Connections Newsletter Volume 13
April - June 2019

  • The Heart of a Missionary

        Lisa van der Merwe’s work in South Africa was preordained

      Inspired by her sister Megan’s visit to Africa, teenager Lisa Monreal began to see herself there.
       “Seeing her pictures and hearing her stories was impactful to me, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps,” Life Spring’s Early Childhood Director Lisa van der Merwe recalled recently.   
       Throughout high school and her first two years in college, the vision of serving God as a missionary in Africa stayed with her.
       Eventually, Africa began to dominate Lisa’s conscious and subconscious.
      “I would dream about it. And I would see myself in different places—in a hut or walking on a road,” she said.
       Lisa, who said she likes “to be in step with God,” prayed for guidance with Pastor Tony Amatangelo.
       An answer came in the form of an old friend who told her about Jabulani Africa Ministries (JAM).
       So in 2008, Lisa put her studies at California State University, Northridge on hold, said goodbye to her family and friends and headed for Cape Town, South Africa.

        In South Africa, Lisa saw herself as an extension of Life Spring church, which supported her not only emotionally and spiritually but financially as well.

       As an intern with JAM, Lisa helped support the local churches, and through its youth camp programs, helped develop young leaders for Christ.
       “We would train the teenagers – and they would teach the younger children,” Lisa said. “It was life-changing for everyone involved.”
       At JAM, Lisa learned to minister to people - not in the sense of a pastor with a theology education - but as someone who is able to point people to Christ while addressing their present needs.
       “If you love God and love people, you will be able to do amazing things,” she said.

       It was in South Africa that she met her now husband, Thinus van der Merwe, a South African and fellow missionary who is now Life Spring’s Youth Director.
       In addition to a willingness to leave the comforts of home and travel halfway around the world, Lisa believes that education is a key component of a young child’s life.
       She received a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with an emphasis on education from CSUN in 2009 and now teaches in Agoura Hills at Born Learners School for pre-elementary students.
       As Life Spring’s Early Childhood Director, Lisa oversees all programs for kids 0 years of age through kindergarten.
       While in South Africa during the second half of 2016, Lisa and Thinus were praying and consulting with Pastor Tony about a possible return to Life Spring.
       “Pastor Tony told me that there was a need here for a youth director and an early childhood director,” Lisa said.
        Lisa and Thinus returned to Life Spring in January 2017 and took on their current roles within the church.
       While Lisa missed her family and friends during her time abroad, she has a heart that is open to God’s calling, whenever and wherever it may be.
       “We both have an available heart. For the time being, we know the Lord is calling us here, to
    California and to Life Spring,” Lisa said. “Our prayer is that we remain in God’s calling on our lives in the future and present.” 

  • Hating Evil and Loving Good.....

       Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnants of Joseph. Amos 5:15

    When Jesus was on Earth, he was a strong man, a man of iron will. He was able to love with an intensity of love that burned Him up.

      He was able to hate with the strongest degree of hatred against everything that was wrong and evil and selfish and sinful. Invariably someone will object when I make a statement like that. "I cannot believe such things about Jesus. I always thought it was a sin to hate.”

       Study long and well the record and the teachings of Jesus while He was on Earth.

    2 Timothy 2:15. In them lies the answer. It is a sin for the children of God not to hate what ought to be hated. Our Lord Jesus loved righteousness, but He hated iniquity. I think we can say He hated sin and wrong and evil perfectly!

       If we are committed, consecrated Christians, truly disciples of the crucified and risen Christ, there are some things we must face.

         We cannot love honesty without hating dishonesty. We cannot love purity without hating impurity. We cannot love truth without hating lying and deceitfulness. 


       It is often difficult to hate evil without hating the perpetrator of it, especially if the evil is directed against us. Sincere love – agape love – can maintain the distinction.


       Lord, may I so cling to the good that I can clearly discern evil and

  • Resurrection Establishes Jesus as Son of God 

    Easter will be celebrated on April 21st this year. We can look to the New Testament of the Bible to discover the foundations or history of this Christian celebration, which celebrates the
    resurrection of Jesus Christ.

        The resurrection established Jesus as the powerful Son of God and is cited as proof that God will fulfill all His promises.

       As opposed to one single day of observance, Easter is an entire season of the Christian calendar commencing with Lent (a 40 day period) and ending with Easter Sunday.

       Easter is related to the Passover and the Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament, through the Last Supper, sufferings and crucifixion of Jesus that preceded the resurrection.
       According to the New Testament, Jesus gave the Passover meal a new meaning. At the Last Supper he prepared himself and his disciples for his death through crucifixion. The name, Easter, is most likely derived from the same root as the direction, east, and is a reference to the dawn, the rising of the sun (or son in our case). The word, therefore, conveys the ideas of dawn, spring, light, and rebirth which are also embodied in the traditional symbols of Easter: eggs, flowers, and rabbits.
    Oxford English Dictionary 

  • on the calendar

    • Saturday, April 13 & May 11 Men’s Breakfast 9 a.m. at the church patio
    •  Saturday June 22 Women’s Breakfast 8:30 a.m. in the lobby
    •  Sunday, April 7, June 2 Pizza at Jax After second service
    • Thursday, April 18 Seder Dinner
    • Sunday, April 21 Easter
    • Sunday, May 12 Mother’s Day
    • In May Women’s Spring Tea
    • Also in May Family Fun Day
    • Sunday June 16 Father’s Day
    • Also in June Walk to the Cross