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Celebrating the life of Mary-Jean Tempelhoff

This month, with hearts filled with gratitude and reverence, we gather to pay homage to an extraordinary woman whose unwavering dedication laid the cornerstone of Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) in South Africa—Mary-Jean Tempelhoff.

Arriving in our nation in 1972 alongside her husband, John, Mary-Jean embarked on a divinely guided journey that established CCC in South Africa. Their calling was a testament to God’s provision, and their commitment birthed a legacy of discipleship—Win, Build, and Send—that stands as a testament to His wisdom and grace.

In this edition, we offer a glimpse into the profound impact of Mary-Jean and John’s life and service within CCC. This dedication includes:

  1. A heartfelt eulogy for Mary-Jean from her beloved children, reflecting on her unparalleled contributions to the ministry.
  2. A personal sharing from her eldest son, David, offering a touching perspective on the enduring influence and legacy of his mother’s remarkable devotion.
  3. Additionally, we invite you to witness the testimonies encapsulating the profound impact of John and Mary-Jean’s ministry through three poignant YouTube links.

Let us join in commemorating and celebrating the life and dedication of Mary-Jean Tempelhoff, recognizing the divine guidance that continues to shape CCC’s journey in South Africa.

EULOGY

TEMPELHOFF, MARY-JEAN

October 22, 1943 – October 27, 2023

Passed peacefully to be with her Lord and loved ones that have gone before.

Beloved wife for 57 years of Dr. John Tempelhoff.

Adored mother and friend to David, Peter & Kristen.

Mother-in-law to Lara Walken-Davis, Angela Rose-Tempelhoff & Simon Curran.

Best Grandmother to Daniel, Adam, Nathan, Jason, Zara, Jonah, Abigail & Jessica.

She was predeceased by parents Jack & Jean Size and sister Joan Muir.

Survived by brother Steven & sister (in-law) Susan Size in London, Canada.

Loved dearly by her nieces, nephews, in-laws, and friends, who each had a warm relationship with her.

Mary-Jean was a faithful partner in ministry with John, serving for 54 years with Campus Crusade. Mary-Jean was the founder of Mother’s Who Care, which positively affected generations of moms and kids around the world. Mary-Jean travelled extensively around the world with John and enjoyed the respect and love of their many ministry supporters.

Mary-Jean had a warm and charismatic personality that drew people to her, while her cheeky fun sense of humour and positive outlook on life and love kept them by her side for life. She loved painting, reading, music, Maltese poodles, and good conversations but mostly time with her family. She recently celebrated her 80th birthday with family from South Africa, England, and Canada in attendance.

Family and friends celebrated her life on Monday the 30th of October 2023, at a memorial in her honour held at Serepta Church.

John, MJ, David, Kristin & Peter when they returned to SA from Canada to begin CCC

PERSONAL SHARING FROM DAVID TEMPELHOFF

This is very hard. I Miss my Mom. She was the best. A good Mom and friend.

During my 22 years working in the USA, I used to call home and many times, it was 2 am or 3 am. She never once hung up the phone, got cranky or asked me to call back. She was with me, on every adventure. Alaska (commercial fishing in the Bearing Sea and professional hunting trips on the Nushagak river basin), Gold Mining in Yukon, Deployments to the Middle East with the US Navy, deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan with the US Army and 2 very bad marriages. My Mom was there the whole way offering advice, never judgmental, never harsh.

When I finally got out of the 2nd marriage and moved back to South Africa, she insisted I take Lara out on a date. The best gift my Mom gave me was recommending a date with Lara. I am all for arranged marriages in 2023.

I would like to also mention the following. The furloughs we intense when we were kids. We were also put in many different schools, in different countries and the US States, for short periods. No matter how hard or disruptive, we know when we come home. My folks were there, and things were good. My Mom was a very brave person. She had her weaknesses and vulnerabilities, but never let that stop her. She passed this on to us. I could go on and on. CCC has been part of my life, my whole life, although I have never wanted to join up officially. I only wanted to support my folks in their work. It is not an easy life, but rich in relationships.

When Henry Brant visited us in the late 1980s or early 90s. He said CCC staff were the most balanced staff mentally for a global Christian organization. The root of the strength lay in Dr Bright’s rule: “Do not grumble and do not talk bad about other staff members and people behind their backs”. Not obeying this was grounds for immediate dismissal. My Mom lived this, she never complained, and I never heard Mom or Dad ever talk bad about another staff member. And, for that matter, anyone they worked with or the government. They both have just stayed in their lane.

Shalom

YOUTUBE LINKS

1 thought on “Celebrating the life of Mary-Jean Tempelhoff”

  1. Thank you for the great article about an exceptional lady. Noeline and I had the privilege to serve the Lord alongside her for 25 years. Whenever we had ministry assignments or were involved with personal visits in the Durban area, we always stayed with her and John and we were always treated in a way that made us feel special. Although our superiors in everything, they were always humble servants of the Lord. To spend time with Mary-Jean; ministry, drinking tea, having a meal together, just chatting, watching a movie, visiting a mall, with her it was always a fun experience.
    She had a big impact on our lives, she will receive many accolades from her King.

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