to my father
ABRAHAM LIPA KOHN (1907 - 1992)
He was born in a ghetto (Jewish township) in Warsaw, Poland as the eldest son of ultra-orthodox Jewish parents. He was to become a Rabbi (a Jewish religious leader), but was forced by circumstances to learn a trade to earn his keep. He became interested in the atheist trade unions and lost his faith in God. But there was a deep hunger in his spirit...
Out of curiosity he attended meetings held by Anglican missionaries
and for the first time heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He obtained a
New Testament, started studying the Messianic prophesies in the Jewish
Scriptures ("Old Testament") and their possible fulfillment by Jesus of
After two years he came to the conclusion that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah of Israel. He accepted him as his personal Saviour and Lord and was baptized on 27 May 1928, at the age of 21. He immediately had to leave his home and loved ones - the price a Jew who believed in Jesus usually had to pay.
He attended a Lutheran Bible College in Danzig (Gdansk) and trained as a missionary with the intention of going back to Warsaw to share the Good News about Messiah Jesus with his own people, BUT GOD had other and better plans...
In 1934 he was called by the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) of South Africa as missionary amongst the Jews in the Free State. In 1935 he was ordained in Bloemfontein as minister of the DRC. Within six months he was preaching in Afrikaans using notes in German written in Hebrew letters. Although he was aware of the Lord's calling upon his life my father still found it very difficult to preach. He fasted and prayed for a special touch of the Lord and in November 1936 he had a wonderful encounter with God - an infilling or baptism with the Holy Spirit. He was changed from a "dry brother" (as he was called at Bible College) to an incredibly anointed, tireless preacher.
His main theme was the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that God has not finished with Israel (i.e. the Church has not replaced Israel) - the message of this design.
My father was now 30 years old and very lonely. He prayed for a wife and in December 1937 was led to Bushmans River Mouth (near Port Elizabeth) where he met my mother. God proved to be the perfect "match -maker" and one year later, on 10 December 1938, my father married his "Letchen", his lifelong partner.
During World War II my father served in Egypt as chaplain in the SA
Defence Force. Because he had left Poland in time, he escaped the holocaust.
The only other survivor in his family was a step-cousin, Victor Buksbazen,
who also accepted Jesus as Saviour and left Poland for the UK. The rest
of his family perished.
After the war my father served in several Coloured DRC congregations and was much loved, because he was never involved in politics. He, like Rabbi Sha'ul (St. Paul), preached CHRIST and treated all people as equal before God.
In 1952 he again accepted the call to do missionary work amongst the Jews. This time in the Cape Province.
From 1961 he served as missionary in the Coloured DRC congregation of De Aar until his retirement in 1972.
During their retirement my parents lived at Boknes, near Bushmans River Mouth, in their house called Mattanja (Gift from God ) and my father continued to preach whenever there was an opportunity.
Two weeks before his death, at the age of 84, he officiated at the wedding of his granddaughter Jeanne in Bloemfontein - the place where he started his ministry in SA 58 years before...
to my mother
ALET VAN ZYL (1914 - 1996)
She came from a large Afrikaans family and gave her heart to the Lord when she was 13. She was raised in the Karoo, trained as a teacher in Grahamstown and was teaching in Port Elizabeth when she met my dad. When he told her that the Lord had chosen her to be his wife, she prayed about it and accepted it as Gods will for her life. She married my Jewish father in 1938, a year before the outbreak of World War II - a particularly critical time for all Jewish people.
She deeply loved and faithfully supported her beloved "Pappa" in all his activities. Often alone, because my father as missionary to the Jews in the Cape Province was frequently away for long periods, she helped to raise 6 children, while teaching to earn extra money for the household and the children's tertiary education.
My mother served the Lord with all her heart, mind and strength until she died in her sleep on 18 September 1996. She was buried next to my father at Bushmans River Mouth where they had met almost 60 years before- the perfect end to a play acted out on earth, but written in Heaven! Their epitaph reads:
to my brothers and sisters
IMMANUEL (1940 - )
BAILA SHALOMA (Born 14 Aug. 1945, the day when piece, shalom, was declared after World War II, - died 1993)
ZACHARIAS JOHANNES (1947 - )
ABRAHAM LIPA (1948 - 1985)
PAULINE BLÜMA (1950 - )
To a greater or lesser extent, we suffered under the yoke of anti-Semitism and apartheid as the children of a Jewish missionary during a period in the history of our country when many laws and practices were not acceptable ("kosher") in the eyes of God,
to my husband JAN
who was the first to see the design, immediately grasped the meaning and encouraged me to "go for it",
and last, but not least, to
JESUS, MY REDEEMER, NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES
Through the Holy Spirit, He gave me this design for the extension of His Kingdom and to glorify our Father in Heaven.