Letter 6 - History of South Africa - Burgersdorp, Cape Province, South Africa - November 7, 1977

Dear Pieter and Ivy,

Just a little letter from me, seeing Joey asked me to write to you of what I can still remember of the mission at Koppies, 43 years ago.

Arie Blomerus and myself started the mission in 1934. From the beginning of the mission, the Appelgryn family were very friendly and attended the meetings regularly. Mrs. Appelgryn and her daughter made a start, also the son, but he didn't go on. Mrs. Appelgryn’s brother, Jan Badenhorst and his wife also professed and went on faithfully. She passed away a few years ago and he went to his eternal home this year. Their youngest daughter, Margrietha, married to John du Toit, also serve God.

Amongst those who attended the meetings, was a certain Mr. Swanepoel, an old elder in the Dutch Reform Church, whom the minister requested to attend the meetings to find out where we were wrong. He professed and said in his testimony that he did not attend many meetings before he discovered where he was wrong and that he was glad that he could now see what is right. His wife was a very hard woman and sometimes tore his clothes from his body, so he could not go to meetings. Through it all, he remained faithful to the end. Also, a Mrs. Els made her choice and when the minister visited her, she gave him her testimony. He then said to her, "Sister, you are the type of person we need in the church, to be an example and to let your light shine." She then replied, "Sir, a lamp cannot give light very long unless it is regularly filled with oil. I'm convinced that where God showed me the light, there He will also supply the oil." She went on faithfully and died two years later in His Way.

There was also a Mrs. Lewis who gave her life to God. She suffered from her heart, and died just three months later. Her husband had been transferred to another village. She wrote us a letter in which she mentioned how glad and thankful she was that God had opened her eyes and set her free, and the joy she now experienced. Little did we know that as we read her letter, she had already passed away. I posted her letter back to her husband but he was not very interested in the living message.

Mr. and Mrs. Kleinhans made a start and went on for many years.

In May 1934, Arie went to Java and Japie Danielson came to join me. He remained with me until the end of that year. We had up to five meetings a week and every night a full house. Mr. and Mrs. van Sul also made a start.

Later, we held meetings at Peter and Alice Smith's place, seven miles out of Koppies. They also professed and went on faithfully.

There are three settlements around Koppies and we were privileged to invite most of the people to the meetings. Some attended and then turned away from the threshold of His Kingdom.

The fellowship and brotherly love of my two companions during that mission at Koppies as we laboured together was lovely - something supernatural. I shall surely remember it through all eternity.

We had problems with the "long bearded" apostolics and the "holy rollers" who also held meetings there at that time. The people called us the "bicycle sect" (because we used bicycles).

The Dutch Reform minister was a rugby player. One day when he ran after the ball at the edge of the field, one of his elders said to him, "You run after the ball here, while the bicycle sect goes off with your congregation."

Mr. Appelgryn became a leper as a result of standing for long periods in icy water. He was employed cleaning out irrigation canals, by shoveling out the excessive mud. They paid by the square yard and he overdid it, working such long hours. The doctors believed that the blood congealed in his veins, causing him to become a leper. So, some people have to pay a very high price to bring salvation to others.

Well, Ivy and Pieter, if I had to write about everything that happened, it would perhaps fill a book. I’ve just written a little and I hope it will help you. Remember, 43 years is a long time and a person forgets. I am now 74 years old, so life is also drawing to an end.

Greetings to you both,

Your brother in His Way,

Johannes Hoffman

**A letter from the worker who had the mission at Koppies, Orange Free State when Cornelius Appelgryns' wife and children professed.