Deborah Kirsten: Mom With A Message

As a little girl, Deborah Kirsten (daughter of esteemed South African evangelist Michael Cassidy) never imagined she would write a book, travel India and marry into cricketing royalty. And yet decades later, Debs (as she is fondly known) finds herself back in the leafy suburb of Claremont, starting a new chapter as the author of her recently released memoir, ‘Chai Tea & Ginger Beer’.
A mom to three young children, Debs took just over a year to document the details of her life-story. A talented journalist, Deborah had no problem putting pen to paper – but all this had to take place in between getting the lawnmower fixed, ferrying kids to school and of course supporting her husband Gary, who travels extensively for both cricket coaching and public speaking engagements.
Starting a new chapter
Married to an international cricketing hero, Debs by her own admission, has sometimes battled with feelings of insignificance…after all….she was always “just the spouse”. Though she is vivacious, warm, self-assured and strong-minded, she often remained in the background and usually found herself cropped out of photos that fans wanted to take with Gary (specifically during the glory years of cricket when Gary was playing for South Africa). So to find herself at the helm of a publishing and public speaking career is exciting and divinely -ordained by the Lord.
Passionately pursuing her purpose
Engaging, authentic and down-to-earth, Debs was intentional about crafting a book that reflected the honest reality of her life (including the dirty dishes and endless school lifts) and most importantly that resonated with women everywhere who perhaps feel that they don’t have a story worth telling.
Though our interview lasted two hours (and felt more like a coffee-date with a good friend), the singular impression I was left with, was Deborah’s infectious passion for helping people, particularly women, discover their unique purpose through valuing their own story in Christ.
Though Debs can (and does) speak on a variety of topics, and covers a myriad of meaningful info in the memoir, I felt it most appropriate to share an extract from her book where she offers a glimpse of her time in India when Gary was coaching there. I can guarantee that once you pick up ‘Chai Tea & Ginger Beer’ you won’t want to stop reading it!
Exploring India…
“I will never forget that first trip with my children into the city of Bangalore. Our driver introduced himself as Manoj. He proceeded to pile our suitcases onto the roof of the car, hauling them up with big shouts of something that must have meant ‘One, two, three!’
The car looked hilarious – top heavy with the air almost being pushed out of its small worn-through tyres. Usually I would have found this funny, but that day I didn’t. Manoj used an old frayed rope to tie the cases onto the roof rack. I was horrified and asked him to secure it properly and pull it tighter. He merely nodded his head from side to side. I was confused as to what he was trying to tell me. Did this shake of the head mean ‘Yes’, or did it mean ‘No’?
Chaos, kids and climbing temperatures
I asked him again to please tighten the ropes. He replied with what would become the most common response to my often very silly questions while in India: “No problem, Madam”.
Manoj smiled at me and politely opened the door, encouraging me to get into the car. James, who was nine months old, sat on my hip sucking his dummy as if his last supply of oxygen was coming from it. Joshua, who was then three years old, held my hand firmly. It was late in the afternoon but the temperature was well over 30 degrees and the humidity high.
Sensorial experiences
I had last been in India about ten years before when Gary was still playing for South Africa, but I didn’t remember things being quite so chaotic and energetic. Maybe motherhood had just aged me a little bit. I had also forgotten the smell of India. Like an over-friendly hostess, it welcomes you in a warm embrace as you step off the plane. It’s a steamy, spicy scent that warns anyone visiting for the first time to prepare their senses for something over and beyond what they have ever before smelt, seen, heard or tasted.
Before I left home, people kept asking me: ‘Are you actually going to take the children with you?’ I’m not exactly sure what they thought I would do with them if I left them behind, but the recurrent question made me begin to second-guess myself. Was I being totally irresponsible taking my babies to India? What terrified me most was that I found myself questioning the decision to come to India. I wondered what I had gotten myself into. How was I going to survive all this craziness if I was too afraid to even give my child a sip of water?
A whole new world
Our car turned through big white gates and passed a golden sign reading Taj West End Hotel. Tall palm trees and tropical vegetation lined the driveway on either side and seemed to steer us into a lush paradise. The sight of Gary standing at the hotel reception was a relief.
Men clad in traditional garments with grand turbans on their heads ushered our car to the front and opened the doors. Gary swept the boys up in his arms. Suddenly I felt at ease. Two beautiful Indian women dressed in turquoise saris placed wreaths of freshsmelling frangipani flowers around our necks. We were greeted with the traditional Indian welcome – warm smiles and hands held together in a prayer-like posture. ‘Namaste,’ they echoed, giving a small bow. Joshua giggled and glugged down the cold glass of fruit juice he had been handed. By now our friendly driver had jumped out of the car and run up to  Gary, “Coach, Coach! Mr Gary! One snap, please?”
Gary obliged and one of the hotel staff used a cell phone to click a picture of Manoj with Gary. I didn’t know it then, but this would be the most common request we would hear for the next three years: “One snap, please?” Manoj then requested that the children and I join in for another photograph. I was happy to do this. After my pathetic paranoia over my suitcases, I wanted to redeem myself in the eyes of our dear driver. Just as he had assured me, we had all arrived safely together with our suitcases!
A three year sojourn
The hospitality of the Indian people was overwhelming. Never before had I been welcomed into a country with such warmth and kindness. For the next three years, the Indian people would welcome us into their homes, their hotels, their markets and their cricket stadiums. They would serve us and spoil us, talk with us and teach us. This was just the appetiser of my Indian feast. It would always leave me satisfied yet forever wanting more…”
Back home in SA
It takes a special kind of person to be able to cope with the limelight and the transient lifestyle that accompanies an international sporting career. Deborah and Gary are by now well-acquainted with the constancy of change, and have richer lives because of their colourful experiences.
Having said that, the couple are pleased to be settled once again in their home, with the kids in local schools and the family planted in a nearby church fellowship. Though Gary still travels extensively, the pair make time for building into the Kingdom of God. Deborah speaks at women’s days and motivational events, and occasionally conducts couple’s talks. For more, see
The book can be purchased in all leading bookstores nationwide. 

Interview by Jackie Georgiou

Helping Others Who Have Been Retrenched

Being retrenched (or fired) from work rates as one of the major human stresses in life. Men and woman might look at retrenchment differently, but for both it remains a very unpleasant and disturbing life event to deal with.

Drastic effects on the family
For a man, being retrenched from work can really have drastic and long-lasting effects. From an economical or financial point of view, the entire family might be severely affected when the bread winner loses his income. The family unit will suffer under the stress and loss of security that is brought about by the threats and demands of such a situation. Issues like transport, change in accommodation and other life style changes may be brought about.
Constant and long term stress will certainly have an effect on the retrenched person’s health. As we know stress, ill-health and depression often go hand in hand.

Why is a retrenched person likely to become depressed?

His sense of security is gone Routine falls away
They have too much time on their hands
Constant worries about daily matters
Sense of self-worth might be affected
The family group dynamics will change
Feeling useless
Feeling ignored and isolated.

Family dynamics and the normal day-to-day routine could be severely affected if Dad is at home all day and every day. Social roles might be influenced and should be adapted. Your spouse might now be free to do household chores and tasks that he was never available for.
The wife might have to work even harder to try and compensate for the loss of an income. These changing roles are not always easy to adapt to and Dad might be filled with resentment for having to do the “unimportant stuff”. Children might also find it difficult to adjust to changing roles and might initially not know how to behave and react to these changes. A father’s passivity can be a great source of frustration to the rest of the family.
Lessen the negative effect on your family
Like all social issues, this one should also be managed as best as one can. Possible solutions would include:

Make an effort to ensure that your husband is in the job market and that he is actively working on being seen and being marketed. A specific part of the day (an hour or two) must be spent on this activity daily.
Together with your husband and children, a timetable should be drawn up where each family members has time allocated for specific activities/chores/responsibilities. Your spouse must know exactly what his role in the household is and that it will be the case for as long as he is homebound. Make a conceited effort to acknowledge and appreciate his endeavours and his effort – he must feel appreciated and valued.]
Under these circumstances family meetings might prove to be especially valuable. They can be an opportunity to vent frustration in a constructive and decent manner in order to minimise fights and arguments about silly and petty things.
Plan for fun time, leisure activities where everybody is included and allowed to enjoy and deserve time-out.
Dad must still be the figure of authority at home. This is not only good for his self-image but also for the emotional security of all family members.
Focus on and celebrate the good things in life that the family does have and try to help others that are worse off. There is nothing that boosts one’s self-esteem like helping others. You never know when that favour will be rewarded by a contact or an opportunity for a job.
Be creative, start something new – something that could possibly yield an income. Even consider the possibility of further studies like a short course to help boost your knowledge or skills basis. This might be the opportunity to discover a totally new and fresh direction in your career – the possibilities are endless.
Whatever you do, make sure you meet new people and interact with those you know, in other words “networking”.

Remember that all families go through trying times – it is how and if we stick together that will determine the strength of that family. We grow stronger and wiser when we have been through the grinding mill. Remember God is always near to help, that we must call on Him especially during tough times. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble” Ps 50:15. 
Dr Dorothy du Plessis is a Family and Marriage Counsellor, Parenting Workshop Presenter and part-time lecturer at the ICP. For counselling or enquiries about studies in Christian Psychology call 011 827 7611011 827 7611 or

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12 Tools For Overcoming Grief

One may ask, “Why write a book about grief?” The truth is, sooner or later all people find themselves in the unfortunate position of being confronted with grief in one form or another. Grief is no respecter of persons and has no preference for age, gender, colour, or social status.

A time for everything
Grief is absolutely normal, actually, grief is the beginning of the three-step process to total healing and recovery after the loss of a loved one. Biblically, we learn from the book of Ecclesiastes that there is a time for everything: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the Heavens – a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.” Ecc 3:1-10.

Solomon, in all his wisdom, understood that during the course of every human’s life on earth there is a time for good and (unfortunately) a time for bad. We cannot escape the inevitable. Life happens, but what we do with life when it comes hard at us will make all the difference in the world, not only in our lives but in the lives of those we love who still remain. I am sure that we are all familiar with the worldly saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” As cliché as it may sound, there is a lot of truth to this statement.

Is grief Biblical?
It’s important to understand that God has equipped us with emotions, with the ability to think, feel and reason. Even Jesus wept, laughed and got angry. Emotions are a normal and necessary part of daily human life.
As believers, while embracing the need for emotions, we must not allow them to control us. In time, as we learn to trust God and take Him at His Word, we also learn to respond to situations in our lives with godly wisdom instead of reacting with worldly sorrow.

Tools for overcoming grief
From the prophetic passage in Isaiah 61, Christ declared that God had sent Him to heal the broken-hearted and set the captives free (Luke 4:17-19), turning mourning into dancing. As I walked through my own journey of grief, I discovered tools to help me overcome grief:

1 Fellowship and worship
Make a decision to go to the house of the Lord and worship with God’s people, regardless of how you are feeling. Soon after Ruby, my wife, died, my family and I attended church and found great comfort and support among God’s people. As a result, I found genuine healing starting to take place as I remained committed to God’s call on my life. Take a stand, determined to worship the Lord like David after the loss of his son (2 Samuel 12: 16-20).

2 Meet helpful encouragers
Isolation is an incubator for depression and oppression, which are tools of the enemy, who seek to keep us bound and chained as grief’s slave. In order to meet helpful encouragers, we must first make an effort to leave our homes. A good friend of mine often says, “A people touched by God touch people with God.” This means we should allow others who have been touched by the Lord to administer the love of the Father to us in our greatest times of need.

3 Journaling
It’s comforting to celebrate the happy life of our loved ones. Meditating and journaling on the good things is another tool to overcoming grief. This aligns with Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

4 Prayer
God is interested in how you are feeling. He will strengthen us as we learn to trust in Him when in the process of overcoming grief. Prayer allows us to draw near to Him.

5 Meditate on Scriptures of comfort
Many individuals in the Bible experienced loss and great grief, and we can learn from their lives. Also, in the Bible God makes many promises to us that we can hold onto with steadfast hope, even when our lives seem to be falling apart.

6 A great cloud of witnesses
Hebrews 12:1 speaks of the great cloud of witnesses, believers in Jesus who have passed from this life to the next, those who have gone on before us. Ruby is now among those who make up this great cloud. Believers have the amazing opportunity to learn from the lives of those who  now sleep in Christ, awaiting the resurrection.

7 Minimised personal effects
Removing personal items of the one we have lost is a good tool to help overcome grief. By sorting through their possessions and donating many items, we can bless others. This process helped in my healing process and accelerated my ability to overcome grief.

8 Hope focussed on Christ
We have the hope of seeing our loved ones again in eternity [If they were believers]. The knowledge that our loved ones are alive in eternity with Christ, and we will be reunited with them, can free us from continuing to grieve.

9  The comfort of the Holy Spirit
Friends and family can come into your home and bring comfort, but they do not remain in our home forever. The Holy Spirit is our constant Comforter, who abides with us forever (John 14:16).

10 Healthy eating habits
Grieving is exhausting and will deplete every ounce of energy from our bodies. The enemy of our souls wants to use fatigue to increase the grief in our lives. Build your strength and stamina by eating food that can provide the proper nutrients. Changing your diet and drinking water can give you energy to fight off and overcome grief.

11 Return to work
By giving more focus to work and other activities, we will find ourselves breaking free from meditating on the loss of our loved ones. Choose activities that are calming and bring joy and fulfilment in achievement. An idle mind will wander, causing us to become more depressed.

12 Rest
Rest is important to rejuvenate the mind and body. Getting sufficient rest can positively decrease our stress level.

Live a life free from grief
In order to live a life free from grief, we must “guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” Phil 4:6-7. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live in the middle of a storm but free from the anxiety, worry, depression, oppression, doubt and fear.
In the presence of God, meditating on what is holy and righteous, we find peace. In His hope and peace, the Lord has provided a way out of our pain. 

DR. RALEIGH PERUMAL is an ordained minister and the founder of Harvest Family Church in Durban. His book ‘Overcoming Grief’ was written after his wife of 41 years went to be with the Lord in March 2014. For more info or to order his book:

Why Christians Do Not Receive Healing

Dr Michelle Strydom is a Zimbabwean who trained and qualified at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She is a born again Christian who has an intimate relationship with God the Father through His Son Jesus, and depends on the help of the Holy Spirit.

All for God’s glory
Michelle desires to practice medicine for the glory of the Lord and to make an impact that leaves a legacy of His love because she believes that the love of God is the best medicine. Apart from working as a medical doctor, God has called her into full-time ministry.

The ministry He called her and her team to steward for Him is named Eagles’ Wings. The key Scripture for Eagles’ Wings which describes their mission and mandate is Isaiah 61:1 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good news to the meek, the poor and the afflicted, to bind up the wounds and heal the broken hearted and to set the spiritual and physical captives free.”

Patients from countries all over Southern Africa and further abroad have travelled to Eagles’ Wings for help with various physical and psychological diseases. Pastors, ministry teams, Christian doctors and other healthcare professionals also come for training to be better equipped in ministering to people who need help.

Practical questions about healing that many are asking in the Body of Christ today:

1. Why do Christians get sick?
When Jesus died on the Cross He accomplished two things which are symbolised when we celebrate communion: we take the cup of wine which represents His Blood which was shed for the forgiveness of sins and then we take the bread which represents His Body which was broken so that, according to Matthew 8:17 and Isaiah 53:5, “by His stripes we can be healed” and made whole. On the Cross Jesus took our sicknesses and as children of God we have a covenant of healing and divine health! Hence the question – So why then do Christians get sick?

2. Why are Christians not getting healed after being prayed for?
In James 5:14, the Bible instructs us to pray for those who are sick so that they can be healed. An extensive survey was done in many churches across the world to find out how many people are actually healed of their diseases after being prayed for. The result world-wide (regardless of church denomination) was between 2 and 5%.

Psalm 103:3 indicates that God heals all of our diseases. Why are we not seeing the fruit of this in the Church? Although the promise of healing is available to us, Christians are getting sick and 95 – 98% of them are not being healed despite being prayed for. This has often resulted in great confusion, disillusionment and a staggering attack on one’s faith and trust in God and in His Word.

Lack of knowledge
The problem is that we do not understand disease, even from a Biblical perspective. Isaiah 5:13-14 and Hosea 4:6 say that we have gone into captivity and are perishing because of our lack of  knowledge.

For many years in ministry, the subject of disease and healing (and why people are not healed) has not been fully understood. For this reason, Dr Strydom wrote a book ‘Healing Begins With Sanctification Of The Heart’, produced a DVD series ‘No Disease is Incurable’ and also travels extensively doing conferences where she teaches how and why diseases develop and how to overcome them. She shows how the answers are right there in the Word of God to set us free.
The Bible is the greatest health book ever written! In fact, science is catching up and proving what the Bible said about health and disease thousands of years ago!

3. Why are diseases incurable?
It is not only the Church that is struggling in the area of disease but also the medical profession. Did you know that with all the advanced medical technology and drugs that are available to treat diseases today, over 80% of diseases are incurable in the medical field!

According to medical journals, the medical community has long given up on the possibility of curing incurable disease and the journals are filled with the phrase “there is no cure”. So all they are looking for now is better forms of disease management. What this means is that drugs used to treat chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, allergies etc. don’t cure the disease, they just manage it – they alleviate the symptoms but the underlying disease is still there.

A message of hope!
Join Dr. Strydom on an exciting journey in the next several issues of JOY! as she shares new revelation from Scripture and latest breakthroughs in medical research which show how an incurable disease can become curable! 

Dr Michelle Strydom founded Eagles’ Wings Ministries. She desires to practice medicine for God’s glory.
This includes:
Healing Begins with Sanctification of the Heart 4th Edition
No Disease is Incurable (22hr) DVD set