From pre-born babies to the elderly, God is bringing miraculous healing and restoration through Faith Hope Love Ministries (FHLM) in Greenbushes, Port Elizabeth.
The private, self-funded Christian outreach which started in 2007 and has been providing weekly meals to 300 children, started a second soup kitchen this year — catering for elderly people and some children, said FHLM founder Bernadette Spies.
The second soup kitchen came about in February through an encounter with an old woman she met when she had to drop off stuff with Patricia, her former domestic worker and ministry partner in Greenbushes. She met with Patricia on the opposite side of the township to where they held their weekly soup kitchen.
“For some reason an old lady started speaking to me, and in my heart I felt I needed to give this lady some of the bread I had. This old lady was the start of a wonderful journey — a journey where I get to minister and feed 48 old age people and about 75 children,” she says.
“The strange thing is it is very far from my side where I am supposed to be. So now we have where my heart is – Patricia’s side with the 70 adults, and +-300 kids and we have the other side where we have the 48 old age people and 75 kids.”
The same old lady phoned Spies during the week, asking her to come and tell them a little about her Jesus. This is how she met Jeanette, an alcoholic who loved to listen to her speak about Jesus, but…….
“One evening I was just talking in general about being hurt and how you do things because you are hurting inside to a small group of women. I told them that hurting people hurt others. That was the end of our discussion and the other three ladies in the room asked me if I could please pray before I left. So we started praying.
“That was the most awesome moment I have had in a long time. The presence of the Lord was so known. It was as if Jesus was standing in that room. The three ladies started crying and Jeanette gave her heart to Jesus. She was shaking uncontrollably and crying at the same time and I whispered softly to her ‘do you want to be set free today?’ She nodded yes. What a glorious day that was. Since that evening Jeanette has not been drinking. She actually volunteers to help me feed the children and also attends the old age soup kitchen,” Spies said.
A baby called Blessing
Another situation has Spies in awe of God’s miraculous doings. At the beginning of May 2015, a pregnant lady knocked on Patricia’s door. She heard that Spies counseled people and helped them with food, etc.
Spies said: “She was six months pregnant when she came to us and her baby boy was born premature at about six and a half months. The doctors reckoned he was not going to make it. I said to Patricia the God we serve is the Great Physician, Healer and He is love. We must pray and stand in faith for this baby boy. We named him Blessing.
“What we didn’t know, was that the mother of the baby was addicted to Tik and she smoked Tik whilst pregnant with him. She stayed with the baby for the first two months then left him with Patricia to look after him. I had to get nappies, milk, clothes, etc. to raise this baby. So we started the journey with Blessing. “
Blessing is now a beautiful 11 month old baby. He still can’t sit by himself and is the size of a three month old baby, but he is alive and well and a blessing to them all.
“God still heals today! The doctors said ‘no ways’, and God said ‘O yes, he is a testimony for Me’,” she recalled excitedly.
“My heart is in that community, it is like my home away from home. Those little faces depend on me. In all the years of doing this, I have had so many broken people come to me, and there is no greater joy than someone saying thank you, it is because of you I finished school, or it is because of you that I can face the difficult situations at home,” she said.
Radical Faith Conference
To raise funds for the FHLM the ministry presents an annual conference. This year the theme is: ‘You are the woman God created you to be’. It will take place on September 3 at The Open Door West Point Church in Westering, Port Elizabeth.
Women who are willing to be the host for a table of eight or who want to attend the conference can contact Bernadette Spies on email@example.com or at 083 740 9852.
Spies, who is married with four children, raises a grandchild, and works full-time, said her life changed radically after she became a Christian. She started serving the people in Greenbushes to whom she used to sell chicken and who used to see her as a “bad person” because she was so rude to them. She takes care of the ministry over weekends and sometimes counsels people during the week.