God is doing a new thing! Isaiah 43:19 is such a wonderful promise and we saw it come to fruition in York during October. We made history! For the first time ever there was a Christian gathering at the Barbican Centre (the biggest music and arts venue in York) called 'Light up Yorkshire'. It was hosted by the Redeemed Christian Church of God and the 1,400 seater centre was filled to capacity with people from all over Yorkshire. We were blessed to see General overseer Pastor Adeboye minister and were so honoured to partner with Hope Centre York, who invited us to lead worship. Seventy people responded to the call for salvations and we firmly believe, following this event, that God has and will perpetually, ‘Light Up Yorkshire’!
On our tour of the Netherlands in September, we visited one church, amongst many others, called GOD (God’s Original Design) Centre in Voorschoten. During our evening meeting there, the Holy Spirit moved mightily as people came forward for prayer and were delivered and set free from all sorts of demonic oppression. When the meeting was coming to a close, their main pastor Arno and his prophetic worship leader Abraham spoke some amazing words of encouragement and prophecy over our team. Many personal friendships were established as well as a desire on both sides to partner together in the field of Worship and the prophetic. We joined them a couple more times for their meetings whilst we were in The Netherlands. After a meeting with Pastor Arno and Abraham, when they found out that we had set November apart to complete a few projects and to do some in house worship training, with no ministry events booked they invited us to come again. This was to be the beginning of the process of mutual exchange and teaching between GOD centre and Vinesong.
The first miracle happened before we crossed the English Channel. Before our departure early in the morning, Pastor John prayed for our safety, protection and blessing on this trip. He prayed that as we arrived at the port, we would drive straight onto the boat. That might have sounded a little strange, as it is always required to arrive about 90 minutes before the ferry departure. Little did we know that God had prepared a way for us to catch the earlier ferry! When we arrived, the lady checking us in was so helpful, she made a phone call and confirmed that we could go on the earlier ferry. So, we really did drive straight onto the ship!
Upon our arrival, we stayed with our dear friends and previous Vinesong member Isaac and his wife Anne. We had a great time together as we fellowshipped, relaxed and prepared for the week ahead. From there, we also visited Stefan and his family. Stefan is the son of Christian and Annet, the Dutch couple that are the “Vinesong home team”.
On Monday, we met up with Abraham, the prophetic psalmist from GOD for a teaching session. He told us that he once asked God to please allow him to sing a new song during every meeting he ministers. God as been faithful and regardless of circumstance or feeling, the Lord puts on his heart to sing without . Among other things he taught us the importance in stepping out in faith even if it is just one word the Lord is telling you to sing out. We were so encouraged to start using prophetic singing more than we’ve done before.
The next day, pastor Arno visited us at the chalet we were staying in he shared his heart with us encouraging us to be our authentic selves on stage so that people can relate to our humanity and in turn God’s holiness and divinity. We were blessed as he spoke about the ark of the covenant and the significance of each item, especially as pertaining to worship and the presence of God.
We joined the regular Wednesday night prayer meeting in GOD Centre, doing it a bit differently as we opened up with worship but then sat down on the stage to share some of our personal experiences related to sexual purity. The newlywed couple in our team, Zach and Kate, briefly shared their testimony of purity, Rachael about dealing with abuse and Charlene spoke a little about her testimony. Because the prayer meeting is not attended by a large number of people, there was an amazing intimate atmosphere as people came forward to be prayed for, healed and encouraged. We finished the meeting with our brand-new song “Double Portion” which pastor John composed and Kristof and Charlene arranged for this year’s Holy Ghost Congress in Nigeria. We believe that people were truly uplifted as we proclaimed that God “set me free from guilt and shame” and “Hallelujah, I’ve been set free!"
One of the attendees was a young French lady that came to us at the end of the service to tell us that in 1997 when Vinesong first came to France, some of the previous team members stayed in her home. Even though she was just a little girl then, this visit made an impact on her and she still remembered it well and how worship touched her life. The amazing thing was that only the week before God sent her to GOD Centre and she started to attend there. When she heard that Vinesong was coming, she couldn’t believe it. God’s hand in the timing of this meeting was also obvious by the fact that it was her birthday the day we met her, God’s precious gift to her. It was as if God was confirming His hand on her life. This encounter was also a confirmation for us, as it was just two days before we were planning to premiere a French worship video on Youtube, the first of Vinesong’s multilingual worship series.
The following evening was primarily for the local worship team. We started with lifting up the name of Jesus before sitting down on the stage again to share some experiences and revelations about spending one on one time with Jesus and learning to accept the amazing and personal love that God has for each of us as described in Song of Songs.
On Friday we were invited to dinner by the assistant worship leaders a husband and wife team, also accompanied by the main worship Pastors. It was a great time of fellowship and getting to know one another and sharing. We had such fun with wonderful food and it was as if we’d known each other for years. There was such a oneness of Spirit that at one point during the evening we shared a time of free worship with a piano, saxophone and all our voices combined. God joined our hearts together so powerfully, we now know it was a spiritual forerunner to Sunday morning’s meeting.
For their Sunday morning service, we were asked to join in with their worship team. It was such a privilege to worship alongside this great anointed team of worshippers. One of them was a man that remembered Vinesong from many years ago when the previous team came to his father’s church, the church of Jan Zijlstra, which at that time was one of the biggest churches in The Netherlands. He said that Vinesong not only changed worship in their church but for the whole of the Netherlands! Praise God for that, it is amazing to hear testimonies of what God did through the previous teams even still to this day.
We led worship during the evening service and the speaker was a lady who ministered powerfully on the dangers and power of manipulation. She spoke with such clear revelation and examples of how manipulation had affected her life and how God released her from the spirit of manipulation operating over her and in her life. As she began to sense freedom she spoke of how she learned to praise God demonstratively, raising her hands, using flags in worship, expressing, in faith the freedom she had received. She also mentioned gratitude and how she became grateful for her life, for the lives of others and very simple privileges that God had afforded her. So many people were set free on that evening and we thank God for such a powerful, practical, faith-building ministry.
Praise God! We are so thankful that after 3 years, we finally returned to Nigeria. This was our first international flight as a ministry in 2 ½ years and we knew that we were not going to get a free pass from the enemy. Try, though, as he might, to frustrate our plans, using our visas on arrival, the enemy did not succeed and we received our visas the night before we left.
Nigeria is a blessed nation, which a few years ago, was voted the happiest in the world. Nigerians are people with exceptional creativity. Life is not easy there, but that has made them resilient and determined to prosper. God has a great plan and purpose for this nation! So many people we meet there feel like their problems would all be solved, if only they could emigrate to another country. Before we left Daniel, mindful of the struggle that it was to get our visas, asked the Lord what Word He had for him to share. The Lord gave Him an incredible Word and a commission to challenge everyone to seek God’s will, to see the incredible potential this nation has to flourish and to contribute heavily to the building of the Kingdom of God! This is the encouragement we believe God gave us to share on this tour and we shared it at every opportunity including at Congress.
Isaiah 29:17-24 (MSG)
And then before you know it, and without you having anything to do with it, Wasted Lebanon will be transformed into lush gardens, and Mount Carmel reforested. At that time the deaf will hear word-for-word what’s been written. After a lifetime in the dark, the blind will see. The castoffs of society will be laughing and dancing in God, the down-and-outs shouting praise to The Holy of Israel. For there’ll be no more gangs on the street. Cynical scoffers will be an extinct species. Those who never missed a chance to hurt or demean will never be heard of again: Gone the people who corrupted the courts, gone the people who cheated the poor, gone the people who victimized the innocent. And finally this, God’s Message for the family of Jacob, the same God who redeemed Abraham: “No longer will Jacob hang his head in shame, no longer grow gaunt and pale with waiting. For he’s going to see his children, my personal gift to him—lots of children. And these children will honor me by living holy lives. In holy worship they’ll honor the Holy One of Jacob and stand in holy awe of the God of Israel. Those who got off-track will get back on-track, and complainers and whiners will learn gratitude.”
Before the Congress, we had the privilege and pleasure of ministering at RCCG The Master’s Place and RCCG Maranatha, both in Gbagada. We ministered at The Master’s Place on Thursday 1st December and we thank God for His hand on us. That day we decided to leave early from our accommodation on Victoria Island to travel to the church. We had arranged to be there for about 3 pm to set up and start at 7 pm. If there is no traffic it is a 30 - 40 minute drive, those who know Lagos though, know that the traffic is unpredictable. We left shortly after 1 pm and arrived early at the church just before 2 pm experiencing absolutely no delays. That day, there was an accident on the expressway leading to the church. The Pastor’s wife left her home for the church, which is 15 minutes away, at 2:30 pm and arrived 4 hours later at 6:30 pm. They told us that they had not seen traffic like this in all the time they had been based at the church. Had we left any later, we would have been stuck in that same traffic and potentially not have ministered that evening. We thank God for His wisdom and guidance.
The thanksgiving service at RCCG Maranatha was amazing. The presence of God was so tangible as we enjoyed praising, worshipping, dancing and giving thanks to God for all that He has done throughout the year. It was such a wonderful welcome back to Nigeria as we were uplifted and filled with joy as we danced, praised and ministered. After the service, the Pastor and Senior Pastor told us that this was no ordinary thanksgiving service and that they experienced such a refreshing and abiding presence of God. We give God all the glory.
RCCG Holy Ghost Congress
It was a great honour to be a part of the largest gathering of Christians in the world once again. We so enjoyed spending time in God’s presence, learning more about Him and praising Him for hours on end for the whole week! Yes, we were tired at times but it didn’t stop us from receiving and proclaiming invaluable truths during the worship and teaching. This year we were joined by Christian and Annet Aartsen, our property manager and administrator from our home team. After 12 years of faithfully watching the congress at home, they finally joined us for their first visit to Nigeria and Africa as a whole. It was such a joy to have them with us and for them to experience and see with their own eyes what we have tried to explain to them every year when we get back home. It was such a joy to meet up with our friends and also to make new ones during our time there.
The theme for this year’s Holy Ghost Congress was “Double Portion”, a very apt theme for what we have experienced in part this year and what we are believing God for in the year to come. Pastor E.A. Adeboye shared that we must move from receiving to becoming which was so true and profound. Instead of asking God to bless us, it’s time to be a blessing to others, spreading the love of God far and wide.
It was amazing to see people being blessed by the new song with the same title that Pastor John wrote for the occasion. If you haven’t heard it yet, head to the link below! To God be all the glory for what He has done.
RCCG City of David
As is our tradition, on the Sunday following the Congress, we are invited to minister at RCCG City of David and Pastor Sturdivant shares the Word. The last time we were there in 2019, Trinity Towers, the massive construction project across the road was underway but far from being finished. Trinity Towers is a flagship construction in Nigeria, owned and built by the church to be used as the church sanctuary and business offices as well as recreational space for the purpose of using the generated funds to support their work for the underprivileged and local community. A full description of the project can be found here. This year the Sunday morning service was held at Trinity Towers and although all the equipment and furnishings have not been fully installed, it was amazing to see the building and the vision that they have held for many years become a reality. The service was ripe with the expression of God’s goodness and the humility and gratitude of the leadership of the church. We had an awesome time worshipping with the church and we were so blessed to spend time with our City of David friends and family once again.
Throughout this year, we have seen God’s favour over our ministry like never before and we have seen new doors of ministry open up as He fills us up and sends us out. We are grateful for his guidance and protection for 40 years of ministry! All we can say is 'This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes' (Psalm 118:23).
Please join us as we praise God for all He has done,
- For every mile we have travelled
- For every person that received salvation
- For every nation that God opened up to us
- For every way in which we were blessed
- For every way in which we could be a blessing
- For Kate and Zach’s wedding in July
- For God’s stupendous provision
- For every prayer that was answered
- For every Word we heard that built our faith
- For the actions we saw that accompanied the faith
- For keeping us healthy
- For all the many things we take for granted