“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
COVID-19 has hit the world hard over the past year, impacting the daily life of almost every nation in the world. Unfortunately, it has also had direct consequences on the church. Many churches have been prevented from meeting and worshipping together, having to turn to online streaming to hold meetings, pre-recording worship sessions and ultimately missing out on the personal contact and opportunity to spread the Gospel in the flesh.
Yet, despite this, God is moving like never before! Within Four12, we have continued to see God bring incredible life and growth. Here is a summary of what has been happening within some of our Four12 partnering churches.
Expansion into Rome, Italy
Bruce and Monica Nherera and their family, formerly from Stirling Worship Centre, in East London, South Africa, are in the process of starting a community (home group) in Rome, Italy. Having relocated due to work obligations, they have it on their hearts to build something real, genuine and authentic in the area. We look forward to hearing what God will do in and through them in the coming months!
Learning and Growing in the Netherlands
Early in 2021, Living Waters in the Netherlands sent some church members to spend time with various Joshua Generation Church congregations in South Africa. During their visit, they were able to be equipped at prophetic training times and leaders’ meetings and had the opportunity to build relationally and be encouraged. Living Waters is still a relatively new church plant at only a year old (planted just before the COVID pandemic hit) and has already grown to over 80 members. There is a strong Dutch Reformed background and influence in the Netherlands; however, the church has encountered God’s Spirit in a new way. People are getting water baptised, speaking in tongues and walking into greater freedom in Christ.
Life Out of Lockdown in London
Lesedi and Kristle Williams planted King and Country Church in South-West London last year in the middle of lockdown with a small group of people. Since then, they have grown to 30 people and experienced the incredible life of God as He has knitted them together. While in-person meetings have been few, over the past six months, they have had the opportunity to start communities (home groups) in homes, show people what it means to live New Testament Christianity, encourage each other through regular testimonies and pray together on Friday mornings. They are excited to finally be meeting face-to-face again and going deeper, are planting a new congregation in Hertfordshire and recently launched their church website!
Multiplication in South Africa
The churches in South Africa continue to see much growth in numbers, with new churches planted or in the pipeline.
This past year has seen City on a Hill grow to three congregations, with Zao Church (Montana, Pretoria) joining the City on a Hill family and a new congregation planted in Boksburg.
Oxygen Life Church continues to go from strength to strength, recently announcing that they are releasing Matthew and Shannon Wright to plant a church, Risen Hope in Umgeni, Durban, later this year. In addition, there will be an incredible two more church plants in Jeffrey’s Bay and Cape St. Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape in the coming months! If this is not already enough excitement, they also recently announced the launch of a 6-month creative media school called Ready, Aim, Fire (RAF). A media school aimed at training students in mixed media, growing their relationship with Jesus, plugging them into the local church and firing them back into their local context where they can serve and provide quality media rooted in truth. Ready Aim Fire registrations will be opening in July. Keep an eye out for more details!
Familia Christi in Queenstown has been working in the Fort Beauford and Adelaide area in the Eastern Cape for a few years. Out of this work and the relationships that have been built, a new church, Living Waters, has been planted! The new church in Adelaide, Eastern Cape, is led by Adaan and Jessica Bouwer and consists of a small group of people on fire for the Lord. God has already added new families to them!
The Lighthouse House Church in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, is enjoying a beautiful season of increased health in God, ordaining their first eldership couple at the end of last year and recently celebrating the joy of having 35 adults come into membership and joining the family. They have also seen marriages and families restored, and their worship has gone deeper as they have broken free from the restriction of convention and traditions.
Kingdom Community Church in Kwa-Zulu Natal continues to see God move among them. They planted their third congregation and are now meeting in Mtunzini and Meer en See, as well as Richard’s Bay. They have seen 15 deacons released, four people recommit their lives to God and started a school and coffee shop.
Joshua Generation Church has grown to 37 congregations with saints and leaders obeying the call of God in stepping out. Previously limited to Southern Africa, they have expanded into new nations such as Mauritius and Australia, and have also seen their more ‘established congregations’ grow in number, with increased visitors, salvations and recommitments.
God is on the Move in Malawi, Zambia and Namibia
Lance and Sue McIntosh continue to serve in Malawi this year, with many testimonies of God’s miraculous provision and intervention constantly streaming in and many opportunities to equip the leaders and share the truth of the Gospel. Most noticeably, even with worldwide travel restrictions due to COVID-19, Malawi has remained open to visitors. It has been encouraging to hear of the many volunteers who have obediently stepped out in faith and been part of serving in that beautiful nation, often for months at a time.
There has been incredible growth in Gospel Central Church in Zambia, with a new congregation planted in an area called Beresford. They are also practically equipping church leaders and their saints and providing them with agricultural training through the Restore-Agri programme.
Crowded House in Windhoek, Namibia, has seen beautiful growth over the past year. Eighteen new families have been added, growing the church by a third and bringing with them much-needed new gifts. The church would pray for a person carrying a specific gift, and Jesus would bring them! Their community groups are experiencing amazing times together, growing in love for each other and enjoying good times of fellowship. For two years, they’ve been reaching out in the town of Dordabis, 90 km from Windhoek, where there is no charismatic church. Recently, they had a meeting with the farmers who have given them access to a house in the town and a church building. Incredibly, they will now be placing someone there full-time to begin working in the community.
Reaching Out in Indonesia and Taiwan
Jubilee Church in Indonesia remains strong and recently shared how they have continued to meet at every opportunity. They have not stopped reaching out, persevering with their evangelism efforts. This has borne much fruit as they have seen the lost saved (including Muslims turning to Christ), have been baptising many believers throughout their regions and even planted a church in Ambon!
The church in Taiwan, planted at the end of 2020, continues to grow in number. Since planting, they have seen two salvations and one person publically professing their faith in Jesus Christ through the obedient act of water baptism.
Freedom to the Republic of Ireland
In September 2020, James and Cindy Thornhill-Fisher left the security of their life in South Africa and planted ARC Cork – Freedom Life Church in the Republic of Ireland. During five months of lockdown, despite not being able to meet in person more than twice last year, God has been drawing people and adding them to the church. Having ‘met’ previously online, they were able to meet some of their new church family in person for the first time recently. They have also celebrated five salvations, five recommitments and five baptisms! God has also provided much-needed sound equipment to the church through a generous donation by ARC Sydenham. On a personal level, He has provided favour with residency and work to both James and Cindy, respectively.
Breakthrough in Brazil
Convergência Church has two congregations in Monte Mor and Campinas and works in two other regions, Indaiatuba and Piracicaba. During COVID-19, God led them to continue to present the Gospel online through social media channels. Miraculously, over the past 12 months or so, their reach on social media has tripled, and their congregation in Monte Mor almost doubled in size, with over 100 people joining them. Many have even relocated to Monte Mor to join them, despite the pandemic! The church has testified how God has been building authentic close relationships from house to house and encouraging them to build a place for His presence to dwell.
Several partnering churches have continued to face opposition during this time and face daily battles because of the impact of COVID-19. However, because of the kind generosity of our Four12 partners and your faithful giving to the Four12 Partners Relief Fund, we have been able to supply much-needed food supplies, PPE/medical supplies and financial support to those in need. An estimated USD 61,700 has been raised and allocated to over 33 churches in eight regions across South Africa, India, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
You can continue to stay up to date with the latest news from our partnering churches on our website and by following our social media channels or downloading Four12’s App. There are also many exciting online and in-person events coming up.
Header Image: top, left to right: Lance & Sue McIntosh handing out Bibles in Malawi, ARC ordaining elders in London, Nherera family in Rome, Breinstampf family who planted a Joshua Generation Church outreach congregation in Australia.
Bottom, left to right: King & Country Church members in England celebrating the donation of music gear, Darwin Lontoh from Indonesia, prayer at Convergencia, MonteMor in Brazil, Oxygen Life Church congregation plant in Cape St Francis, South Africa.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Four12 is a dynamic partnership of churches across the globe working together to Equip, Restore and Advance the church that Jesus Himself is building. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube or Get or App.