Important message about the COVID-19 Coronavirus

In an effort to care for all of our personnel, families, and mission around the world, EMI has been taking a number of steps in response to the progress of COVID-19.

Location-specific Crisis Management Teams remain in place to monitor COVID developments, inform, and care for EMI personnel. Decisions about official EMI travel (including project travel) domestically and internationally are being made on a case-by-case basis by Office Directors in locations concerned. EMI’s worldwide offices remain in varying states of closure with personnel working remotely or from home.

We continue to actively monitor the situation and will respond to new information affecting our worldwide ministry and teams. We view the COVID-19 Coronavirus as an opportunity to live out the gospel and our faith in Jesus through the ministry of EMI.

Gerhard van der Merwe

Office Director
EMI South Africa
Joined EMI: February 2016
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Professional Training & Experience

  • BA, theology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • BAS, Architecture, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • MCPUD, City Planning and Urban Design, University of Cape Town, South Africa

After first studying theology, and then architecture, Gerhard worked in London for two years, gaining experience in the international corporate architecture world.  He returned to Cape Town to further his studies, completing a Master's degree in City Planning and Urban Design at the University of Cape Town.

On completing his studies, Gerhard pursued a career in Urban Design and Architecture in Cape Town, assisting with the launch of an Urban Design sister company to the DHK design group.  Gerhard ran this urban design, architecture and heritage consulting practice for approximately 13 years before joining EMI as staff in 2016.

Ministry Experience

Having studied both theology and architecture, Gerhard's involvement at EMI is a perfect integration of ministry and design.  It provides the opportunity to live out one's calling to ministry while using one's talents in architecture as well. 

Gerhard and his wife, Trudie, have been involved at Common Ground Church since 2003, assisting with leading life groups, preaching and general life in the church family.

In addition to his involvement at EMI as well as his local church, Gerhard is involved at a ministry school, facilitating the first-year program as well as assisting with teaching.  


Gerhard is married to Trudie, a lawyer specialising in consumer law. Gerhard and Trudie share a heart for ministry and missions, and for travelling - our EMI journey started with an 8 month sabbatical in India, volunteering with the EMI office in Delhi.