Spalke news

Home / About us

About us

Since 2001 we have been working with the international and interdenominational mission organisation Youth with a Mission (YWAM). We have taken YWAM's motto "To know God and make him known" to heart and have therefore been living and working in South Africa as full time missionaries with a focus on 'children in need' since Ocotber 2005. We joined YWAM Muizenberg, a base just South of Cape Town, in February 2008. From here we go out and work in our various projects (you can read more about those under "Ministry"). This is also where we live.


What else is there to say "about us"? We'll just answer some frequently asked questions that - well - we get asked frequently.


What are your children's names?

Our three active kids are: Naomi (25th of September 2008), Noah (12th of June 2010) and Leon (18th of May 2013). This family photo was taken on Christmas Eve 2014 right before dinner so someone was clearly not happy. And yes, we generally celebrate Christmas in summer clothes.


Do you miss Germany?

South Africa has really become our home - our children were born here, we have made close friends, we are part of a good church, we can fully use our potential... Of course, our families and friends in Germany are irreplaceable and so sometimes the distance becomes quite a burden. We hardly miss Germany as a country though. And if it gets really hard, we go and devour a currywurst at the German Deli in Cape Town City, and all is well again.


How long are you planning to stay in South Africa?

We will stay in South Africa indefinitely. As long as we keep getting our visas and God tells us to stay, we will call this our home and ministry land.


I thought it's impossible to be in missions when you have a family. Is that true?

It is a bit more difficult, but not impossible! God has always blessed us financially, whether we were alone, married, with one or three children (and we are sure it works with more too!). From a family point of view it becomes more difficult because it's not only moms and dads but also grandmas and grandpas that are far away. And a trip to Germany resembles a logistical mega project now rather than a relaxed flight between two continents. Also, because work and personal life is hard to seperate in our field we have to be more careful not to let our family suffer. On the other hand, this has the advantage that we work more flexibly and are able to see each other more during the day. Another positive aspect of family in missions is that our children grow up multi-culturally and do not have any reservations against people in need or poverty. We love it!


Is Justine still involved doing ministry?

Justine has decided to mainly be with our children and to manage the home front. We have also started to homeschool in January 2014, so there is always enough to do. But because much of our work happens at home she gives volunteers, teams, colleagues and other randomly appearing visitors a second home by offering a yummy coffee, some sweet goodies and an open ear. She really enjoys that and it keeps her in the loop of what's happening in the projects without having to drag the kids out there. Justine also takes care of this website, the odds and ends of our newsletter and major admin projects, like annual reports. She and a friend have recently started to visit the girls and women in 7 De Laan weekly. In order to do all that, Marco is with the kids one afternoon a week and we have weekly child care that enables Justine to get some solid hours of office work.


Do you get a salary?

Youth With A Mission does not pay us a salary (see menu item "support") and so we have built up (and are still building) a strong circle of faithful supporters. It's made up of people, who have a heart for us and our work and have decided to render our sustenance possible monthly or once off with small or big amounts. Unfortunately, we are not able to cover all personal and ministry costs and so we are regularly dependent on God's miraculous support.


How often do you go to Germany for a holiday?

Never! The reason for that is that our stays in Germany are not a holiday but work trips (just ask our families...). We do those approximately every 12 months, in exceptional cases more often. We usually travel quite a bit then, visiting partners and supporters, present our ministries and make new contacts.


What do your parents think of your life and work?

It was not easy for them to let us go and since the grandchildren are here every farewell is hard. In that regard even video calls over Skype don't help. But at heart, they are proud of us and know that we are right where we are. Maybe they wouldn't admit it voluntarily though :).


Do you have an education for what you are doing?

Justine has done Matric (High School Diploma) and Marco is an Interior Decorator by profession. Does that count? No, we do not have any formal education for what we do. We were taught by life, mistakes and successes and we try daily to use the giftings that God has given us. And honestly we sometimes wonder what education would have prepared us for the crazy challenges that we face everyday...


Do you raise your kids bilingually?

We speak both English and German at home, but have taught our kids German only in the beginning. When they are somewhere between 18 and 24 months old we start to speak English more intentionally, also at home, when English speakers are around. Our main medium of instruction during school time is English, although we all throw in German quite liberally. We are most definitely a bilingual family, through and through!