Exodus to Little Canaan

Our dream started about 20 years ago when we were on holiday in the Western Cape, dreaming of our own little farm with vineyards. Every year when we went to the Cape for a holiday, our desires and dreams for this increased. Because I grew up on a farm, I wanted to have my own piece of land where I could plant fruit trees, grow herbs and vegetables, make pesto’s and have 3 cottages for self-catering purposes. The only thing that was always keeping us back were finances, as we were too young to retire and also couldn’t manage to find jobs in the area.
Three years ago in 2017, I stopped working at the end of August due to the fact that Bernie had excessive work pressures from work and spent very little time at home living a normal life, due to constant problems at the mines. He decided that it wasn’t worth it to live this lifestyle and to rather go on early retirement when he turned 55 in February of 2018.
In the beginning of 2018 we together enrolled at our local church for the Disciple Course that ran for the whole year until November. During this time, we would spend the first hour of the day together, sitting in bed, doing our disciple homework which entailed a lot of reading from the Old as well as New Testaments of the Bible and lots of prayer time. We spent quite a bit of time reading about the Israelites and their exodus out of Egypt, into the wilderness to their eventual arrival in Canaan. We felt that our story related to that journey and we experienced many moments in our lives, where we felt like we were in the wilderness, going round and round in circles, nowhere. We spent about 10 months, repainting and repairing our home and in this time we also scouted around for farms in the Western Cape. Together we came down to the Western Cape during April and Bernie and his friend also came down during the October of 2018, both times to have a look at farms. The areas of preference were Hermanus, Swellendam, Riversdale, etc. Never did we consider Oudtshoorn.
On the 1st of January 2019 we started with a 21 day Daniel Fast where we were earnestly seeking God’s will for our lives and for our dream. At the end of the 21 days, the Word we got was from Matthew 6: 33 where it says: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” We felt that God was saying to us that He will give us our farm, all we had to do was honour Him with our lives. The work around the house was completed and we seriously started to have this yearning to find our little farm. In February Bernie had identified quite a number of farms and we decided to come down to the Cape again to have a look at possible places. We then found a farm called Nature’s Rest halfway between George and Oudtshoorn. We seriously believed that this was the place as it had quite a bit of arable land and existing self-catering units on the farm, ready to just be taken over. We put in an offer on this farm with the condition that our house in Rustenburg sells. The Sunday before we left, we visited the Oudtshoorn Methodist Church, where we volunteered to do the readings in church. The reading that Bernie had to read was from Isaiah 6: 8 which reads as follows: “Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” Immediately Bernie felt a calling on his life for this Community and I was reminded of the Emmaus song with the same theme that says: “… I have heard You calling in the night, I will go Lord, where You lead me, I will hold Your people in my heart.” This song has always had a special place in my heart.
We went back home, very excited and advertised our house with various Estate Agents, believing that our house would sell easily and we would move on to our little Canaan. Our hopes turned into frustrations in the next 10 months as our house did not sell and the farm that we had earmarked as ours, was sold. It was an emotional-roller-coaster-year with lots of ups and just as many downs.
During 2019 we together we enrolled for another Disciple Course with a small group of people. These friends, prayed with us and for us as they journeyed with us in this process of ups and downs. We had a number of offers on our house, but none materialised. It was a tough year spiritually as we had to stand on our faith and believe that God’s favour was on our dreams and plans.
At times we struggled to stay positive and to keep believing that what we had heard from God in the beginning of the year was actually what God had said to us. Maybe we heard what we wanted to hear. At one time a friend of mine said that maybe it wasn’t meant for us and that really hurt us. We felt like Job where all his friends told him that he must have done something wrong and tried to make him doubt His convictions. In the latter part of that year, during one of the low points, when another offer fell through and hardly anyone came to look at the house, we decided to take the house off the market and withdrew it from the real estate agencies, thinking that yes, maybe we had heard wrong, and maybe we had to stay in Rustenburg.
The first week in January 2020 our youngest daughter asked us to babysit the kids the next week as she and her husband had to go back to work but the nursery schools were still closed. We tried to get a place close to them where there would be nice play space for the boys to enjoy. We couldn’t find place anywhere. On the Monday we phoned RCI and then asked them to put our names on the waiting list at Magaliespark in Hartbeespoort, for the second week, starting that Friday. In the 30 years that we have used RCI, we have never been phoned back with a match for our search, but lo and behold, they e-mailed us the next day, saying that they have place for us. We couldn’t believe it and was so happy. We now know that it was all on God’s plan and that His timing is impeccable! We booked in on the Friday. That following Tuesday, we were walking with the kids at Magaliespark Resort when, out of the blue, this young guy recognises us and asked us whether our house has been sold yet. This young guy was Carl, one of the Estate Agents whom we incidentally didn’t phone to remove the house from the market, on holiday the same time as us, same place?! (Perfect timing again!) He had grown a beard in the meantime and we wouldn’t have recognised him at all if he didn’t stop and greet us. (Again God’s on-the-second-timing!) He then asked if he could take a client, coming from Pretoria, to our house the next day. We said sure, as our domestic lady was at home to let them in.
The next afternoon he called us saying that the client wanted to buy our house and that an offer to purchase was already made. These clients, we later discovered, were also Christians and had prayed very specific for the house that they wanted – it had to have four specific trees, a guava, banana, orange and paw-paw tree, on the yard. Not many of those trees would be found growing in one yard in Rustenburg, but God lead them to our house, that met all their requirements!
We accepted the offer, which stipulated that the client wanted to move in on 28 February 2020.
So here we were, our house was now in the process of being sold and we had nowhere to go!
We then used Property 24 to draw up a list of farms that we wanted to have a look at. We checked in in Colesburg on that Sunday night, on our way down to the Western Cape and decided to have a last look at the available properties on the market. Only then did a property which was never on our list, in Oudtshoorn, catch our attention. This farm sparked our interest. We then arranged with the Estate agent to have a look at all the properties, including this new one. On the Tuesday, this was the first farm that we viewed. We loved everything about it and saw lots of potential to fulfil our dream. We decided to have a look at the other 11 possible farms, just to be sure that we don’t miss something. At the end of the week, we came back to this farm, knowing that this was “The One”. We submitted an offer which was accepted by the seller on the same day. We had prayed all along that we would sell our house and buy the farm for more or less the same amount, as we didn’t want to use any of our savings to purchase the farm. Our prayers were answered. We now have sufficient savings to invest in building some cottages and vineyards.
God gave us exactly what we prayed for and guided us through our rather difficult Exodus journey to our Little Canaan and provided in all our needs. We still don’t know what our calling is here in Oudtshoorn but we know that God opened all the doors for us to come here and so we wait expectantly for Him to guide us as to what we should do or get involved in – His plan for our lives.
We now know what God put in our hearts in January 2019 was true and that the whole year was just a test of our faith – to live righteously and honour God – He would come through for us.
Our prayer for the future is that we would continue to honour God with our lives because we know that He will provide for all our needs.
To God be all the glory!
Bernie & Barbara Beets

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