Discipleship and Miracles
We used to think that street ministry was the answer to seeing revival explode all over the planet. And then we realized that it didn’t really produce fruit in the context of discipleship (Ryan explains it more here).
From that point, we dramatically decreased the amount of time we spent going out with the intention to minister to people, spending time in Walmart, doing healing events and things of that nature because in the long run, it didn’t produce any lasting disciples.
It pretty much got to the point where we just completely stopped. It wasn’t because we stopped believing in it, it’s because we changed our focus in an effort to actually create disciples instead of bringing lots of random encounters to random people on the streets that we would never see again.
It wasn’t that we stopped healing the sick on the streets, we still ministered to people we saw with needs (Luke 7:12, 1 Samuel 10:7). It was still a normal part of our lifestyle, but it had taken a much smaller emphasis.
What I realized in Africa was that the street miracles are actually the best way to create discipleship opportunities for other believers. It was the perfect environment to help newer believers step out and mature. We had done it before at places like Target, Wingstop, and when we were in the healing rooms at Bethel, but we never made that distinction.
In Africa, when we were at Massenengeh, we would have the youth from a local church come with us as translators. At first, it was just to have them translate for us, but when they started seeing miracles happen from our hands, they wanted to learn. Seeing the miracles caused them to place a value on us and that allowed us to teach them more effectively.
Whenever we wanted to see some of the youths get discipled, we would just invite them to translate for us while we were ministering to people at Massenengeh. As a result, they would invite us to speak into their lives because they now had a basis of trust for us.
That simple distinction changed how I saw street ministry (in terms of discipleship). When I get back to San Jose, I’m going to find a place where I can effectively do that.
Travis made an interesting distinction when he was reading through how Jesus healed the sick. When He was ministering to someone who was deaf, one time He would command healing (physical), and other time He would command deaf spirit (spirit) to leave.
That would explain how if you address a spiritual problem in the physical side, you may or may not see results. Dennis had that while we were in Massenengeh when he was praying for a guy was deaf. Nothing happened until he finally addressed a deaf/deaf spirit and immediately they were free.
Kevin Peterson told us a testimony where he was ministering to someone who was deaf and mute. He was casting the deaf and dumb spirit out and it appeared that a spirit had left, and then all of a sudden the person said, “Come back!!”
Kevin explained that it was probably the dumb spirit that was cast out, and the deaf spirit was calling out to its ‘companion’ who was just evicted. He explained how it’s not a spirit that is both deaf and dumb, but it is actually a deaf spirit and a dumb spirit — they are separate.
I’ve noticed that people who are poor, people who are quick to receive help are more apt to see better healing results. This is absolutely theory/speculation, but could there be a factor that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”? I’ve seen it happen on multiple occasions. I’ve seen more dramatic results with homeless people compared to patients in modern hospital, young people more than calloused elderly folks who have “seen it all”.
I know many people have heard that it is “easier” to see miracles in third world countries in comparison more developed countries. I would partially agree. I propose that it’s not so much the location you’re in, but the kind of people you minister to. Why does Pete Cabrera such great results in a soup kitchen?
It’s just interesting to me. I will be experimenting with this when I get back home from Arizona. The videos will also start showing up online when I get back.
A few weeks ago, I left the US and arrived in South Africa with a handful of others. We arrived in Durban and drove ~2 hours away to Margate where we stayed for 2 weeks. We are now currently staying in Ramsgate (just a few km away) at a very nice place that was freely given to us by a friend until we leave for home.
First of all, in order for you to have the right context, I need to tell you that what you have imagined “Africa” to be is most likely not where we are. I imagined going to the deep jungles or the desolate villages, out in the burning sun, little or no water/electricity. That is mostly untrue (at least in the area we are in).
There are a lot of areas that are just farmland or brush, but for the most part, it’s quite developed just like the US. There are gas stations everywhere, KFC is South Africa’s McDonalds, electricity and air conditioning everywhere… really, the main difference is very, very slow and expensive internet, and the people are much more available to what you have to offer.
Everything Coming Together
Dennis/Maria/I arrived in Durban earlier than the rest of the group. We didn’t have transportation/housing arranged at that point, Dennis was still making calls trying to figure it out. The day that Travis and Sue arrived, our housing was finally arranged. A friend in Margate had also taken a week off to hang out with us, so he drove us around for the first few days.
On the 4th day, a couple who lived 10 minutes away connected with us through our friend Cornel Marais on facebook. We ended up going to their house, ministered to them, and they ended up letting us use their car as we needed it, for free! We were able to use this car for the first few weeks until we sorted out our own transportation.
Around the end of the 2nd week, the guy who is the contact in South Africa for JGLM called us and ended up hooking us up with a very (very) nice villa 10 minutes away for free.
Dennis/Sue/I spoke on Sunday Morning at the church that Dennis was working with last time. We preached on Eph 1:3, you already have everything, stop trying to get more of what you already have.
During the week, a few of us spent some time in the informal settlement behind the farm we were staying at. So everyone there lives in huts/shacks made from whatever they can find, and the children get all excited when they see a white person. We just walked around from house to house telling them what we were doing and asking them if they needed healing. We saw a few miracles happen after visiting twice, but it wasn’t the most efficient use of our time.
We also spent a few days with the couple who let us borrow their car, got to minister to their cell group and spent some good time with them.
Mighty River Ministries
This is the group that Dennis was working with a lot the last time he was here. The pastor at this church has an amazing heart. The first service we were at, he prophesied over us, introduced us as the healing team. The first sunday, Dennis and I spoke (video will probably go up when we get back to the states, full hd!). Since then, we’ve invested a lot of time pouring into the youth there, discipling them, training them with the principles that we live with.
We have a very specific idea of what discipleship looks like for us. When we say we are discipling someone, there are some specific things we eventually want to see that person walk out:
- identity issues
- heart issues (dealing with motives, taking offense, confrontation, communication)
- how to have healthy relationships with other people
- how to have healthy relationship with God
- how to walk in power
- how to walk in emotional freedom
- how to take responsibility of the world around them
There are 2 main people that we have spent a lot of time with. Nixon and Junior (both 17). The other group we’ve been investing a lot in as well is the “godsquad” that Dennis first trained up the first time he came.
We have failed if we have left no one here to continue what we started. If we can successfully disciple one person who solid and can continue to impact everyone around them, we have actually done what Jesus said to do… teach others to do what Jesus told us to do, and then teach them to teach others.
We have empowered Nixon are Junior to start their own church among a very poor rural group in Massenengeh and it will be very interesting how it turns out in the next few weeks.
We got to visit “Massenengeh” which is pretty close to what people expect “Africa” to be. Little kids running around half-clothed, following you wherever you go. Flies everywhere, chickens and dogs running around, the houses are primitive and packed closely together, about 8000 people packed in this settlement.
Whenever we visited during the first few weeks, we just went from door to door with a few of our friends to translate, bringing healing, deliverance, hope, food, clothing, prayer to anyone and everyone. It’s been an amazing opportunity to heal the sick and bring freedom to people. Usually, people will refer us to other friends/family who are sick.
What’s nice is that we have the opportunity to continually meet up with people and follow up with them to see how they are doing. Every single person we have prayed for and followed up with have seen results. A man who was affected by stroke who used to shake and needed help taking each step now slightly needs a cane and walks very smoothly. We saw some results the first time we prayed for him but we were told that the next morning, he was 80% better. We visit them every single time we go to Massenengeh.
A baby that a few other members of the team had prayed for was paralyzed from the waist down. Since following up, the baby is now kicking.
Another young child that someone prayed for had open sores. Following up just a few days after, the sores had mostly closed up.
What’s cool is, in the context of discipleship, in the most recent visits, most of the miracles happened in the hands of people we’ve trained up like Nixon and Junior.
That’s the main update!
I wrote a shorter one on my tumblr