“And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following.”
In April 1982, while driving past Estcourt on the freeway, the Lord spoke simultaneously to Dermot and his wife, Glenda, to come to Estcourt to preach the Gospel. After a chain of events that only God could have brought about, they and their family moved to Estcourt in May 1982 and the Christian Centre was opened in June 1982 at premises in the centre of town.
These premises consisted of a shop, which they used as a hall for meetings and which also contained two small offices. As the work grew, they acquired another shop, which provided facilities for their Children’s Work, offices and an area for tea and fellowship. They later started a Bookshop in their Secretary’s office and developed from there.
At the same time, they were also ministering in Colenso, 35 kilometres away, which was a separate work at that stage.
Those of you who remember those early days can testify to the blessings of God, as He confirmed His Word with signs and wonders!
And so God permitted the work to grow until in 1986 our hall was literally overflowing with people at every meeting, quite a few having to be seated outside the doors!
But, by this time, God had miraculously provided 9 acres of prime land in Estcourt for the erection of a new building. This was one of the many things that God has caused to “spring” forth.
Foundations were laid in July 1986 and the building operations involved everyone in the church. The men laboured faithfully on site every weekend and the ladies provided refreshments for them. It was a time of rich fellowship, great unity and one purpose.
Christmas Day 1986 dawned, and as we celebrated the glorious birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, our new “Midlands Christian Centre” home was opened at that meeting amidst great rejoicing and thanksgiving to God.
Faith is not believing what God can do, but knowing what He will do.
This building is a tangible proof of our faith in God for the Midlands area. It is a central point from which we can effectively train disciples and administer the whole area as God leads.
In 1989 we were able, by God’s grace, to add on an administrative office block, which has greatly facilitated the overall task.
Now we have at the Centre a main hall which can seat 375 people, a side hall seating approximately 70 people, kitchen, mother’s room, toilets, offices and a resources centre. These facilities will be added to as growth takes place.
By the leading of the Holy Spirit, during 1989 we were able to purchase two buildings on an adjoining one acre of ground.
We utilise the one building for our Kingdom Builders Pre-School during the week and our Children’s Work on Friday evenings and Sunday mornings, while the other building accommodates our Disciples for Jesus Training School (D4J) students.
At the beginning of 1993 we opened Fountain of Life Pre-School and Early Childhood Development (ECD) Teacher Training at Wembezi, outside Estcourt, which we had built on ground given to us by the KwaZulu Government.
In November 1994 we purchased Greystone, a campsite 13 kilometres from Estcourt overlooking Wagendrift Dam, which we are developing as part of our vision.
January 1998 saw the opening of our Christian School (Estcourt Christian Academy) on the Centre’s premises in Estcourt, which provides children with education from Grade One to Grade Twelve
In February 2000, pupils and staff moved in to the new school building erected at the Centre.
Also at Greystone Campsite, the building of Emmaus Chapel, seating 110 people, was completed in 2000 and it was dedicated to God in April that year.
Towards the end of 2001 a property was purchased in nearby Colenso, which is being renovated and developed as an orphanage and care centre, “Ikhaya Lethu” which means “Our Home”, and which was dedicated to the Lord in November.
In 2002, “Hearts of Compassion” Mercy Ministry was launched.
Dayspring Crèche was handed over to Midlands Christian Centre in 2002. The Crèche is situated in the foothills of Ntabamhlope (White Mountain), outside Estcourt.
In 2003 we purchased the house adjoining the entrance to the Centre. This house will be used to accommodate overseas visitors and missions teams. It is known as Agape House.
This Curriculum, which was written over a 10-year period and was developed and tested at Fountain of Life Pre-School, was approved and accepted in 2004 by Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) as the feeder curriculum for their education programme in Africa.
Ikhaya Lethu was officially opened on 24th July 2004. It was a joyous occasion with great thanksgiving to God.