At Renewal 2027 – The Holy Spirit Transforming Us in Kisumu, Kenya, 21 April 2018, several people shared a testimony of experiencing the Spirit’s work changing people in the church. The columns in this section have been adapted from their presentations.
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). That is what my church, Brethren In Christ (BICC) in Zimbabwe teaches. We cannot see the Holy Spirit with our eyes, but we see God in action through his Spirit, and the outcome is always astounding and awe-inspiring.
When I was a little girl, we were taught about God the Father, and Jesus, the great friend of children, and our Saviour. The Holy Spirit was hardly mentioned, although we sang songs that espoused the power of this comforter and teacher.
We went to church to worship God with other believers through prayer, Bible study/Sunday school, hymns (praise and worship), offering and the sermon.
For many years, our churches taught the Bible well, but our actions in worship, though proper in form, did not match the ethics, particularly in giving of tithes and offering as well as any other giving.
Then came teachings about the person of the Holy Spirit. I began to witness attitudes changing.
When a church allows the Holy Spirit’s transforming power, we see the fruits of love, joy, peace, kindness, longsuffering, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23).
Prayer time has become a time of truly communing with God.
During praise and worship, the team is genuinely worshipping God, able to lead the rest of the congregants into the presence of God. The lyrics of the hymns take on new meaning.
Giving is improving. Worshippers are no longer giving tithes and offerings because of obedience of the law; but out of love, joy and grateful hearts. Giving generously as did the Macedonians in 2 Corinthians 8 does not come easy with most people, but we keep witnessing transformation that we can only put to the work of the Holy Spirit.
One example of the Holy Spirit at work happened in 2011, during the BICC women’s conference at Mtshabezi Mission.
On the last day of the conference, evangelist Silibaziso Nhliziyo based her message on Genesis 9:17–26. This beloved woman of deep faith challenged the church to care for our spiritual parents, our pastors and leaders who are exposed by lack and want.
She came closer home: “Mam Bishop Ndlovu visits the sick and bereaved and does a lot of church errands on foot, or by commuter taxis. Yet we live in comfort and drive good cars. Is that right? Today, we are going to give, so that our Mam Bishop can buy a car. Give, women: sow a seed to ease Mam Bishop’s life as she serves God.
“We are going to give $5,000 to buy the vehicle. What you do for her, you are doing for God.”
That seemed like a tall order for many who usually gave the barest minimum.
Surprise of surprises, women brought forward pledges that surpassed the amount stated. We all agreed the Holy Spirit was at work. To date, the 10-seater vehicle we purchased is used by the Bishop’s wife and other church ladies as they go about the business of women’s ministry.
Silibaziso continued: “I feel in my spirit that there are women who are having a problem conceiving. Your hearts are crying for children. Some of you are giving up. Never give up on God!”
Many women flocked to the front for prayers.
Six years later, during the annual BICC women’s conference, Lovewyn Mhlanga, a gifted teacher and conference speaker, married to a minister of the gospel at BICC Lobengula in Bulawayo, gave a personal testimony.
“I met with my Jesus in a special way at Mtshabezi [the 2011 women’s conference],” she said.
“I was reluctant to go forward. I had had four miscarriages. Many prayers had been prayed for me before, but my hope had been dashed many times.
“I reluctantly found myself walking to the front, tears rolling down my face. God touched me as prayers were said.
“Soon after, I had a pregnancy that I nursed with joy and anxiety wrapped in one. After nine months, I went into hospital for a Caesarean-section birth. I heard my baby cry while I was still in theatre and I said, ‘God, you are so good! You are faithful. You are Jehovah and you deserve all the worship!’
“As you sit here, there are things you believe God for. Believe that God will bring a breakthrough in your life,” said Mhlanga. “I had my baby girl, Princess. I prayed for another baby, and God gave me a son, Prince Joshua.”
Is the Holy Spirit in our midst transforming lives and situations? Yes, the Spirit is! The same Holy Spirit who brought missionaries who gave us the gospel that came with schools and hospitals is the same Spirit at work today, building the kingdom of God.
—Barbara Nkala is MWC regional representative for Southern Africa. She is a member of the BIC church in Zimbabwe. She spoke at Renewal 2027 – The Holy Spirit Transforming Us – in Kisumu, Kenya, 21 April 2018. This paper been adapted from her presentation.
This article first appeared in Courier/Correo/Courrier October 2018.