WEEK 1 | Hello from South Africa!
We landed in Johannesburg on Friday after a fifteen-hour-long flight straight from Atlanta. We spent the night in the beautiful aviator hotel before boarding a short flight to Nelspruit the next morning. As we drove through the South African countryside for the first time on our way to Michael’s Children’s village, we looked out at the lush green landscape and the new and beautiful animals. It began to sink in: we were actually here. At Michael’s Children’s village, we were met by Comella and Teisa two missionaries stationed at Michael’s Children’s village, and they gave us a history of the place and showed us where we would be living. We also had our first encounters with the beautiful children who call MCV their home, as we introduced ourselves to them jumped on trampolines with them and held them in our arms. That night, we all stood outside in awe as we watched our first of many South African sunsets.
Since then, our days have been varied and action-packed.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time with our family at Iris Harvest church in Nelspruit, which is led by Pastor Surprise Sithole and his wife, Tryphina. We went to a church service there on our second day in South Africa and we have had the opportunity to lay our hands on the congregants there, prophesy over them, share in corporate prayer and worship, and receive from them as well. It’s a beautiful thing to realize that our church family roots stretch so deeply and across so many continents.
We have also attended church and done door to door ministry in a small town called Backdoor where Pastors Surprise and Tryphina also started a church several years ago. The community was once so violence and drug-ridden that it was a “no-go zone” even for police! It has been completely transformed thanks to the persistence and prayer of dedicated pastors and the supernatural power of God. This Thursday, our whole team went to backdoor and ministered door-to-door. We saw a witch doctor give her life to Jesus for the first time, saw several physical healings and even saw a lady get delivered from demonic fear and anxiety. It was a beautiful day of seeing the Lord minister in love and kindness to a community that is in a beautiful transformational process.
We were also blessed to be here the same week as the annual Gutshwa revival, a week-long celebration with consecutive nights of worship, teaching, and prayer. Our team has happened to be here during the revival for the past three years, and they were so so excited to have us with them. Pastor Surprise spoke on the first day of the revival and blessed the congregation, which he had helped to plant. On Wednesday, Lisa taught on forgiveness, and several people came up for an altar call, and they made a decision to let go of bitterness and judgment and enter into the freedom of forgiveness. On Thursday, Ellen, Ryan, and Worth taught, prophesied, and sang over the church, even though they hadn’t been told before that they would be called upon to speak! The Holy Spirit moved powerfully at the revival and He was faithful to fill their mouths with exactly what the people needed to hear.
On Tuesday, our team went with Tonya, Sylwia, Natalie, and Noni to minister with Dignity Ministries. With them, we went into brothels in downtown Nelspruit and spent time blessing the women there, many who were only teenagers. We had lots of favor there, with several girls seeking us out and asking us to come and pray for them and sing with them. We saw deliverance, joy, and kingdom goodness in the middle of one of the darkest places any of us had ever seen. We were also able to spend time with some of the men who were loitering near the brothels, sharing the father heart of God with them and seeing several healings and salvations.
Our team has also gotten the honor of ministering with Comella at the local public hospital, going room to room praying for the sick and the mentally ill. We’ve seen the presence of God meet us and encounter dozens of patients, bringing grown men to tears in a culture where emotion is very rarely displayed. The Holy Spirit has also been very faithful to lead us to the wards where we should go and we’ve had incredible favor with the nurses at the hospital, who let us into rooms long after visiting hours are over and often have asked us to come and minister to particular patients.
Back at Michael’s Children Village, we’re loving our time with the missionaries and mamas and children on the base. We’ve spent several mornings babysitting the youngest ones while their regular caretakers take breaks and go to meetings. We’ve had beautiful times of worship together in the communal hut in the middle of the base. We’ve had long conversations around the dinner table about the Lord and our own stories and everything under the sun. We’ve killed many ants and run screaming from many lizards. We‘ve dried our laundry outside. We’ve tried lots of new foods. We wake up to the sounds of children laughing and singing. We love it here. Praise God!
-Written by Lisa Muloma