Recently, a horrible thunderstorm wrecked our current place of worship for the PIH/Iris Africa church in Backdoor (our home church). The old, weathered tent was torn in several places, so it was declared unusable that Sunday morning. Quick thinking Pastor Surprise had the idea of moving the service over to the shelter at Village of Hope (the community outreach center). Although small, it could accommodate the services until the new church building was finished. For many years, the Backdoor church has wanted to build a proper building, so the death of the tent served as another confirmation that now is indeed the time to build!
About a week after the tent came down, Pastor Surprise got a random phone call asking him to meet a gentleman at a local bank. Pastor Surprise had just attended an all night prayer meeting/funeral, so he was very tired when he got the call. Gloriously, the Holy Spirit gave him renewed strength and told him he must meet the man at the bank. Pastor Surprise arrived and greeted the man. The gentleman would not give his name or any other information. The man heard that the church tent was destroyed and that plans were being made to build a new church, so he wanted to bless Pastor Surprise with R32,000 ($5500US) for the new church building! Breathlessly, Pastor Surprise watched the bank teller hand him this huge offering for the church. Again Pastor Surprise questioned the man about his name, but he just smiled and left….We think he was maybe an angel…and this angel had a South African bank account! Therefore, the Backdoor church is excitedly moving forward in building plans….
Just as this is all happening, the Lord speaks to Pastor Surprise about planting a church in Nelspruit! This is the large urban center about 30 minutes from MCV and the city which Pastor Surprise has his home. Years ago, Pastor Surprise had a powerful vision about the city of Nelspruit being surrounded with a wall of fire. And during special prayer for the new year, God confirmed that this was the year for lighting that fire in Nelspruit. Pastor Surprise’s wife also had a vision years before that she would be ‘home’ in a church with a red carpet. Dear friends of the Sitholes offered a church building that to the delight of Surprise and Tryphina has beautiful red carpet!
Yesterday was the first celebration service of the new church plant! People came from hundreds of km away to bless this new birth. Even though there was a disturbing attack from the enemy regarding the church building, nothing stopped this amazing birth. Everyone simply piled into cars and we met at another location in Nelspruit. After a time of incredible worship, Pastor Surprise preached from Lev. 6:12-13. The fire of God fell and burned our hearts for His harvest in this precious city. Pray with us for this new church plant which is so dear to God’s and the Sitholes’ hearts!