Power of God moving in school, malls and hospital
A Uitenhage church that has been experiencing an increase in miraculous healings, salvations and transformed lives has become a launching pad for a revival fire that is spreading to schools, families, businesses, church leaders and the wider community.
Since its beginning in the Eastern Cape industrial town near Port Elizabeth seven years ago, Spirit Life Church has pursued a mandate to become a church in revival, says its leader, Pastor Monto van der Merwe. But things really started to hot up six weeks ago after he felt God impress on him to declare the reality of revival.
“Since then we have seen an incredible increase in the anointing which resulted in more powerful healings, creative miracles, salvations and people being filled with the ‘revival fire’ and they have started to touch the community!” says Van der Merwe.
In an example of the fire spreading, a powerful move of God has been taking place at Fountain Of Life Christian School in Uitenhage for the past six weeks, after the principal, Desireé Joubert experienced personal revival at the church. The revival which is radically impacting teachers and learners of all ages at the school is beginning to touch other schools. Uitenhage pastors who recently attended a ministers’ fraternal meeting at the school were amazed when 18 learners at the school prayed for them and shared words of knowledge and visions with them. Pastors were moved to tears by the experience and one asked whether the learners whose words about his life were so apt did not know him. They didn’t.
“Our members have experienced such a revival anointing and a need to see the lost saved, that we are hearing testimonies of how they are praying for people in the Pick’nPay stores, malls etc. Some have started up prayer-meetings in their workplaces” says Van der Merwe.
Indeed, a member of the church displayed great boldness yesterday according to the following account which was posted in Facebook yesterday, by Van der Merwe’s wife, Claudia: “REVIVAL!!! Nolene Burger, one of our members, went to visit someone in Hospital today. She decided to visit another patient, whom she led to the Lord yesterday. As she was standing beside her bed the doctor arrived and Nolene, filled with the Holy Spirit, led him to the Lord! Soon after that the Physiotherapist walked in and Nolene led her to salvation as well! As she was leaving the ward she bumped into a nurse and guess what? You guessed it, she led her and her friend to Jesus! People, this is REVIVAL!”
Confirming the incident, Van der Merwe says that Burger was a quiet and reserved member of the church for six years. Since the outbreak of revival she has changed dramatically, joined the church’s hospital ministry and boldly introduces people to Jesus wherever she goes.
“We have increased our Sunday morning services, first to a Wednesday night and now to a Sunday evening service as well. We are seeing many people coming to see and experience the Revival or coming to get prayer for healing etc. and it is so amazing to see them encountering the Holy Spirit and His Awesome Power!”
I attended the inaugural Sunday evening service at Spirit Life Church last Sunday (May 26), and visited Fountain Of Life Christian School yesterday, to experience the revival atmosphere first hand.
There were indeed a number of miraculous healings during the three-and-a-half hour service. Some of those healed went up for prayer after Van der Merwe called out their health problems through words of knowledge. A number of people also made first-time commitments to Jesus. The most striking feature of the service for me was the visibly passionate involvement of young people from small children to teenagers and twenty-somethings. Several Fountain Of Life Christian School learners shared testimonies. The school principal, Desireé Joubert, and a teacher, Christelle Surtee, also testified; other teachers who were expected to speak were not available because they were resting on the floor after falling under the power of the Holy Spirit.
My visit to the interdenominational Christian school yesterday was an education in revival. Joubert explained that after moving from Pretoria to Uitenhage she taught for three years at Harvest Christian School in Port Elizabeth. She realised that Uitenhage needed a Christian school and so she founded Fountain Of Life in 1997 with 10 pre-schoolers. Today there are 240 learners ranging from 3-years-old to Grade 12. The school has outgrown the space it rented from a church for the first 16 years and has plans to build a new school for 650 learners on property it has bought. This year it is renting space from Winterberg Primary School, a struggling Government School that serves poor communities. The two schools are running on the same property and as I explain later in this report, God is using Fountain Of Life to bring life and hope to Winterberg.
Joubert says that after going through the pain of a divorce eight years ago – “something that I never expected and which was against my Biblical worldview” – she lost her spiritual passion. She married again and two years ago she started attending Spirit Life Church where she started experiencing restoration.
In early March this year Van der Merwe had a word from God for her that her time had come. Soon afterwards at a church conference she was moved to tears when a visiting preacher spoke about standing in the gap for your seed. She realised that all of the children at her school were her seed and that she had a responsibility to equip them to keep on producing fruit into the next generations and becoming the Christian leaders of tomorrow to change the nation.
Days later during worship she had a vision of a man carrying burning coals in a skottel. She asked him for a coal saying she wanted to be a revival carrier. A month later at a midweek revival service she had another vision: this time she was carrying the skottel of coals. Her passion and her calling were restored.
At a weekly Monday chapel meeting at school at the start of the next term she got her teachers to step out and pray with every child in the school – laying hands on them and praying as the Holy Spirit led. Many of the children cried as it was the first time they had experienced the touch of God. For many of the teachers it was also a first to pray aloud for the learners and to flow in gifts of the Spirit.
The next Monday Joubert invited Monto and Claudia van der Merwe to minister at the chapel meeting. More than 100 children were baptised in the Holy Spirit and started talking in tongues. The ministry continued for two and a half hours.
The spiritual temperature continued to soar. Staff and learners began praying for revival together at break times and later also began worshiping together at breaks. More learners were baptised in the Sprit. Grade 1 children who were excluded from the ministry time with the Van Der Merwes because they were considered too young, began to join in the break time prayer and asked to be baptised in the Holy Spirit. Learners of all ages prayed with one another and many fell under the power of the Spirit.
“To me its not about falling down. It’s not about manifestations. Its about lives changing and that’s what I am experiencing,” says Joubert.
She says that the staff now display a greater passion for the things of God and for ministry.
“There is also an outpouring of love. I can see the staff’s hearts are stirred for the children. And I can see it being imparted to the kids.”
Joubert says the learners at the school have a passion for the gospel and a passion to pray for people.
“Ive seen children’s countenances change — then you know that God is doing a thing inside. I’ve just seen that these children are bursting with life. They are drawn to the things of God. There are children you just know that are called to ministry.
“And there have also been changes academically. There are some who have been battling who have testified how God has stimulated their thinking and their understanding.”
Joubert says that most of the feedback she has had from parents has been positive. Parents are noticing an improvement in their children’s behaviour and attitude. One mother called her expressing concern about long chapel meetings interfering with academic time. Another mother visited her with mixed feelings.
She says she understands and has addressed the concerns about the school’s academic time. As a principal academic matters are important to her and she is proud of the school’s academic record.
“My challenge in this is that I know God is moving, the Holy Spirit is stirring. I want the Holy Spirit to to have free rein but I also know that the ordinary business of the day has to happen as well.
Last week at a regional meeting of ACE schools Joubert had an opportunity to share about what was happening in her life and in her school. A principal and teacher from a Christian school in Port Elizabeth asked her to pray for them and to impart what she had to them. A principal of a Christian school in Alexandria asked her to come and minister at her school and to ‘impart that which we carry to her students and staff”.
“It is SO not about us, but ABOUT HIM! All He wants are WILLING VESSELS who will step out in faith…And HUNGRY HEARTS that HE CAN FILL…!” writes Joubert in a Facebook comment about her experience praying for the spiritually hungry teachers from other schools.
Closer to home, Danie Olivier, principal of Winterberg Primary School which is renting space to Fountain Of Life says the Christian school’s presence is an answer to prayer. Every year for the past four years he has wondered how his school will manage to keep going in the face of financial lack. He says he was tired and discouraged and planned to retire in February 2014 when he turned 60. But Fountain Of Life’s rental payments have provided a financial lifeline to his school this year. And the revival spirit of the Christian school has revived him to the extent that he has decided to carry on leading the school until he has to retire at 65. For the sake of the community he wants to throw his energy into rebuilding a section of the school that burnt down.
Recently four learners at Fountain Of Life, together with Joubert and her secretary, laid hands on Olivier and prayed for him. The learners prophesied over him. He says he has never experienced such prayer in his life but he was mightily blessed by it!
Joubert says that a teacher from Winterberg who is also a pastor has joined her and her staff in their daily prayer time before school.