The Mordecai Project Newsletter
July 2008 / Pretoria, South Africa
Thanks to all of you who prayed for my trip to Pretoria, South Africa. My 21-year-old daughter Meredith and I had a blessed journey and it was actually hard to leave because we fell in love with the people at Hatfield Christian Church. We got home Tuesday night. Here are some highlights:
** God’s grace was on us for sure. We flew 20 hours to get there, and our bags did not arrive with us, but when Pastor Francois and his wife, Ansa, met us at the airport they took us shopping to buy toiletries and extra clothes. So we had a great bonding experience from the first day.
** The “Living Bravely” women’s conference was awesome. About 1,400 women attended for two days and I preached five times, packing as much as possible into those sessions. Several of the women leaders at Hatfield had spent months preparing for the conference and it was bathed in prayer. A victory had already been secured. Besides women from Hatfield, there were attendees from all over South Africa and from other countries including Rwanda. The women were like sponges, ready to receive all they could from God.
** On the first night there was a time of emotional and physical healing at the altar after I preached about the women with the issue of blood from Mark 5. The presence of the Lord was amazing during that ministry time and I know He was doing miracles in bodies and in wounded souls. I asked Pastor Francois and other men from the church to come on stage with me to kneel before the women and repent for the treatment of South Africa’s women. (By the way, you may not know that white women in South Africa did not get the right to vote until 1930; black women didn’t get that right until 1994.)
** The other speaker at the conference was Dr. Mimikie Molapo, a black educator whose husband is a pastor and business leader in South Africa. She offered a lot of practical help to the women regarding marriage and family. It was beautiful to see the racial mix in the conference---a perfect blend of white, black and other ethnic backgrounds—in a country that has been so divided by race in the past.
** On Saturday night I spoke on “Becoming a Dangerous Woman” and there was a sense of excitement from the first moment of that service. During the altar ministry time, all the women ran to the front to receive prayer for courage and boldness. God was breaking them free from fear and intimidation. At the end I asked the Sotho and Zulu women to release their African war cries and then everyone began to dance African style—including all the white Afrikaans women! It was a glorious time and no one wanted to stop. Pastor Francois’ wife, Ansa, was on the stage dancing with the black women, and she then brought up some of the Bible college students who had attended the conference. It was like heaven on earth for a few hours.
** I started getting feedback about the conference immediately. Ansa told me that this message of biblical women’s empowerment has not really been preached in South Africa, at least not to this group, so it was groundbreaking. When I got home I read this message from a woman who is in a key role in the government: “I just wanted to thank you for the inspiration that you brought to this conference. I have had a passion for a couple of years now to minster to women: To actually train and empower women. God is birthing this inside of me, and I am trusting Him for open doors. I currently work for the U.S. government in Pretoria, South Africa. Years of administrative and financial training have now come to a head, and I believe God is going to use my skills and knowledge for something bigger to glorify His kingdom.”
** I know that every woman who came to this event has a similar story. South Africa is in a strategic season right now, and it is time for the women to rise up and claim their territory. God sent this word to them at the right moment. One lady from Rwanda told me that her husband is an Anglican pastor and that their bishop was sending them to a very poor area to lead a church. She had been afraid of this assignment but God gave her the courage to embrace it as she listened to me talk about the fearless women in China who have been persecuted for their faith. God is sending His women on the front lines!
** Meredith was really encouraged during this trip too. Some of the young people from Hatfield hosted her and took her to see some local sites. She also went with me to Abba House, a ministry that is rescuing babies that have been abandoned. We held babies in our arms that had been left in drainage pipes and on doorsteps. Meredith also got to attend a church for homeless people that Hatfield sponsors in a poor area of Johnnesburg.
** I spoke at Hatfield on Sunday morning. There were least 4,000 people there I think. I spoke about how Jonah ran from God, and then gave an opportunity for people who have been running from their callings to come to the altar and repent. I was amazed to see how many responded—many were in tears as they turned from selfishness and reclaimed our mission to reach a lost world. There were also about eight people who came to the altar to be saved—including a woman who came to church for the first time. She boldly walked to the front of the auditorium in front of that huge crowd and gave her life to Christ. That is the greatest miracle of all --- seeing conversions makes these long trips worth all the hassles of losing sleep and luggage!
** A personal highlight for me on this trip was building a friendship with Pastor Francois van Niekerk. He leads this huge church but is such a humble servant. He is truly setting a new standard of leadership for his nation and for the global church. We spent a lot of time together, talking about the crises that Christians in both our countries are facing. After the conference, Francois and Ansa took Meredith and I on a trip to Pilansberg Game Reserve, two hours from Pretoria. We shared meals and rode around the reserve where we saw elephants, rhino, hippos, impala, zebra, wildebeest and many other animals. It reminded me of how much our God has deposited in the continent of Africa. So much is waiting to be discovered and unleashed. I am blessed to see the way He is moving today in this amazing place!
Posted by Lee Grady on August 1, 2008 05:35 PM