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South Africa

Trees to life


In March 2016 we held an Executive Intensive training in Paarl, a town about an hour from Cape Town. During the Place discussion our hosts, Danny and Garitha de Wit, walked us around the property. As our group came to the front of the house Danny lamented that a large oak tree, hundreds of years old, had to come down since it was diseased.

The Intensive participants decided we should pray for the tree. Some laid hands on it, others knelt, picked up the dirt and spoke life to it. Then we continued the Intensive.

About a week ago we received an email from one of the participants, Emile, who works at the venue/farm.

Hi Everyone,

Trust you are all well! I thought I should share these photos of the tree we prayed for during the rēp intensive – so amazing to see how it had the first leaves of all the trees on the farm a couple of weeks ago.

Tommy also noticed it earlier this week and reminded me of its significance!

Have a great weekend,






Calling all Capeys! We are getting rapidly scheduled up with over 30 fellow Cape Town residents who have been mentioned in Brett Johnson’s book, X-Ordinary: The miracle  of ordinary people in God’s business …

… Also known as the X-Ordinary Vagabond’s raison d’etre for the next few months.

We have, over time, discovered that only 20% of South Africans open their email. If you do not know if you are mentioned in the book, check your email for a communication! 

  • If you have not received an email, or
  • Not sure if you are in the book, but believe you should be, and
  • Have a great story of God working through business, or
  • Are in need of prayer, or
  • Want to feed, play with, I mean pray with or otherwise occupy the X-Ordinary Vagabond’s time at a local hotspot and can pass a criminal record check, then…

… Book yourself onto my public calendar! Open from now until 4/2 until further notice. I will also be reaching out shortly to the many of you recently met to catch up and have some rooibos tea – I haven’t forgotten!

Upcoming visits:

  • TENTATIVE 3/20-3/21 Friday- Saturday: The Strand,
  • 3/23 Monday: Beulah Lodge, Pinelands
  • 3/24-3/25 Tuesday + Wednesday: Southern Suburbs
  • 3/26 Thursday: Somerset West + The Strand
  • 3/27 Friday: Beulah Lodge, Pinelands


 Having grown up hiking the streams and hills of California, I never thought of myself as some sunshine-deprived “city girl”. Surely not, as a card-carrying REI member! Never mind that survival gear shopped for include the thickest possible sleeping mats and Packtowl travel bathrobes – which happen to also double as essentials of the X-Ordinary Vagabond lifestyle. I considered myself well equipped for living in rustic wilderness, just roll me and my Tumi suitcase towards the rugged path of nature.
Little was I prepared, when suddenly whisked away from Beulah Lodge and my daily scrumptious English breakfasts (X-Ordinary Vagabond-in-style), to visit Rep’s next South Africa Venture location: Beloftebos, a Garden of Eden nestled within the rambling countryside of Stanford. Just a two hour journey along stunning coastline away from the bustling neighborhoods of Cape Town. After the half hour drive down gravelly country roads, the insubstantial of city life passes away and one encounters an evocative land so robust in its nature, the difference can be tasted.farmhouse
To my chagrin, I discovered that urban dwelling with its efficient distribution of produced goods has deprived me of delectable delights that simply had never tasted so… real before. Upon arrival at our cottage, a lavishly furnished 4-bedroom house dressed in farmland shabby chic, we sat down to an unexpected gifting: A cream-topped carafe glistening chilled. “Freshly squeezed”, I came to one of those existential ponderings – Can one have truly lived life without ever having tasted real milk before?
With acres and acres of wheatfields, grazing cows and napping sheep as far as the eye can see, Beloftebos is a working farm that also shelters an exquisite fairytale woodland for weddings that only nature and imagination can conceive.  Only after talking with the understated owners, Andries and Coias de Villiers does one uncover the loving hands and romance that created a venue that is now renown as one of the top wedding locations in South Africa.
Beloftebos, which means “Vows in the Forest,” was inspired long before Andries and Coia’s own matrimonial exchange beneath the ancient oak trees on the property. Originally planted 130 years ago by an ancestral uncle in remembrance of his farm-founder parents, Andries and Coia are but the newest addition to a long heritage of love and family that has cultivated this wilderness into pasturelands for five generations of de Villiers. Andries traces his faith heritage as far back as the French Huguenots, who, as refugees from religious persecution, arrived on South African soil to start a new life.
We took a drive through winding hills to search out individual cottage gems hiding at the end of rustic dirt paths. It was here I realized that a common misperception by those of us less bucolicly-oriented, is that simple farm life is a form of rudimentary suffering. Instead, in each cottage we visited, I found depth and meaning behind every handmade piece of furniture. From carefully crafted architecture of naturally exposed woodbeams to feather-fluffy duvets covering kid-dream attic loftbeds, the touches of comfort and simple luxuries of rich butter and country bread and anachronistic iron stoves made me second-guess every Pottery Barn purchase I’d ever made.
I cannot put it into words, the magic of Beloftebos. Perhaps the fellowship of farmers here, in their silent, serious ways attest to a distinct awareness and respect for something primally spiritual in the environment. Life is simply, more Real here. The raw beauty of the lands, the friendly warmth of a tottering red calf sucking on your fingers, the disturbingly layered aromas of fragrant fresh butter, the husky branches of heather gathered in bouquets still shimmering with morning dew – Beloftebos evokes in your heart a deep communion with land, love and covenant. One understands instinctually, that the sacred Presence of God rests here and blesses Beloftebos, the forest where eternal vows are made.