Barney Davis, M.D., the CEO/Clinical Facilitator of Godspeed

“Today, a dissertation completed…and tomorrow, Swakopmund….

I am proud to now call my colleague DR. Van Der Merwe, and am grateful to him and to Caren for all their sacrifices of time and effort to finish that good work.

But it is for their upcoming trek that I am most excited: the ability to individually visit and connect with missionaries serving in some of the more isolated and difficult areas of the world is the very core value of the Godspeed. Their work over the next months on the road, as well as that which they will do once in Namibia, will provide help to people who otherwise simply don’t have access to such resources. Willie and Caren’s venture will have huge Kingdom consequences, and I urge you to support them financially and prayerfully.
Godspeed to you on your journey,
Willie and Caren!”

“To care about the emotional, spiritual and organizational well being of missionaries, missionary leaders and cross cultural missionary teams in order to refresh their spirits and to establish healthy environments in which they can thrive“

Reflection 2010

This was a year of contrasts: darks and lights sewn together to create another perfect quilt of life experiences.
Counseling, crisis incident debriefings, cross-cultural training and organizational consultation services were rendered to several individuals and teams of non-profit organizations like GAiN, Avant, Christ’s Hope International, GEM, Campus Crusade, Teach Beyond and others.
“Willie’s skills as an experienced clinical counselor and spiritual mentor were of immense help to all involved during this very difficult time. …his commitment to us as individuals made a world of difference in how we managed and survived the crisis.” (Tim Schuman, Past Director of Black Forest Academy)
“It was such as blessing to receive guidance and “supervision time” from a seasoned, cross-cultural clinician with expertise in areas that I have yet to experience.” (Jennifer Setzer, MSW, LCSW Compassionate Care Manager, GAiN)

Hugo graduated with a 3.8 GPA and received the Dr Stephan’s Memorial award for Pursuing the Truth. Ruco and Kristi are in San Francisco where he is busy with graduate studies at Berkeley.

We left Namibia in 1994 with excitement and, in hindsight, with a miniscule picture and expectations for our future. Our finite minds could not begin to imagine the riches God had in store for us. Not only did we find our home away from home, but we discovered “family” that welcomed us with open hearts… a proliferating family who live all over the world: US, Canada, Europe and Africa. The acme was to meet our American daughter-in-awe Kristi.
2011: A 16 year journey is looping to come full circle as we embark on the road to go home – our Africa home where “family” is waiting for our return. Hugo, his friend, Andrej and Sammie, our Staffie-dog will join us.

Mission4x4Africa will take us along the red route (see map) to Namibia.

We want to visit with and say goodbye to Campus Crusade friends whom we’ve worked closely with for many years. En-red-route we also plan to visit workers and teams from different organizations. It is our desire to provide encouragement, care, counseling and training where and if needed. We want to, as Paul said, “stay awhile” and “spend some time” “face to face” –to listen, laugh, cry, comfort and devote ourselves to “refresh” the spirits of our fellow laborers of God. Our prayer is that we will become a traveling light house in places of darkness, and that our tracks and footprints will leave a sweet fragrance behind.

We look forward to a personal time of rest, healing and restoration as we enjoy God’s world in a slower way; a time to see, feel, hear, breathe and experience nature, people, cultures and languages. A time to be energized filled with new passion and vision for the next season of our life.

We will be diligent in communicating through our soon to be released website www.Mission4x4Africa.com We have to be careful what and how we communicate in order to protect those that live in high risk and sensitive areas. You can pray for wisdom in regards to this.

The first major conversion of our 4×4 happened in June. You can watch it at the following YouTube link.

  We hope to complete the final preparations before our intended date of departure in January.

Logistics, as you can imagine, are multi-faceted and we continue to discover sometimes obscure, but essential, details: passports, visas, health, safety and pet travel requirements; 4×4 passport and documentation; international health and travel insurance, drivers’ licenses, do’s and don’ts for different countries.


• January: Eastern Europe, Turkey
• February: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt (Maybe Saudi Arabia)
• March: Sudan, Ethiopia
• April: Kenya, Uganda
• May: Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania
• June: Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia
• July: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia

We are personally responsible to raise our own salaries, benefits and operating expenses. These funds come primarily from individuals, businesses and churches that can identify with us and our ministry as described above. The following financial needs we are facing at the moment.
• The shipping of the container from Germany to Namibia with our household belongings is US$8275.
• We also had some additional expenses in the preparation of our 17 year old Toyota Land Cruiser (Desert Nomad) for the long journey. These expenses have been about US$5000.
• The economic downturn in the USA in particular also had an influence on us as well as the process of changing missionary agencies at the end of last year. Twenty Five of our regular supporters terminated their support because of various reasons and that has left us with a significant shortfall that we yet have to bridge.
If you can identify with us, our mission and our ministry and want to become a partner with us, we invite you to prayerfully consider joining our financial ministry support team. A monthly contribution of US$50-200 or any other amount will be very helpful and appreciated especially with our general monthly cash flow. If you however choose to give us an annual/one time gift to help especially with the big one time expenses as described above that will be appreciated likewise. There are 3 different ways how you can make your contribution. All gifts are tax deductible

  • Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT) For instructions on how to setup an EFT with Godspeed, please contact the Godspeed Office Manager, Carey Hargis at info@godspeedservices.org  or +1 803-744-0841
  • Credit Card or PayPal Online contributions: Go to www.godspeedservices.org and follow the instructions under Donate to Godspeed. If you want to make a secure automatic monthly contribution, which is very convenient go to Click here for recurring donations. In the “Purpose” line you put Willie and Caren Van Der Merwe
  • Checks need to be made out to Godspeed. On subject line: For Willie and Caren Van Der Merwe Send it to Godspeed, 7520 Monticello Road, Columbia, SC 29203 USA.

Questions about financial contributions: Contact the Godspeed Office Manager, Carey Hargis at info@godspeedservices.org or +1803-744-0841

Hoping that our request will meet your favorable approval.
Willie and Caren Van Der Merwe
Email: willie.vandermerwe3@gmail.com; Caren: jacarvdm@gmail.com
Home Phone: +1 352 2838182; Germany Phone: +49 7626 9745116
Skype names: willievandermerwe (Willie); woestynkind (Caren)


‘The more effective we are in taking care of our missionaries, the more effective is the ministry that can flow from them to those needing our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.’

Dear Friends,

It is about time that we give you an update again. Time flies by so quickly and we are heading for the end of the school year. This year is more special than others for us because Hugo will finish high school in two weeks.

We provided a ministry report to the Board of Directors of Godspeed Missionary Care and we would like to share some of that content with you. We also received direct feedback from some of our clients/colleagues that speaks louder than our own voices.

We communicated to you in our previous e-letter about the crisis that happened at the local Christian school in February and how I (Willie) got involved in helping with the management thereof. Most of February and March were spent on dealing with the fallout of this crisis and the dissertation writing again came to a halt. Tim Shuman Director of BFA wrote: “Our organization recently found itself facing a very serious crisis involving several young people in our care. It was Willie Van Der Merwe who first pointed out the seriousness of the event and suggested ways the crisis could and should be managed. We immediately invite Willie to consult with our Crisis Management Team from that very moment. Willie’s skills as an experienced clinical counselor and spiritual mentor were of immense help to all involved during this very difficult time. His counsel, prayers, gentle spirit, his optimism, his trust in God, and his commitment to us as individuals made a world of difference in how we managed the crisis and survived the crisis. With Willie’s help we not only managed the crisis, but we also learned valuable lessons that will be put to good use in the future. I am very thankful for Willie’s help on our crisis team, for his counseling expertise with several hurting individuals, and for his encouraging support to me personally.” Tim Shuman, Director Black Forest Academy, Kandern, Germany May 2010

From the beginning of April until now Willie resurrected and refocused on the dissertation writing as the major wave of the crisis was behind us. The dissertation is slowly moving forward and my hopeful and not unrealistic aim is to be done by the middle of July. I am continuing to counsel people for +/- 12 hours a week. The pastor of our local church wrote the following: “Willie Van Der Merwe is a respected colleague and associate with whom I have had the pleasure of co-laboring in the past year. I have specifically been involved with him in a weekly men’s group and in a crisis situation that developed in this community. Here are some of the things that I have observed about Willie, though the list is in no way exhaustive:
• He treasures truth. It is a motivating value in personal, family, and professional life. He seeks to uncover the truth in a person’s life to bring healing to them as individuals. He works for transparencies in team relationship which make them more effective. He is committed to openness and honesty in all his dealings with others. He is an authentic man of God.
• He is kind. Even when dealing with difficult situations and tense moments, Willie sincerely works to gently speak into the setting. He does not let his emotions “carry the day” in his work.
• He has balance. He balances a heart for people with his knowledge of clinical psychology in such a way as to not “coldly” render counsel nor become too involved on a personal level. I find him to be exemplary to me personally in this regard.
I would welcome the opportunity to minister with Willie in the future. I would love to have him on the staff of the church. He is a man of integrity. I commend him to you without reservation.”

David J. Harrop Pastor, Black Forest Christian Fellowship, Kandern, Deutschland (Germany)

Caren arranged a surprise party for Willie’s 55th birthday. Thank you for the special birthday wishes and pictures that we received from so many of you. Here are a few photos of the celebration.

Willie arriving at his surprise birthday party

Willie and Caren

Looking ahead 2010

• Willie received an invitation to facilitate a course early June in Germany on cross-cultural adjustment and to do some assessments on missionary candidates for Christ’s Hope International. (http://www.christshope.org/)
• We have been invited to visit the Breathe Conference, http://www.breatheconference.org/ and we anticipate becoming part of the team that will help with the counseling of missionaries who attend this annual conference.
• Dr. Lois Dodd of Heartstream Resources http://www.heartstreamresources.org/ invited Caren and me to help with counseling and Physical therapy treatment of missionaries who attend the annual Refresh retreats in France and Thailand. We are not going this year as the completion of the dissertation is my primary focus.
• A missionary agency in Uganda wanted me to do team building in August/September, but schedules could not be synchronized and it was decided to postpone it to April 2011.
• We are excited about Caren’s parents’ visit in July/August and we plan to have a short family vacation.
• Jenn Setzer, psychologist working with GAIN (Global Aid Network) http://www.gainusa.org/ the humanitarian aid leg of CCCI contacted me recently and requested if I can help them with their psychosocial/crisis care program development and training which include many of the countries that we use to work in. Here is some of what she said in one of her emails to Willie: “I am happy to hear that you are interested in possibly collaborating with the GAiN team as we unfold a psychosocial and spiritual care ministry abroad. I will be in touch as our proposals are reviewed and approved by the various leadership teams. Once that process is complete, I should have more information about timeframes and specifics about how you could be involved by providing consultation, direct services, etc. Thanks again for your willingness to offer your expertise and passion to this process!” This is another great opportunity to network with other agencies and even continue and complete some of the work that was started in Namestan where we used to work.

Moving to Namibia 2011

• We have communicated to you in previous newsletters that our ultimate calling is to return to Africa and to serve missionaries from there. In our planning about this transition we presented a proposal to our Board of Directors which was approved and accepted at their recent meeting and we would like to share specific details of this transition with you.
• Caren and I always had a great love for God’s wild creation and most of our African vacations 17 years ago before we moved to the US and Europe have been safaris and 4×4 camping trips. Our souls were restored and refreshed during these times. If you are interested you can look at our photos on my face b. In order to have access to this – send me a friend request.
• The goal is to reach Namibia by June/July 2011. The method of transportation is by road with a 1993 Toyota Land Cruiser 80. The starting place is Germany. Time of departure round about January/February 2011. The distance to cover is about 20,000 -24,000 km. The route is via Turkey, the Middle East, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and then Namibia. The travelers: Caren and me, Hugo and Andre, a friend of Hugo, and Sammie, our Staffordshire terrier.
• One of the purposes would be to visit 6 of the countries that we worked in while we were with Campus Crusade and to give Hugo the opportunity to visit them since he has expressed the desire to do so.
• We will be able to follow-up on many Campus Crusade missionaries whom we have counseled, and we will also have an opportunity to say goodbye to many good friends and colleagues that we have worked with over the last several years.
• We will also have a unique opportunity to minister and counsel missionaries and missionary teams from other agencies in all or most of the different countries that we will travel through. You will receive a detailed itinerary with our route and timeline after we have gathered the necessary information.
• Simultaneously we will have the opportunity to travel, see and visit places with Hugo that we’ve not seen before. In short, part of it will be caring for missionaries (ministry) as a mobile counseling team, part enjoying God’s nature, different cultures and places as we drive down to Namibia. Anticipated time for this trip will be approximately 6 months.
• Through an updated weblog you will be able to track our progress through Africa as we share our different experiences. As in the past, we will have to be wise and discreet in regards to information shared that relates to interaction with missionaries who work in closed countries north of the Sahara.
• We plan to ship our earthly belongings- hopefully for the last time- to Namibia towards the end of the year.

Prayer Requests
• For Ruco and Kristi who are in Haiti where Ruco is co-managing a disaster food distribution program for 3 months. They plan to return to America in the fall to further their studies.
• Willie: for endurance and wisdom as he counsels with many clients as well as working towards the completion of his dissertation.
• Leaving well: packing and moving of our belongings to ship to Namibia; preparation of the vehicle for our overland trip.
• Financial provision for the shipment of our belongings and relocation to Africa.

There are 2 different ways how you can make your contribution. All gifts are tax deductible

Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT) For instructions on how to setup an EFT with Godspeed, please contact the Godspeed Office Manager, Carey Hargis at info@godspeedservices.org  or +1 803-744-0841

Credit Card or PayPal Online contributions: Go to www.godspeedservices.org and follow the instructions under Donate to Godspeed. If you want to make a secure automatic monthly contribution, which is very convenient go to Click here for recurring donations. In the “Purpose” line you put Willie and Caren Van Der Merwe

Questions about financial contributions: Contact the Godspeed Office Manager, Carey Hargis at info@godspeedservices.org or +1803-744-0841

You will receive a tax-deductible receipt within 2 weeks.
Thank you for your prayer support, financial gifts and friendship. If you would like to have more information or have any questions or comments, please email or Skype us.

Willie and Caren
Home Address:
Hintergasse 11, Riedlingen, 79400, Germany
E-mail Willie: willie@godspeedservices.org
Email Caren: jacarvdm@gmail.com
Tel: (+49) 1727548083 (Mobile)
Tel: (352) 2838182 (Local dialing from USA)
Skype name Willie: willievandermerwe
Skype name Caren: woestynkind

Dear Friends,

We pray that you are doing well.

As you might know, Hugo, our youngest son has graduated from high school last week. Caren and I are very thankful and pleased that he reached this goal. We have witnessed over the last two years since we moved here to Germany how he has matured in many ways. Hugo graduated with an average GPA of 3.8 which is the best he ever did in high school since he arrived here in 2005. Today is his 19th birthday. Hugo was also one of two students in the school who received the special Dr. Stephans’ Memorial award for Pursuing the Truth. We are very proud of him.

Hugo decided not to go straight away to college but to take a ‘gap’ year. During this year he wants to find a job to earn some money so that he could travel some and explore parts of the world on his own. The second part of this year he and one of his class mates will join Caren and me on our 6 month Africa Overland trip where we will travel from Germany to Namibia with our Land Cruiser. Part of this trip will be ministry related as we will follow-up on previous counseling with missionaries. We will also be available to do team building workshops, caring and debriefing missionaries and missionary team as needed.

My main reason for this post is that I do this on behalf of Hugo. As I have mentioned earlier, Hugo is looking for a job at the moment. We would like to find out from you if you might be aware of any minimum wage jobs that might be available that Hugo might qualify for. He is willing to do anything. We know that this is kind of late notice, and the summer (here in Europe and the USA) is already upon us and the economy does not look that good, but maybe you might have contacts, opportunities or possibilities that we are not aware of. Hugo had a job lined up to go to Alaska to be a deckhand on a ship but that fell though only last week.

We would appreciate it if you can be of any help. Hugo is a US and Namibian citizen, and we have property in Florida so we qualify as residents of FL. Hugo can come on relatively short notice. He unfortunately does not have a FL driver’s license at the moment but he also intends to obtain it, while he might be in FL. He would be available to work throughout the summer and also after that when schools and colleges will start again, so investment in him will go beyond the summer time.

Will you be so kind to let us know if you are personally or otherwise aware of any working possibilities for Hugo?

Looking forward to hear from you.

Willie Van Der Merwe (Clinical Associate)
Godspeed Missionary Care
website: http://www.godspeedservices.org
Personal website: http://www.willievandermerwe.wordpress.com
Email: willie@godspeedservices.org or willie.vandermerwe3@gmail.com
Mobile Phone: +49 1727548083
Vonage Home Phone: +1 352 2838182
German Phone: +49 7626 9745116
Skype: willievandermerwe

Caren in Namibia

Caren was surprised by an invitation from a good friend of ours for her to come and visit them in Namibia. This was a very quick decision and within a week she was off to her beloved Namibia. Willie stayed behind in Germany to take care of Hugo whose school started this week. This is his last semester in high school, somehow difficult to imagine. So think of me (Willie) at home, cooking, cleaning and in particularly working on my dissertation.

A Merry Christmas

We want to wish you a merry Christmas today. Thanks for all your support and care for us over the last year. We appreciate it greatly. Here are a few images reflecting back over this year.  The photo collage is what Ruco put together about part of what they do in Uganda, providing food for the poor as Jesus commanded us.    During this festive season it certainly reminds us of how much we have in abundance.

Kristi and little Ugandan girl


Caren with Sammie  


Willie and Caren 30th Anniversary 


Hugo with Ugandan boy   

Willie Hugo Ruco

Northland News Vol 10/Iss 50.

Check out pages 6 + 14

Friday night at 11pm I went to the Basel train station to pick up a friend of Ruco who flew in from Uganda.   I was trying to find Ryan among all the other people in the bitter winter cold of -12 C.   Some trains were late because of the severe weather in Germany.   In my pursuit to try to find Ryan, a guy came walking up to me with a hoody on.  As he came close I all of a sudden recognize the hoody man.  RUCO.   So Ryan all the time was actually Ruco.  What a Christmas present!!!!    When we arrived home Caren and Hugo could not believe their eyes.   So now our Christmas season will look so much different that it would have.