Being a bridge…

Since the beginning of the year, our ministry base has hosted 6 teams of visitors! In years past, we were lucky to host 2-3 teams a year. In the past six weeks, over 100+ people have blessed our big SA family with love, ministry, and eternal fruit. This has us reflecting on the great honor and privilege we have as a bridge to the Western Bride. Most missionaries view teams/visitors as ‘work.’ But Iris Ministries (our Africa covering) refuses to do this. Embracing this incredible calling to host visitors, we strive to weave our visitors into the amazing harvest going forth. And time after time, the visitors are forever changed. Forever wrecked for ‘normal life.’ Forever burned by the fire of God in Africa. Forever impacted by the face of Jesus in the children, pastors, and missionaries.
We have a guest book in our Visitor Center at Michaels Childrens Village. Recently, I was skimming some of the testimonies left by visitors. The presence of God overwhelmed me and I felt very strongly that we needed to share a few:
I came here thinking I would see a bunch of sad orphans without homes and parents but instead I found kids excited and happy with loving people all around them…. Justin Park, Virginia.
The amount of love that is in this place is crazy amazing! I’m so glad I was blessed to be a part of it! MCV will always be in my prayers, especially the house parents. Y’all are amazing and some of the most encouraging people I have ever met! Mark Wilson Baton Rouge, LA
The atmosphere here is Heavenly. There is honor, love and grace surrounding everyday. I’m privileged to be a part of everyday life here. Alicia Andrus Littleton, Co.
I came here from America expecting to help kids who where “less fortunate” than me but God showed me something completely different. The Lord portrayed his heart through them-like they were mothering/fathering me! My highlight is when one of the young girls put her hand on my shoulder and started to close her eyes and just started to move with the spirit! Christien Byun Centreville, VA
I see this place as the “promise land” and this through your hospitality, the love and the peace that flows through each one of you. I’ve been so impressed by the home visits, the feeding program, pre-school, chosen ones, computer lab and the bible school which is free of charge. You guys are a huge blessing to this community that’s why God will keep filling your cup to overflowing. Emmanuel Kiki Rep of Benin, Africa
Why do we share this? We believe that God is opening the portals of heaven for our visitors this year! Already we are seeing crazy miracles and healings as teams go forth on home visits within the community or serve at MCV. God has also blessed the ministry with two interns this year and we want more! Please prayerfully consider coming to SA and joining with our big family in this awesome Kingdom harvest! There is no better way to know how to pray/give than experiencing it for yourself (please contact us by email for more information)!

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Doubly blessed!

In the last two weeks, we were doubly blessed to host two amazing teams at MCV. A YWAM team from Swaziland came home with us after the Pastor’s Advance and stayed for over a week. During that time, they blessed us with their hearts to serve however was needed: from clearing out an old garden, to washing windows, to giving the kids some one-on-one computer help, to handling cleanup after our birthday braai. Three of the members of the team were fluent Siswati speakers and two of the others were learning, so our kids had the rare joy of being able to speak their own language to some of our guests. When their ride came to pick them up at the end of their time with us, we had difficulty letting them go. We bless them as they seek out God’s will for the rest of their lives. The second was a large team from a church in South Carolina, who spent a day at MCV doing prayer ministry with all of our staff, as well as our children. Everyone was touched by their openness to the Spirit and the encouraging words that they shared with us. Later in the week, the team spent the day in the local town of Backdoor, visiting and ministering in many different homes. We were further encouraged by the reports of the signs and miracles that the Lord showed them that afternoon! Through their ministry that week and in church on Sunday, the Lord revealed His heart for our area to be a place where God’s fire dwells. Father, let your will be done in Backdoor!**this blog was written by our intern Kelsey who triply blesses us daily!

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Lots to Report!

Whooee! When did it become mid-February??? Things have been so crazy busy for us- but we are super blessed and have lots to share!

Although this website has been sorely neglected, the two ministry websites we help oversee have had some attention:)
MCV has a new computer lab! Read about it and the two amazing interns which are keeping me (Teisa) very happy and sane! www.mcvafrica.com
One of the interns, Kelsey, wrote a testimony about the Pastors Advance which we hosted last week. It also included Pastor Surprise’s latest book launching! Here it is:
This past weekend, “The Pastors Advance 2012” was held in Backdoor. We were blessed to have Pastor Mark Lawson from Atlanta, Georgia as our guest speaker. Pastors and leaders came from the community, throughout South Africa, as well as Zimbabwe, Kenya, Benin, Congo, Swaziland, Mozambique, Canada, United States, and Qatar. It was a time of fellowship, worship, and encouragement. Pastor Mark challenged us as leaders to not compromise, as Solomon did. Pastor Mark also shared about his personal experience with the glory of God and called us all, as the Body of Christ to go out, declaring the message that “Jesus is King and the Kingdom of heaven is at hand!” After the final service with Pastor Mark Lawson in Nelspruit on Sunday, we were honored to attend the book launch party of Pastor Surprise Sithole’s new book, A Voice in the Night. Those who have read and enjoyed Rush Hour will be further blessed to learn much more about Pastor Surprise’s early life and God’s call on his life in A Voice in the Night. All who attended the book launch were encouraged by the testimonies shared about the influence of both the book and Pastor Surprise on those present. Anyone interested in purchasing their own copy of the book can contact Pastor Surprise or his support team (Teisa at teisamarie@yahoo.com).
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Christmas 2011

More pictures at www.mcvafrica.comChristmas is such a special time for our big family in Africa. There are few decorations, rare carols, no hyped up commercialism (except in the big stores). People celebrate with their families- usually around a large meal. Some give gifts. Some do not. Personally, we love giving gifts because it is a tangible reminder of the gift our Heavenly Father gave to us on Christmas! Preaching is so easy….who can resist such an amazing gift of love and eternal life? Our highlight this year was seeing our children in action! For hours, the older kids at MCV helped put together 500 candy bags for the outreaches. They also helped with a Nativity skit that they performed at the Backdoor Christmas Outreach. The outreach got a little crazy at the end when hundreds of kids were pushing to receive their candy bag at the gate, but our kids were right there in the thick of it helping us keep order. They also went on home visits to the children in the community within the Extended Care Program. They assisted our volunteers in praying for the sick and leading many people to Christ! On Christmas Day, our big MCV family celebrated together in some special ways. The MCV families each had a breakfast feast as a family before going to church. At church, Papa Jean shared a different Christmas message- the power of Holy Communion in which we all celebrated together. After church, the MCV family gathered again to give thanks, celebrate with gifts, and pray together. Each family would come forward and receive their gifts from Jesus. Then the rest of us would pray for that family for God’s fullest blessings and destiny for the new year. After the prayer, the families would excitedly open their gifts. Christ’s lavish love and joy abounded as our children enjoyed these precious gifts from Him! We are so grateful for All Nations Fellowship in New Orleans and the many individuals/families who helped us with our Christmas Sponsorship Program! Thank you, thank you, thank you! God multiplied the money that came in! We were unable to do new clothing for all the community children, but we were able to give good used clothing (much was given by our MCV kids going through their closets!). Thank you again for standing with us and making this amazing harvest of love possible! Many of you are also wondering what the latest news regarding our precious Warrior Baby. He has been successfully reintegrated with his grandmother whom he has grown to love. Today during a short home visit, W greeted us with much joy and did not cry when we left…he just happily waved and blew kisses. He really seems to be thriving in his new home and family, so our hearts are full. Thank you again to everyone who interceded with us for W- lets keep praying for his amazing little life!

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Thankful reminder!

Dearest Friends and Prayer Warriors,
With thankful hearts, we wanted to send love and blessings to our global family! Many of our supporters from America will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week- a holiday that really should be everyday, aye?
Be joyful always, pray continually, and GIVE THANKS in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest people; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.” E.P. Powell
“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” W.J. Cameron
Amen and amen! We also wanted to share this video highlighting the Christmas Sponsorship program with everyone!
There is some great Johanna Joy footage in the video for all the JoJo fans:)
As we shared in our last newsletter, we are looking for churches or small groups (even individuals) to help sponsor the upcoming Christmas outreaches! In addition to all the fun stuff we have at MCV, we will be hosting two large Christmas parties for children in our Extend Care program (orphaned children taken in by extended family or the local church). We also follow up with home visits where we give gifts, special prayer, etc. We also hope to reach out to the child headed homes within the community (older children taking care of younger siblings)….So we need lots and lots of sponsors!
For $20 (US dollars), our team can buy an age appropriate toy/gift and item of new clothing.
Please be in touch with us ASAP if you are interested in sponsoring a child or group of children! Sponsorship monies need to be sent to MIA with a note in byline “MCV Christmas.”
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Goal Accomplished!

MCV celebrated another round of birthdays over the weekend! It was an especially fun day because we christened the new soccer field! Thanks to a dear sponsor in America, we have new soccer goals and equipment! Everyone joined in the match…even the “old” people like Papa JeanJ It is always such a blessing to celebrate the lives of each child and volunteer staff at MCV. Amongst the highlights was seeing 4 year old S receive a new bike! His old bike (a gift at Christmas) was ridden daily for hours for months till the wheels completely wore off. Another highlight was during the prayer for the birthday kids. Many of our kids are really pressing into His presence and understanding the power of prayer. We watched many of the kids pray blessings and fire over the other kids/adults….Yeah God!

For more pictures, visit the galley at the MCV website! www.mcvafrica.com

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Enjoying our treasures!

The MCV family just enjoyed another week of school holiday. This is always a special time of extra activities, but God really impressed upon our hearts to very specifically to ENJOY our precious children. The mamas and missionaries took small groups shopping for new summer cloths/shoes. What a joy to watch certain kids radiate such delight and pride when showing off their new clothing choices! We also piled into the new Quantum, Papa Jean’s bakkie and Lisa’s rental (a friend from Flanders Electric) for a day safari at Kruger National Park. The kids saw God’s beauty up close with most of the animal coming within 10 feet of the vehicles. And when a child wanted to see something specific, the kids prayed and asked God to bring the animal to them…and He did! This happened over and over till everything was seen except a leopard or cheetah! The final highlight of the break was the big soccer game at Mbombela Stadium. The houseparents and Pastor Surprise and Tryphina treated the kids to a fun day cheering on Bafanna Bafanna (South Africa’s national soccer team)!

We are so grateful to our Heavenly Father and His hands (many of you!) who make this abounding joy possible.

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Bible College Graduation

Recently, we celebrated with over 30 amazing men and women the completion of the Biblical Studies program at Harvest Bible College. Many of the students attended a rotation of 2-3 weeks sessions for over 3 years in order to complete all the required courses. After worship and the joyous procession of graduates, Pastor Surprise Sithole gave a powerful word of commission and harvest. The ceremony continued with more awards, special words, etc. The highlight for many was watching each student receive their diploma and Bible (a special gift from the ministry). This was indeed such a joyous milestone in their journey- many celebrated in very fun, animated ways to the pleasure of the crowd! It was an amazing blessing to watch and pray for each graduate as they were commissioned and launched into a new season of ministry. The ceremony ended in much praise and thanksgiving. After pictures, everyone was treated to delicious meal and fellowship.

As you know, this ministry is very dear to our hearts….Jean teaches and Teisa does the administration. Join us in praying for the 30+ graduates and their families! Pray that they would be shinning stars in this dark world- bringing the light and truth of Jesus Christ to ends of the earth.

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Chosen Ones- a Kingdom approach to education at MCV!

The following blog was written by Dea Walker- an amazing missionary heading up the after-school program at MCV. We wanted to highlight this incredible ministry to raise more prayer support!

At Michaels Children’s Village, we take great joy in following Holy Spirit and being nestled in the arms of our loving Papa God. We are in love with Jesus, our Bridegroom King of Glory. In our work, we have watched Papa God lovingly bring us children to envelop in His Spirit of Adoption. We seek His guidance in every aspect of this time we have with our sons and daughters including their education.

In 2008, I asked God to show me what Kingdom Education looked like. God’s training was immediate. I focused on the Tree of Life and listened carefully to Holy Spirit as He led me in Kingdom Education within the classroom. There was much to learn with many unusual experiences in the midst of that time. I met more challenges but also enjoyed teaching even more than ever. Kingdom Education is the structural plan for the Chosen Ones afterschool and school break program for our children at Michaels Children’s Village.

So, what exactly does Kingdom Education look like at Michaels Children’s Village? Good Question. We are free flowing for the most part in growing this portion of our children’s development. Our children attend a good community school and attend Chosen Ones at our children’s village after school and on school breaks. Each child’s educational plan is based upon that individual child, their giftings, and their strengths with the guidance of Holy Spirit. We ask Papa God for direction for each child. We focus on Kingdom Education that brings in the love of the Father, the compassion of Christ, and the New Covenant commandments of Jesus.

We have a heart to serve the total child. This not only includes educational milestones like literacy and numeracy development but also spiritual, physical, and personal development. If you walked into a normal day, you could find a small group of children soaking or a large group worshiping in song, dance or art. You may walk in and find us all enjoying books or a small group in a guided reading lesson. You may also see a lesson in fractions with fraction blocks or polynomials with algebra tiles. You might encounter a young writing group or a young Kingdom leadership class. You may find volunteers cooking with the children, teaching a child to play guitar, working one on one with a child on their homework or doing crafts. You may even join some of us for a game of Monopoly or putting together a puzzle. God’s plan seems to have us plan the day around the child rather than the child to fit into the program schedule.

Pray with us for this amazing adventure in learning and loving at MCV!!!!

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MCV dreams come true!

Ever since MCV opened 2 years ago, transport has been a problem. The ministry had an old combi (9 seat van) which we used to transport the kids, but the combi was always breaking down….the thing truly ran on prayer! Around 3 weeks ago, Papa Dube was doing errands and the combi ran out of gas, so he parked it and walked off in pursuit of fuel….minutes later, a horrible accident in which another vehicle lost control and ran strait into the combi and totaled it. The insurance gave MCV the book value for the combi (way more than what it was worth) and we received a rental truck to help get the kids to school. Just a few days after we had to return the rental, MCV was blessed by Flanders Electric (company in America with awesome Christian owners/leaders) with a new Toyota Quantum (15 seat vehicle)! Some amazing Flanders employees’ delivered it Friday to an excited and elated crowd of kids. Everyone jumped inside in awe of this lavish gift from God (via Flanders!)

Yesterday for the first time, Jean drove the MCV kids to school in major style! With big smiles and lots of pride, we are pretty sure the hot topic at school was the new Quantum.

Thank you again to the extended MCV family at Flanders Electric who made this incredible dream come true! As we grow, we look forward to a whole fleet of miracle vehicles just like this one to carry our precious kids into their awesome destinies!

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