On Saturday, 8 August 2009, Mrs Ingrid Pickard went to be with the Lord. She was 75 years old.
When I visited her just over a week ago, in the Somerset West Medi-Clinic Intensive Care ward, her main concern was for other people. She wanted me to bring more evangelistic literature and JOY! Magazines to distribute to other patients and hospital staff.
On each visit, as we prayed together, her concerns were for her children and grandchildren, other family members and friends, for the Church, for the country and for the Kingdom of God.
From the first time I met Mrs. Pickard in 1986, I was impressed with her love for the Lord and her concern for God’s work, particularly in our country, South Africa, and in Zimbabwe.
She had picked up some copies of Frontline Fellowship News, the very first edition ever produced, from a meeting of Don McAlvany at the Cape Sun Hotel. She phoned me immediately and insisted that I come round to her home and explain my mission to some of her friends.
Mrs. Pickard soon became an invaluable friend and supporter of our mission, encouraging us regularly. She always wanted bulk copies of our newsletters and magazines to hand onto friends and contacts. We would regularly receive phone calls urgently requesting packages and publications for her to put in the hands of the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defence, or even the hands of the President himself.
Some of this was done at cocktail parties and formal dinners, others during rugby matches. Mrs. Pickard’s husband, Jan (Bull) Pickard had been a Captain of the Western Province Rugby Team and later a Springbok Rugby player. As the Chairman of the Western Province Rugby Union, he would frequently have senior government officials in the presidential box at Newlands Rugby Stadium. One could just imagine the President trying to watch rugby having impressed upon him by Mrs Pickard the importance of reading this or that item, or acting on an Africa Christian Action project.
Ingrid Pickard had many friends and contacts in the government, since her own father, Eben Dönges, had at his death been state president-elect of the Republic of South Africa. Actually, the first Dönges who came to this country was a German missionary, who served in Namaqualand and built the church at Concordia. Like her ancestor, Ingrid Pickard had a missionary heart and served her Lord in the same spirit. She also kindled and encouraged sound faith and godly service in her children and grandchildren.
When our missionaries were arrested in Mozambique, Mrs Pickard interceded for us, and placed our details into the hands of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She regularly wanted more details on the political prisoners in Zimbabwe so that she could ensure that their plight was made known to successive presidents at upcoming rugby tournaments.
When Africa Christian Action was launched, Mrs Pickard went, with another dear friend of the Fellowship, to confront the head of Pick ‘n Pay concerning the availability of pornography on their shelves. Mrs Pickard challenged the CEO to look at a picture which we had published in that first edition of The Pornography Plague booklet. It showed a black and white picture of the pornography filled wall of a murderer in Mitchell’s Plein, just a few metres from where the body of his victim, the young Ramonde Jacobs, was found buried. “Can you be sure that none of the pornography in this murderer’s room was purchased from one of your stores?”
The CEO walked to his telephone and immediately ordered all anti-family materials to be removed from all Pick ‘n Pay stores around the country.
Ingrid Pickard was tireless in campaigning for the right to life of pre-born babies. She stood against pornography, horror toys and any other threats to children, families and Christian standards in society.
She regularly organised speaking engagements for myself, Rev. Bill Bathman and other leaders of our mission.
Regularly, Mrs Pickard would be introducing us to key Christian leaders from around the world and urging co-operation. Many were the meals we enjoyed in her home, and many were the world leaders that we met through her energetic networking. It was a regular privilege to enjoy meals and fellowship with the ex-Rhodesian Prime Minister, Mr. Ian Smith, in Ingrid Pickard’s lovely home.
She was a dynamic force in the promotion of the Africa Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and as the Chairlady of Woman of Destiny organised many great meetings at Kelvin Grove.
Ingrid Pickard was a prayer warrior, a Christian activist, a motivator, an encourager, a networker and the inspiration for many key projects.
When JOY! Magazine was launched, Ingrid Pickard was an energetic campaigner to promote the magazine, to make it better known. She encouraged store managers to stock it on their shelves, and when JUIG!, the Afrikaans sister magazine of JOY! was published, she promoted it just as enthusiastically.
Mrs. Pickard was a frequent visitor to our mission to collect quantities of books, CDs, DVDs, newsletters, magazines and evangelistic tracts to give to many contacts. The table in her hallway was always a literature table with a variety of Frontline Fellowship, Christian Action, Gospel Defence League and JOY! Magazine publications to be distributed to guests.
Amongst the tremendous legacy which Ingrid Pickard leaves behind are her precious four children, Teresa Louw, Jan Pickard, Karen Louis, and Thea Haller, and many grandchildren, all of whom she deeply loved.
Ingrid Pickard is a tremendous example of an unselfish person who lived for the Lord, for her family and friends, and had a great passion for the Kingdom of God. She was an intercessor with a tremendous burden for Reformation and Revival in South Africa. Ingrid Pickard will be greatly missed by us, but we rejoice with her that she has fought the good fight of faith and finished the race, giving all glory to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.