After British evangelist Jonathan Conrathe’s visit to us in July, it’s become really clear to me why the Apostle Paul called the five-fold ministers ‘gifts’ to the Church in his letter to the Ephesians. From salvations to healings, to the saints in our Stellenbosch congregation flowing in the power of the Holy Spirit, the fruit from Jonathan’s visit has been extraordinary and continues to inspire our church to move in healings and reaching the lost.
Before Jonathan’s visit, we had been emphasising discipleship and seeing leaders raised up. However, even though we’ve seen some fruit in that area and even though we would get new people joining the church, it was mostly people that came from other churches who were looking for a more authentic experience of God and community life.
Even though our congregation has had several prophetic words about God wanting to use us to reach the lost and despite the push in all the JoshGen congregations to engage and reach the lost, it was an area that we remained weak in.
Over the June-July holidays a large part of the congregation went on outreaches to different areas of South Africa and internationally. So, by the middle of July when everyone was back, people were excited to pursue what God wanted to do in Stellenbosch, which made Jonathan’s visit a timely one. In hindsight, I can see God had been gathering the ‘dry wood’ so it was ready to be lit on fire!
Jonathan was with us for two meetings. The Tuesday meeting was a combined gathering with two other JoshGen congregations. That wasn’t so much a time of trying to reach the lost so much as it was a time of equipping and encouraging us to go out.
We also had some healing miracles break out that night. One guy who received prayer had suffered from chronic asthma for several years. He couldn’t even climb stairs without feeling his chest closing. A specific word of knowledge for asthma was released, and then he said he felt God touch him, but it was only the next day that he suddenly realised he didn’t have to catch his breath anymore – his lungs were healed!
Then we decided to have a big push on the Saturday to invite as many people as possible to an evening meeting.
The meeting was officially scheduled from 7 – 9pm, then around about 9pm after Jonathan’s amazing preach, he asked if anyone wanted to commit their life to Christ and we had 30 responses for salvation – although about half of those were actually recommitments, we discovered later.
Those 15 first-time salvations were the biggest response to the gospel we’ve had in the last two years!
They just wanted more of God and started worshipping again – worship began to erupt from the people rather than being pushed by the band. What can you do when the Spirit of God and the people’s hunger align?!
As the evening progressed, we made calls for the baptism of the Spirit and more calls for healing. People were continuing to engage and enjoy God and I think at about 11:30pm we finally had to force people to leave.
That night our people were left in awe of God and they were filled with expectation to see Him move.
I heard of one guy who went to the doctor for a knee problem; he couldn’t walk without crutches. The doctor had told him it would take six months to heal, but God touched him and healed him instantly! After that we had another young man who was on the fringe of our community who had an issue with his ankle; he wasn’t fully throwing himself into the things of God. God healed him and that’s catapulted him into a place of being on fire for Jesus!
The fruit of Jonathan’s visit has been very evident! We’ve seen an unprecedented number of believers being activated to reach the lost, we’ve seen the gifts of the Spirit activated and so much of God’s power moving through the people. We hope to keep up the momentum the Holy Spirit has begun and to press into a ‘new normal’ at Stellenbosch JoshGen.