Rod & Ellie's July Update                                                                                                View this email in your browser

Dear Friends,

Major decisions on our path of life are often made without knowing how they will determine our future. After 40 years in missions, we see how strongly our early years determined where we are today. Our history also helps those we walk closely with to understand the who and why and what of who we are. 

Our story of walking clandestinely for days and weeks from village to village in a time of war is one of simple obedience to the words of Jesus, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel”. It was the first step that brought us to where we are. “Learn to fly” was a personal direction God spoke to us. It did not make sense in the natural to a couple with no plane, three children and next to nothing in the pocket. Moving on that direction opened the way to being instrumental in the rehabilitation of the railway line from Malawi to Nampula province, as well as the initial restoration of the Cahora Bassa power line that had not functioned in years; then ultimately in bringing peace to Mozambique. All this was done secretly and at great risk but with joy and a free heart.

Some of these stories are surreal and there are those that have doubted them. So much so that a certain person visited some of the villages mentioned in our book to ask the local population if it is really true that a missionary couple visited these regions on foot during the war, then later started flying in and landing on rough clearings with bibles, food and clothing. This person sheepishly confessed to us that he had doubted the stories but they had been verified as true out of the mouths of the local population. He is now a good friend of ours. 

Recently another friend sent an article he had written about his part in the restoration of the power lines. We laughed at the memories and marveled at the crazy things we have done, and at the amazing things God has done in multiplying the ministry from a tiny seed that is now a tree producing fruit in many regions. All glory and praise to Jesus. He is our Commander in Chief, we are in His service!

Grateful thanks to those who have supported us from the beginning until now. WOW! Also those who have joined the prayer and supply wagon en-route, and to those who continue to join us into the next phase of this Mozambican call of winning souls, making disciples, training leaders that plant churches and go out into every region to win more souls that make disciples... till Jesus comes again!

          Rod & Ellie
                 and all at Afrika Wa Yesu


The Eagle - Frikkie Kraamwinkel

Thanks to Frikkie Eagle who has verified our story, played a big part in Mozambique and continues to send us old pictures and delightful memories!

I wish a fairy with a magic wand would grant me one wish. I will then wish that the Lion could see what harvest his foresight to welcome Afrika wa Yesu to Gorongosa has delivered for the people of Mozambique.

My wish brings back many memories from the past. It was a beautiful morning near Maringue. The sun was already high in the sky and the old tree under which the Lion and I sat provided welcome cool shade. There was a guard with AK47 rifle and the cook, Sibondo, was preparing breakfast on an open wood fire. The Lion and I talked about many things. Then he asked me what I thought the future holds for Mozambique.

“This tree under which we sit in wonderful shade is Mozambique and its future,” I said. “We can cut the tree down and sell the wood. We can make fine furniture from it. We can use it as firewood. Whatever we do, we can only do it once.”

"But I suggest we don’t touch the tree. Let it stand and if you do not shoot all the game and the birds which we still find here, tourists will come to sit here in the shade of the tree. And businessmen will come to enjoy the shade of the tree and talk to you about new exciting development projects."

"They will all pay you to have the pleasure of sharing the shade of the tree and view the wild life and birds that flock around the tree. Look after the tree and the tree will look after you. Not one day only. But well into the future."

There was another tree in Mozambique. A big old tree at Inhaminga past the old Cathedral at the old Colonial Command Post. In the shade of this tree Rod and Ellie Hein sat. With the blessing of the Lion this was where they started the Inhaminga Afrika wa Yesu Bible School. For the people of Mozambique their Ministry expanded with vision, faith and hard work to churches under many more trees.

In a war-torn country the churches brought a sense of belonging to forlorn people by uniting them with a purpose in life and ownership of the Afrika wa Yesu Ministry. The future and new hope which the Ministry brought was in their hands. Not for a day only. But well into the future.

Civil war in Mozambique had been raging for more than a decade. It left the country the most aid dependent economy in the world. Ninety percent Mozambicans lived in poverty. The unelected ruling Marxist-Lenninst Frelimo Government controlled the cities and towns and the anti-communist Renamo Resistance Movement, fighting for a multiparty democracy, the countryside.

With the country in this dire state of war and no religious freedom, Renamo President Afonso Dhlakama made a far–reaching historic decision to allow the missionaries Rod and Ellie Hein to carry on missionary work amongst the Gorongosa people with Renamo support. This was the birth of Afrika wa Yesu in Mozambique.

Rod very soon became the Biblical Joseph for Renamo people. He saw to their spiritual as well as practical needs.

His 40 year old Piper Aztec “Vulture Air” became their lifeline to the free world.

Thanks to Joseph’s good standing with Renamo it opened the way for me to meet with Afonso Dhlakama. As a consultant to the Permanent Joint Commission on Cahora Bassa, I discussed with him the refurbishing, at the earliest practical opportunity, of the downed Cahora Bassa powerlines in Mozambique to South Africa. It furthermore allowed me the opportunity to greatly assist Dhlakama with practical arrangements towards the then ongoing peace negotiations in Rome.

Rod and Ellie’s calling to spread the Gospel in Mozambique, reminded me of the pioneer pathfinder David Livingstone whose greatest desire was granted only after his death: the cessation of the slave trade and the opening up of Africa to Christianity and lawful commerce. He had the grace to see that his Mission was part of a Divine plan to set many souls free from slavery, both physical and spiritual.

In his quest to find a suitable commercial waterway into Dark Africa Livingstone explored the Zambezi River in Mozambique. "It was in truth the worst tract I ever travelled over; our strong new English boots were worn through the soles. The sun’s rays were converged by the surrounding hills into a sort of focus, and the stones were so hot the hand could not hold on them a moment, though we were in danger of being dashed down into the crevices by letting go for an instant."

Rod and Ellie’s new Mozambique journey was to prove no less arduous. “Just do it,” Rod used to say. And they did just that in good faith. Accepting sacrifices to bring about changes. The disorientated Mozambican people needed an anchor in family life to pin their hope for the future on. They found salvation in Christian values and restored dignity in rebuilding churches, houses etc. as well as providing food on the table themselves.

Rod did not get his Nom-de-Guerre in an ordinary way. It was because The Vulture was no ordinary feathered bird. He very often flew high and far afield where no other bird ever dared to venture. He had a special knack to make the extraordinary look very ordinary which perfectly suited the role I required him to play in an unfolding new chapter of history. For this reason I’m to this day much honored to call him my most esteemed friend whom in time gone by I assigned the very prestigious name of The Vulture.

Many, many moons ago I was saddled with the task to explore options to effect an early refurbishment of the destroyed Cahora Bassa power lines in Mozambique once a peace agreement in the raging civil war came into sight. It was in the quest to meet face to face with the Lion of the Gorongosa that I landed on the Vulture’s doorstep. With him I felt I could safely wing into the unknown bush.

At the time he was introduced to me as Joseph. For my purposes he however required a more resounding Nom-de-Guerre and “The Vulture” suited him pretty well. The name was derived from the ship HMS Vulture which on Sunday, 23rdAugust 1874, docked at the Seychelles with a batch of African slaves saved from Arab clutches near Madagascar. It also was a fitting commemoration of yet another missionary explorer’s name who sacrificed himself to rid Africa of the open sore of the world – the horrific slave trade. This man was David Livingstone whose wife Mary lies buried at Shupanga on the Zambezi where she passed away on 27th April 1862.

For our first trip to the Gorongosa I had to bring The Vulture three new airplane tyres, a new battery and some other smaller things. It was not the normal traveller’s luggage package on an international flight which invariably required some improvisation at customs to pass with all and sundry which I carried on my journeys.

Improvising was the exact word The Vulture used the next morning before our take-off when I enquired whether all the stuff I had brought him fitted well on the plane. There had been no time to fit the new tyres and battery. So he did a little improvising. The cracks in the old tyres were temporarily fixed with black silicone sealant and the old battery had to do with a short little prayer. Loaded to the brim with Jerry cans full of petrol for the Lion we took off.

Flying tree tops was a new experience to me. So was the off-chance of being hit by an AK47 bullet or chased by a Russian-made Hind attack helicopter. Also new was the manner by which we had to locate our landing destiny in the bush with only a compass in hand. The only consolation was about 10 minute’s reserve fuel in the event we had to do a little reconnaissance to locate the primitive airstrip. Needless to say The Vulture received a brand new Magellan GPS on my next visit.

Once the left side engine which had been on its last legs for quite some time gave a funny snort and then started shuddering from the effect. The Vulture calmly nursed the engine to feather and with one engine, a wing and a prayer; we safely continued and landed back at home. If ever there was an experienced bush pilot, The Vulture was one.

It was exactly this ‘keeping your cool’ under the most trying circumstances that saved another day when the Vulture could not get the notorious left engine to start. We were sitting ducks on the ground with an Antanov circling above ready to drop bombs on us. The incident is more fully described by Ellie in one of her books. Suffice it for me to say that once we eventually got airborne, The Vulture dodged the Antanov through the drifting clouds and made such good speed that I was able to set a new flying record from the Gorongosa to Johannesburg that day – departing at 09:00 and arriving at 13:00.

Then came the day when late one afternoon I received a call from Ellie. The Vulture was some hours overdue. What had happened was that while taxiing on a dirt airstrip, the plane’s nose wheel got bogged down in a mud hole which caused severe damage to the nose wheel structure and one of the propellers. The Vulture was firmly back on his feet and commenced the long walk home through enemy country. At first he survived on mangoes but some days later in an effort to gain more speed, he tried palm wine to give him wings as advertised in “Red Bull gives you wings!” Once again The Vulture survived the ordeal and even though it took him some months to accomplish, he managed to fix the plane in the bundu and fly it back home.

It was another memorable day, which is now traditionally every year celebrated to mark the occasion, when The Vulture perched on the roof decided to spread his wings and fly down to the waiting arms of mother earth. Had it not been that his foot unfortunately got caught in the ladder, he would certainly have made a perfect landing. It was however more of a Humpty Dumpty had a great fall event requiring all the King’s men and all the King’s horses to put The Vulture together again!

My dear friends, much admired Vulture and Ellie; I greet you and wish you well on your journey ahead in the words of David Livingstone to Henry Morton Stanley and his companions as they parted at Unyanyembe in Africa – “Well, I will say this to you: you have done far better than some great travelers I know. And I am grateful to you for what you have done to me. God guide you safely, and bless you, my friends.”

The Eagle


The skeletons in our cupboard are harmless secrets that could not be told openly for our safety. Since Amnesty was declared at the signing of the peace accord, we cannot legally be judged for our part in being friends with a rebel movement that opened the way for us to move freely with the gospel in their regions. However, we have been much persecuted for our part in bringing peace and exposing a lot of truths to world media and governments of other nations. So much so, that after initial freedom to fly, we were forbidden to land on the airstrip that is just 500 metres from our house. We have maintained this lovely grass airstrip at our own cost and labour since 1994. Finally we had to sell our plane as we saw the government would not allow us to ever land here, even while other planes were allowed to land, but not us. These days planes come in and out almost weekly now, sometimes more than once a week. We continue to maintain the airstrip as a service to anyone who needs it. This way we remain free in our heart and Rodney loves to serve.

The palm wine story is a small funny skeleton in our closet. We do not drink alcohol in any form. When a rough bush strip brought our plane to an abrupt stop causing the propellors to dig into the ground, Rod had to walk for three days to a place where he could send a message for help. In a time of famine and drought the only food was mangoes from the trees, water was scarce but palm wine was offered by the local people. When very fresh, the palm wine is non alcoholic, but very quickly turns. On his return home, my husband informed me that the walk through the bush was weird, like he was walking on clouds. 

Now that’s a good way to end a missionary story!

Thanks for listening friends, hope you enjoyed the stories.


F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
F O L L O W on YouTube F O L L O W on YouTube
F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M
Website Website
Email - we love hearing from you! Email - we love hearing from you!
Copyright © 2022 Afrika wa Yesu, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.