The invitation to minister in South Africa came via Pastor Moses Rains Mangeni who had been our driver for the Uganda mission in January 2012. He had moved to South Africa to minister with his brother, Apostle George Mangeni, in Carletonville, and had told him about the ministry of Streams of Mercy.
We flew to Johannesburg on 16th January 2013. We were met by Pastor Moses and Apostle George and taken to our accommodation in Carletonville.
We visited a small orphanage and a home for severely disabled children. In both places we saw the results of loving care freely given. The staff in the disability home were all volunteers, unpaid, but giving daily of their time to feed and care for these very disabled and helpless children. We were able to be an encouragement to the staff and took gifts of food and basic necessities.
On the first Sunday morning we attended the Christian Family Fellowship in Potchefstroom staying for the first half hour or so of worship and were then taken to our first prison ministry in Potchefstroom Prison ( or Centre of Correctional Services).
Worship in the Christian Family Fellowship Church
Schoolgirls parading to Church
Janis and Laurie with Pastor Bill and Moses Mangeni
The group who took us into the prison felt that women should not minister to the male inmates. So while Laurie went into the main male section with the other pastors, Janis was taken alone to minister to a small group of women in the female section. A translator was found but turned out to be not needed, and a service went ahead with just 14 ladies present. After a time of worship and ministry it transpired that all 14 claimed to be believers. We closed the service in prayer, and then one by one the women approached Janis with matters requiring prayer. Some were facing a court appearance that week. Others had interviews with the Parole board. Some had physical ailments needing prayer and others wanted the needs of their families to be brought to the Lord in prayer. By the end of the morning every lady had received prayer for her needs. Meanwhile in the Men's section between 30 and 40 men made professions of faith. They will be followed up by Pastor Bill and a group from the Kairos Ministry.
We travelled to Rustenburg on Monday 21st January, and on theTuesday we were taken for a trip to the famous Sun City nestled in the rolling hills of the Pilanesberg, one of South Africa's most scenic locations and site of the legendary Palace of the Lost City and Valley of Waves, fabled to be the ruins of a glorious ancient civilisation.
That evening we met with Pastor Gibson Homan who had arranged all our visits in the area. The following day we first visited a school for the deaf , where we were well received by both pupils and staff. We saw good possibilities for Gap Year ministry here especially for anyone interested in Audiology, Speech Therapy, computing and agriculture.
We then travelled to Brits Correction Centre where 43 young men made professions of faith.
Over the next three days we visited Correctional Centres in Rustenburg, (10 professions of faith and 29 recommitments), Mogwase (16 professions of faith) and Losperfontein (6 professions of faith). We also visited a home for the elderly near the deaf school and 4 of the residents made a profession of faith.
On Sunday we ministered in a church in Rustenburg. The message was well received. Laurie spoke about the need for sensitivity in worship and Janis spoke about our mission to save souls, make disciples and serve suffering humanity. A lady at the end stood up and told us that she hadnâ€™t wanted to come to church that morning but something made her come. She said she had needed to hear the messages we had brought. Later the Pastor told us he had wanted to say the things we had said but that he felt it was better accepted coming from us than from him. The Lord really led us to the right messages that day for which we can only praise Him.
We met with Pastor Gibson on Monday to discuss registering Streams of Mercy South Africa as a non profit organisation. We also learned of a printer who produces Bibles to give away freely and later arranged for a small donation to have 1000 Bibles printed with the Streams of Mercy Logo to be delivered to Pastor Israel in DR Congo.
On Tuesday we visited Pretoria and later in the week returned to Carletonville and from there to the airport to fly down to Capetown where we were hosted by a lovely family.
Pollsmoor Prison is a very large establishment holding both maximum and medium security inmates, men, women and young offenders. There is a well established prison ministryâ€”Hope Ministriesâ€”having 150 volunteer workers representing many Christian denominations. We joined with them at morning devotions, taking it in turns to lead the thought for the day. We ministered to a small group of young offenders ( 8 made professions of faith) and to the female inmates (10 professions of faith).
We also met with a group of female ex offenders who were part of a sewing group making bags to sell in the market, and on the Saturday with another ex offender's support group.
A highlight was the prayer walk on the Thursday evening when over 60 people walked round the Young Offenders section of the prison , led by a worship band and singing praises to God, stopping outside each accommodation block to pray for the inmates, staff and prison work generally. The young men were glued to the windows and reached out beyond the bars with their hands to make contact with us. We learned afterwards from the governor that there had been a very good response from the lads, and that this event should take place on a fortnightly basis! It was the first evening in 8 years when they had actually been allowed to march around inside the prison. The governor has recently become a Christian and says This prison needs God. We learnt a lot through this visit the team lead much ministry including very effective Restorative Justice courses and Bible training.
We were also able to spend time sight seeing visiting Cape Point, Table Mountain and Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. We also had a tour of the townships where coloured and black people still live in poor conditions because they cannot afford to move elsewhere even though apartheid has ended. And we also visited a shelter known as the Ark, where homeless people and those wanting to be freed from drug addiction are being cared for, are gaining freedom from their addiction and brought to know Christ. Stray animals are also taken in and these prove to be therapeutic for those recovering from addiction. Another section houses and cares for elderly folk who would otherwise be homeless.
Judy, the founder of The ARK