Former co-worker in the Maphumulo Work during the late 1960s.
1) I was born into a religious family. My parents were staunch Lutherans.We were taught, and also believed, that if anybody had the truth,we definitely had it.
Although I wanted to be a good Lutheran, I must confess that it was all very boring. So whatever I did, I did because I felt I had to. I went to church regularly, and deep down in my heart there was a longing for truth.I hated hypocrisy and pretence. For instance we were told as children that Father Xmas came from far away Iceland (or whatever ) to distribute gifts to us, it made me despise them for telling lies. Another problem to me was the Easter Bunny with its eggs. How was I to associate that with the resurrection of Jesus, I could never figure it out. Sure I loved the Xmas gifts and the Easter eggs, but to me they had no relevance to the events we tried to remember
Deep down in my heart I longed for the truth. When some of my relatives . who were prone to exaggerate would tell their far fetched stories, I would cringe and feel terribly bad that they lied. As I grew up I was determined to speak the truth even if it landed me into trouble
I remember once a lawyer telling me what to say in court, but I refused to budge from the truth. He assured me that if I did not relate it the way he wanted it, the case would be lost. I still refused to depart from the truth, with the result that the truth actually saved me and I was acquitted. I knew I was not guilty and was not going to lie to strengthen the case.
2) However, as time proceeded, I was fast becoming a hardened worldling. We used to visit the pub regularly. When Sunday came we often had a hangover and went up onto the gallery so that we could hide, and maybe have a nap.
3) It then occurred that there was a change of pastors. A certain Mr Anton Engelbrecht arrived who preached fire and brimstone, because he was unhappy and did not have the peace of God in his life.He was so unhappy that he decided if he did not find peace with God. he would resign as a minister and find a secular job.
In his desperation he remembered a cousin of his who was regarded a religious freak because he claimed to have found peace with God. He went to him to see whether he would be able to help him. To his amazement and even annoyance he brought him back to the simplest Bible verses like John 1 v 12, John 3 v 16, etc. etc. He told him that his problem was that he did not take these verses seriously and literally. If he really believed them he would be saved and experience the peace of God in his life.
It was all very humbling for him to be told by a layman that he needs to believe the Bible and act on it. However, he was desperate enough to do it, and sure enough he was wonderfully saved.
4)One can imagine that his preaching changed when he came back to the congregation. He spoke about his own conversion and told us that we too needed to be converted. Well! Well! that was revolutionary. What was he then? Was he a heathen? Only heathens have to be converted. Yet one thing one could not deny, he now spoke with authority, where as before it came from studying and was brought out in frustration.
5) Approximately half the congregation responded positively to his preaching and many of us were soundly saved. There were probably also those who just followed and were not really born again. The rest of the congregation did not take kindly to what they called the ‘new piety’, they even started persecuting the new Christians. The Synod made it difficult for the pastor to stay on, consequently he resigned and went to live in Pretoria for a while, in the proximity of the man who had helped him to find the Lord.
This together with the fact that these new Christians sought the fellowship of other believers in the other denominations upset the hierarchy of the church. They were given an ultimatum, that by a certain day, if they had not stopped attending other meetings they would be automatically excluded from membership of the
These Christians faithfully attended the Sunday meetings up until the appointed day, when all of them stayed away. This caused quite a consternation as even the new pastor tried to say that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. But because it was in writing , it could not be denied and the result was that the most faithful members of the congregation left permanently.
6) To cut a long story short, Mr. Engelbrecht came back from Pretoria and a property was bought at Claridge near Pietermaritzburg. This became the gathering point of the expelled believers and many more were added. The work grew and eventually had over 30 workers in Natal, Free State and Transvaal but things started going wrong in the leadership.
7) In retrospect. I believe it was a big mistake that Mr. Engelbrecht cut his relationship with his former mentor Herman Hambrock. Now there was no one to speak into his life, and spiritual pride took over which resulted ultimately in his downfall.
8) Some people have questioned the beginning of the revival in Lilienthal, but I am convinced it was a genuine Holy Spirit wrought revival, even if it was on a relatively small scale. People genuinely got converted and are still standing today. It was during the same period 1949 – 1953 that the Lord visited His Church in many countries across the globe with revival and a great ingathering of souls took place.
9)Whilst we were at Claridge I was aware that things were not right, but one always believed that Anton Engelbrecht knew better because he was the servant of the Lord. So no one questioned anything he did. However I did voice my misgivings to Miss G Ashenheim when she visited us in Creighton where Gertrud and I were stationed at the time.
10) One day Mr. Engelbrecht called all the workers together ( they must have numbered 40, with their wives )to some meetings to deal with some important issues. At one of the meetings he announced that the Lord had revealed to him that there was an Achan amongst them ( an accursed one ) and if he was not stoned and removed out of their midst God would withdraw from them. Everybody sat there not knowing who this Achan might be. You can imagine with what a blow I was struck when I was pointed out as being the Achan. Unless someone has been through a similar experience, he cannot imagine what it is like to be called the accursed of the Lord by a man whose judgement one trusted.
11) In some little way the Lord had prepared me for what happened. I was living in Creighton just prior to this incident. Sitting in a children’s swing and reading ” the Normal Christian Life ” by Watchman Nee, I came to the passage where Nee speaks of a dark night that every Christian has to go through if he wants to go places with God. He speaks about Moses whose dark night lasted for forty years shepherding his father – in – law’s sheep, and Jacob whose dark night only lasted one night wrestling with the Angel of the Lord ( who damaged his hip ). Both were experiences that changed their lives. Nee points out that the dark night can be sickness, an accident, bereavement or whatever God sends, not to crush one but actually to make one.
12) Suddenly I heard God speak to me saying, ” I will send a dark night over you and don’t shorten it. ” I jumped up and said ” Lord what are you saying? ” I thought of many things that could happen to me, like being stoned in the Transkei, where we were holding tent meetings, or some sickness that would take me to hospital, or losing my wife and young children. Whatever I thought of, it seemed I was ready for it, but the thing I was not ready for was to be the dark night that came upon me. To be singled out as an Achan and called the accursed, was more than I could bear. I was told to quit as a worker and go into secular business, which I did.. Without means or money, what a struggle that was!
13) For almost six years I was under a dark cloud. At times I was not sure if I was sane or insane. The soul suffering I went through was terrible. What kept me going was the fact that I had to work to put some food on the table for my wife and children.
14) I was often used as an example from the pulpit as a warning to others , as to what could happen to them if they did not tow the line. Although my name was not mentioned people knew it was me. Some of my Christian friends from other missions came to me advising me to leave the Claridge work and join another mission, but I remembered the Lord’s word to me, ” do not try and shorten it. ” Yet I wasn’t sure if that word was still applicable to an Achan.
15) By the end of approximately six years Gertrud and I became so desperate that we prayed like never before. We didn’t know whether we were going to be heard, but one thing we knew that things could not continue like they were. I remember one day praying and shouting to God not really uttering words. It was an unbelievable experience. I did not care whether there were people present or not ( and there was another couple with us ) I only knew that I needed to get through to God. For the first time I understood in a small way what the Bible says that ” Jesus offered up prayer with strong crying to God. ” I don’t compare myself with our blessed Lord Jesus Christ but I experienced a little bit of what He experienced.
16) It then happened that the Bible became alive to us and verses leapt out of it’s pages as the Lord spoke to us; both to me and Gertrud. One of the things the Lord said to me can be found in Is.55 v 17. ” No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; every tongue that accuses you in judgement you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication from Me.” I answered the Lord by saying ” but I am not your servant, I am only an Achan,” and clearly the answer came ” you have never been anything else in my sight but My servant.” This was balm to my broken soul.
Another evening we were kneeling by our bed and praying. Gertrud was on one side of the bed and I on the other, and I cannot remember whether I read or heard the words, ( but I do remember it was very real ) ” If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me, whoever assails you will fall because of you. ” Is. 54 v 15.
When I told Gertrud what the Lord had said she laughed and said, ” Who are you that the Lord would say that to you ?” I said, ” I agree that we are nothing and I am nothing, but I can,t deny that I heard the Lord say this. ” Shortly afterwards I heard from someone that Mr. Engelbrecht was again speaking against me something to the effect, ” Erwin has just gone too far now – he is finished.” I didn’t know what I had done or said to cause him to say that, it was harsh, considering the fact that I was broken, humiliated and suppressed. When I heard it, however, instead of being downcast, I felt pity for him, especially in the light of the word the Lord had spoken to me.
17) It was not long after that the whole church turned against him with the exception of Gabrielle Ashenheim and Mr. and Mrs. Holt.
18) Sometime before the fall of Anton Engelbrecht when the people turned against him, we heard about the revival with Erlo at Maphumulo. When I spoke to Erlo and told him that we also prayed and asked the Lord to move and had received amazing answers, he just shrugged it off and told us that they had been praying and they had experienced revival and we had to come to them to know what revival was all about. To us it was a bit strange that he seemed to only acknowledge their prayers and not other peoples as well, but if that is how the Lord saw things we would submit to that.
19)At first they acknowledged Anton Engelbrecht and they took him into what they called the revival. In fact Mr. Engelbrecht was very impressed and taken up with the whole scene. He started fashioning his whole life on what they did and how they did it. He encouraged the people to go to Erlo at Maphumulo and seek help and when he saw how they did things he also went into that. They in turn supported him to the point of flattering him.
20) Onkel Anton ( as we called him ) had a lady friend ( Tante Leni Witthoft ) who was his prayer partner. Some of the people questioned this, as they thought it was not wise to pray alone with a woman. But when Erlo and Hilda Dube started praying together at Maphumulo this gave him an added impetus to believe that he was right and the critics were wrong.
21) Then came the Sunday when Friedel, Erlo’s brother, got up and praised Tante Leni very highly and called her ” a mother in Israel. ” Judges 5 v 17. Everyone that had spoken against her ( or had thoughts against her ) should repent publicly. So one by one they came up and begged for forgiveness for either having said something or for having suspicious thoughts about her. Friedel made it hot for the people. I don’t remember having responded at all as I was not aware of anything against her or against her praying with Onkel Anton, but what Friedel was doing seemed like a circus to me.
Shortly afterwards, when Erlo and Friedel turned against Uncle Anton and Tante Leni one would have expected Friedel to say that he made a mistake praising Tante Leni like that, and that he was deceived, but nothing of the sort happened. It would appear that it was all part of their strategy to shield themselves i.e. stop the people from speaking against Tante Leni’s relationship with Uncle Anton so they would not dare to speak against Hilda and Erlo’s relationship.
That Tante Leni’s relationship with Uncle Anton was suspect became obvious to us later especially when they were caught in the act by his brother Uncle Gerhard. It is incidents like this that confirm that Friedel’s discernment was totally out and that there must have been a strategy that he was following, or else, if he knew about it, then he was totally dishonest.
Another possibility is that Friedel felt strongly that Uncle Anton and Tante Leni’s relationship was wrong and that he criticised them and when it happened to his own brother he felt he had unjustly criticised that relationship and wanted to make good by going up to the front and calling up the people to repent.
Whatever the whole truth was, one thing is certain that the whole thing was a fiasco and had no relevance to the facts.
22) As the whole revival continued the people were encouraged to go for deliverance and Erlo would do the praying. They would lie down on their backs on the floor or on a bed and he would pray in tongues and feel the person with his hands from the crown of his head along the whole body to the feet and toes, as they had to take their shoes off.
23) When he prayed for the infilling of the Holy Spirit he would ask them whether they felt a surge of warmth or heat in their body and if they did, he approved of it as the sign that the Lord had heard his prayer.
Someone said to me that Erlo had later denied the heat sign, but I know and many others know that he advocated that in the beginning. .
24) Erlo used to say to me that these tongues that he and Hilda had ( and that he wanted others to have ) are not the same that the Pentecostals had. In fact he implied that the Pentecostal ones were fake.
25) All this time we were all eager not to be left behind and I also prayed that the Lord would be gracious to me that I too may receive the baptism as they said I should. Off course we had to confess all our sins and write them down in detail, which was quite an arduous task, especially to remember all one ever did was nigh impossible, for I am not a sinner because I sin, but I sin because I was born a sinner. But I did what I could and then one day I was allowed to go into the prayer room where we all knelt in a circle while Onkel Anton prayed for all of us and as he touched my forehead I felt such a surge of power through me that I just about could not take it. I had previously said to the Lord to please do something for me that I won’t have to doubt it was of Him. If it was to be tongues or whatever else He might want to do that He should do it. When this happened I took it as from the Lord and for days after that I felt that I was bathed in love from my waist downwards. When I say bathed in love, I mean I was physically conscious of it. It is something difficult to describe.
26) Now someone might ask me today: ” Was it from God? ” After experiencing what happened afterwards and what I experienced at Maphumulo, I am not too sure, although I still believe God saw our hearts and in His grace and mercy dealt with us accordingly. I don’t cling to experiences but I do cling to the Lord. An experience can be counterfeit, but the Lord Jesus Christ is for real. If it was of God, I thank Him with my whole heart and if the enemy had a hand in it then Jesus is still my Lord and Saviour,my Deliverer and Shield. His blood was shed for me. I don’t brand things as being of the enemy if I don’t know.
27) It was then that we noticed a shift in attitude by Erlo and his intimates toward Onkel Anton Engelbrecht. From working with him they started undermining and working against him. Whether he was now regarded as an arch rival that he might steal the limelight from them I don’t know. He became the talking point for them. One day they just cut him off. They organised a permanent stay away from the services at Claridge and they gathered at Sandspruit farm for the services.
28) When Anton woke up he was on his own with still some support from Mr. & Mrs. Herman Holt and Miss G. Ashenheim. Other than that he had no sympathisers that I know of. Even we were not sympathetic towards him because of our prior experiences , but when I saw the man going around asking peoples forgiveness and there seemed to be none forthcoming just harsh and hardened attitudes I must confess I felt for him. He also came to me and just broke down crying bitterly, but those things are now in the Lords hands, He will deal with them.
29 ) It was round about this time, when their attitude was hardening towards Anton Engelbrecht that they approached me to come and join them as a worker. At the time I felt to continue working in the job I was doing, as I had heavy financial commitments to meet. In fact I did not feel it was the Lords will for me to go and join them. But after Friedel and Erlo approached me a few times, Gertrud felt that we might be missing a call from God to again preach the Gospel, as Friedel also put it ” This is your opportunity to get back into full time work for the Lord”.
30) I pointed out to Erlo that I owed a lot and if I sold all my assets they would not cover my debt. He assured me not to worry about that because they would pay whatever is left over in debt. So I consented and sold everything, what I did not sell I gave to them. From Claridge we moved to Maphumulo. ( For a while we stayed in Uncle Carl’s cottage at Umhlali while they were sorting out for us to go to Maphumulo.)
31) When we arrived at Maphumulo we got a good welcome. Even the visions and dreams on which they relied so much, were favourable towards me. ” Mfundisi Erwin has come and will build big houses out of steel.” and other similar dreams. However they never paid the debt that was left over..I had to beg the creditors to give me time. Eventually I paid them when I left Maphumulo approximately 18 months later.
32) Whilst living at Maphumulo I put my weight into the work. I also did menial work, like digging foundations and levelling ground. We also worked on Hilda’s house and I brought water by gravitation to her house from a distant spring. Being closer to the inner circle I observed many more things than the normal person would have done.
33) Let me relate how the revival started and how Erlo related it to me. After a few weeks of intensive prayer Erlo with some of his African lady co-workers came to the point where the Lord was looking for someone to be His mouthpiece. So when Helen Mzila was approached she was fearful and said she could not see herself in that position. So when Hilda Dube was asked, she was quite willing to do it.
34) The way things would then happen was that Erlo and Hilda would pray alone in a room while Helen and Josfina Ntsibande would be waiting in the room next door. Then the Lord would make Hilda go into a trance and speak to Erlo, or answer any questions he wanted to ask. Erlo even
told me that the Lord told him he could ask him questions in any language, English, Afrikaans, Zulu or German and they would be answered. We were also told that the gift was Erlo’s gift and it only operated through Hilda for Erlo’s benefit.
35) Erlo also told me that the Lord had said to him that he gave him this gift so that he should not lose the way and go wrong. I read in the Bible that the Scriptures were given to us so that we might know the truth and what the will of the Lord is, and that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all the truth. Furthermore, I know of no incident in the Bible where people went into a trance and had no recollection of what they said, heard or seen whilst in this state. If the Bible is anything to go by, then we have to question these trances. Everytime Peter or Paul or John went into a trance they were able to recall all they had seen, heard, and said, but in this instance we are told that she does not know anything.
36) I witnessed a session where this took place. It was at Claridge, in what used to be Mr. Engelbrecht’s house, where Hilda prayed shortly in tongues and after being quiet for a while, she spoke a few words of instruction which Erlo wrote on a piece of paper. From there we travelled to Durban and on the way there someone remarked on the message that Hilda had spoken, and she was thrilled to hear it, as she said that she never knows what she says if no one tells her, indicating that she does not know what she says, because she is lost in the trance. This was one of the rare occasions that it happened when others were present. The late Mr. Gerhard Engelbrecht and others also witnessed similar sessions.
37) On another occasion a few of us workers were told by Erlo to gather at the Joosten’s farm at Mt. Elias for an important meeting. On this occasion Erwin and Lily Freese were also brought in. We all had to take our shoes off and sit on the floor against the walls. Then something similar happened, and this time the word was directed at Erwin Freese. There was speaking in tongues by Hilda and then she spoke and said, ” the Lord is very very pleased with Friedel, he has such a clean heart but the Lord is displeased with Erwin Freese because his heart is full of sin.” Now Erwin and Lily were staying with Gerhard and Evelyn at the time/ So before the meeting they were told not to share what happens at the meeting with Gerhard and Evelyn because this was only for the workers. What happened in the meeting shattered them so much they could just cry and cry. Lily said she could not even enjoy the lovely meal that Evelyn had prepared for them, they were heart broken for days. Erwin searched his heart so much until he came to the conclusion that God does not work like that comparing people with one another, so he shelved the whole matter.
38) Why they picked on Erwin is not known. Erwin had been appointed in a meeting as secretary treasurer after they took over from Mr. Engelbrecht, so Erwin wanted the financial statements to be disclosed to the congregation so that they should also be informed how the money was spent but they resisted him and said that it had nothing to do with the congregation. In fact, after that there were no monies paid into the account that Erwin was administering. All the monies were paid into Erlo’s account. One thing is certain, they were very secretive.
39) I also remember Erlo telling me that in the beginning when he and Hilda came together to pray that it would happen that she was unable to go into a trance, and after praying he discovered that the problem was with him and as soon as he would fix up his side she would be able to go into a trance and would speak the word of the Lord to him. But because Hilda took so much strain when this happened he asked the Lord to just let her go into a trance without giving him answers and in that way he would know that there was something amiss which he had to correct and the Lord granted him his request.
40) People have suggested that this trance episode has stopped. I don’t believe it, because if it was wrong in the beginning, then they should acknowledge it publicly, and tell us so otherwise one must conclude that it is still going on and they still believe it is right. That the leadership at K.S.B. is so secretive , is to me enough proof that this is still going on. People have asked me whether this is of God or not. I don’t say that it is or that it is not. The Lord God is the Eternal and Righteous Judge, but I do say that I don’t receive things that I am not sure about. I rather obey the Lord Jesus who told us to watch. So I will not receive this until I know for definite. If the Lord shows me that it is of Him then I will receive it- if He shows me that it is not of Him then I reject it and until I know for certain, I do not receive it but shelve it and leave it to the Lord to judge.
41) Erlo guarded his friendship with Hilda diligently. He used to repeatedly say, ” Honour those whom God honours.” Hilda would only have to hint at something and he would do it for her. I remember travelling in a car with them and Hilda saying,” Oh I would love to have an apple now,” and Erlo would drive miles out of his way to go and buy, not one apple but a whole box full. She was showered with gifts.
42) Erlo also used to give gifts to people to get into their good books. He gave the chief at Maphumulo quite a few cattle to get his co-operation. I helped off- load those cattle on the main road just below the Emphumulo College turn off. They did not want them to be off – loaded at Maphumulo. I do not remember how many cattle there were, but the lorry was quite full. I was told that some were for the chief and the rest for Mr. Dube.
43) Mr. Dube was the husband of Hilda and it was a known fact that he was not too happy in the beginning that Hilda spent so much time with Erlo and not at home, but because of the many gifts that he received he eventually accepted it. Mr. Dube once told the people, “noma bangamthatha sebemlobile,” ( that is, even if they take her they have already paid the dowry.)
They also raised chickens and ducks to give to the people at Umlazi and other places to gain their favour and support. This Erlo did regularly, while I was still at Maphumulo. These things are not hearsay, I was there, I witnessed all these things. Whether this would fall into the category of bribing – I do not know.
44) If I was asked whether I was totally happy with all these things, I would have to say I was ready to accept them if that was the way the Lord did things, but other things had happened that bothered me and I had to get clarity on them, because I could not equate them with the word of God.
45) I can understand God sovereignly dealing with people ( e.g. Judas Iscariot hanging himself ), but when so called men of God drive people to suicide this was to me a different thing.
In the beginning of this revival there was a man there by the name of Fanuel Ntsibande. He was a Mozambican citizen who had come to South Africa to work. Whilst here he got married to a Zulu lady and then had a few children by her. He had been converted under Erlo’s ministry some years before and had joined Erlo as a worker in the gospel. Erlo liked him and worked a lot with him. When the revival started at Maphumulo , Erlo felt that the Lord was not pleased with him. What the actual reason was he never told me. I think he might have questioned some of the things.
Fanuel’s wife Josfina had in the meantime become one of Erlo’s close workers. So Erlo felt to get rid of him and Josfina was also in agreement with that. So Erlo, assisted by some one else, approached the South African police to have him repatriated. This meant that he would be permanently separated from his wife and children. This was too much for him, so he went and hanged himself. The way Erlo and his people took this in their stride, totally amazed me, as they did not seem to let it bother them too much. That was one casualty.
46) Linked to the Claridge work there was a young lady worker named Peggy Porrill. The little I knew of her showed that she was a lovely person. When Erlo brought in the doctrine of confession of sin, it became the main thrust, and was pushed and preached at every turn. Mr. Engelbrecht also took it over. This preaching caused tremendous pressure on the people. Peggy just could not take it and she committed suicide by lying on the railway line. Can one imagine the anguish of soul that drove her to act like that.
This jolted Mr. Engelbrecht, who went to Erlo to inquire of the Lord. He came back and told us that the Lord said he must not be too grieved about it, as she was only another casualty of the war.
47) Another thing that was strange, in the beginning, was how they would delight themselves when they could shut up some of their critics. They would say ” simvalele ekopini” i.e. they have canned him like one would can meat, fruit or vegetables.” This was often said despisingly and was all part of a strategy they called ” amasu ka Moya ” i.e. ” the plans of the Spirit.” Many times I noticed that these plans of the Spirit were devious, to say the least. If these strategies worked, it would bring them great delight and they would talk about it for days. Very often they would say ” so and so is a real child and has no understanding.”
They often berated the white Christians and said of them ” Bayizingane” – ” they are children .” I have known times when they would not take them into a close meeting because they would not understand. Erlo ( who himself is a white person ) would say these things about his white counterparts. They would often say that they still needed to be in napkins.
48) Now there was a lady worker there who led the singing in all the meetings. She was a lovely devoted girl by the name of Constance. Now Thofozi, the daughter of Hilda ( who was also known as Mrs Dube or Magasa ) had a dream / vision. In the vision she saw a stranger who was an African man with a light complexion and a scar somewhere on his face. She then was told in the vision that Constance had to marry this man. One day Manfred’s lorry arrived with a load of people and among them was this man whom Thofozi saw in the vision and she then pointed him out to her mother and the other workers. So he was approached and was told that he was to marry Constance,but he said that he had no money for lobola (dowry). They told him that they would look after that and he needed only to obey what the Lord was telling him to do.
Constance of course was alarmed. Firstly, she had no intentions of getting married and secondly she wanted to serve the Lord unhinderedly. Because they insisted and told her that if she didn’t,
she would be opposing the Lord, she consented, because she did not want to go against the Lord.
To me the whole thing was a bit strange. I did not know how to reconcile it with the Scriptures where we are told not to be unequally yoked . Right from the word go it was apparent that this man was not a committed Christian, in fact I don’t think he knew God at all.
Then the inevitable happened. This favoured young man who was given his wife on a platter without himself paying lobola ( as they had paid it for him) started looking at other girls and even courting them. ( He did other things too that made me pick up my ears,)
Because I could not understand this, I went to Erlo to inquire about the whole thing, I asked Erlo whether Boyi ( that was his name) was a Christian. Like usual he answered me with a question. ” Why are you asking ?” So I told him that this man does not behave like a Christian. He then wangled out of the whole situation by not giving me a straightforward answer and I did not want to cause a scene so I left it. The marriage was soon on the rocks with Constance dissillusioned and ostracised by the leadership.
49) Then I noticed that they were snubbing me and left me out of things. They would not take me along to meetings. E.g. Friedel came to me one day and said that Erlo was going to Uncle Ewald’s farm in Kranskop and he would only come back late.As he was telling me this the Lord said to me ,” They are lying ,they are going to Umlazi for a meeting and they don’t want you to go with them.” I went to Gertrud and told her what Friedel had said and what the Lord said. She became alarmed and warned me not to accuse them of lying.I then told her just to wait for the truth which will come out. The next morning I saw Immanuel ( who was at that stage Erlo’s chauffeur ) and asked him ” Ibinjani inkonzo Emlazi?” He replied ” Ibivutha”. ( How was the service at Umlazi? It was an ” on fire ” service. So I asked him whether they had gone passed uncle Ewald’s farm in Kranskop and the answer of course was ” no”. They went straight to Umlazi.
This was not the only time they lied. One of the workers used to say, ” Baqambamanga aluhlaza” i.e.” they tell blatant lies “. I experienced this a few times. No wonder they took the excuse that even Samuel hid behind a sacrifice to escape Saul’s wrath. Of course Samuel never told a lie , he was to offer the sacrifice, but they tell lies.
50) Then there came the vision of the hospital for sick people. Not an ordinary hospital, but one where they could pray for the sick and counsel the people in need. The Lord showed them in a dream the exact spot at Maphumulo where the hospital was going to be built. It was where Imanuel’s cottage was and close to the cottage was this little orange tree and that was where the hospital was to be built.
51) Maphumulo was at the time in an African area and white people could only live there with permission from Pretoria. A white could not buy or own property if it was not sanctioned by the government. So Erlo had to apply for permission to build there. The request as turned down. When I spoke to Erlo about it, he told me that it would definitely be built at Maphumulo. because God had shown them that, and nothing man could do would change it. But when they eventually built their institution it was miles away on a farm in the Kranskop area.
They never gave an explanation why the Lord changed His mind, neither did they admit that they had made a mistake. They still do similar things if, what I am told by others is true. Now the Bible says the prophet who prophesies something and it does not come about is a false prophet and not sent by God.
52) The amazing thing was that I never accused them of anything. I just asked questions, so that I could get clarity. As I write these things. I can now see much clearer than I could at that time. I was under tremendous pressure. Not so much by the events just described (they were a puzzle to me,) but rather by their attitudes. They could never face enquires, they hated it. As long as you fell in line without asking questions you would be welcomed and used.
53) The Lord has since shown me that anybody who is not prepared to be questioned has a lot to hide and is not walking in the light. Paul says we should always be ready to give an account for what we believe and what we stand for i.e. the hope in us.
54) Erlo had totalitarian authority and it was not thrust on Erlo by the people. He demanded total obedience.
I remember a day when he came to Friedel and told him to do something he totally disagreed with. Friedel was incensed and showed his strong disagreement, but Erlo just demanded it to be done. In spite of what he felt Friedel did what he was told to do.
The way we saw Friedel is that he became totally subjected to Erlo and Hilda. So when others did not understand or were told to do something, which they did not agree with, he used to say to them “just bow”, using the German expression ” beuge dich” In other words, submit and obey even if you thought it was the wrong thing to do ( even if you felt it was violating your conscience.) They claimed to know what God wanted and one had to obey regardless, otherwise they could not walk with one.
55) This is where they take control of other people’s minds. I believe it stems from the fact that Erlo believes that God speaks to him through Hilda and those orders are to be obeyed at all costs., and his followers too have to obey what he believes is from God. One dare not think, only obey. Where does personal responsibility and accountability come in?
The Bible exhorts us to be of a sound mind and it is the enemy of our souls who would want to rob us of our minds. The Holy Spirit enlightens our minds and He does not cloud it.
In the situation described one had to subject ones mind to them, full stop! If you did not you could not be part of their work. How they will answer the Lord one day and what they will say to him are prospects too awful to contemplate. We dare not enslave God’s people to ourselves or to some of our own perceptions.
56) a) We have God’s Word with it’s precious promises.
b)We who are his children have the Holy Spirit who is able to lead us into all the truth, Jesus promised that!
c)Each one is personally accountable to God for what he has done and believed.
d)No one will be able to pass the buck and say,”Erlo misled me”. This is a sobering thought.
e)We must be committed to love the truth 1 Thess. 2 v 19.
f) Each one must be betrothed to Christ, individually and corporately. We need to walk humbly before Him and allow Him to guide us. He does it through His Word, which the Holy Spirit enlightens for us and who also speaks into our intuition.
57) Things were becoming very difficult for us. We were cut off as if we were the greatest enemies. We had no income and looked to the Lord to supply our needs, but He also allowed us to go through some trials. When we had no food we sent our children to school with dry bread. They travelled together in the same bus as the other Maphumulo children ( i.e. Friedel’s and others ) who had as much food in their lunch boxes as they wished. But God graciously carried us through.
58) The experiences I had been through with Mr. Engelbrecht caused me to cope with the situation better than Gertrud did. She used to experience such chest pains that she thought she was going to die, in fact she thought what she went through with Mr. Engelbrecht was child’s play compared to this. These people were after all her first cousins. The approaches I made to try and resolve these matters were rebuffed and I did not get anywhere. In fact they not only cut us off but went out of their way to humiliate us
59) Once when I went to Erlo to speak to him, and to the best of my knowledge I wanted only to clear things, he got so angry that his neck swelled up and he turned red with anger. He probably realised that he could not hit me like he beat up another woman in his rage, so he got up and walked out, leaving me sitting there wondering what I should do. After a while I also walked out. Similar things happened when I tried to talk to his lady friends. I would go to them timid and trembling, hoping they would accept me. I would knock on their door, they would open just far enough to poke their face’s out and say, ” Ufunani?” ( want do you want?)” I have come to talk to you,” I would say. But the door was slammed im my face with the words,” We haven’t got time”, this happened a few times.
60) We were living in an old wood and iron house that was at the back of Friedel’s house. In fact, there was a door that opened up into Friedel’s new house. So one could say it was nearly like one home, except that the main exit and entrance of this house was onto a side lawn. They made us terribly unwelcome, except the little kids, Estelle and Rene. Their attitude towards us was wonderful and definitely made life a little easier, God bless them!
As I said , they were making it very difficult for us.I remember the day when we were invited to have dinner with them. They had other guests too and so we were told that they would call us when things were ready.Somehow this gave one a little hope that they might be changing their attitude. When eventually we were called, all the others had eaten and were sitting with their chairs against the wall, while we had to eat by ourselves at the table. I still marvel how we could just do it without rebelling and telling them to stick their food.It just showed that we were not fighting.They were the ones that were fighting.
61) I remember the day I walked into Friedel’s dining room, whilst he was on the phone to Uncle Roy Cope. He had a disagreement with him over some issue,but he managed to keep his cool. When he put the receiver down, he exploded, and then he suddenly noticed me and he realised that he had been overheard. They could get very cross, but he didn’t seem to see that his attitude was very bad, he quickly played down the whole thing.
The worst thing was that they would never inform one what the problem was, but kept on giving me dreams from Thofozi, that were, to say the least bizarre and weird. When I went to Erlo with them to ask him to help me understand the dream he would say that it showed what darkness I was in and that I couldn’t understand the dreams, or what God was telling me through them.
62) I also remember, after trying to resolve the issue concerning their attitude towards me with Erlo and his African ladies that I suggested he call a meeting of all the white and black brethren where he could inform everyone what he had against me and I would have the opportunity to tell them the difficulties that I had. I saw him tremble, and he did not respond, Instead he quickly and secretly organised an all African meeting at Kingscliffe., away from Maphumulo, where he denounced me to the people and said that Nathaniel Ximba and I were snakes and that we would kill ourselves as Fanuel did. This meeting he called our funeral, where they buried us. One could perhaps ask the question: who were the snakes? The people who secretly and behind ones back ran people down, or the ones who were prepared to confront and fix things up? They cowardly and underhandedly tried to assassinate ones character. They have done the same with some of the people who have left recently.
63) It was expected of us to write down all the dreams we had and give them to Erlo. He would look at them and then file them in a filing cabinet, in case they should have a bearing on someone or something in the present or future.
64) It was at this time, when they began to put pressure on me, that I had an amazing dream. I don’t normally lay much store by dreams. However, the Lord often warned me when some tricky and difficult situation was coming , by making me dream of snakes, and invariably they proved correct. I believe this God did in His mercy and grace to help me. This dream was more than just a warning as it described details . I dreamt that I was in Soviet Russia doing forced labour. I saw myself cleaning and polishing the black steps of a huge government building. I was troubled in my spirit and wondered how I landed in communist Russia and I felt a deep longing to get out of the situation. In my dream I also saw Erwin Freese walking past and I could see that he too was unhappy and downcast, but he had a cushier job than I had. He was doing secretarial work.
Then the scene changed and I saw myself boarding a large Russian plane, which was meant to take us out of the country. With me there were a lot of people who were in different groups all whispering and being very careful not to be overheard, lest they got into trouble for it seemed there would be some change in government
( or something like that.)
It was bitterly cold and the people had big overcoats on, others had eiderdowns and blankets wrapped around them to try and keep warm. In the doorway of the plane I saw Bodo Stegen and he said,” One thing one must grant the Russians, they do have movie films in their planes.” I thought to myself, I wish he would keep quiet, just now these Russians will keep us here and not fly us out of the country. There was also a woman there, who I thought might be a Niebuhr,or somebody similar, She talked a lot, which also made me apprehensive. The plane didn’t take off and I woke up.
65) At first the whole thing was just a dream to me,but because it was so vivid and we were told to write down our dreams and hand them in to Erlo, I did exactly that. During that afternoon I bumped into Erlo, and he called out to me, ” That dream of yours, kunendaba.”, ( there is substance to it ) Bodo has already confessed his side “
I dwelt on the dream and prayed about it. Since dreams lend themselves to gross misinterpretations, I wanted the Lord to show what it meant, and what the dream was saying if anything at all. As the day progressed I suddenly remembered something in the dream that I had inadvertently left out when I wrote it down.When I was asking the question: How did I land into this situation? A voice from far away faintly said,” Something went wrong at the border, there was a mix – up at the border,”
66) This gave me the key to understand the first part of the dream. In fact, I then knew the dream was of the Lord, and without them having the key to understand it, they would be open to interpret it incorrectly.
They would now turn the whole meaning around to reflect against me and not see themselves in it. The mix – up at the border was when they asked me to come and join them. I was uncertain about joining them, but because of pressure from them and Gertrud I went.
Why did I not write the key down? I can only think that the Lord took it from me at the time so that they would not have it.
67) At first I could hardly it, that the Lord would compare them with Soviet Russia,but the dream described the situation well. I was locked into a system where I worked for a totalitarian rulership. I was doing menial work digging and levelling with pick and shovel at Hilda’s house. I also did a little bit of plumbing and led water by gravity to her house. There were other odds and ends I did as well. I had determined to do everything joyfully as unto the Lord, but even that did not relieve one from all the pressures. Erwin Freese was also totally muzzled and isolated and put under pressure, so that he became disillusioned and frustrated. He soon afterwards left the work .
68) So we knew that we would not be able to stay there indefinitely. We earnestly prayed for guidance as we did not want to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. We wanted to be sure that this time we were doing the right thing but there was no mistaking the meaning of the dream, the only thing we had to know was that it came from the Lord. Our prayer was ” Lord if this dream is of you, then please take us back to the border. The border of course was where I had left off when I worked in timber plantations to earn a living. Humanly speaking this seemed impossible as I had no equipment and no money.The company I owned E & G
Redinger (Pty.) Ltd. had approximately R400 in the bank and owed approx. R 1200. Whilst at Maphumulo I did not take company money for my personal needs as I felt it belonged to the creditors. In todays terms this is not much money,but back in 1969 one could buy a good secondhand pick – up for R 500.
I thought I had to at least from my side also try to get back to the border, so I approached agents to try to buy a truck on lease from them. Naturally they were keen, but who can sell an expensive truck to a pauper? When I did not know which way to turn, I heard from someone that this man who bought my equipment was selling it again. I approached him and told him that I had no money, but I would love to buy my equipment back. He said to me ” Erwin, I trust you. Take the truck with the crane, the tractor with the winch and the chainsaw for R 3000 and pay me when you can.” So we were back at the border.
69) It was at this time that my brother Egon repeatedly phoned us to come to Harding, where he lived. We had at first not told him about our situation because we had no close relationship with him,so we were amazed that he should contact us in this way. So we asked the Lord to confirm it. Among other words we received Gertrud felt the Lord was telling her that ” The place where you are going to, you will find food, clothing and friends.”These were the very things we were lacking. When we got to Harding we were immediately befriended by all the missionaries in the area. Egon brought us groceries and vegetables. The missionaries brought us clothing that came from Sweden which they only gave to us because they believed the Lord told them. So we had our friends ,clothing and food., and were amazed that the Lord should literally fulfil His word to us, and so confirm His word to us that we were in His will.
70) But what about the second part of the dream? The Russian plane that did not take off? Surely if the first part was of God then the second part must also be of Him. At first I could not make sense of it; but it all made sense six years later
71) After I left they realised that I could do them a lot of harm so they tried to come and manipulate me.They always use tactics to try and overpower one. They would come in numbers to tackle one individual alone, or maybe with his wife. That is how cowardly they were. Nonetheless I welcomed them provided they brought Erlo with them. I did not want them to even bother to come by themselves.
However when they did arrive Erlo was not with them and they had appointed dear Trevor Dahl as their opening spokesman. So after Trevor spoke for a while I realised that they had fed him all he had to say. I knew their strategy so I interrupted Trevor .and said, ” Where were you when Hilda and Helen did this? And where were you when they said this ? Where were you when Erlo said this? ” I mentioned the things in more detail and told him to ask Hilda and Helen who were present. Trevor was stumped and could not carry on
with their strategy. When Hilda saw that she was being exposed she asked to speak to Gertrud and me alone. So we went to the bedroom where she asked for forgiveness and apologised for what they did. I believe we missed our opportunity there. We should have insisted on her repeating what she had told us in the room, but because we were not fighting, we let it slip.We told them to come back with Erlo otherwise this matter could not be resolved.
72) When Erlo arrived a few days later he was alone. Offcourse he would not come to be exposed before his people who just about worshipped him. We told him that we were disappointed but felt we needed to speak to him. One of the matters involved my brother Egon and my Dad. After we had a meal together and he was about to leave, he asked me not to involve Egon. He put it this way,” Let us not involve Egon and let us leave him out of it.” I consented as I felt myself not to unduly burden Egon who had recently lost his wife tragically.
A couple of weeks later I went to a cattle sale and took Egon with me. Over a cup of tea in the Richmond tea- room, he suddenly said,” Erwin, what you said to Erlo was not true.” Surprised I asked, ” What did I say to Erlo? ” He then told me “, and I asked him where he got that from. Then he told me that Erlo came straight from my home to him. I could not believe it. Not only did he default on our agreement to leave Egon out of it, but he actually twisted the whole thing and lied about it. That put the tin cap on for me and I realised that they were still as devious and deceitful as ever.
73) What they did not realise is that as disturbed as I was over the whole thing, I was not out to blacken them and work against them.
Whilst I was still at Maphumulo and under terrible pressure I felt I had to share this burden with someone I trusted. So I went to a Mr. William Duma who pastored a Baptist Church in Umgeni Road, Durban. He was a man of God whom I highly respected and loved. He was and still is respected by thousands who knew him. ( He has since passed on to be with the Lord.) He had an amazing ministry, being used of God in preaching, healing, deliverance and counselling.
When I arrived at his home, he like usual received me warmly. When I shared with him some of my experiences , I made very sure that he understood that I was not trying to run Erlo and his team down, but was only wanting his advice in the situation. He listened patiently until I was finished an his remarks were ” That is hate! That is hate! Thula du! Thula du! Thula du! Shiyela ku Nkulunkulu ” Keep dead quiet and leave it to God.”) We then had tea together.
74) I really believe that was a word from the Lord to me for that time, but I was hurting so much that I did share it sometimes with some people. However , I felt that I failed the Lord in this and wanted to confess my failure not only to God but to man also. I went back to brother Duma and told him that I had sinned in not keeping dead quiet.
75) Years have passed and we have said very little about all that happened there, but I believe the time has come for sorting out. God is still in control and will act for His glory.
76) I would like to go back to the second part of the dream. Many people pulled away from what today is called Kwasizabantu Mission, but in those days they still spoke of it as the Claridge or Maphumulo work. The reader might have taken note of the fact that I was bringing out my side of the story and this could lead one to believe that I was the only one who left at that time, but this was not so, many left at the same time. It was not an organised leaving, but each one left on his own accord, because of what they saw was going on there. It is wonderful that I can report that most of those who left are still serving the Lord. Each of them have their own story to tell. I have heard a lot of what they experienced and it is in most instances similar to what I experienced. This confirms that they are not as right as they make themselves out to be. They wrote us off, but thanks be to God who carried us and brought us to where we are today.
77) The knowledge of this split became a cause for concern to some of the leading figures in the Church, so that Loren Cunningham and other leaders organised a series of meetings to be held at Claridge to resolve the differences and to try and bring about reconciliation. I had nothing to do with organising these meetings. I was invited to attend just like all the others that had left. Uncle Gerhard Engelbrecht was one who organised the meeting and from what we gathered K.S.B. was not too happy about them but they did attend. The leaders who came to the meetings to arbitrate were Loren Cunningham, Don Stevens, Ian Muir, Jacques Theron, Joy Dawson and they had asked Ed. Roebert to come, but for some reason he did not arrive.
78) The people were asked not to meet the opposite side to try and resolve some of the issues until the arbitrators had dealt with different aspects of how reconciliation could be brought about and how conflict could be resolved. As the meetings progressed, I noticed that people would gather in little groups and talk very softly and as one approached there would be a deadly silence. This was a common scene, but it still did not dawn on me what was happening. It was exactly like those around the aeroplane in the dream.
Then one evening, whilst sitting in the meeting, I looked around the chapel and saw that the people were wearing big overcoats, eiderdowns and blankets were being wrapped around them to try and keep warm because it was bitterly cold. I suddenly realised that this was my dream that was being fulfilled. This was the plane that was supposedly going to take the people out of Soviet Russia. I said to Gertrud loudly: ” Look! Can’t you see? This is my dream.” Then she saw it and was amazed. The question was, where was Bodo? In the dream he had spoken about the Russians having movie films and that is what Loren Cunningham was saying.” One thing one cannot deny that there are trances in the Bible.” He was trying to say that trances were not unbiblical and should not necessarily be suspect. It was at this point that I interrupted him, and said ” Please Loren, in the Bible when people went into a trance they knew what they had heard, seen and said, but in the trance under discussion she does not know what she has seen, heard or said. ” Before Loren could continue, a lady who had gone to K.S.B. for counselling and who was sitting in the front seat of the chapel, shot up, turned around and faced the congregation ” Oh “, she said, ” I know those trances, I have just come out of that, it is spiritism.”
79) After that little episode Loren didn’t seem to have too much to say and handed the next meeting over to Joy Dawson., who just praised Erlo to the extreme. Be sure, some of the things Joy said have been fulfilled. Erlo has become internationally known and the work has grown very big ( at least so it seems ). So this was the Niebuhr lady who spoke quite a lot and who caused me some apprehension in my dream. When we came out of the meeting uncle Gerhard was weeping and said,” Everything that might have been achieved Joy Dawson has destroyed..” Exactly as it was in the dream the plane never took off. This took place approximately 6 years after I had the dream. Remember the first part was immediately applicable but the other part was only now fulfilled.
80) It was amazing how accurately the dream was, even to the details. But God who has pulled out the rug from under the Soviet Union, can deal with this situation also.
81) I haven’t written it all down, especially, when it came to the beginnings of Claridge I said very little, but when it came to the beginnings of K.S.B. I have given a little more detail. To write it all in detail would probably make more than one sizeable book. When it comes to the experiences of others who left K.S.B., I have deliberately left that out, because I do not want to state other peoples cases, and maybe build on hearsay. However I did make an exception when it came to Erwin Freese because I witnessed those things.
Since then, many of their workers have left and each one, I am sure, could tell experiences of their own, and it will not be surprising if they do, as I believe God is doing that which they said about Anton Engelbrecht in the beginning,” Whatever he has said in the dark shall be heard in the light and what he has whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the house tops.” Luke 12 v. 3. Perhaps that will contribute to clearing things up and putting them right.
82) My prayer is, that if there is not radical repentance and acknowledgment of their errors, that the Lord should pull the rug from under them. Even at the gathering at Claridge I had an opportunity to talk to Erlo for a few minutes. There was no repentance there neither a willingness to listen. I cannot describe his attitude,whether it was because of the pressure on him, because of the goings on at the meetings, or whether it was just a deliberate unwillingness to listen to what one had to say. Now let it be said in the open and let all the Christians hear it and judge for themselves.
83) I believe there are many sincere people there, that are committed and well – meaning but who are being misled. Many of them, don’t know and do not have the assurance of salvation, because their salvation depends on their confession of sins. They are constantly being accused by the accuser of the brethren. He tells them all the time that they need to confess, confess confess,confess. How can one have the assurance of salvation if one listens to the voice of the accuser,
One of their own sons ( an adult ) was asked , ” Are you born again? ” His answer was ” I do not know what you mean, I have confessed my sins “. You see salvation depends on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work . Victory over sin comes through faith. ” This is the victory that overcomes the world – our faith”.I John 5 v. 4.Confession of sins is essential and is an outcome of a close walk with God. Nobody that loves the Lord would want to sit with unconfessed sins in his life but one has to have confidence in Christ , and as
John wrote ” W e shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him, in whatever our heart condemns us ; for God is greater than our hearts, and knows all things. ” I John 3 v. 19 20. Our God is a great God, He is greater than all our shortcomings and it is the faith in Him that will carry us through to love our brethren in word, in deed and in truth.
May the Lord bless you and be gracious to you.
Your brother in Christ,
P.O. Box 40085