From farmers to faith-walking discipleship trainers
Reino and Ilze Esterhuyse have travelled a long road both physically and spiritually since they emigrated from South Africa, moved to New Zealand, became dairy farmers, and now provide disciple training for followers of Jesus.
“After leaving South Africa and settling in New Zealand nine years ago we started dairy farming and were working 90 hours a week,” explains Reino.
“Although we loved the Lord, God had been showing us things in our lives that were not pleasing to Him.
“Our work and careers had taken over our lives with little time left for God or each other — we were serving money.”
Committed to giving everything to God
Ilze says when God changed their lives and saved their marriage in 2015 they committed to giving everything to Him.
They discovered the online teachings of Torben Sondergaard’s Pioneer Training School and completed all of the lessons.
“The Pioneer Training School programme made a big impression on us, because we saw that we could go out and do God’s work, we didn’t need a special anointing or platform in a Church to do it.
“When we learned there would be a follow-up training school we signed-up for it and left dairy farming behind,” says Ilze.
After completing the follow-up training, the couple stayed on in Denmark for an extra month at the school after which they had the opportunity to run training programmes themselves.
God will provide
Walking in faith was initially a big adjustment for Reino and Ilze. Although they knew from scriptures that God would provide, they did not know what that meant practically.
“When we stopped farming we made a commitment to devote the first year to God and live by faith, but it has been such a blessing for us to see how God supplies and provides that we have relied on God’s provision for two years now,” says Reino.
“We found that when we stepped out in faith He met us in the harvest — it is supernatural to see how God provides and meets our needs in all areas, which applies to anyone who says yes to God and walks in faith and obedience.
“Now, we work alongside Torben helping to set-up and run Jesus-discipleship schools, do administration and run Kickstart seminars equipping the saints,” explains Reino.
God’s provision illustrated
Ilze gives an example of a series of events that illustrate God’s provision, which took place when they were undergoing training with Torben in Denmark at The Jesus Hotel.
They had asked God what it looked like to work for Him and rely on Him for all their provision, because they had given everything up and wanted to work for Him and live in faith.
“There was a Dutch couple that were newly married and had very little finances doing the training with us. The Lord laid it on our hearts to bless them with R400”.
“Although we had the money in the bank we did not have a way of withdrawing the money. I prayed to God asking Him for a way to get the money to them.
“A couple of hours later a lady that I didn’t know approached me with an envelope and said to me; ‘God told me to give you this’.
“When I opened the envelope there was R400 inside, so we put it under the newly-wed Dutch couple’s door.
“The next morning we had a teaching during which Torben talked about the life of Joseph and how his brothers threw him in a pit. He told us that the word pit could also be an acronym for ‘preachers in training’.
I will provide the plaster
“After the lesson we all headed into the city to evangelise. However, I had new shoes and developed a blister, so I couldn’t walk and needed a plaster, but I heard God say, ‘I will provide the plaster’.
“I told Reino and approached a woman to ask her for a plaster, but she didn’t understand English, so I thought maybe I was mistaken and it was just my imagination that God spoke to me.
“I went into a department store and asked a lady that was serving behind a counter where I could buy plasters. She opened a drawer and took out a handful of plasters asking how many I wanted.
“I said I would take two and asked how much I owed her.
“She said. ‘No, they are free’!
“I felt so blessed and I felt God saying, ‘I will provide your physical needs’.
“We got so excited and were inspired to evangelise, but as we walked out the shop another lady walked up to us and offered us a container of pasta salads each. She said they had just had an event and the salads were leftover.
I will feed you
“We each took a pasta salad and felt God saying, ‘I will feed you’.
“Walking on we met a group of young people and asked if anyone had pain. Although one in the group was healed from a headache after we prayed for him, they were not really open to the gospel, but mentioned that they were hungry and had no money.
“We asked if they would like the pasta salads and they were really excited, so we blessed them with the food and they left.
“As we walked away we felt God say, ‘I will provide that which you need to give away’.
“We headed back to The Jesus Hotel on fire about being led by the Holy Spirit and being provided for.
“As we walked up the street Reino noticed that one of the shops was called Pit Stop, so Reino said, ‘look, preacher in training stop’, it was like the Holy Spirit telling us to stop.
“We crossed the road heading to the shop and there was a punk walking down the street towards us wearing leathers with spiky hair dyed different colours; a worldly kind of boy, but we knew we had to stop and evangelise him, so we asked him if he had any pain.
“He was quite confused and intrigued. We explained about the teaching we had received that morning about Joseph and the pit, how we had seen the “Pit-stop” sign, and how we believed God told us to stop and talk with him.
“He just broke down and told us his life story, including the fact that he had only one plan left and if that didn’t work he intended to commit suicide.
“We prayed for him and asked him to join us for lunch the next day at The Jesus Hotel,” says Ilze.
In the meantime the newly-wed Dutch couple had also found a young person on the street who was a heroin addict and whom they had preached the gospel to. He was baptised, immediately set free from his drug addiction without any side effects, and had gone back to The Jesus Hotel with them.
“The next day the young punk came to the hotel having walked for four hours carrying a 40kg backpack.
He said, ‘I have no idea what you have done to me, but last night for the first time in years I slept without nightmares and I woke up with hope, so I knew I had to come here’.
Testifying what God had done
“It was so beautiful, many people that had been evangelised on the streets were at the hotel and all came together to testify what God had done for them and ministered to the young punk and shared the gospel with him.
“I decided to run to the pizza shop to buy some pizza to add to the existing lunch, because we had more people than expected, but when I got to the pizza shop they wouldn’t accept a foreign bank card, so I was in the same position again, I needed cash.
“I ran back to the hotel and the first people I met were the Dutch couple and the ex-heroin addict. I asked if any of them had money for me to buy the pizzas, which I would return.
“The ex-heroin addict gave me R400. I bought the pizzas and we all enjoyed lunch, after which we had an amazing time of sharing and ministering.
Series of events comes full circle
“A week later we were on our way to Holland to present a Kickstart seminar. The newly-wed Dutch couple travelled with us and during conversation told us of how when they found the young heroin addict on the street they prayed and asked God to provide them with something to give him as they had no money.
“When they opened their hotel-room they found an envelope with the R400 — the envelope that unbeknown to them we had pushed under their door, which they gave to the young, ex-heroin addict.
“He then completed God’s circle of provision by giving it to me to pay for the pizzas — the very same R400 that we had received to bless the young Dutch couple with finally returned to us to pay for the pizzas.
“That was the start of God showing us how he would provide for us, which would glorify His name.
“God is faithful,” says Ilze.
Drawing people to Jesus
Reino is quick to add that as liberating as it is to walk in faith and witness healing and miracles, it is all for the purpose of the gospel and drawing people to Jesus for salvation.
“He is the healer and He will use anyone that says ‘Yes’ to Him, steps out in faith and obeys Him. You don’t need any special anointing or to be in a special position or to have a special qualification, you just have to be obedient.
“That is liberating; knowing that if you have repented and you are baptised and you are filled with the Holy Spirit, not only can you walk in the spirit, but it is expected of you, for Jesus commissioned us to heal, preach the gospel, make disciples, and baptise them.
“It is liberating to know that God works through us.”
Today, Reino and Ilze spend much of their time travelling wherever God guides them to hold Kickstart seminars during which time they disciple Christians to step out and make disciples of Jesus themselves.”
Recent Kickstart seminar in Cape Town
This trip back to South Africa to help set-up and run the recent Kickstart seminar in Cape Town was the first time they have been back in the country for nine years.
“It was such a good experience for us, because we find the people in Africa and South Africa so open to evangelism. We have seen more people on the streets being healed and filled with the Holy Spirit than we have ever seen.
“The Kickstart weekend was amazing, we saw many transformations, which was not surprising, because the people who attend the Kickstart seminars are hungry to be equipped and learn from others.
“We have already heard many testimonies from those who attended the Kickstart weekend of how their lives have been transformed, how they are already actively reaching out and sharing the gospel, praying for the sick, and making disciples for Jesus, which is wonderful to hear, because they have never done it before and it’s a measure of the fruit of the Kickstart seminar,” says Reino.
Reino and Ilze hope to set-up a Pioneer Training School in South Africa in the near future.
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