At our recent ladies camp, Chevon Passanah experienced the power of God setting her free from a lifelong sleeping disorder. This is how she describes it:
“I’ve had sleeping issues my whole life. From what I’m told by my parents, I had really big problems when I was very young, but as I got older it did get better – until my first year at university, and since then I have just really struggled to fall asleep. It has become so bad that I feel like my whole life has started revolving around my sleeping issues; I don't sleep over at friends ever because of it, as I have to be in my bed at least 3 hours before I need to be asleep.
“In the 3 or 4 years before I was born again, I struggled with severe anxiety and depression and so my sleeping issues became even worse; as a result I started smoking weed before bed every night. I was born again about 18 months ago and I realised the smoking weed had to stop, and I had to rely on God to help me sleep. By the end of last year God had completely healed me of my anxiety and depression, which was just absolutely incredible. My sleeping issues did improve slightly, yet it was still a major struggle in my life. As much as I was so grateful for the areas of my life God had healed, I started feeling a bit frustrated and often found myself crying out to God, saying, "I'm being obedient, God! I'm trusting You to help me sleep, so why aren't You helping me?"
“When the ladies camp came up, I initially decided not to attend – or to perhaps just go for the day – but I felt God telling me to go on the Friday and sleep over, so reluctantly I did. On the Friday night Helna Brown got up and said she felt there were some people that really needed prayer for sleeping, so I went up front and Danelle prayed with me. She initially saw a picture which neither of us quite understood, and so we prayed further into that. Suddenly God reminded me of two separate times in my life: One when I was a child and the other when I was in Res at UCT in my first year of studies. The memory as a child isn't so clear – I just remember being absolutely terrified at night when I had to go to bed and I remember my parents in later years telling me how they would wake up to shrill screams in the middle of the night and would rush to my bedroom; I would be awake but screaming in terror and pointing to things they couldn't see, screaming, "They’re coming to get me!" The second memory was a lot more clear. In my first year of studies I frequently experienced strange things: I was constantly having panic attacks in my sleep, and then I would wake up completely paralyzed, unable to talk and seeing dark figures. Even after 8 hours of sleep I would often wake up completely drained and exhausted. My roommate never had any of these strange experiences. At the time I did some research about it and came to a logical, scientific, medical explanation that seemed to make sense. Even after I got saved I refused to acknowledge that there was any other explanation for this.
“As God reminded me of these memories, I felt him telling me that I had a deep-rooted subconscious fear of sleeping, and that I felt incredibly vulnerable when I slept. So we prayed further into this fear, and both Danelle and I then felt the Lord saying that His protection was over me, that it has been over me and that I don't need to be scared of being vulnerable when I sleep. This gave me such a great feeling of peace.
“That night I fell asleep in a strange bed within 10 minutes of us putting the lights out – this never ever happens to me – and every night since then has been the same. I can't recall the last time I fell asleep so quickly It was just such a great reminder for me about how powerful and big God is, and how He just brings such incredible restoration and healing.”
God is moving in our prisons.
The reverend from a local prison got hold of ‘Pastor Ant’ (heheh) and asked him if he would be willing to come minister in one of the services they would be hosting to celebrate Youth Day with the inmates.
I was fortunate enough to be one of the four guys that Ant had asked to join him. On arriving that Saturday morning I felt a lot of nerves, not knowing what to expect. It’s a prison, and although I know people can obviously be born again in prison, I did not expect to find anything but a whole lot of hardened men. What I did find on our arrival, however, were a whole bunch of guys worshiping God while waiting for us to arrive.
We – the five of us, the reverend, a couple of wardens and the 60 or so men who chose to attend this meeting – proceeded to all enter a large room. These prisoners continued to just sing songs to the Lord while they waited for the meeting to start. The prison had catered snacks and drinks for us, which in itself shows how grateful they were to us for coming in to spend time with them and minister Jesus to these believers. I was blown away to see how many of these men knew and loved the Lord through their conduct in the meeting, and through the words and testimonies that were shared by some of the inmates.
They were all very excited to have us join what they actually have there every Sunday, which was also so awesome to hear. Another thing that I could see in these men, and especially in the choir guys who did a few musical items for us, was a softness that I didn't expect to find and didn't see in any of the prisoners outside in the quads. It was amazing as well as humbling to see men in prison that had been touched by Jesus, or had at least been brought low through their circumstances rather than hardened.
Ant shared a powerful message from the Holy Spirit, and the truth being spoken resulted in five prison inmates asking the Lord for forgiveness and inviting Him into their hearts.
I felt such a big piece of my heart stay behind, and it all gave me such a bigger and clearer picture of Christ coming to set the captives free. There are men in there that are captive in society's eyes, which is the consequence of their previous actions, but are actually now free in Christ, with only a cell on earth but unperishable treasures in heaven. I know I was an offender against God as much as those guys, but what a privilege for me to see God set free those who call upon His name!
At the end of January 2017 a team of Oxygen Lifers headed to Queenstown over the weekend to spend time with a church there. Here’s how one of our deacons, Helan Brown, described the trip:
“My husband Rob and I had the privilege of going on the trip to Familia Christi Church in Queenstown with an Oxygen Life team. We were deeply impacted by the hospitality of our hosts and the rest of the people there; people made us feel so at home and welcomed us in as if we’d known them for years. It was also so encouraging to see how the leadership team of the church (who we spent most of our time with) had hearts so open to the Lord Jesus. They genuinely want to follow Him and the truth of the Word, and see His kingdom established in Queenstown and the surrounding areas. We are excited to see how the Lord will grow them as a church, in depth of relationship with Jesus and with one another.”
During the Whittlesea outreach, God moved powerfully through words of knowledge, healings and salvations – both in the church meetings and out on the streets of the community. Gary Kibble shares a few stories:
"At one house Zuki and I went to, the people weren’t open to what we were saying, but God gave me a word of knowledge about a lady’s leg pain caused by fear and unforgiveness. It turned out her daughter had been murdered, so we prayed for her, and she felt pain leave her leg. God then gave Zuki and I words of knowledge for the other lady in the house, about a hardened heart and anger towards her father. We prayed for her and ministered into that area, and she felt the love of God touch her. In houses after that, we were given words of knowledge about fear, bitterness, ancestral worship and witchcraft, and when the power of those things were broken, massive breakthroughs came through healing.
"During the Sunday meeting, I felt God wanted to heal someone’s knees, and a lady on crutches came forward – she’d been in three car accidents. We waited on God and spoke into areas of her life that we felt she needed emotional healing, and she said they were accurate. She then gave her heart to the Lord, and as she did that all the pain in her legs left! She could bend over without pain, and began to walk without her crutches. She just wanted to go home and tell her grandmother about what had happened!
"Another man was visiting the church, and we began to pray over him. God gave me accurate words of knowledge about a family situation. Those words of knowledge opened his heart up to the message of Jesus, and he was born again right there!"
“I sensed that on Saturday morning we needed to go after people who were hearing-impaired or possibly deaf. When we first arrived there my right ear blocked up, and I said to Vinnie that we needed to look for someone who was hearing-impaired in their right ear. We were still setting up when a lady came up to us, and I started chatting to her, telling her that we’d love to pray for any health problems she might have. She said she was fine, so I asked how her hearing was. She said she used a hearing aid for her right ear, but didn’t have it with her right then. I prayed a really simple prayer for her in the name of Jesus, and then asked her how she was. She said she could hear perfectly in that ear. We shared with her a bit, and then she had to go off to work. As we were packing up at the end of our time there, she came walking back past us, and I asked how her ear was. She said it was totally healed.
Vinnie and I also prayed for a guy who looked like he slept on the street, and had been attacked the previous week, which had damaged his left knee. We prayed for his knee, and he said that it was about 30% better, and so we prayed again, and he said it was 100%. When we checked his legs, we saw that his left leg was about an inch shorter than his right leg, so we prayed for that too. It lengthened almost instantly, becoming the same length as the other one! Debbie Dubber then had a word of knowledge out of nowhere for him about God restoring his relationship with his daughter, and it touched him very deeply. They ministered very powerfully to him for about 20 minutes.
After Lesedi and Danielle led a guy to the Lord, I had a word of knowledge about his stomach. I asked him how it was, and he said it was burning. I prayed a simple prayer. I asked him how it felt, and he said that it was perfect – that it’d been healed.
Towards the end I was standing with some guys and felt a pain in my lower back, so I realised God wanted to heal someone with a lower back injury. A guy came walking up with a motorbike helmet in his hand, so I said, “Excuse me, do you have a pain in your lower right back at the moment?” He said yes, so I explained that Jesus still heals today, and we would love to pray for him. He agreed, and we prayed a short, simple prayer. Afterwards, I asked him how his back was, and he said that he’d felt heat coming into it, and that it was healed. He shook our hands, thanked us and said, “Wow, God works in miraculous and mysterious ways.”
My car was stolen on Thursday in Durban while I was visiting my sister, even though my gear lock and immobiliser were on. On my way to the Berea Police Station, I was down and felt that even reporting it was a waste of time. (For those who know Golf 1's, you'll know that without a tracker you have zero chance of finding one in Durban.) Anyway, we reported it.
I got home, and my wife Taryn and my family told me that no matter what happened, God was in control. After much prayer, my faith was built up and I began to just leave it to God. There was nothing me or my family could do in our own power, but we prayed two specific prayers: 1) That the thieves might feel convicted and return the car, or 2) that they would leave it abandoned somewhere we'd find it. All our clothes were in the car, but we didn't even mind that - we just wanted the car back. I'd also just bought a new CD for the trip, and it was in the car, so I was sad about that.
The next morning I called the police station for an update. They didn't know anything, so I called the Durban SAPS Impound, where all the recovered cars are. Normally you'd hear from them if your car had been found, but I thought I'd just phone and check anyway. The lady there asked me what type of car it was, and then what colour. As I was telling her it was maroon, she read out my number plate, saying my car was there. It hadn't even been added to the inventory yet - she just knew it was there.
The car was released the same day, which just doesn't happen. There was minimal damage - the only damage was done to the ignition. Our clothes had been taken, but all my CDs were still there, and even my new CD was still inside the player.
I'm just overwhelmed by God's goodness and favour and love towards us, that we could get the car back without much damage and still have a testimony of God's goodness. So in whatever you're facing, though it might seem bleak and hopeless, don't give up. Remember that your Heavenly Father knows and sees what's happening, and He is in control.
Cameron, a pilot, left PE more than a year ago to spend time working in the DRC, but it meant being separated from his wife Rachael. PE is a notoriously difficult place to live and work as a pilot, but with God anything is possible. Here’s Cammo’s story of God’s provision:
“After about a year of contract life in the DRC, Rach and I were at wits end. We were finished, done, couldn’t go on. We would be separated for two months at a time, and then I’d have two weeks at home before heading off again. It was absolutely terrible. We’d been searching high and low for jobs for me in South Africa, or even anywhere civilized where Rach and I could live together again! Nothing yielded any positive returns. So on the 28th of May I sent Keith Paterson a mail to check in on what was happening at PTC Aviation in PE. He replied, saying I should come see him when I was in town around the 8th of June. He mentioned in the mails that there was a managerial/admin position available, and that there may be an instructor position available, but it was pending and I didn't think much of it.
“The day before this, Rach and I were at a church meeting and Mark Manley was preaching on, amongst other things, ‘the suddenlies of God’. We went up for prayer in our desperate state, trusting God to do something, and Mornay and Tandy Sutherland prayed for us and trusted with us. We needed God to literally perform a miracle.
“So back to Monday the 8th of June. Keith showed me around the PTC premises where they have the Boeing 737 NG simulator. It was incredible to see. After the tour around we sat down and had a chat, and he mentioned that there was to be a new intake of instructors for the 737 on the 6th of July and that the interviews would commence on Friday. Would I be keen to try out for the position? I mentioned that I may or may not be in town, as I was on standby at any moment to return to the DRC. So I tentatively committed to the Friday interview.
“During the week leading up to Friday I felt a variety of emotions, ranging from excitement to nerves to worry. Then during the week I was told that my trip to Johannesburg was delayed by about three days! Praise the Lord! So I committed fully to the Friday interview. Friday arrived and I sit down across the table from Waybe Westoby and Keith Paterson, two senior training captains in SAA. The interview went down relatively well that morning, and I was told to be there at 10pm for the second half of the interview process, which would require me to fly the 737 simulator.
“Now, I had never sat in the pilot seat of a 737, let alone flying the thing! So I’m in the 737 simulator in the thick of my interview process, with these two aviation heavyweights behind me, watching every move. I had to fly this 60-ton machine so they could assess my performance. Afterwards, we headed straight to Brad and Angela Verreynne (our incredible friends and leaders of our church) and shared what was busy going on in our lives and how we need God to make this all happen. Even if I resigned then, it would basically be two and a half weeks notice, which is breaking contract.
“So Brad and Ang chatted with us and prayed with us, and we left their spot at 6. Half an hour later I got a WhatsApp message from Keith Paterson:
‘Cameron, we would like to offer you the position starting 6 July. Can you see what you can negotiate with your current employer?’
“Oh Lord, You are amazing!!! So the very next morning Rach and I prayed for favour with my boss before I called to resign. I made the call and it went so well; my boss was so understanding and totally supportive of the fact that I was resigning for this new position at PTC.
“I always thought that it was impossible for me to forward my career in aviation and be in PE at the same time. PE is just generally dead, especially in the aviation sector. But nothing is impossible with God!
“I’m now embarking on a 6-month journey of extensive training, and thereafter I will be an instructor on a Boeing 737. We serve a faithful and powerful, miracle-making God!”
“I had the amazing privilege of joining a team from Josh Gen in Cape Town that were going on a ministry trip to Russia. The testimony of everything coming together in five weeks, from when I decided to go, is incredible in itself. God really made the way open and I got my new passport and visa within the five weeks!
“Carel, the guy who headed up our team, has been working into some of these churches over the last five years. There were nine of us in the team, and then we were joined by Will and Pam Marais after a few days, and then a family from England also joined us at the end of the first week. We started off our time in Russia in a city called Malagofka (spelled the way you say it!). We stayed with a couple, Corrie and Oleysia, who open up their home to youth from different churches around Moscow. The young guys and girls stay with them for the three months of their summer holiday, and get trained and equipped in the Lord. It was so special to see how they open their home in this way, literally living and eating with the young guys, day in and day out. They have such a heart to see Christ formed in the youth, and organise different teams and people to come and minister during the three month period.
“So we slotted into their timetable, and a team from Shofar in Pretoria were already there. We had such beautiful, open-heaven times of worship, and worshipping in Russian was probably one of my favourite things. The team from Shofar left after two days, and we continued with sessions every day – sometimes three a day! Carel taught a lot, and then Will and Pam also took a few sessions. We each had an opportunity to share our testimony with the guys, and each time was powerful and the Holy Spirit was at work in the each of their lives – and in ours!
“Our team would meet each morning for an hour, and we’d have a devotional hour along with all the youth. The days were also filled with personal ministry sessions where we would prophesy and encourage each of the guys staying at the house, one by one. These were very powerful times where we could pray through heart issues and sin that was brought into the light through the words and prophetic pictures that came out. We saw many set free from sin and bondage of different kinds, family issues and a lot of fear. It was so incredible to be a part of this, and to connect with everyone and get to know them on a deeper level.
“After a few days we travelled to Domededevo and visited a church there. Sasha and Olya lead the church and we hung out with all the guys and ate together. We stayed one night, and the next morning there was a church service in the room of a house! They had a full worship setup, with drums and everything – amazing! J We were always hosted and fed so wonderfully, and with such abundance. Our time there was short, but God was so faithful with opening up opportunities to encourage the people there, and you had to be very intentional with your time.
“The language barrier was obviously quite a challenge – more so in some places than others – but there were always one or two translators that we’d fight over. My little bit of Russian that I’d learned did help at times, but it was a huge challenge a lot of the time.
“After one night in Domededevo, we went back to Corrie’s house with the youth and continued there. Days were full and intense, and Cassie, another leader from Josh Gen that joined us, really broke open prayer in our time there. We started taking prayer slots every day and I can tell you that we slept very well each night! It was an incredible experience to be so utterly reliant on the Holy Spirit and His ability, because there were often times when you really felt you couldn’t give more or where you just felt inadequate, and then He would reveal His heart and speak through you in so many ways, and I was blown away so many times. You had no choice but to keep coming back to Him to get filled up again!
“At the end of the first week we travelled to a church in Obninsk, which was led by Costa and Natasha. We stayed two nights this time, and it was nice to have a bit more time with the people there. Mariska and I were hosted by a precious lady named Lydia. She loved to feed us! She could not speak a word of English but God opened up beautiful pockets of time with her, and I felt such a connection with her which was only through the Holy Spirit. The one evening we even prayed together and read the Bible together.
“We got to know quite a few of the young people in the church at the picnic that they organised for us, and again the language barrier was a challenge, but it did not stop us! We headed back to Corrie’s house for one more full day and then we left on the Tuesday morning and caught an overnight train to St. Petersburg. There were many tears leaving Corrie’s house, and my heart was definitely knitted with the guys and girls there. We had such a special time with them and I know God left a powerful deposit in all of their lives.
“St. Petersburg was a different experience altogether because it wasn’t as intense throughout the day, and the team stayed in a hostel together and then went to different meetings, mostly in the evenings. We had a day of sightseeing in Moscow and also in St. Petersburg. We spent quite a lot of time with guys from Hope Church, led by Hansie and Leyna, and again we were hosted so generously by the people there. We always had someone taking us around and showing us the best places to eat and, most importantly, helping us communicate with the people behind the counters!
“One day we caught a two-hour train and joined All Nations Church for a day of their church camp. It was such fun and we worshipped and danced with such an incredible freedom. It was always a privilege to hear Will preach, as well as Carel. God’s anointing was there, and there was amazing response from the people. I had opportunity to pray for Julia, the lead elder’s wife, and her little girl. It was very special for me and really felt His presence throughout our time there. It felt often like He expanded time and knitted our hearts so quickly with people.
“Will, Carel and Cassie were also constantly meeting with the different lead elders from all the different churches, and it was exciting to be a part of praying for them and for what God is establishing in these different cities. These churches that we visited are very isolated and don’t have the network of churches that we have within Four12 and in our country. So it was incredible to know that we were praying into God establishing His kingdom in Russia and building His church there.
“I can definitely say that I will be going to Russia again and that God has done a deep work in my heart though my time there.”
"On Tuesday’s outreach, I went to a hotel on the beachfront and chatted to the barman. I shared my testimony, and as he spoke about his own family I encouraged him in parenting his son – just reminding him of the Father’s love.
"I then had an opportunity to pray with a waitress for her son. He suffers from epilepsy, and I shared the testimony of Danielle Horne’s complete healing from epilepsy. I left my number with her so that she could update me, and I invited her to our next church meeting.
"She phoned me the next day while I was on my way to community, to update me on her son’s progress. He’d had an epileptic fit that day at 3pm, and she asked if I could pray for him again. This time she handed him the phone, and I prayed for him. Afterwards, I asked him if he experienced anything while I was praying for his healing, and he said that he felt something come up and out of his mouth. I sensed that it was fear, and so I asked him about it.
"He acknowledged that he was fearful of dying, so I explained to him what fear was and that it was not from God. I led him in a prayer of repentance, and prayed for the fear to leave him. I asked the Lord to fill him with His love and His Spirit, and he said he could feel that the fear had left. Yay Jesus! I'm so happy for this guy’s life, and for his mom's faith and refusal to give up. I’m so moved by Gods faithfulness – it's beautiful. Thank you, Lord!"
"I felt a strong urge that I needed to share my recent experience of failure, and my journey through self-analysis which ultimately led to a positive outcome arising from despair. But to understand my reaction to the failure, you’d need to understand its context...
"I have always been an overachiever, excelling in everything from being a top 10 academic to 1st team swimming, as well as honours for art. I was accepted into architecture easily and have been doing it for the last 4 years without failing a subject – a very rare occurrence in the course.
"Last year, however, was a very difficult year. I was tired after working hard to be accepted into Masters, and at the beginning of the year I was diagnosed with epilepsy after suffering a huge seizure which saw me being admitted to the hospital. Yet throughout the year’s difficulties, despite a lifestyle change and side effects from the medication, I believed that God would see me through the year. After all, I had prayed that He would prevent my acceptance into Masters if it was not His will for me to continue with architecture.
"Unfortunately, when I received my marks at the end of the year I found out that I had failed my major – Design. I was absolutely devastated! I felt that the whole year had been a waste and that God had let me down. He had failed me and I couldn't understand why He had helped others, but not me. People kept telling me to push into God, that He has a plan, but I wanted nothing more to do with God! I felt like a complete failure and I was furious with Him.
"I felt like it was the end of the world – or at least my world – because I had placed myself at the centre of the world. Then after a few weeks I had a really potent dream where God shifted my focus from myself to Him:
"In the dream the end times were coming and everyone was required to line up behind their religion and to wear a colour representing it. The two main religions were Christianity and Satanism, with a few minor religions in between. There were many Christians, and many of them were my family and friends, who were required to wear purple. The minor religions wore a variety of different colours and were made up of a few people. The largest group, however, were those worshipping Satan, and they wore black. In my dream I thought aloud that I didn't know so many people were hardcore Satanists. As I said that, someone spoke to my left and I turned to see Jesus. He told me that they were not part of Satanic cults, but that they were part of the world. They followed the fashions and ways of the world, and in doing this they were unknowingly worshipping Satan through their music, movies, actions and dress. After He told me this I looked down to see what I was wearing, and was shocked. I was wearing purple which faded into black. I heard the verse, 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold not hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.' (Revelation 3:15,16).
"I stood alone. Everyone else was in groups, either purple or black, but I stood alone in my two-toned colours, terrified because I wasn't part of either side in the war that was to come. I was useless to either side, and I realised when I woke up that one of my biggest problems was that I wasn't completely on either side. I prayed to God to help me through the year and to help me with my work, but I didn't really believe with faith, and thus I carried the whole weight of the world on my shoulders instead of sharing it with God.
"Getting back to the dream, there was a huge red moon, which at the start of my dream was just popping over the horizon. We knew that once it reached its apex, a huge war would break out between the religions and it would be the end of the world. But it looked so far away, and we thought that we had lots of time until it would reach the top. We were wrong, however. In the dream the moon started to rise faster and faster. My family and I tried to run to my aunt and uncle, who are strong atheists, to warn them of the events that were to come, but before we could reach them the moon was at its climax and a terrible war broke out.
"I strongly believe that the moon rising signified that the coming of Jesus will be much sooner than we think, and a lot of us believe we have time to reach those we love with the gospel. But the truth is that before we know it, time will be up and our chance to save those we love will be over, with no going back.
"The dream was so real that it shook me, and I started to pray that God would help me make the right decisions about what to do for the next year – whether I should go back to studying or work. For weeks I didn't feel like I got any answers from God, but then I woke up one day and had a verse going through my mind which I couldn't shake. I eventually looked it up, hoping it was an answer from God telling me what to do with my life. It was the following verse: 'Stop bringing me meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations – I cannot bear your evil assemblies.' (Isaiah 1:13)
"I felt a bit insulted by God, because I felt that I still had a right to be annoyed for failing, so I didn't feel like I deserved to be reprimanded about my character! I felt that if God could just tell me what to do next year then I'd be happy and deal with my character at a later stage.
"I then woke up a few days later with another verse in my mind and looked it up: 'Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong.' (Isaiah 1:16)
"I then realised that although I professed to be a Christian, I was still very lenient with my behaviour. And although I went to church, to community and participated in all the things good Christians should, it wasn't with all my heart. My quiet times had become just a habit before I got out of bed, and I had let my relationship with God stagnate because of all the other worldly things that I had placed importance on.
"I realised that I had placed my value as a person in the things I achieved instead of trusting that God loves me unconditionally. I had become so preoccupied with architecture and what the lecturers thought that I valued their opinions and actions towards me more than that of God's. Ultimately I learnt that God gives us the freedom to choose what we want to do. He wants us to make a decision and stick with it, but we must make him the centre of our lives. I could choose to do anything the next year, because ultimately God's wants to lead people to Himself so that when Jesus comes again we can all be part of the army in purple. Fight the good fight – that is all that matters.
"I now feel that my failure has turned into something positive. I had desperately felt that I needed a break from the constant stress and long hours of varsity, but couldn't bring myself to give up. Ultimately God has now given me the time to catch my breath and turn my focus towards Him.
"So to end off, I want to ask: If Jesus were to return tomorrow, would you be ready? I realised this holiday that I wasn't. It's not enough to be lukewarm! Be one or the other, and go all out!"
At the beginning of November I went on the East London outreach. On the Saturday afternoon we went with some of the people from Stirling Worship Centre to go minister to people in Hemingways Mall.
I partnered up with Sara-Jane and we went to go find someone to chat with. We both felt that we should look for a young female that was sitting on her own. As we walked past one shop, we knew that we needed to go chat with the lady behind the counter.
We spoke to her for a while and she told us how she had moved to East London about 9 months ago, and had become friends with a group of people who (she said) were not a good influence on her. She used to read her Bible but had left it behind when she had moved, and had basically put her relationship with God on the back foot. She knew that she was stuck in a rut and needed to find a way out and find purpose for her life.
We asked if we could pray for her. She said yes, and even wanted to close the shop so we could! Only afterwards she said she had asked God a few weeks ago if she could meet some Christians who could help her get her life on the right track, and that we were those people!
She was so encouraged and blessed by our conversation and our prayers, and knew that this was God calling her. We bought her a Bible (the benefits of being in a shopping centre!) and wrote her a note with our numbers on it. She messaged both of us that night, thanking us for encouraging her and telling us that we had been such an answer to prayer. She has since been to visit the church with Sarah, and has stayed in contact with both of us! How amazing is Jesus!!
The trip to East London was my first outreach. It came at the right timing – God’s timing.
I have just fought my way out of a spiritual drought about a month back, and I’ve had huge breakthroughs since I have come out of it. God had been equipping me up until the outreach, which allowed me to come out my comfort zone before I actually went.
I was just amazed at how we were looked after by the church and our hosts. I was really humbled to see how our hosts Frikkie and Felicity served us, even going as far as serving Dean and I coffee and rusks in bed. They’re a couple who both love the Lord and each other; they have given me a lesson in life on how to love your neighbour as yourself.
I had never prayed for anyone up front at the end of the meeting, when a call has been made. So now I was put in situations at both meetings where I was required to pray. I myself had always thought that I wouldn’t know what to say, or have the wisdom or be equipped.
What God showed me is that I was very capable of praying over people. On three different occasions where I prayed over people, God used my life experiences to encourage them, and I was able to understand their needs. Yes, I had been put out of my comfort zone and was nervous at first, but the Holy Spirit was with me and it felt so natural.
The East London trip has taught me that God uses you as you are – there is no performance needed when He is with you. I feel more free and open to interact with more people, not just my usual mates. I’m also so encouraged by hearing testimonies from my new friends that I met there. I have more hope and trust in the Lord now, in His healing touch.
I have also come back with a deeper urge to know the Holy Spirit and how He interacts with me, as well as the hunger to see a new revival.
Come Lord Jesus…
This is my first of many trips, I hope. I am looking forward to serving our God and our church.
“A few month ago I was empty and was lost. Then I went with my wife, and I can't thank her enough for it, one Sunday morning to Oxygen Life church. I said that when the meeting got too long, I would just walk out. But the two hour meeting felt too short. That’s when my life started to turn from darkness into light. That’s where my rollercoaster with God started, but it’s a different kind of rollercoaster; somehow it goes only up and not down. In my life the rollercoaster has gone up and down, but God’s one only goes up!
“A while later I experienced my first community (home group) meeting. Again I went with my wife, because she asked me go with her. She did not want to drive back home at night, so I took her. It was great – everyone was so friendly, and I felt very welcome. I could feel the Holy Spirit there. Then I went to Starting Blocks, the course for new church members. For 4 weeks! If someone had told me a few weeks earlier that I was going to commit to something like that, I would have said they were dreaming. But from the first evening onwards I could not wait for the next one to come. It was just awesome to be part of it.
“Then something started bothering me. I was feeling that I needed to be baptized, and I knew that I want to get baptized after the Starting Blocks course was finished. So on a cold, windy day I was baptized by Shaun and Matt. What a wonderful day that was – the water was not even cold. I will never forget that day. From there onwards it was only one way: Out of the darkness and into the way of the light. From then on I just can't get enough of God. I can't get enough of his word, and I can't get enough of the Spirit.
“There’s one moment I remember as if it was yesterday. I got to the church meeting early one morning, spoke to Vincent, and he asked me to join the prayer time before the meeting. It was mind blowing. I could feel the Spirit coming down; I could feel Him on my body, in my heart, and I was never the same again. Recently we had a 33/3 prayer time in our communities, and I was thinking, ‘How I am going to do that? I never have prayed in front of people at all, except at home!’ I was trusting the Lord to guide me that evening, and it turned out great. Another first for me was standing in front in church and lifting my hands up to God.
“There have been so many firsts in the last few months, and I am waiting for many more firsts with God. I can't wait for them.”
Melanie shares about September's trip to Whittlesea, Queenstown and Mitford:
Sometimes we get to see the fruit of what we pray for immediately; other times we may never know the impact of what we have sown this side of eternity...
On Saturday morning, I went with Eugene and Michelle to visit a children's foster home in Whittlesea. We spent some time with the house mother, a stalwart woman with a beautiful big heart. While the kids amused themselves outside, she shared with us some of the challenges that she was currently having to navigate, one of which was dealing with a teenage boy who kept running away. He joined us sometime later but stood stony-faced and aloof in the distance while the rest of the children gathered around us to open some gifts we had brought. Before departing, we prayed briefly over all the children. At the end, Eugene pronounces to the teenage boy, "I believe God wants you to know that He will not let go of you." His demeanour did not change, but as we waved goodbye later the slightest grin appeared on his face.
While others in the team came back with reports of miraculous healings and salvations, our report may have appeared less significant on the surface, but who knows what God will do with the words that were sown over this teenage boy's life.
Isaiah 55:10-11 "“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it."
Leigh shares about September's trip to Whittlesea, Queenstown and Mitford:
"Sinazo and I were hosted on the Saturday night by a lady in the congregation who stays in Dongwe, which is a township in Whittlesea. Early the next morning I woke up and really felt to go for a walk and just be with God and pray. As I was walking and praying for the area I saw a lady coming out from one of the houses. She started walking down the road behind me in the same direction as me, so I slowed down to meet her.
"The moment I greeted her she looked like she got a fright; she told me to wait where I was and entered one of the houses while I stood in the road alone waiting for her. Shortly after that, she popped her head out from behind the side of the house and motioned for me come. I thought, One of two things are going to happen here: 1, I’m going to die around that corner, or 2, I’m going to get a chance to proclaim Jesus. I felt that God was with me and that He was in charge of what happens, so I went around the corner and I didn’t die, but met a friend of the lady, who she was borrowing money from. They spoke Xhosa and I didn’t understand much at all, but when they asked me why I was walking by myself in Dongwe – since apparently it was dangerous – I got to tell them that I was praying, and wasn’t afraid because God would protect me.
"The lady was quite persistent, in that she wanted to see where I was staying. I kept telling her the name of the lady I was staying with, but she didn’t recognise it because I only knew her English name. We then walked back together, and as we came to the house she told me she knew the lady that lived there. When we entered, she greeted her like she was a friend, and Sinazo was there also, and was able to speak in Xhosa to my new friend. The lady ushered us into the lounge, told us to pray, and then broke down crying.
"She explained to Sinazo that when she saw me, she wanted to scam me out of money, and even thought of what she described through translation as selling my body parts to a witch doctor! But apparently when she started speaking to me she was convicted, and could sense the presence of God; she said that we were messengers of God, angels that were sent. Sinazo was able to speak to her and she opened up about her personal struggles with abuse, illness and her dependence on alcohol. She said that she had been considering taking her own life.
"We prayed into those things and prophesied over her, and afterwards she was determined to turn away from sin and turn to Jesus!! She said she felt lighter, and you could see that there was now hope in her eyes! It turns out that the lady who we were staying with had been inviting her to church, and so she told Sinazo that she would start meeting with her and would also come to church with her!"
Mornay shares his experience of last month's trip to India:
“What happened in India? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself since I got back. We went there to serve God and his kingdom and what we received was far more than what we could possibly give.
“We saw people in the slums, the poorest people you can find, and yet those who knew Jesus had a joy in them that I’ve seldom seen. They had no treasure of an earthly value, but they had a treasure that far outweighed any other – they had JESUS. You could see it in their eyes, in their faces, in their worship. We visited the poor and the very rich, and what stood out the most was that no one had joy except those who had CHRIST. They were all searching, but no money or position in society could give them what they were looking for – only JESUS. We saw the kingdom moving and God being strategic in his approach to which doors He opened so that His kingdom could advance. It was eye-opening for me, and made me see for the first time that we are in a war and we must be strategic. Most of all, though, we must be willing to be part of the fight.
“We saw a lady come into the church with a high fever. She was prayed over and demons manifested, which were then cast out, and she arose completely free of fever and perfectly well. We saw many manifestations, which made the spiritual realm very real indeed. We saw salvations. We saw people coming forward for prayer and the Lord touching them in such power that they would crumble to the floor instantly as the Holy Spirit touched them; they would weep and weep. We worked through interpreters but they were not always available. Nevertheless, the Lord worked in people’s hearts. This made me realise that the Lord doesn’t need my words – it’s not what I can say or do.
“So the answer to the above question is: Yes, the Lord did many things through us and around us, but the true testimony is the Lord changed US. He opened our eyes to His kingdom and used us like never before. And it was all because we made ourselves available and positioned ourselves to be used by Him, even if it was completely out of our comfort zones.”
Tennielle shares one of the stories from last month's trip to India:
“On the Monday night of the ministry trip we were invited to the home of the Indian Consulate General to Iceland. He had heard Will Marais preach the day before, and invited the team with other guests to hear Will preach again in his home. I was awed at the favour God showed us in opening this door; this was not a planned ministry time at all, but it was in God’s plan. Moving from ministering in slums to the elite of India was quite surreal – we went from tiny living quarters to lavish chandeliers. As Will preached I was so aware of how the gospel is for everyone, rich and poor, because it is truth. It doesn’t discriminate, it’s not prejudiced – it’s just God’s plain truth.
“While we were there, I had the privilege of praying for the Consulate’s daughter. Lodie had a picture for her, and after sharing with her I was able to chat and pray with her. God highlighted an area of disobedience that she was walking in and she repented. What this highlighted for me was God’s kindness towards us – His grace and His unfailing love for us. That He would send someone from another country to help us and guide us towards walking in the light. As David wrote in Psalm 139:9-10, ‘…if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.’
“God knows us – every thought, every plan, and every dream – and still He loves us and stretches out His hand to help us in our walk with Him.”
(From left: Ally, Tennielle and Cat)
Many lives were impacted through the ministry of Julie De Lisle, Melanie du Toit and the prophetic team from Josh Gen as they spent time with us as a church in early September 2014. Here’s what David had to say:
“I know some of what God has called me for, but I've not been faithful to the call; I have been distracted by the cares of the world and by sin, and for the past week I've had Esau's rejection on my mind as a warning not to despise God's plan. I've been brokenhearted because of my faithlessness and I've been begging God not to take away my inheritance and give it to someone else. Julie De Lisle pulled me aside at the Sunday morning meeting and prophesied that much of my inheritance was meant for others, but has been given to me instead. She said so many kind things. That wrecked me, but I'm so grateful, and I'm full of faith to take hold of whatever God has taken hold of me for. God has not dealt with me according to my transgressions. His blood is a renovating river.”
"There are so many testimonies that came out of our short 6-day ministry trip to India, but salvations were definitely my highlight – it truly is the greatest miracle! Here’s just a short story of a whole family getting saved:
"The one evening after an incredibly exhausting day, we did house visits and went to a family where only the mother was a believer. We then had the privilege of sharing the gospel with her daughter-in-law and a neighbour (who by chance, or rather God’s intervention, happened to be there). The neighbour wanted to accept Jesus, so she called her husband so he could respond too. By this time the daughter-in-law wasn’t yet convinced, so God created an opportunity for us to share the gospel a second time – this time so the neighbour’s husband could hear. Both the neighbour and her husband responded and said the sinner’s prayer. They already have a four-year-old son whose entire upbringing will be altered because of the decision they made that night. We then asked the daughter-in-law how she felt, and she too said she wanted to accept Jesus into her heart! Wow, what a privilege! We witnessed three salvations in one night AND it was a night when we were all incredibly tired!
"That evening God showed me again just how great His love is for ALL people, and that no matter how tired we are feeling, He can still use us. All their faces were glowing, and you could truly sense the presence of the Lord in that home. I was and still am in awe at how easy God has made it for us to enter into His presence. Everything was done on the cross and the cross is enough!"
Below is a photo of myself (front left) and Ally with (from left) the mother, daughter-in-law, neighbor and the neighbour's husband.
“In May 2013, one of the members of our Summerstrand community had a family member who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. It had already spread to the lymph nodes when it was discovered, and was in quite an advanced stage. The treating Oncologist had placed her immediately under chemotherapy treatment for palliative purposes, and she had undergone one treatment session already at this stage. On the day that she received this diagnosis, she encountered Jesus as her Lord and Saviour as well.
“We as a community felt that we would like to pray specifically for her and immediately set aside a three day period (the Monday to the Wednesday) where we all fasted and prayed for her. We met in groups each evening of the fast for about an hour and prayed specifically for her healing, for her direct family members and for general protection over all of the family.
“On the last day of the fast we met as a community and, with her present, focused the entire community meeting around breakthrough for healing. After a deep time of worship we then broke bread and had a time of prayer, in which we anointed her with oil, laid hands on her and prayed the prayer of faith over her. We also opened up this time to allowing the Holy Spirit to minister, and there were a number of words of knowledge and prophetic words given, as well as scriptures that we felt the Lord was speaking into the situation. There was an incredible sense of the presence of God with us during this time, and we were all fully convinced that God had heard our prayers.
“The following week she reported for her second session of chemotherapy. When the blood tests were done, the doctor’s comments were, ”If I didn’t know your condition, I would say there is nothing wrong with you!” There was also a dramatic improvement in certain cancer cell counts in the blood – a 70% improvement within two weeks (we had prayed the week in between treatments).
“The outstanding, amazing and exceptionally good news is that now, a year and 3 months later, the doctors have declared that the cancer is in remission. The faith, perseverance and trust that she has shown throughout this incredibly difficult time has been inspiring. She has held onto the word of God and prophetic words that were given to her, and has unwaveringly kept the confession of her faith and confidence that she was healed, as well as being a cornerstone of strength and faith to her entire family. All glory and praise to Jesus our King!”
Mark and Vanessa Manley
Josh only came to know Jesus recently, but already he's seeing His power moving through His life!
"I'm sitting at my desk absolutely in awe of God. I've been treating a patient for 6 months now, and she's had severe shoulder pain. She was originally diagnosed with a frozen shoulder, and wasn't getting better. She couldn't lift her arm more than 30º above her body, and had too much pain, especially while sleeping. After 2 months of therapy I referred her for x-rays and further investigation. It turned out that her frozen shoulder was actually a torn muscle that doctors, surgeons, medication and even physios couldn't do much to help. But what is impossible with man is possible with God! I prayed for her and His presence came! God healed her shoulder, and she was able to lift her arm normally! And we spent next 5 minutes praising God with our hands in the air!"
“After hearing about how the Holy Spirit fills believers with power, three girls between the ages of 6 and 9 in our Kidz Ablaze group decided that they wanted Jesus to come into their hearts. Vicky Cowie, Eden Lyons and myself led them through the prayer of salvation and explained things to them about what Jesus had really done on the cross for us. They wanted the Holy Spirit to fill them as well, so after that we then prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to fill them and give them His power to be His disciples.”
"While we were waiting for our takeaway pizza at St Elmo's, Vanessa and I started chatting to the young lady who served us. She told us that she had the most hectic headache and really wasn't feeling well. Vee asked her if she would like some Panados. She said 'Yes please,' and Vee gave her a pack. I then asked her where exactly the pain was, and she showed me. I asked her if I could show her something and she said, 'Yeah, great.' I asked her close her eyes and I placed the tip of my index finger on her forehead and prayed softly, 'In Jesus name, be healed!' Her reaction was hilarious. She opened her eyes and gave the tablets back to Vee, saying, 'I don't need these any more. The pain's gone completely.' Then she said, 'Was that magic or was that prayer? The pain went immediately, like a finger snap!'
"We answered that it was prayer, and it was Jesus who had healed her. She was completely blown away and could hardly reply. She got slightly emotional, turned and walked away to the back somewhere for about 5 minutes, but then came back with the hugest smile on her face. We were then able to share with her for about 20 minutes; it turns out she is born again, loves Jesus and loves to share about Him. We had such an amazing time just sharing with her, right amongst the customers and staff. We serve an amazing God!"