GOD'S WILL: Willie and Ansie Liebenberg were destined to live in Warwick and they haven't stopped smiling since they got here.
GOD'S WILL: Willie and Ansie Liebenberg were destined to live in Warwick and they haven't stopped smiling since they got here. Jonno Colfs

How two South African ministers ended up in Warwick

ANSIE Liebenberg definitely did not want to move to Australia.

Along with husband Willie, the couple were both happily ordained Methodist ministers, with their own congregations, among the largest in Southern Africa.

Mr Liebenberg had a dream however, and it became more and more clear that dream may not be realised in his home country.

"I wanted to be a school chaplain, I really wanted to work with children,” he said.

Due to constantly changing political and demographic climates in South Africa and the fact school chaplains are rare in the country, it wasn't looking good.

Then came a stroke of luck from the other side of the world.

"We had a friend who was a minister in Brisbane,” Mrs Liebenberg said.

"He got in touch with us to say he'd heard the Uniting Church in Warwick were looking for both a minister and a chaplain.

"To be honest I was dead against going - our two eldest children live in New York and London, Australia meant moving even further away from them.”

The two were doting foster parents, caring for 14 children over the years, eventually adopting two girls.

The family decided to come and see Warwick for themselves.

"The church was so good to us, we brought the girls and they put us all up here,” Mrs Liebenberg said.

"But even sitting in the interview, I was thinking, 'we're not staying here'.

"Then I snuck into the church to watch and the sermon the minister gave was the one that called me to ministry years earlier.

"That changed everything.”

Three months later, the Liebenbergs were back for good.

Ansie started as minister at Warwick Uniting Church and Willie as school chaplain at Scots PGC College.

"I really love Warwick, now times that by 1000 and you've got Willie,” Mrs Liebenberg said.

"We've found our home and we're not going anywhere.”



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