Seeing Mike and Charmaine honored was a truly wonderful moment. I met Mike in the 70's when both of us were involved with the Invisible Church in Durban. For him it was a brief encounter before he went off to bible college as God grabbed this thorough sinner and redeemed him for a very large God story.
Look over a person's shoulder to see what fruit trails behind them. When uncertain, see what their life has produced, what evidence there is of their calling. That is what Peter did to Paul. In Galatians 2, Peter extends the right hand of fellowship to Paul in recognition of the grace gift that is upon him to be an apostle to the gentiles.
For Peter that was not difficult. From the first time they met, till they met again 14 years later, Paul planted churches, raised up leaders [church planters, Ephesians 4 gifts and others] pioneered new beach heads in new cities and countries, with great teaching and signs, wonders and miracles. There was no guessing needed. There was no speculation needed. The fruit was there to see.
Mike has a remarkable track record. With Charmaine and the boys, they left their great years with Rheinhard Bonke, [where they learnt so much about the multitudes, faith, healing and evangelism] to plant a church in the inner sanctum of the red light district in Durban South Africa. There they eked out an existence . With no promise of support but a call from heaven, they planted and established a community whose elders looked like poster boys on a most wanted list.
Eventually handing that over to a spiritual son, they moved across town to Durban North where they replanted a most wonderful community amongst the most wealthy in the city - yeh go figure. These again were very amazing years. Fruit there was aplenty. Not only did the church grow in health and salvations but they invested themselves in the call to the nations through the an apostolic team - doing a most outstanding job.
During this time, they in turn began to plant a church in Dubai in the UAE. Isn't this just an amazing story. As the Middle East began to open to them, leading a church in SA was no longer possible. So, they handed over the Durban community to a spiritual son [again] and embarked on their Middle East adventure.
By establishing a strong base in Dubai, they have planted churches into several other key cities in the region as well as Madrid, Paris, Brisbane, as well as working with planters in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. I know, it does sound amazing and I am only giving the headlines here. The soul of this story tells even more beautifully. Right now they have handed this community's leadership to a spiritual son [again] as they want to invest their time with churches, planters and city pioneers. They could be cruising on the back of a very wonderful base church, protecting their life's investment. But that would not be their apo heart. They have handed over captaincy of the church to step into the faith world of uncertainty but confident in their God.
I simply want to honor them. When a group of us E4 friends laid hands on them last weekend, it was not to commend them to a life of potential and promises. It was in recognition of what they have already done in Christ, with the gospel, for the advancement of the kingdom. Surrounded by friends, they were honored and applauded. Of course they have made mistakes. This they will admit readily. But there is much that still burns in their hearts. This new chapter of their lives has just begun.
May it to be a very fruitful and impacting season of your lives, reflecting the past with multiplied fruitfulness. You guys are courageous warriors in an unfolding apo story. Well done. We love you guys and are so proud of you.