting with him four months before Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope. She showed him a photo that was taken with the now Pope Benedict on November 22, 2004. She spoke to him about all the inter-religious work that she has done along with the Peace Award that she had been honored with (www.tlig.org/en/interreligious/goldaward/). She informed him about the Ecumenical Pilgrimages that take place every couple of years; and that in these pilgrimages a foretaste of Unity is being experienced. Vassula mentioned to him that we should not stumble on terminology when the different church hierarchies meet and speak about Unity.

The Bishop stated that he was very happy to meet Vassula in this way. Vassula went on to tell him about the establishment of the Beth Myriams worldwide. We had a photobook with us of the Beth Myriams. He asked, "How widespread is this?" Vassula explained to him that it is through the prayer groups that the people get inspired to open and run the Beth Myriams. He commented that it is so remarkable that Vassula is a lay person working for Ecumenical work. He was also so amazed that she brings clergy together. He said, "It is a breath of fresh air for us clergy." Vassula stressed that it is the Holy Spirit's work. She said, "The dialogues are good but action is what the Lord wants; a conversion of the heart." She also said, "We must be healed through the Eucharist; and by sharing the Eucharist it is the antidote to the poison of our division." She also said, "We must go ahead for the healing power of our division." The Bishop told her when he will meet the Pope next time, he will ask him, what will he be ready to give up for Unity. "Either we build dams or open the gates." The not letting go is where the problem is. Vassula herself has no worries about losing her position. He said that that is why she speaks and relays what the Lord wants from us, "She has nothing to lose." She told the Bishop when she asks the clergy to give a speech on Unity, it is informal and they speak from the heart.

After the meeting with Bishop Thlagale, Vassula addressed the inter-denominational group that consisted of clergy and religious people for two hours. It was held at the church hall of the Cathedral of Christ the King. They also had questions for her at the end. It was very fruitful. They had served refreshments and it gave people an opportunity to meet with Vassula and speak with her informally. It was a blessing that Bishop Thlagale was able to attend some of her talk considering how busy his schedule was.

Ecumenical meeting
The Ecumenical meeting

Vassula speaks to the Ecumenical group
Vassula speaks to the Ecumenical group
Volunteers providing TLIG materials
Volunteers providing TLIG materials

After the Ecumenical meeting, Vassula had an interview to give a talk at the Catholic radio station Veritas in the city of Troyeville which lasted one hour. People at the end were able to call in and ask questions. This interview was hosted by Father Emil Blaser. They also announced that she will have her big open meeting on Sunday at the Cathedral of Christ the King.

The Catholic radio station, Veritas in Troyeville
The Catholic radio station, Veritas in Troyeville
Vassula being interviewed on the Veritas radio program
Vassula being interviewed on the Veritas radio program

On Friday December 16, 2005 after breakfast, we visited the Johannesburg Zoo. It was lovely to see these beautiful animals - elephants, zebras, rare red birds called Christmas birds, lions, cheetahs, apes, etc. We then went to Bedfordview and met a lovely couple named Nikos and Anastasia Giokas. They have relatives here in New York and we were so pleased to have met them. Afterwards, we went for a tour of the Greek Center called SAHETI. They have a school for one thousand kids ranging from pre-school to high school. They have an athletic field, radio station, banquet center, swimming pool and a church called the Presentation of the Virgin Mary. There are approximately thirty thousand Greeks and Cypriots living in South Africa and there are seven churches.


Saheti School
The Saheti School wall
Presentation of the Virgin Mary Church
Presentation of the Virgin Mary Church

That evening, we attended the vespers for the feast of Saint Dionysius (who is from Zakynthos, Greece) at the Church of Saint Anargiri in Triomf, (which means Unmercenaris, without pay). At the end of the service they had presented Vassula with a beautiful gift from Mt. Athos that was a text of the life of the Saint Dionysius (www.goarch.org/en/chapel/saints.asp?contentid=342).


Vassula receiving St. Dionysios gift from Mt.Athos
Vassula receiving St. Dionysius gift from Mt. Athos

Vassula receiving St. Dionysios gift from Mt.Athos

After vespers, the choir sang Greek Christmas carols followed by Vassula who spoke to the one hundred and fifty people who gathered in the church hall. She spoke to them about the meaning of Christmas (www.tlig.org/en/news/2005-05-01/1965/) and how this mission of True Life in God began (www.tlig.org/en/background/). She spoke to them on repentance, unceasing prayer and the intimacy of our Lord. It was so wonderful to hear how Father Ioannis, the Greek Orthodox priest was well acquainted with Vassula in Nairobi from years ago. One man named Taki commented at the end and he said, "It is impressive to hear her speak like an Evangelist and yet she is Orthodox. "He also said, "It was so refreshing to hear her speak like this and yet is still in the church and has not left the church." Vassula said, "Even if they close the doors on me I will climb through the windows." They were all so pleased to hear her say this and chuckled.

Vassula speaking after Vespers in the Greek Orthodox Church hall of St. Anargiri
Vassula speaking after Vespers in the Greek Orthodox Church hall of St. Anargiri

Church hall of St. Anargiri
Church hall of St. Anargiri

I had taken some video footage and interviewed the people. One man named George who helps in the altar, had told me when Vassula visited South Africa on a previous visit he saw the face of Jesus on her face. He said, "I will never forget it." He is dedicated to reading the writings of True life in God and that it has brought him closer in his spiritual walk with God. Another young girl named Katerina said, "This will change my life and my family's life from this day on." She was so thankful that Vassula came and shared the message with them. Another man named Peter said, "I liked very much what she had to say about Unity, unlike some of my co-patriots who don't want Unity. I believe the Church should be one." He too said, "It was very refreshing." They had a wonderful spread of refreshments and food. The warm hospitality of the Greek people was much appreciated.

Outside of the hall, they had set up tables for the TLIG books to be available both in English and in Greek. The weather was so mild and the beautiful trees and flowers you just could not help but feel like you were in Greece and yet it was South Africa. In a message dated November 30, 1998 the Lord says this about refreshing, "My prophets are those who by grace are nourished directly from My Mouth and by placing My Word directly into their mouth; they come to all of you still dripping with heavenly dew and their words fall on you like refreshing rain..." The word refreshing was a common word that the people were saying.


Vassula with Father Iaonnis, priest of St. Anargiri
Vassula with Father Iaonnis, priest of St. Anargiri
Reception after Vassula’s talk at St. Anargiri
Reception after Vassula’s talk at St. Anargiri

Monastery of St. Nektarios
Monastery of St. Nektarios

On Saturday, December 17, 2005, which is the feast for Daniel the Prophet, we left very early in the morning to attend the liturgy for the opening of the first Greek Orthodox Monastery named Saint Nektarios/Saint Nicholas in Hartebeestpoort Dam. It was approximately 1 1/2 hrs from Johannesburg. After the service, they had a reception with delicious food. Vassula and I were sitting outside eating and a lady came up and asked George (who was sitting with us) if he knew any information of the lady "Vassula" and where she would be speaking tomorrow on Sunday. George said, "This is her" as he pointed to her. The lady was so happy and started to converse with Vassula. The lady had told her about her son, approximately 30 years old, who was murdered in Johannesburg for his cell phone. She was still wearing black clothing because she was in mourning. We gave her some of the writings from True Life in God to read and she appreciated it very much.


Liturgy at the monastery of St. Nektarios
Liturgy at the monastery of St. Nektarios
After that another lady heard that we had given some material. She too asked, "Do you have anything for me to read?" So I gave her some of the writings as well. It made me think of how the Holy Spirit led them to us because they were both in need to be comforted and thirsty for the Lord. Vassula had also met a Greek Orthodox Priest, Father Chrysostomos, and shared with him the Ecumenical work that she is doing. She showed him photos of many clergy from the Pilgrimages and different leaders that she has spoken with - especially, the photo she had taken with Cardinal Ratzinger four months before he became Pope. He was impressed and blessed her good works.


Vassula showing Father Chrysostomos photos
Vassula showing Father Chrysostomos photos

On Sunday, December 18, 2005 we attended the Greek Orthodox Liturgy at Pandanessa which means "The Queen of Queens," dedicated to the Theotokos, the ever Virgin Mary. After the liturgy was over, people who recognized Vassula came to our pews to greet her. They were so happy to see her. One lady that realized who she was became so interested that she took some of the books that I had on me. It was interesting to see the Holy Spirit working in such subtle ways and how these divine inspirations were being spread to the people that wanted them and had an open heart to receive them. We then had lunch plans elsewhere until a man named Mr. Englezakis invited us to his house for lunch. So we altered our plans and went to his house. He had just had his wife's memorial service. The family was so gracious to have us. They had a big banquet of food spread outside. They have a big family and they even had said that most of them were missing. So you could only imagine when the rest of the clan is there. It was interesting to see Vassula witnessing to them about the Lord during lunch. They were very interested and they asked her questions. We had with us the Beth Myriam photobook that showed the houses for the poor. One of the girls told us of a tragedy that had incurred in the family. It was a house of mourning that we went to; I believe the Holy Spirit led us there to give them hope and comfort.


Vassula with his Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim, and Mr. Englezakis
Vassula with his Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim, and Mr. Englezakis
Home of Mr. Englezakis offering us hospitality
Home of Mr. Englezakis offering us hospitality

After lunch at the Englezakis family, Vassula's big meeting was at four thirty in the afternoon at the Cathedral of Christ the King. Her audience was approximately one thousand people. Father Shaun introduced her to the people. She also spoke to them on the meaning of Christmas since it was about one week before Christmas. She spoke on Repentance, Intimacy of the Lord, and other topics. She ended with a beautiful healing prayer for the people. After the meeting was over and we went into the back room there were ladies that drove all the way from Soweto to come and see her. They arrived very late but fortunately they were able to have a few words with her backstage.

Event at the Cathedral of Christ the King
Event at the Cathedral of Christ the King

Vassula witnessing at the Cathedral of Christ the King

Vassula witnessing at the Cathedral of Christ the King
Vassula witnessing at the Cathedral of Christ the King

Gracinda and children, Volunteers with TLIG shirts
Gracinda and children, volunteers with TLIG shirts
Ladies from Soweto arriving late, happy to greet Vassula at the back entrance
Ladies from Soweto arriving late, happy to greet Vassula at the back entrance

On Monday, December 19th, Vasssula had a morning appointment for an interview with Mr. Jose Luis da Silva, a Portuguese journalist from Madeira for a newspaper called "Diario de Noticias." Later that evening Vassula was invited to do an interview at the Pan Hellenic studio in Bedfordview. The subject was "The Meaning of Christmas." Maria, who was doing the interview, mentioned to Vassula that there were all kind of rumors going around that she doesn't preach about Christ. It was obvious that the spirit of confusion was at work to confuse the people. There is a beautiful article on the Jezebel spirit that speaks about these negative and false spirits that roam around when prophecy is spoken (www.tlig.org/en/spirituality/letters/jezebel/). The interview went very well and in between the radio program, they were playing songs of a Greek CD that was produced by the prayer group of Rhodes.


The Greek radio station
The Greek radio station
Vassula being interviewed at The Pan Hellenic Studio
Vassula being interviewed at The Pan Hellenic Studio
Nelson Mandela square
Nelson Mandela Square
Pappas restaurant at Nelson Mandela square
Pappas Restaurant where we had been invited for lunch
Beautiful landscape of South Africa, at Magoebaskloo
Beautiful landscape of South Africa, at Magoebaskloo
Beautiful landscape of South Africa, at Magoebaskloo

Vassula with Mr. Costa who drove us north to Michael Toulo’s game farm
Vassula with Mr. Costa who drove us north to Michael Toulo’s game farm

On Tuesday, December 20, 2005 Mr. Costa, who was so gracious, drove us up north to one of the game farms near Kruger Park. It was approximately six hours away. The drive was so beautiful to see the natural landscape of Africa. It was endearing to see the monkeys along the roadside. Mr. Michael Toulou owns the game farm that is in the wild and offered us hospitality. He took us on his range rover and drove us throughout the farm. He had all kinds of animals such as the beautiful giraffe that we saw standing so majestically in between the trees, the wild bore, elans, ostrich, etc. He had sheep and goats as well. I took a walk with Mr. Costa and said to him (as I saw the sheep sitting innocently in the stillness of the night and felt as if we were in the spirit of Christmas), "This is what it must have felt like when the sheep were gathered awaiting for the birth of our Lord." Returning from the walk, the others said the same thing at the table about the sheep awaiting for the Lord on Christmas Eve. I felt that was a confirmation from the Holy Spirit.

On Wednesday, December 21, 2005, we drove back from the wild game farm. Our flight was the same day. It was a beautiful last day before we departed from South Africa. The prayer group of South Africa did a wonderful job arranging all the venues. It will be memorable for all the people we met, especially those that opened their homes and were generous with their time. The Lord provided gracious and kind people, especially Metropolitan Seraphim who invited and hosted us. May God bless them all!!

In Christ,
Georgia Klamson
TLIG reader, New York City, USA

 
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