We met each other in 1993 at the His People society on Wits University campus. Our Every Nation churches in South Africa were called His People at the time, so our history with this church family goes back a long way. At the time, Dennis was an honours student in archaeology and Nicky was a His People campus missionary. Before joining full-time ministry, she worked in advertising and magazines as a copywriter.
The journey begins in Cape Town
We were married in December of the same year and moved to Cape Town the day after the wedding (after stopping of in the Garden Route for a few days on the way). Dennis was to pursue his Masters in Archaeology at the University of Cape Town, while Nicky was asked to start a magazine for His People campus ministries in South Africa and run the communications department for His People Cape Town.
We first lived in Rondebosch and then spent six glorious years in Fish Hoek, where our two oldest daughters, Daniella and Talitha, were born. A few years later, Olivia was born. We lived in Cape Town for 16 years. During this time, Dennis transitioned into full-time ministry. He headed up the His People Bible Schools in South Africa for several years, while I worked as communications manager for His People. Following this, Dennis worked in human resources and training in the corporate world for a while and Nicky worked as an editor for Regent University’s online academic publications.
In 2010, our family took up the challenge to moved to Bulembu, Swaziland. After a gruelling 21 hour journey with three children and two dogs, we arrived at our new home. It was quite an adventure, but one we are thankful we went on. We joined Bulembu Ministries, a childcare organisation with around 400 orphans, from newborns to young adults. Dennis served in the senior leadership team and as the Director of Education, overseeing a pre-school, primary school and high school that served the children in the programme. He also took on the role of human resource manager, while Nicky taught in the high school and ran the children’s church programme for a season.
Our daughters were 5, 9 and 12 at the time and we enrolled them in the school where the children in the programme were. This enriched their childhood and grew them into the young women we are so proud of today. Whilst in Swaziland, our youngest daughter, Tiffany, was born. We thank the Lord for the great privilege of raising four amazing daugthers. Daniella is currently busy with her masters degree in English at Stellenbosch University (having completed her honours in German last year). She loves languages and cultures. Talitha is highly creative and is currently in her final year of studying Directing at Film School. Both Olivia and Tiffany are still at school.
Joining the Every Nation Johannesburg team and starting Home-Base
After living and serving in Bulembu for three years, we were invited to join the pastoral team of Every Nation Rosebank in Johannesburg. We loved being part of this dynamic church and inspiring team for seven years and grew in so many ways as a family and in our ministry. As part of our responsibilities, Dennis served as human resource manager and Nicky as communications manager.
But the dream to continue to help orphans still burnt in our hearts. In 2013, we birthed a social upliftment programme called Home-Base, under the covering of Every Nation Rosebank’s African Havens. The mission of Home-Base was to give orphaned and vulnerable youth a hope and a future. One of the main aims of this social development programme was to give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the chance of further education. Four school leavers from Bulembu joined the programme in Johannesburg as our first students. This programme is a registered NPO and has now been running for over seven years.
Today, we have seven full-time, live-in students, all of whom are studying at tertiary level. Over the years, many of our students have graduated with university degrees or college diplomas and have stepped out as confident, independent young adults into the working world. A subsidiary of Home-Base, called Work-Base, focuses on helping young people design their lives. We use career guidance and Next? Seminars to help guide them in the process. We also ran a pilot vocational training project called The Work-Base Academy, training students in basic culinary arts and life- and workskills. It was a huge success, with most of our students entering the world of work as a result. We continue to work with Bulembu and other child care organisations in Swaziland, as well as children’s homes in Johannesburg. Our dream to give these young people a future continues to burn bright. Plans are in the pipeline for lauching Work-Base programmes in Cape Town.
We are also passionate about missions and have led several missions into Swaziland, including teams from Johannesburg and Cape Town. We believe that the whole family – adults, children and teens – all have a unique role to play in missions. We have gone to Nhlangano, Manzini and Bulembu over the years.
Every Nation West Coast
Dennis and I are now the lead pastors of the Every Nation West Coast congregation in Bloubergstrand, Cape Town. We are so thankful that the Lord has joined us with an amazing family of believers and we know that He has much in store for the community we are in. As a church, we are passionate about sharing the Good News with those in our community, bringing His light and life into the homes of the people living on the West Coast of Cape Town.