Revive Our Hearts Podcast

— Audio Player —

For Such a Time as This in South Africa

Leslie Basham: Retha de Villiers has a passion for seeing God work at such a time as this.

Retha de Villiers: When I think about the excitement of it and see what the Lord does in places like the Dominican Republic and now in America, I'm really excited to think that the Lord can do it in South Africa. I look forward to seeing what He's going to do.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Wednesday, December 2, 2015.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: What time is it? Well, for the last two days we've been addressing that question on Revive Our Hearts. You look around the world and things may seem very bleak. But, as children of God, we have a powerful reason for hope. This week we've been encouraging you to ask the Lord, "What would You have me do for such a time as this?"

A dear friend of our ministry named Retha has been asking that as well. For many years Retha has carried a burden for women in South Africa to know God's Word, to embrace God's calling and His design for their lives, and to see God visit that country in true revival.

At times Retha has felt alone with that burden. But instead of losing hope, she asked God what He would have her do for such a time as this. And then once she got the answer, the challenge was would she say, "Yes, Lord." We'll hear Retha's story today.

Now, imagine you were traveling to another country. And you sensed that God wanted to speak through you in that country, in a language that wasn't your mother-tongue, and you had no idea how. It sounds pretty daunting to me. Well, Retha knows what that's like, as we're about to hear. Let's listen.

Leslie: For the last couple decades, Retha de Villiers has been driven by a passion for women to teach other women God's Word.

Retha: I think it's really necessary for women to be teaching women.

Leslie: That passion has led Retha to launch many ministries in Praetoria, South Africa, where she lives.

Retha: I'm involved in a Bible study group that has met in my home now for twenty-five years. And now, I'm more busy with leading women's camps. I think you call them retreats. I've been a part of a team that works with pastors' wives with conferences for pastors and their wives. I'm involved in that, and I also to do the part for the pastors' wives.

Leslie: While leading a Bible study over twenty-five years, Retha has seen how God's Word leads to genuine growth.

Retha: You can really see how things change in their marriages, change in their behavior towards others, change in their behavior to their in-laws. It's while women come together and teach each other that you see the practical things that are in the Bible. You don't just read it in the Bible, but you see that here is someone else who does it. You can see the difference it makes in their lives. Then you start doing the same. I think women teaching each other always helps it to be practical.

When I started the Bible study group twenty-five years ago, there were a few things that came together with our children, because it wasn't a place where we could do Bible study and bring our children along. Over the years, it developed in a sense that we tried to help each other learn about the Bible but also how to live life.

Sometimes for a week we don't do Bible study. We get one of the older ladies in the congregation, and we ask her to come and share with us things that she has learned. Sometimes when the kids can be with us, we bring our kids with us, and we want to help each other. I think a lot of the people go through suffering. In those times we're just there for each other. But our focus is always Bible study.

Leslie: But over these twenty-five years, ministry has had its ups and its downs. Teaching other women has been challenging, because Retha has often felt alone. Through His Word, God has shown Retha how beautiful biblical manhood and womanhood is. But among churches she tries to work with, this idea doesn't get much support.

Retha: In the churches I know in South Africa and the churches we work with, I don't think we have an understanding of biblical womanhood. It is not something that's preached or talked about.

Leslie: But Retha knows she needs support and accountability. She doesn't want to be working all on her own.

Retha: I always feel when I go to speak at a place or do a women's retreat that I haven't got the covering anymore. When I was in our church in the leadership, the church gave me the covering. And now, I'm always afraid I haven't the covering. And that's the one thing I really prayed to the Lord about, "Just give me a body, a covering body that I can work underneath."

Leslie: And here is how God is answering that prayer, supporting Retha as she teaches other women. Retha heard about True Woman '14 in Indianapolis. Her husband sent her as a thank-you gift for investing in their children for so many years. She'd celebrate the new empty nest by visiting this conference in the U.S.

As she prepared to attend, she felt the Lord putting two things on her heart. First, she would deliver a message. Second, she needed to brush up on her English.

Retha: I started practicing English, and I started journaling in English.

Leslie: In fact, Retha was burdened with a specific message to share, even though delivering it in the United States seemed so far-fetched.

Retha: I wrote it down. I practiced that message. Then that one day I received an email and received the Revive Our Hearts team that they wanted to talk to me.

Leslie: The audio/video team at Revive Our Hearts noticed an attendee was coming from South Africa and asked if she'd be open for an interview. This was Retha's opportunity to share that message.

Retha: The Lord is greater than we can think. We think it's impossible, and then He does things like that, and I think it's heard throughout the world. He said He's going to do it, and He did it. So that was great for me.

Leslie: Here's the message Retha shared, referring to a story in 2 Kings. The woman in that story set out as many vessels as she could. Then God multiplied her oil so that it filled all those containers.

Retha: I just felt like the Lord told me that I must get vessels ready. He wanted to pour His oil—the revival—and I need to be ready myself. I need to get ready. But we need all of our women to be ready when revival comes; the leaders must be ready.

Leslie: We aired that clip from Retha last December here on Revive Our Hearts. At that time, we had no idea about all that was going on in Retha's heart leading up to that interview. Imagine the joy Retha felt when she heard herself give that message on Revive Our Hearts, after she had stepped out in faith to deliver it.

While leading up to the True Woman '14 conference, God put a second burden on Retha's heart as well.

Retha: When I come to America, I must "bring back the baton." I couldn't understand what that meant. I talked to my husband. I said to him, "I feel I must bring back a baton. It's quite exciting, but I don't know what it means."

Leslie: Well, at True Woman '14, Retha heard about the new Ambassador program. When Angela Temples from Revive Our Hearts explained the program, she used that same wording.

Retha: I went to the meeting about the Ambassador program. Angela stood there, and she talked about the baton. She said, "The only thing we want to do, we just want to give you the baton of biblical womanhood." That was amazing for me because it was stirred in my heart the whole time, and then suddenly I knew what it meant. Today I know I'm an Ambassador because it isn't something I want to do or choose to do, but it's something I do in obedience.

Leslie: Retha went through a process of becoming a Revive Our Hearts Ambassador. Now she feels like she can be even more effective for such a time as this.

Retha: I love the covering that Revive Our Hearts will give me if I do it as an Ambassador. Now I'm a representative of Revive Our Hearts. When I go to a bookshop and ask for books, I'm not only a reader, or a listener when I go to a radio station. I am now a representative of Revive Our Hearts.

I think one thing about the Ambassador program is that it gives me a platform to work from. I can get people together and say, "Come, let us work through this thing," or "Here's some resources." So I think definitely the Ambassador's program will help me in the future.

I think Revive Our Hearts helps me just to establish things that I already know. It's like having a bigger brother because it's somebody that will live with me. I learn a lot. But I don't think it was something new. It was more like "Thank you, Lord, there's somebody else that thinks like me."

Revive Our Hearts helps me with resources. I can use that to make a difference, and for me personally, it was nice to see there are other people who feel the same about biblical womanhood, because if you talk to other people, they have different opinions. I could find a group that thinks the same as me, and I want to go and spread it in South Africa.

Things go faster than I thought since the previous time I was here. In my personal life, the Lord taught me a lot of things and plans and vision—things that can be done. When I talk to people, and I talk to a lot of people, they get excited for me and with me. I see that the Lord can use a lot of people. There's a lot of people that want to climb in the bus, if I can say that. They wait for me. When I come back, they want the books. They want everything so that they can start working with me.

We are very excited to have the True Woman 101 books. We haven't seen it yet. We've just heard of it. I'm going to take a lot of them back. There's a group of eight women already waiting for me, and we're going to decide on a time and a place, and we're going to start working through that. Then they're going to be leaders for different groups. We just want to see how that's going to work in South Africa. And we're going to take it from there. My dream is to take it to different churches and ask the churches to do it in their women's ministry.

Our Bible study group is doing Seeking Him now for the second time. We thought it was so intense the first time, and we must go deeper now. So we are doing it for the second time. There are other Bible study groups that started in our congregation doing Seeking Him. I think that's another book that I want to ask churches to do to show it to them so that they can be part of the process.

The Scripture that the Lord used the last few months in my life was Isaiah 66:1–2 where it said "This is the one I see. This is the one I esteem. The one that is humble. The one with a broken spirit and the one that trembles at my word." I saw that if the Lord wants to use us as women to change South Africa, we must become women with a humble heart and with broken spirit who really tremble at His Word.

Many years ago somebody gave me a video of Nancy's talk on brokenness at a Campus Crusade meeting. I took that video and transcribed it. I'd stop and I'd write it down, then I'd stop and I'd write it down. That really influenced my life. I handed it out at our Bible study and our cell group at church and everywhere when somebody would talk to me. I'd give it to them. Then for a few years I'd forgotten about it.

Then one day I saw the book Brokenness in a book shop. I remembered her name. I bought the book Brokenness and the series of books, and I worked through that. In the book I saw about the website, so then I started listening to Revive Our Hearts, the programs and reading. I looked at the bookshop and other books I could get from Revive Our Hearts.

Leslie: Retha is excited not only to teach other women, but she also wants to invest in leaders and who will teach other women. And then those women will teach other women. And that's how a movement begins.

Retha: If I think about acceleration of the movement I'm really excited. But I must be honest. There is a little bit of fear also. Sometimes there is a lot of fear when I think, Can I do that? Is it possible? Why would He choose me to do that? But when I think about the excitement of it and see what the Lord does in places like the Dominican Republic and now in America, I'm really excited to think that the Lord can do it in South Africa. I look forward to seeing what He's going to do.

When I talk to women about true womanhood, they are eager to hear more in our area. You see, I'm not sure about the younger women yet, but I'll find that out. I was on a women's retreat, and I was praying that the Lord would show me something that would confirm that He was busy with this process, and that it's not only for our area. It's for the whole country of South Africa.

I went for a walk, and I came across this rock that looked just like the shape of South Africa. The rock was hanging literally between a tree and another rock. It was hanging. I felt that the Lord prompted something in my heart about the women in South Africa who are balancing like this rock is balanced, and that He wanted to do something in the women's hearts and that He wanted to use me for that.

I think it is true for the women in the world. We're balancing between a lot of things. Our thinking of womanhood is challenged every day. The Lord wants to help us to go to the right side. And that's why I think Revive Our Hearts has spread over the world now.

I think that my life mission is to be obedient to the Lord. "What do You want me to do? I will do it. Whenever You want me to do it, I will do it." I can't do what I want and relax. I must be obedient. Like He said, "It's time to work now." I must do it.

Nancy: I'm always so encouraged when I hear from Retha. Here are a few takeaways from the story we just heard.

First, God is calling women to teach and disciple other women for such a time as this. He's doing it in South Africa with Retha and the team that's now coming alongside her. And He's doing it in nations all around the world and right in your community, as well. So would you ask Him how He might want you to get involved in mentoring and training other women who need His truth?

Now, here's another thing I get from this story. God hasn't called us to work alone. We need each other in the body of Christ. We need to encourage each other, challenge each other, and pray for each other.

I'm so glad for the ways that Revive Our Hearts has been able to encourage and equip Retha. That's been possible because of friends like you who have given to underwrite the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. So, we need you to support this ministry so the ministry can support Retha and others like her around the world.

And here's a final take away. I think it's amazing what God can do when we're fully surrendered to Him. He can take what seems impossible and make it actually happen. At Revive Our Hearts we are watching God do something we could never have orchestrated or planned. We've shared with you before how He stirred women's hearts in Latin America and launched the Spanish-language version of Revive Our Hearts.

But now we're frequently hearing from women saying: "We want to help translate Revive Our Hearts into French." "We want to translate it into Portuguese." "We want to help Revive Our Hearts come to Turkey, Iran, China." And we're getting these kinds of requests all the time.

Well, projects like that are way bigger than we are. On our own, we don't have the ability to do all that. We don't have the staff, and we don't have the funding to move forward with these kinds of opportunities. But we do know God will provide all that's needed for everything that He's calling us to do.

Right now we're asking the Lord to provide what's needed to keep our current ministry initiatives going and to move forward on some strategic new initiatives like opening a Revive Our Hearts office in South Africa where Retha is based.

The month of December is a crucial time for decisions like this. That's because 40% or more of the donations that this ministry needs for an entire year come during the month of December. We're asking the Lord to come through in a big way at such a time as this.

Some sweet friends of the ministry are aware of the opportunities that the Lord has opened up. And they want to encourage you to give to help meet those needs. So they've agreed to double each gift—up to a matching challenge amount of $820,000. That's the largest matching challenge that we've had in the history of this ministry. I'm so excited to tell you that here in December, your gift to Revive Our Hearts will be twice as effective. So would you ask the Lord how He would want to have you get involved for such a time as this?

You can call us to make your donation at 1–800–569–5959, or you can visit us online at

And Lord, I just want to thank You at the beginning to December for this amazing matching challenge—$820,000 that's been provided. And I pray that You would move, that You would stir people's hearts to say, "I want to be a part of what God is doing through this ministry around the world." That they would seek You, they would ask You how much You want them to give and then they would participate with joy not under compulsion but gladly, joyfully as You have enabled them. And for what You'll provide in the days ahead, in advance, we want to say "thank You." We're so, so grateful. In Jesus' name, amen.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. Well, you see images of angels splashed all over the place during the holiday season. Are all those images and ideas about angels biblical? Tomorrow, Nancy begins a series to help you understand and appreciate the ministry of angels in the lives of believers. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

Support the Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Darkness. Fear. Uncertainty. Women around the world wake up hopeless every day. You can play a part in bringing them freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness instead. Your gift ensures that we can continue to spread gospel hope! Donate now.

Donate Now

About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.