Teams from the UK and Ireland have been serving local Vineyard churches around the world for many years now. Nick Sutton, Coventry Vineyard, shared this story about stepping out in faith during one of their mission trips to Malawi, where they were helping to train and equip local Vineyard leaders and churches to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit.
“We stood outside underneath the young mango trees. The sunlight dappled through the leaves as a gentle and welcome breeze blew off the lake. We had spent some time talking about how God heals today and we stood waiting for His Spirit to blow on us, empower us and heal us.
There were about 20 of us, four from the UK and about 15 members of the Malawi team. People were waiting to hear, waiting to receive; expectant for what God might do as we started, what we normally call, Ministry time.
As we waited on the Holy Spirit, I had the sudden thought that someone had a pain in their foot, seconds later I began to doubt myself…was it my imagination or was it a prompting of the Holy Spirit?
John Wimber used to say that ‘Faith is spelt R.I.S.K.’ – part of stepping out in faith is taking a risk, so I took that step and asked if there was someone with pain in the left foot (not sure where the word ‘left’ came from, but it was out there and there was no taking it back).
There was quiet. No one responded.
“Oh, God, help” is perhaps the greatest prayer I had ever been taught. It’s especially useful in times like this after stepping out in faith only to be met with a wall of silence.
“Does anyone have pain anywhere?” I heard myself say.
Jean did. She had been in pain all morning. She came forward. I asked Francis to come and pray with me. In actual fact Francis was going to pray, and I would coach her, as we trained the local church in how to do all of this ‘stuff’.
“Is it ok if Francis places her hand on your shoulder, Jean? …
…Francis keep your eyes open…
…Jean, just rest in the father’s presence…
…Francis, thank Jesus for healing power. Invite the Holy Spirit. Tell the pain to go now. Use the authority Jesus has given you to command the pain to leave….”
As Francis prayed the pain went steadily down from a ten until Jean let us know that the pain had completely gone!
I then turned to Francis to ask if she would like prayer for anything. In an unexpected moment, she revealed that she actually needed prayer for her left foot! The exact word I had at the start of this, to which no one had responded!
This time it was Jean’s turn to pray for Francis. As we taught them: often the person who has received healing then goes on to pray for others for healing. And as they prayed, at that moment, the pain in Francis’ foot completely went. So simple. So beautiful. So holy.
From that time, where our team spent days training and equipping the local Vineyard church in Malwai, they took what they had been taught about the love of God and praying for the sick further. Over the following year, the team went out to the surrounding villages, sharing Jesus and healing the sick.
Since that time, recent reports are that around 1000 people have been healed and 700 have said yes to following Jesus.
As a family of churches we all lean on each other and help each other out, and as the Vineyard grows around the world, we continue to train, equip and resource the local church in every nation.
To find out more about Missions and Cross Cultural Ministry in Vineyard churches, please visit our website.