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Vassula visits Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town in South Africa
May 2009

On Sunday May 10, 2009, we arrived in Johannesburg around 12pm. We were greeted so warmly and full of joy by Winnie and Gracinda. As we drove, they were excited to hear about our visit in Malawi. We shared with them how wonderful it was and how the people were open and so happy to welcome Vassula and her mission there. They drove us to Archbishop Seraphim's residence in Houghton where he so graciously offered us hospitality for our stay for the next few days. Once we arrived, Archbishop Seraphim greeted us at his residence.

Residence of Archbishop Seraphim and The Archdiocese
Residence of Archbishop Seraphim and The Archdiocese

We rested for awhile and at 5pm we were on our way to the Maronite Church, Our Lady of Lebanon in Woodmead where Vassula was invited to speak that evening. There was a Mass first and Fr. Badaoui Habib who is the Pastor, had announced that Vassula would be speaking after the Mass. We had seen many of the Greek Orthodox people that came to hear Vassula speak. There was His Eminence Archbishop Seraphim, Deacon George Coconas, Fr. Athanasios (who is from Kenya), Solis, Andrew, Cleo and others. There were approximately five hundred and fifty people that attended. There was a mix of different ages and parents had there young children as well.



Fr.Athanasios, Vassula, Deacon George and Solis
Fr. Athanasios, Vassula, Deacon George and Solis

On Monday May 11, 2009 we were invited by Fr. Badaoui Habib for lunch on the church grounds of Our Lady of Lebanon. There were two other priests who came to meet Vassula; Fr. George Kairouz and Fr. Boutros Sannia. A woman named Colette, and a Belgium family came as well. We had a traditional Lebanese meal.

Fr.George,Vassula, Fr.Badaoui and Fr. Boutros
Fr. George, Vassula, Fr. Badaoui and Fr. Boutros


After lunch, Fr. Badaoui drove us to the south, where he wanted to show us the new church that they have built.


New Maronite Church Built in Johannesburg
New Maronite Church Built in Johannesburg

Vassula, Fr. Badaoui and Georgia
Vassula, Fr. Badaoui and Georgia

He drove us back to the Archbishop's residence and told Vassula that she always is welcomed to the Maronite church and has a home there. Later that evening, we went with his Archbishop Seraphim, to the home of Costa and Ellen Nicolaou. Ellen had asked Archbishop Seraphim that she would like to meet Vassula. She had heard Vassula being interviewed on Sunday May 3, 2009 on the radio program Cape Talk & 702 "Believe it or Not" with Kate Turkington. The interview had lasted for one hour and had announced the different venues where Vassula was going to be speaking. Ellen had been very interested in what Vassula was saying. We had a nice chat with Ellen at her home and later her husband Costa arrived home. (We both had met him in December 2005 when Vassula had a mission in Johannesburg). He too was very welcoming to us and happy that we had seen him again. We gave Ellen some Voice of America CD's and the DVD on our visit to Alexandria when we had Easter with Patriarch Theodoros II and many TLIG people in May 2008.

On Tuesday May 12, 2009 we had some free time and went to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. It was nice to have some time to rest in between the witness events and the traveling time between the different cities.



On Wednesday May 13, 2009, Gracinda and Winnie drove us to Pretoria (approximately one hour drive). We went to visit the prayer group there. We went to Paula's house and there were two Greek ladies there; Mary and Helen and Theresa as well. We had a pleasant visit with them and chatted and the ladies were all very excited to see Vassula and how they were looking forward to the pilgrimage in September in Greece as they are all attending.

Pretoria
Pretoria

On Thursday May 14, 2009 the mission continues. Winnie, Gracinda, and Manny flew with us to the city of Durban which was approximately a one hour flight.

Archbishop Seraphim farewell greeting
Archbishop Seraphim farewell greeting

Manny, Winnie and Gracinda at airport on route to Durban.
Manny, Winnie and Gracinda at airport on route to Durban

We were greeted by Fr. Wayne and the organizers Brigitte, her mom Margaret, and others. Fr. Wayne drove us to our hotel in Umhlanga Rocks. Later that evening, at 7pm, there was a Mass at Fr. Wayne' church "Christ the King" (which we drove one hour to get there. He said he has two thousand families. They are next to an oil refinery. After the evening Mass, the organizers had prepared some food and they wanted to talk with Vassula. Vassula thanked the group for their efforts in organizing the witness event. She also encouraged them that the seeds need to be watered and cultivated so that the TLIG messages spread and become known. She encouraged them to form ecumenical prayer groups and informed them of the Beth Myriams if they feel called to the TLIG spirituality.

At the end, Fr. Wayne asked Vassula if she could pray over everyone including himself. She was happy to and she told them that she will use the cross given to her that has the relic of the true cross in it.

Vassula prays over Fr. Wayne
Vassula prays over Fr. Wayne

Fr.Wayne prays over Vassula
Fr.Wayne prays over Vassula

Vassula's last visit to Durban was in 1993 sixteen years ago. Fr. Peter told Vassula that he heard her speak in 1993.

Vassula praying over Fr. Peter
Vassula praying over Fr. Peter

Holy Trinity Icon inside the chapel
Holy Trinity Icon inside the chapel

On Friday May 15, 2009, at 10 am there was an interchurch meeting at the Glenmore Pastoral Center. Approximately 80 people attended. Many Nuns and some Priests came to hear Vassula speak. Fr. Wayne read an introduction on Vassula and then Vassula addressed the group. She spoke for almost one hour and a half with questions at the end. Church Unity was the big theme that she spoke of. Rowan De Klerk, who is a TLIG reader had driven one hour and a half to come and hear Vassula speak on our loving Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Sr Peter, a Precious Blood Missionary sister had traveled with four nuns from Mthatha, another province. Other nuns also traveled from the Orange Free State. These nuns read the messages and continue to order books and spread the Messages. All those who traveled from far attended the meeting the following day as well.


Rowan De Klerk drives one and a half hours to get the meeting
Rowan De Klerk Drives 1 1/2 Hours for the Meeting

Fr.Wayne introducing Vassula
Fr.Wayne introducing Vassula

Meeting with Clergy in Durban
Meeting with Clergy in Durban

Answering questions after the talk
Answering questions after the talk

After the meeting Fr. Wayne had set up a lunch meeting with Cardinal Winifred Napier. He is the Catholic Cardinal of all of South Africa. In our conversation as we were driving, I mentioned to Fr. Wayne that Vassula's birthday is January 18, which is the start of Christian Unity week. Fr. Wayne also shared with us that on January 18th he was ordained a priest and the Gospel that he chose was '"May They be One". Fr. Wayne had been reading the TLIG divine inspirations while he was in seminary.

Driving on the way to the Cardinal Napier's residence
Driving on the way to the Cardinal Napier's residence

Cardinal Napier had invited Vassula for lunch at his residence. Fr. Wayne and I also joined them. It lasted for two hours. They talked for the first hour and then we had lunch and talked some more. Some highlights of the conversation were that Cardinal Napier had said to Vassula that there were a few priests that didn't want him to meet with her for lunch. They said she would have all the right answers to give him. There were lots of negative reactions from these priests and they told the Cardinal lots of false statements. The Cardinal said he would like to form his own opinion of Vassula and the TLIG divine inspirations.

That same morning the clergy had a meeting that had been already prepared with the Cardinal in attendance as they had their own agenda. At the end, Fr. Wayne announced that Vassula will be speaking at Glenmore Pastoral Center and also at the larger venue at Durban City Hall. He had invited the priests if they would like to attend. That is when they asked the Cardinal how he could allow this. The Cardinal said that if she was speaking about Christ and if someone could benefit and bring them closer to Christ who was he to stop this. Cardinal Napier told Vassula that he listened to the Voice America CD in his car as he had a long drive. He said he liked very much what she had to say about "Detachment". He said that in Africa they never had this problem of attachments. Now people are getting more inclined to materialism, power, prestige etc. He said we need more of this understanding of Detachment in our spiritual lives.

The Cardinal also brought up the recent letter from Cardinal Levada's. Vassula explained to him that there are inaccurate statements in that letter. She had told him of the Proper investigation that was done by the then Cardinal Ratzinger the now Pope Benedict XVI that went on for two and a half years. The TLIG books were given to the inspectors of the CDF and there were five questions that were given to Vassula to answer. (More information about the CDF and Vassula) She also told him that she met with Cardinal Ratzinger four months before he became Pope Benedict. Cardinal Napier was so pleased to hear about this dialogue between Cardinal Ratzinger and Vassula. He was surprised to have never known this took place.

He then turned to me, Georgia, and asked me what it is about the True Life in God messages that touch me. I answered him that "TLIG brought me closer to my Orthodox Church and the Sacraments and that I understood what it means that the Lord is alive and active and what it means that He is called 'The Living God'". I relayed to him that I experienced a more personal and intimate relationship with Him. I also told him as I read the messages, I hear as scriptures say,"My sheep hear my voice" (John 10:27) and I hear it is the same voice as in the Holy Scriptures. I feel that He is speaking directly towards me. (You remove Vassula's name and place it with yours when reading). Cardinal Napier was charitable and gracious to welcome Vassula. It was a pleasant and refreshing two hours with him.

Cardinal Napier, Vassula and Fr.Wayne
Cardinal Napier, Vassula and Fr. Wayne

Cardinal Napier and Vassula

After the lunch meeting
After the lunch meeting

After the meeting with Vassula in June 2009, Cardinal Napier wrote a message that was printed in the Catholic News Bulletin of the Archdiocese of Durban, June 2009, No.464. The official communication was disseminated to the Parishes and Religious Communities in the Archdiocese of Durban and posted on the official website of the Archdiocese of Durban.

On Saturday May 16, 2009 we arrived at the Durban City Hall. Vassula addressed approximately one thousand people. Just before the meeting began the streets had been closed because there were demonstrations outside and just at the moment that we arrived, everything cleared up. The thousand people all entered in Durban City Hall and had to pass security to get in. It all went very smoothly. There was an anonymous generous donor who was able to arrange to get the City Hall venue.

Durban City Hall
Durban City Hall

Durban City Hall
Durban City Hall - 1,000 people attended

Durban City Hall

Durban City Hall

Organizers of the Durban City Hall Event
Organizers of the Durban City Hall Event

On Sunday May 17, 2009 in the morning we proceeded to the airport for a flight to Capetown where there was another venue awaiting us.

Onward to Capetown
Onward to Capetown

The organizers greeted us at the airport. We drove with a young lady named Angela Wahl. She was taking us to The Holy Cross sisters of Matroosfontein where we would be staying. As we drove I noticed there were squatter camps. Angela had told us that just before she was coming to the airport there were some people that got shot in the street. She said it is very common in that area as there are many gangs. There were ambulances and sirens going on. She pointed to what used to be a Roman Catholic school that had to shut down because the street kids would brake in and rape the nuns even with the bob wire around the building. It did not seem to appear as a safe area. We had some time to freshen up once we arrived at the Holy Cross Sisters where they offered us hospitality.

Later in the afternoon, Vassula spoke at the Holy Trinity Church which was near where we were staying. Unfortunately, the Bishop in that area had told people not to attend. Despite this, approximately three hundred people came to hear the message of hope that comes through the TLIG messages. The Parish Priest, Fr. Baiju was there among his flock. Angela Wahl introduced Vassula.

Monsignor Andrew was supposed to be there but he did not show up. It was lovely to see the young people in the church and the youth band played some beautiful Christian songs. Angela had told us that everything she had questions about she felt Vassula answered them in her talk and she felt as if it was directly aimed at her. After the witnessing event a young Greek/German lady named Eleonora Psefteli approached me and asked if she can meet with Vassula. She said she has been waiting years to meet her and was so excited that she came to the Capetown area.

Holy Trinity Church in Capetown
Holy Trinity Church in Capetown

Holy Trinity Church in Capetown

Holy Trinity Church in Capetown

Holy Trinity Church in Capetown

Holy Trinity Church in Capetown

Holy Trinity Church in Capetown

Holy Trinity Church in Capetown
Many youth also attended

On Monday May 18, 2009 in the morning there was supposed to be an interfaith meeting set up where Vassula would address them. However, with the spirit of confusion, only one Deacon and an older Priest came. Vassula spoke to them and they left with material on TLIG, The One Book and the TLIG magazine.

A priest and a deacon who came to hear Vassula
A priest and a deacon who came to hear Vassula

So, the official meeting did not take place. In the afternoon we caught a flight from Capetown back to Johannesburg.

Upon arrival in Johannesburg, we went straight to the Hellenic radio station at Saheti. Vassula was interviewed by His Eminence Archbishop Seraphim. The topic was "The Importance of Prayer in our Lives". A lady named Francis called in and said she was delighted to hear her speak and that "we need to hear more of this in our times of today". Maria Dzervos was the host as well. A young boy named Angelo was also in the studio.

Archbishop Seraphim interviews Vassula
Archbishop Seraphim interviews Vassula

Archbishop Seraphim, Maria Dzervos, Vassula and Angelo
Archbishop Seraphim, Maria Dzervos, Vassula and Angelo

After the radio program, we went to the home of Costas and Ellen where they prepared a lovely dinner for us. A friend of theirs named Candy was also there along with their son Nicholas. Candy told Vassula that she had one of the TLIG books.

We then went and stayed at the residence of Archbishop Seraphim. It felt like returning home with such warm and gracious hospitality as we had stayed there many times before. On Tuesday May 19, 2009 in the morning, Manny had arranged for a Portuguese journalist named Assuncao De Almeida along with a photographer named Carlos da Silva from the O Seculo newspaper of Johannesburg to come and have an interview with Vassula. At the end, we gave them both a set of Voice of America CD's (that Vassula speaks on ten different topics of the messages) and a TLIG magazine.

Portuguese journalist interviews Vassula
Portuguese journalist interviews Vassula

Manny and the photographer
Manny and the photographer

Later that evening, His Eminence held a farewell dinner at his residence. The people who came where Fr. Badaoui, Fr. Shaun, Fr. Athos, Fr. Athanasios, Deacon George and his wife Litsa, Andrew, George and Marika (he had worked with Vassula's dad many years ago in Karditsa, Greece) Cleo, and Winnie.

The next morning, Wednesday May 20, 2009, Fr. Badaoui came to His Eminence's residence and wanted to take us for lunch before we leave for the airport back to Athens. We went to a fish place opposite the Greek consulate in Johannesburg. Fr. Nicodimos and his friend were having lunch there as well and they greeted us.

Fr.Badaoui, Vassula and Archbishop Seraphim
Fr.Badaoui, Vassula and Archbishop Seraphim

Archbishop Seraphim, Vassula, Gracinda, Winnie and Georgia
Archbishop Seraphim, Vassula, Gracinda, Winnie and Georgia

May God bless all of the people, organizers, and hosts and everyone who made this witnessing for Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ possible. As I witnessed the mission work to be intense, I also witnessed so much joy that you experience and working with people of all different race, color etc. This scripture came alive for me where it says 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus' (Galatians 3:28). Nothing can be done on our own except with the help of The Holy Spirit that dwells in us.

In Christ,
Georgia Klamson
TLIG Reader

 
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        Ecumenical Gathering on Christian Unity in Namur, Belgium
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        Vassula visits Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town in South Africa
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