Wednesday, January 12, 2011

“Mom, this is Jacob!” (Part 1)

by Marion Ueckermann

It all started some 18 months ago, I guess. My employer had flown me to Port Elizabeth, 1300 kilometres away for a two day induction to the company. Whilst there, I got a phone call from my 18 year-old son, Kyle.

“Mom, I’m moving to Canada!” he announced.

Now anyone who knows their geography will know that Canada, with its snow and sub-zero temperatures, is a long, long way from sunny South Africa. You could say they’re “poles apart”.

“Oh no, you’re not,” was my curt response, followed by a “we’ll talk about this when I get home.”

To Kyle, a talented 3D Artist, Canada held a world of opportunity for his future career. But, thanks to Facebook (don’t you just love it?), I knew it also held a newly met Turkish girl named Gizem. So I was quite aware that Kyle did not have the right motivation for this impulsive dream.

As I pondered my son’s phone call, I was reminded of another prodigal son. However, it was the unmentioned mother in this popular parable that my thoughts dwelled upon. I could just see her cringing at the mistakes she knew her son would make. I’m convinced she would have tried to talk him out of his foolishness, praying for God to intervene and knock some common sense into her headstrong child . . . pretty much like I found myself doing.

Just two months later, Kyle’s Canadian dream was stripped away when he quit his job at a 3D visualisation company one Thursday morning. He’d had enough of being the whipping boy for his oppressive boss. But whilst I was frustrated that this man hadn’t grasped the depths of Kyle’s talent, God was setting in motion a life changing miracle.

I encouraged Kyle to wash up and rush to Johannesburg with his showreel because a Cape Town production company was recruiting that same afternoon. Whilst impressed with Kyle’s 3D and VFX (visual effects) talents, this company realised he’d be wasted in their 2D environment and sent his showreel to the best VFX company in South Africa. Two weeks later, Kyle and I were flying to Cape Town for an interview and flat hunting. One week later he relocated to the fairest Cape.

Kyle immediately slotted into an awesome church where his spiritual walk was ignited.

In a whirlwind turn of events during September 2010, Kyle felt God’s call on his life to go into missions … and this is where life has really started to get interesting, but I’ll share about that next time in “Mom, this is Jacob!” Part 2.

October saw Kyle successfully going through the admissions process to join an international organisation called Operation Mobilization, or OM for short. In just over two weeks he will commence with 5 months of missions training. Prospective missionaries, young and old, from all over the world come to the OM facility in Pretoria East to do their MDT (Missions Discipleship Training) – and we’re the lucky parents to be blessed to have this training centre based a mere 16 kilometres from our home.

After his training, Kyle has requested to join the Logos Hope for two years where international crew and staff of volunteers live and work on the ship. He’s hoping to be placed where he can use his visual effects and photography talents.

OM Ships International’s goal is to bring knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world. They accomplish this by supplying vital literature resources, encouraging cross-cultural understanding, training young people for more effective life and service, providing needed relief, and sharing a message of hope in God wherever there is opportunity. Teams from the ship go into surrounding areas where they supply aid and community care. And, in each port, the ship's crew joins local churches to bring hope and show love to people, no matter their circumstance, culture or background.

Hundreds, sometimes thousands of people, visit the ship during the days and weeks when the ship is in port. It is estimated that over one million visitors have been welcomed onboard every year! The floating book fairs offer over 6,000 titles, providing many visitors their first-ever opportunity to purchase quality educational and Christian literature.

Can you imagine that? A floating bookstore! And I just happened to have noticed that they have quite a number of fiction books too.

The Logos Hope is currently in Oman and will be sailing on to the United Arab Emirates before visiting Qatar, Bahrain, Sri Lanka and India. How I wish it was me joining the ship. Can you just imagine the writing fodder to be gleaned from visiting so many countries? And even though Kyle’s passion is photography not writing, I know his pictures are going to paint a thousand stories. Hopefully he’ll pass some ideas on to his mother.

Here’s one of Kyle’s pictures with a story … but, as promised, I’ll share that with you next time.

MARION UECKERMANN’s writing passion was sparked in 2001 when she moved to Ireland with her husband and two sons. Since then Marion has been honing her skills and has published some devotional articles in Winners at Work as well as inspirational poetry online and in a poetry journal. She has written her first Christian Women’s novel (unpublished) and is currently completing the sequel. Marion now lives in Pretoria East, South Africa with her husband, sons and a crazy black ‘Scottie’. A member and moderator of the South African Christian Writers Group, Marion can be contacted via email on marionu(at)telkomsa(dot)net.


  1. Thank you for the interesting post- I can't wait to read Part 2!

  2. we have some friend who work with this organization but are based in Lebanon, he actually went from here (Aust) and then met and fell in love with an american.
    I had another friend I met at a camp spend 2 years with the Logos about 20 years ago.
    I bet its exciting for Kyle.

  3. Congrats to Kyle, and what a cool story for you, Mom!

  4. I love stories of answerred prayer and God working in people's lives--there are no better faith builders to hold on to when the answers aren't evident--yet.

  5. Oh, Marion, what a roller coaster ride you took me on! I'm so grateful that things seem to be working out for Kyle and that his experience with the seemingly greener grass has given him this perspective. I'm sure his photos will spark many stories for his Mum.

  6. Marion

    I so enjoyed both your postings on Jacob. Looking forward to more stories emanating from Kyle's life.