Thanks for your interest and prayers in/for the work of the Gospel here in Otara. It’s time for a brief summary of the year so far.
Otara disciples met with those from the other AHKM churches in Gisborne over the New Year. We were billeted at different Gisborne disciple’s houses. We got out onto the streets (with the Gospel), we went to the beach , we played games, some went to a rock slide in a local river. It was a few days of great fellowship.
Soon after we were back home, a disciple when visiting his cousin learned that the cousin had recently broken his leg. The disciple prayed and the cousin felt immediate comfort and was able to walk on the leg.
Just a few days later, a disciple noticed a man exit a medical clinic, apparently in pain. The disciple asked if she could heal him, in Jesus name. The man replied “yes please” and explained that both his legs were very painful, and that he was struggling to breath. The disciple prayed for the man and he experienced immediate healing. He was breathing easily, and his legs were pain free.
Since the beginning of the year, some disciples have been having a weekly visit with a man who has a broken back, is paralysed from the chest down, and is bedridden. They study the Bible and sing songs with him. Although he can awkwardly grip with both hands he had no feeling from the mid-forearms down. The disciples minister healing through the power of Holy Ghost to him, and he is reporting some feeling returning to the lower forearms and the back of the hands.
We continue to meet a lot of folk who have mental illnesses. Often we see them change before our eyes as the Word of God ministers to their soul. The truth of the Bible smashes the confusion, destroys the depression, and gives hope. And hope lights them up. Most go away rejoicing. Occasionally some linger to learn more of this Jesus who can set them free. One has come to our church meetings a few times this year, and we have seen him telling others in the market place that those others should listen about this Jesus.
Then there are those who are healthy in the body and mind/soul, but are shaken by the preaching of the biblical Gospel. Some have a hostile response, others mock, but the worst is when there seems to be no response. These ones just seem to look right past you, their eyes showing no recognition, and at best just give a grunt or shrug when a question is put – or repeated - to them. But we rely on Holy Ghost to give us His words, and we know that their spirits hear the words. And we know the words are doing their holy work , convicting, converting.
And now, Holy Ghost is broadening our area. As well as Otara, we are now being stirred to witness in Papatoetoe (the next door suburb). Only a very short distance away, but totally different culture. We praise You Jesus that Your truth speaks life to every culture, every nation. And that Holy Spirit gives us discernment of how to minister to different people. Already we have seen demonic hatred of the name of Jesus. A shop worker who is a bringer of a false gospel could see us witnessing in the street, and her face began to change. She took on a deep scowl, and came closer trying to menace and threaten. But the demon was intimidated by the bold witness in Jesus’ name and she didn’t have the courage to come closer and offer a challenge.
As with wars involving guns and bombs, so too in the biggest war of all – the cosmic battle between light and darkness - there are regular troop movements. In February we sent one of our soldiers to Gisborne to continue her discipleship there. And we are glad to hear she is continuing the good fight, including taking the Gospel into nursing homes down there.
In Acts chapters 1 to 28, we read of the movements and work of the early Apostles. In Acts chapter 2014, March to be precise, so our Apostle visited South Auckland, including Otara. He strengthened the churches and greatly encouraged all the disciples.
And then this month, a mission team of 4 men from our Gisborne church came and ministered in South Auckland for a long weekend. All of them gave powerful testimony of being rescued by Jesus from crime and hopelessness. One of them has been healed from schizophrenia after more than 20 years of heavy medication, lengthy and frequent detentions in Psych wards, and even jail. All those fellows overflowed with Holy Ghost life.
We will finish this brief report with a note about S... (name withheld). Despite the many people who have been hearing the Gospel in the streets of Otara in recent months, S... was not one of them. But he did happen to work in a fast food place where some disciples occasionally visited. Apparently on a previous visit, S... had heard that these were preachers of the Gospel of Jesus. S... is a Muslim. He was curious why these people would want to tell people about God when the people ‘already knew about God’. So, he decided to read the Bible and find out why they do this.
When the disciples reappeared, 6 weeks later, he excitedly asked them “Are you still preachers?”. When the surprised disciples answered “Yes”, he started to talk to them of some strange developments in his life. He asked a colleague to take over for him behind the counter (S... is a senior worker there) and came out into the eating area, sat down and began to tell his story. He said he discovered the Bible made sense and was true. He said he became very confused about all that he has been taught, and how it compared with the truth he was now reading. He said he has been reading the Bible every day. He became depressed. Then after two weeks, one night in a dream, Someone came to him. This Person was surrounded by Light; He had long white hair, and He wore a long white robe. This Person told him “It will be OK” and reached comfortingly toward him. When S... woke his mind was clear, he went to work joyfully, and he a had deep desire to understand more of this truth of the Bible.
S... works every day of the week, and sends much of his earnings back to his family in his home country. But he had a few hours off in the following week, so he phoned those disciples and asked if they could meet. He sat and asked questions and listened to the Bible being brought to him for around 4 hours! And said he wants more.
S... is one of the most active members in his mosque. And he knows the cost of his life changing. He will lose his life – one way or the other. But Jesus has promised him, that this is the very way S... will find life.
God is so good.
Rev Tom & Ps Barb Hockley