Restoring what once was
He’s a minister of reconciliation. A pastor dedicated to restoring what once was, even at the threat of harm to himself.
South African Haggai leader Dayalan “Bob” Govender, a senior pastor, former chief education specialist for the Department of Education – KZN Examination and Assessment, and a current national monitor for the National Department of Education, spends his time helping heal marriages, families, and the most vulnerable people in his community.
In an area of South Africa reeling from xenophobic attacks, poverty, crime, and the scourge of HIV and AIDS, Bob faces many challenges – but pushes through each one.
“I know there are many hostile toward me and my church members. That’s okay. It is one of the occupational hazards of being a minister of reconciliation.”
Some do not share Bob’s view regarding immigration, but that does not deter him.
He says, “My view as a Christian is a Biblical one in that we should be accommodating to foreigners who are entitled to human rights and must be treated as the Bible proclaims.”
To that end, Bob and his church provided support to the victims in the displacement camp in Chatsworth, Durban, by supplying meals. At least 1,000 people affected by xenophobic violence were accommodated there. He’s also witnessed the Haggai leader association band together in support.
“Our Haggai leader association has prayer drivers, and a large number belong to serious intercessory groups in our country, many of whom are involved in our prayer and devotion groups. There are WhatsApp prayer groups that are vibrant and ongoing,” he remarks.
Bob attributes his desire to reach the lost at any cost to his Haggai Leader Experience on Maui in 2001, for which he was sponsored by Christ Church Oak Brook.
“Training at Haggai was a life-changing experience, and it was where the Lord spoke to me about the current ministry I am in to build strong marriages, strong families, and a strong church. Haggai gave me the courage to be a written epistle to be read by all men and to preach the Gospel of Jesus with boldness and courage.”
Since returning to South Africa after training, Bob has led more than 5,000 people to Christ and trained many countrymen to reach their own people with the Gospel.
“I have exceeded the 100 people I was supposed to train by 10 times and continue to do so,” he says. “In our marriage ministry, by 2013, I reconciled 1,536 couples, which was our 2015 target for couples to be restored.”
In addition, Bob continues to be involved in the Haggai South Africa ministry and is a member of the national board. He’s also part of his local pastors’ network and coordinates all evangelistic outreach programs for the network.
Meeting People Where They Are
He says, “I also do ongoing outreach work with informal settlements. These hold a host of South Africans, ranging from poverty-stricken people who are left destitute; migrant workers from rural areas who come near to the city in search of employment and, due to high cost of accommodation, settle in shacks; criminal elements who use this as a playground to prey on vulnerable children and females living in the camp, who are desperate for making a living to survive; child-led families who lost their parents to the scourge of HIV and AIDS; and foreign nationals.”
Bob has led his church to minister to these people in many ways, from soup kitchens (especially for children), to placing children in foster homes or schools, training men and women in sustainable living, health talks, clinics, counseling, and more.
“As a young man, I grew up in such conditions and understand the dynamics of such living,” he says.
“Many times we never get a chance to reach the lost on our own, but Haggai donors have given me and many others the opportunity to extend our hand and effort to do nation building through reaching the lost at any cost.”
Senior pastor, former Chief Education Specialist for the Department of Education
Attended Haggai: 2001
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