My first secretary in Southern Christian Centre in Bassonia, the first church we ever planted, was a Portuguese lady, Maria das Neves. She introduced me to Manuel Bessa who organized the first trip to Portugal in 1988. Since then we have been back several times and have built up wonderful relationships with several people. But for some reason we have not been back to Portugal for about ten years. Then God spoke to me in a dream…
When I dreamt that I had to go to Joao I did not expect it to be so soon! Apparently the pastors of CCVA (Christian Centres Vida Abundante, vida is life and abundante is selfexplanatory) met the day before I dreamt about going to Portugal and mentioned my name in their meeting. Someone said, ‘why don’t we ask Andre Pelser to come to Portugal again?’
We have not been there for almost ten years. Telephone numbers have changed and cell phones have become the norm for communications since then so neither Joao Cardosso nor I had the correct info to contact each other. I sms’d his brother Paulo in Luxembourg where I had been a year ago and asked for Joao’s number. Then I sent a sms to Joao saying the Lord told me to visit him.
He asked, ‘Is that Andre Pelser from Cape Town?’ When I replied affirmatively he said I should come early in January. He had been sensing a new move of the Spirit and wanted to share his heart with me and desired that I come to address the pastors and minister in some churches up north.
So, after consulting with Nola and the family, I booked my ticket by faith and went. Portugal showed signs of tremendous progress and development since we have been there. The change of government from dictatorship to democracy and their inclusion into the European Market has definitely uplifted the entire spirit of the nation as well as the economy. New roads and highways are being constructed and buildings are going up like mushrooms all over Lisbon. Pastor Joao told me how that he has realized that there was something more than the Pentecostal and Charismatic moves but was not quite sure what it was. We spent late nights and all day talking about the things of God and the new operating structures of the apostolic reformation.
When I addressed all the pastors they were thankful for the timely visit and said that I helped to make difficult things simple. That is a gift that I have, a God-given gift. It was great to see some of my friends in Lisbon again! Tony and Ella Rocha and Ferreira and Lidia and their two beautiful twins, Miriam and Liane! I also spoke to Joao and Paulo’s parents again. Joao told me how his father’s example in life had expanded his thinking and made him entrepreneurial and businesslike in his thinking.
He has done so much for the community of Moscavide, one of the suburbs of Lisbon, especially caring for the little kids in crèches. The municipality enquired about their work and was so impressed that they built a crèche and even subsidise their teachers and workers and equipped the kitchen and offices with the best equipment available. He has also developed and old age home in the same premises. Joana his daughter is one of the qualified workers in the crèche.
God has blessed pastor Joao and his family after all the many years in ministry and they finally got their own home in a new suburb on the other side of the great river that flows through Lisbon. He has three other daughters. His wife Ana helps with all the work in the ministry and also translates things into Portuguese. She is going to check the Portuguese of God’s Genius!
A lady in Maputo decided to translate my book into Portuguese and when I visited Jac Smit she gave me the CD with the translation that took her 9 months. I asked her what I could pay her for the tremendous work and she said, ‘you don’t understand! You did not ask me to do it; the Lord did. So, you cannot pay me for it. He will.’ And that was that! Amazing that people still hear from God in these days!
Pastor Joao has Vida Publications and has decided to publish my book in Portuguese. We will print about 1 000 with an estimated cost of roughly E2 500 (R20 000). Then, he said, we should publish it in Brazil where there are more Portuguese speaking people than in Portugal! They speak a different kind of Portuguese so the book will have to be adapted to their dialect. He has a contact to publish books over there. But then we can reach the entire Portuguese speaking world with the reformation! Praise God!
Pastor Joao has been involved in introducing a literacy course for people, who have never read or written, in Angola as well as an Aids awareness program. They also have an orphanage and a school in Angola to help with education. He offered this course and the program to me to use in South Africa. It was developed by a company in Miami and is available in Spanish, Portuguese and within two months the English translations will be completed. We have to approach our government with these materials and see if we can find sponsorship to distribute these courses free of charge to help people who never went to school.
Community involvement is very important to Pastor Joao and I was greatly inspired by him and his wife. They do so much for other people!
I continually received sms’s from Nola and tried to call her at least once per day (I know cell phones are expensive, but it is worth it talking to her and the family!). She has been such a support throughout the years and I lean heavily on her prayers and wisdom. The church people also prayed and fasted and some also sent me sms’s with texts of encouragement, like they always do. Apostle Aje made sure he announced whatever he could about Portugal on Sundays. God bless them all! I knew I was being sent by a body of believers to Portugal!
One thing I have learned from the Portuguese though is that you never go to bed on the same day that you got up! They are night owls and we often went to restaurants at 11 pm! They also have a 5 star restaurant that is open 24 hrs: it is a Gypsy caravan out in the open where you can by submarine sandwiches with special sauces that wake you up – and you see the stars above your head!
CCVA wants to translate and produce our rock musical, The Prisoners, this year, hopefully October 4-7 during their annual conference. They have an excellent couple Adelade and Tracey who can head up their Performing Arts faculty. Adelade studied at the Actor’s Studio in New York for four years and is a famous actress and TV presenter in Portugal. Tracey used to be a fashion photographer but has become an actor and script writer. He attended Dave Wilkerson’s church on Time’s Square in N.Y. He said that the leadership of that church closed all church meetings for two weeks before the 9/11 disaster and told people only to come and pray because they sensed something terrible was going to happen in New York!
Yvette is going to help Adelade and Tracey to set up the structure for their Performing Arts Faculty and Aje is negotiating with CCVA regarding bible school material. It would be fantastic if all our bible school courses could be translated into Portuguese as well!
They listened to Nola’s CD and asked if they could translate the songs into Portuguese. The choir leader asked if he could translate and use my blues song, ‘For all you’ve done’ after I sang it in church.
From Lisbon I went to Figeulas where I met Carlos and his wife and daughter. They are looking after other people’s little children and also run a crèche during the day. Pastor Joao’s influence has touched many other pastors and their wives throughout Portugal. Carlos led the meeting together with some excellent musicians and eventually handed it over to me. We finally left for Lousa at about midnight.
We arrived in Lousa at 2am and booked me into a wonderful little hotel that used to be a small palace! The original ancient palace doors are still intact, but inside the rooms are ultra-modern. The receptionists, Helena and Sonia, really went out of their way to make sure I had everything I needed – even concocted a toasted sandwich and hot chocolate at that time of the morning and a bica on my way out the next morning in the foyer! A bica is the very strong espresso that the Portuguese drink throughout the day!
Luis and Eliza Miguez pastor the church in Lousa. They showed a picture on the overhead projector of my last visit there about ten years ago when the church just started! It looked like my younger brother! Luis and Eliza have done a wonderful job in perfecting the love and worship of the saints. He thanked me for coming to preach because in four years he has only had 4 Sundays off when he was on holiday! Lousa is really a beautiful and quaint little Portuguese village with cobble stone streets and ancient buildings leaning on each other’s shoulders like old friends.
A little girl by the name of Barbara freely danced in the front row and I danced with her. Then she got embarrassed and hid behind her mother’s legs peeping out at me now and again until she was confident to dance again.
After a lovely meal in a Brazilian restaurant and a long discussion about the new things God is doing in the church, Luis and his wife took me all the way to Figuera da Foz where Joao Pedro Robelo and his wife Irene pastor the church. Their oldest daughter Joana is married to Levi and their other children are Mariana, Pedro and Francisco. Figuera is an exquisite coastal town where surfing competitions are often held because of the waves curling to the right at the breakwaters.
My interpreters throughout the stay were either Lidia in Lisbon or Eliza further up north. They did an excellent job. Without their help I would not be able to minister! I thank God for good interpreters.
There were many confirmations of accurate words of prophecy and words of knowledge and wisdom, I taught the churches to trust God for healing through the laying on of hands of believers in Jesus’ Name and also prayed for the baptism in the Holy Spirit; but mostly people thanked me for coming to change their thinking and giving them fresh insight into the ways of God.
So much happened in one week…it is hard to describe! But my heart was content as I boarded the plane to leave Lisbon: mission accomplished!
When I returned to South Africa I received two sms’s: one from Joao saying, ‘Good word for Portugal! Thanks for coming to us!’ and another from Ferreira asking if I arrived well. We love Portugal and the Portuguese people for various reasons, but mostly because of their sincere love and whole hearted friendship. They also know how to eat well and for long periods of time!
May God accomplish His divine purposes through this brief visit that was ordained in heaven and executed on earth, I believe. Amen. Andre Pelser, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and an apostle.
Apostle Andre Pelser