Hospital welcomes prayer team and salvations, healings, follow
Practicing faith gives life to faith; for the Lord’s Word tells us: “. . . as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also”, (James 2:26).
Living witness to the truth of this Scripture is the manner in which Greg Stock has experienced his faith come to life through works as a member of the Little Falls Christian Centre’s hospital ministry. Roodepoort
Greg readily admits that before his involvement with the hospital ministry, although he religiously went to Church once a week, his faith was dormant and dead in comparison to his faith now, which is active and alive.
However, Greg confesses that he did not want to be part of the hospital ministry.
In fact, he stubbornly resisted his wife, Cris’, urgings that they join the group from their Church that ministers to patients in a local government hospital once a week.
He says it was only because of Cris’ insistence that he eventually relented.
Greg explains his reluctance: “Firstly, I felt ill-equipped to pray for sick people”.
Depending on God
“Secondly, I have a problem with being rejected, and thirdly, it is not in my character to approach perfect strangers in their hospital beds and ask them if they want me to pray for them; even today, two years later, I am still apprehensive, but through the ministry I have learned to depend on God, because I could not do it of myself.”
Not only has Greg’s dependence on God grown by learning to rely on Him, but he says his faith in the Lord has developed through his transformation from merely being a churchgoer and cell-member where he largely received, to being a part of a ministry that focuses on giving for the Lord Jesus Christ by serving the sick, the poor and those who are in need.
“It was as if the Lord took me for a walk and said to me: ‘I know you don’t want to do this, but have faith, I will walk with you’,” says Greg.
“I was scared – I remember when I first went on a hospital visit, I intended to be a bystander and just watch, however, Pastor Louis put his hand lightly on mine indicating that I should pray, which caught me by surprise and before I knew it, I was praying for a person’s healing,” adds Greg.
Pastor Louis Begeman, a district Pastor at Little Falls Christian Centre in Johannesburg, says a foundational scripture for the hospital ministry is Ephesians 4:11-12 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up”.
Work of the saints
“Jesus made it clear that it must be the saints that do the work of ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ, not just pastors,” says Pastor Louis.
“This is a revelation that many Christians have not received. When somebody is sick they phone the pastor to pray, however, the Bible says that members of the body of Christ should be equipped to pray for people themselves.
“That word equipping means to train, or to perfect, or to make fully-qualified for service, so although the hospital ministry is firstly for the patients that we serve to hear the Gospel and be led to salvation in Jesus Christ, it is also for the equipping of the saints.
“The way Jesus equipped the disciples was with hands-on training while they walked with Him healing the sick, feeding the hungry and learning by example.”
Pastor Louis says another foundation scripture for the hospital ministry is Matthew 25: 34-40, which is a command from the Lord Jesus that we should visit and comfort the sick and needy.
Furthermore, Mark 16: 17-18 tells us that Jesus said if we lay hands on the sick in His name and believe; they shall recover.
“Once we work according to the Will of God and act according to the Word of God, then we have the direct assistance and anointing of the Lord Jesus,” says Pastor Louis.
He firmly believes that the quickest way for Christians to mature is for them to participate in a ministry such as the hospital ministry.
Journey of discovery
“In the first place, they discover that there is a world out there of suffering people and they realise how privileged they are; to be staying in a house with water and electricity, being healthy, having a job, and having money for food and the education of their children.
“Secondly, once a person starts ministering to other people and their focus changes from ‘me-myself and Lord-give-me-this and Lord-give-me-that’ to contributing to those in need, then people mature spiritually very quickly.
“The fantastic thing about the hospital ministry is that we know we are doing the Will of God and by doing the Will of God we not only see results in the hospital, but are maturing as members of the body of Christ,” says Pastor Louis.
He says he has seen congregation members being transformed by their participation in the hospital ministry: moving out of the selfish mode and entering the ministry mode; taking a leap in their faith-walk; and in thankfulness to the Lord.
“They just reach a new level in their faith and relationship with our Holy Father,” says Pastor Louis.
He explains that the hospital ministry begins with prayer among the members each week, extends prayer to the hospital patients, and ends with prayer. In short, it operates entirely through prayer, which in itself is dependent on faith and relating to the Lord.
The ministry has developed to the extent that hospital staff have come to accept them and often ask for prayer for themselves.
Pastor Louis says the Little Falls Christian Centre’s hospital ministry started as a result of one of the congregation’s passion for serving the sick, especially in government hospitals where many patients don’t have toiletries, let alone visitors.
Auditorium made available
“The administration of the hospital welcomed us and even made a small auditorium available for a chapel where both staff and patients can pray.
“We visit the hospital once-a-week with a supply of: Bibles in various languages; tracts of scripture; basic toiletries consisting of a facecloth with the wording ‘Jesus loves you’, soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste; and things like body-cream, vaseline and lip balm.
“By giving patients toiletries, which many don’t have, we are showing them the love of Jesus. In many cases patients cry in gratitude for their toiletries.”
According to Pastor Louis hospitals are abundant mission fields.
“Local hospitals now have patients from all over Africa, be it sub-Saharan, north, east or west. If you want to be a missionary all you have to do is go to the local government hospital during visiting hours and you will find a veritable mission field.”
He says the hospital ministry’s aim is firstly, to minister the Gospel to patients and lead those in need to the Lord to be saved, secondly to encourage Christian patients to recommit to the Lord and strengthen their relationship with Him, and thirdly, to pray for patients’ healing.
The peace of God
“Although we have experienced spectacular healings and physical miracles, like people in the intensive care unit (ICU) with scarcely any vital signs improving markedly after prayer, which happens almost weekly, for me, the most important thing is to see people that are full of fear, perhaps with a terminal illness, receiving the Lord, His peace coming upon them, and spiritual healing taking place.
“Seeing that light come into their eyes as they receive the Lord Jesus is a truly a wonderful thing to behold,” says Pastor Louis.
Being witness to the Lord’s miraculous healings, both in spirit and in the body has been a huge faith-builder for Greg too.
“I have witnessed the Holy Spirit do incredible things, but it was only fairly recently when I asked the Lord to remove me completely from the situation and for Him to do the work, that I have really felt His power at work.
“There are many times when I have not felt up to it, felt empty inside, but once I have prayed and let Him do the work all limitations are forgotten.
“I didn’t think the hospital ministry was going to build my faith-walk, but I can recommend to anybody who wants to grow their faith that they should participate in a similar ministry,” says Greg.
He recounts an incident when he – the man who doesn’t like approaching strangers and has a fear of rejection – approached “an enormous guy that looked like a bouncer”.
“Pastor Louis asked him whether he knew Jesus and would he like us to pray for him,” recounts Greg.
“After leading him in the sinners’ prayer Pastor Louis asked me to pray for him.
Burst into tears
“As I put my hand out and touched this huge, fierce-looking man he burst into tears. He kept sobbing and saying ‘why am I crying’?
“I was standing there with tears running down my face too, because I could feel the Holy Spirit working, and all I could do was hug the guy and say, ‘you are crying, because the Lord is in your life’.
“He must have sobbed, ‘why am I crying’ about 20 times.
“I can talk about many other incidents when the Holy Spirit has done the most amazing things in peoples’ lives and we have been there to witness it. You can imagine what that has done to build my faith.
“Like the time my gardener asked me to visit a friend of his who was in the hospital to pray for him, because he had been admitted six weeks earlier, yet they still did not know what was wrong with him.
“We visited and prayed for him during our next hospital-ministry session and heard that he was discharged the next morning.
“As a result, a week later, our gardener arrived at the front-door with his family and asked me to pray for them and anoint them with oil,” adds Greg.
Start a hospital ministry in your area
Pastor Louis encourages anybody that reads this article to start a similar hospital ministry in their town, “because it really is the Will of God and you have a captive audience in which there are fantastic Kingdom results”.
“Many patients are lying there waiting for spiritual good news and to be shown that somebody cares.
“This ministry is very close to my heart. I praise God that we can do it,” enthuses Pastor Louis!