It is Day 5 and the Lord has surely been good to us! Some of our team members had a slight illness when they woke up this morning, but that didn’t stop us. We had a wonderful prayer breakfast together before connecting with Pastor Rod and Scarlet Thread Prison Ministry. We drove about an hour to a small women’s correctional facility just outside of Johannesburg that houses about 300 women, many of which have already been sentenced to twenty five years or more.
It is one thing to go in and minister to the incarcerated when they have parole or the option for bail, but there is a unique anointing that God gives to connect with those who have no hope as they may be serving life sentence(s). Pastor Rod has been given that anointing from God. He shared with the team on the bus how God allowed him to cross paths with a man who was serving TWENTY FIVE life sentences! God broke Pastor Rod’s heart for that man and one day told him, “If you will go into that jail cell and love this man, I will save his life.”
Pastor Rod did just that and the man eventually gave his life to Jesus and has since started his own prison ministry. Pastor Rod knew at that very moment, that if this man could be redeemed, anyone could! So as he prayed over our team, the Heavens opened and the love of God filled our mouths and hearts and arms. We were also blessed to have international recording artist and worship leader Trevor Sampson, a South African native, join us for this time of ministry. He led our team and all of the amazing women in this jail in songs that genuinely made the heart of God glad.
Team member Ciara is a former law enforcement officer. She shared a powerful testimony of how her and other’s decisions caused her feel as though she was living in a prison mentally and emotionally. But God is forever faithful! Pastors Chuck & Alison immediately followed Ciara’s story by standing in the gap for the incarcerated women’s mothers and fathers. They apologized for not being examples of the Bible. They asked for forgiveness for abandoning these ladies and not encouraging and supporting them. The Lord softened hearts across the room and every single woman in the room received a loving hug and a kiss on the forehead from the Spirit of God through our group leaders. Many women rededicated their lives to Christ and asked God to help them live a life saturated with his love and forgiveness so that they could be Christ reflectors both in prison and when the time comes for them to be released.
We ended the day with an amazing celebration of Chuck and Alison’s 36th wedding anniversary! One of the most beautiful things to see were people of all nations, ages, careers, and backgrounds, coming together to serve Jesus during this mission trip. And so many cultures were in one accord to celebrate two amazing people who have dedicated their lives to each other and to helping other people have and grow in an intimate relationship with Jesus. One couple from Acts Christian Church, Pastors Walter and his wife Viji, opened their home to us to enjoy the celebration. As we dined on classic Durban dishes like Lamb Breyani, Sour Milk Salad, and Soji, our hearts were filled with joy. Lead Pastors Peter and Thami also shared their perspectives of how they met and encouraged everyone at every age and stage how beautiful it is to unite with someone who has a heart for the Lord.
Pastor Thami shared with us how she gave her life to the Lord and He gave her a passion for ministering to people outside of nightclubs in Johannesburg. Pastor Peter was introduced to her as he was transitioning from being a sound tech into a minister of the Gospel. God sowed them together and they have poured into countless couples including our very own Chuck and Alison.
As the team continued to laugh and celebrate what God had done already in a few days and the monumental anniversary, we could only partially fathom what God was up to for the rest of this trip and beyond. That’s when God gave team member Ciara a vision during our closing evening prayer. He showed her our forearms covered in leather. In the vision she saw various colors of strong arms holding one another. The Spirit of God revealed to us that God was reconciling the people of South Africa for His glory through Acts Christian Church. What’s so beautiful is that Cross Point has served with Acts and been under this anointing of reconciliation that God has given them. In a time where racism is possibly at an all-time high in the United States, we are grateful to God to carry that same oil back to the U.S. to destroy racism and division forever, starting with the body of Christ.
That said, we slept with hearts of expectation. What will God do next?
Peace + Blessings,
Cross Point Missions
2018 South Africa Team