Wikus and Carina started their journey together in 1986, first as friends in a ministry, and married in 1991.
They have two daughters, Lara and Emelia, studying communication and the arts at Nelson Mandela University in Gqebera (formerly Port Elizabeth).
At university, Wikus and Carina both received a clear call to missions. They started out in 1993 in a semi-rural community south of Johannesburg, South Africa, reaching out to the local black community with the love and care of Jesus.
This work developed into a non-profit organization doing community development and evangelism work. The vision was based on Jesus’s parable in Matthew 25:31 – 45 with emphasis on verse 40. This text became a directive for Wikus’ ministry.
As Wikus continued with community development and church planting in an informal settlement, Carina studied educational psychology and worked with vulnerable children in this local informal settlement. Some of these children were having challenges with anger and oppositional defiant behaviour. Carina did a qualitative research study on how therapy could offer support to these children. Carina observed how a regular therapeutic support group, accompanied by soccer games, helped the children who participated. Those children were equipped with skills to resolve the anger they experienced, relating to past trauma and violence in the family and community.
The van der Walts also pastored two predominantly Indian congregations and two black churches.
In 2009 Wikus and his family moved to pastor a Xhosa church in Canzibe, Transkei. The previous pastor’s wife, Marlene Stadler, established an Early Childhood Development Centre for 25 children at Canzibe. At the time, that was the only facility in the area offering educational enrichment for children between the ages of 4 and 6. As Wikus and Carina, and local ladies continued, with the support of 25:40, Masonwabe Pre-school became an established place of early childhood education, care, and hope for the future for many young children and their parents.
Close to the start of their pastoring assignment in the Transkei area of the Eastern Cape, Wikus met Alec Zacaroli of 25:40 as he came to share research results on the needs of children in that area.
Before they met Alec Zacaroli, Wikus and Carina became aware of the vulnerability and unmet needs of the children visiting the Church grounds. This was also evident as they engaged with the children and youth of the communities which they served. As research results were shared, Alec mentioned the name of 25:40, the organization that sponsored the research. Wikus knew that this was a divine appointment. A partnership developed from there.
During their eight years in Canzibe, Wikus realized that young men and boys in the Canzibe, and surrounding communities, were not effectively reached. They also had few training and employment options open to them. He saw how a lack of father figures impacts the children’s ability to cope well in life. After seeking God’s will about this, an organic process to care for these older children and boys developed. Subsequently, 25:40 has had a Youth Leadership Program to support children aging out of the Aftercare centres and other at-risk young people in the community through a peer ministry with a sports coaching focus.
In 2017, Wikus and Carina moved to Jeffreysbay, Eastern Cape. Wikus and Carina lead the 25:40 SA team with 17 teachers, coaches and carers. Wikus also recruits young men and girls from the Transkei with the help of various partners. In Jeffreysbay, they are trained for caring for and leading orphaned, vulnerable, and at-risk young people with 25:40.
Wikus and Carina want their lives invested in seeing how God changes the hearts and minds of young people to discover God’s encompassing love for them as they follow God’s plan and purposes for their lives. At 25:40, Wikus and Carina see a future where young people grow into becoming faithful fathers and mothers.