Three years ago, my mom and I moved back to Bloemfontein. We landed right in the middle of a severe drought. After experiencing an abundance of afternoon thunderstorms in Johannesburg, it was a huge adjustment to find ourselves in the middle of a Free State desert. Water restrictions were everywhere; even my grandmother had long given up on watering her beloved garden.
My mom started praying. For water, for rain. She would stand outside on the stoep, survey the veld on the wildlife estate that we lived, and declare, ‘I release heaven on earth! Let there be rain!’
She did this often. Nothing happened.
But you know what?
Every time we pray, something happens.
We might not see it immediately; it might even take years before our prayers yield results.
But my mom did not give up.
Those three years in Bloemfontein were a difficult season. We were adapting to a new life without my father, and we had to look after my ailing grandmother. My brother also moved back to Bloemfontein with his family, and he had challenges to work through as well.
It was a trying three years. In the midst of it, we kept clinging on to the Lord and the promises he had made to us over our lives. In the natural it looked like a desert; spiritually, it also felt like it.
In between all these challenges, the rain started. It came softly, almost unnoticeable, but my mom noticed it. She applauded nature for coming into alignment with her spoken words, and she had a joyful expectation of what was yet to come. Then it started raining more often. Soon, it would rain every single day for days on end – sometimes during the nights as well – which is unusual for Bloemfontein.
By the time we left, the Free State looked like the Natal, so lush and green were the koppies and the plains.
Our work here was done; it was time to move on and embrace a new season.
Our new season was to be called Jeffrey’s Bay.
As soon as we got here, we realized, ‘Uh oh, there’s a drought here as well…!’
And it’s bad, really bad.
I started reading the newspapers; the countdown had begun.
‘Only a few months left…’
‘Borehole projects have kicked off in certain regions…’
‘Less than 5 weeks’ worth of water remains…’
‘The municipality now has to bring in Parliament to help…’
I said to my mom, ‘It is time.’
Time for us to take our place and take ownership of the area.
We invited Yolanda and Mercia to come with us on this trip to the Kouga Dam. Yolanda is a Xhosa from Transkei, and she moved to Jeffrey’s Bay to become a missionary. Mercia is a sports masseuse, and she has lived here for three years now.
The car was filled with joy and laughter. Yolanda and Mercia are both amazing young women with so many stories to tell. Their perspective on life opened up a new world for me – different ways of growing up, different cultures, and different languages.
We first had lunch at Padlangs, a restaurant just outside Patensie. We finished, charged up, and ready to go. We took a quick group photo and then we drove another distance from there on. The last part of the journey was a gravel road between trees.
It was much further than we had thought it would be. As soon as we got the first sight of the dam wall, we stopped the car. Each one of us had a bottle of water, a pen, and a notepad (courtesy of my mom). We were grateful for the water; it was almost 30 degrees; the sun was scorching and the shades barely there.
When two or three come together, Holy Spirit is bound to show up.
We started praying in tongues, waiting on the Lord. My mom opened up in prayer, giving thanks to the Lord for this opportunity we had of coming together. A collection of visions, songs, prophetic words and prayers were released over the Kouga area. We took notes of it afterward and I have taken the liberty of putting it all together and recreating it as one message, one voice.
Water, water is stored up in the heavens. Water was released a long time ago, but something is blocking it… It’s like a sail that’s carrying the water, keeping it in storage, and keeping it locked. It is just within our reach, but for some reason, it is out of reach. Something is stopping the water from breaking through and nourishing the earth.
Can you hear it? Can you hear the ground speaking? No, because the ground has become quiet. It has been shut up; it no longer groans for water. The earth is exhausted, tired, bitter, angry. Worn out. Overworked. Striving. Just like the inhabitants of the Kouga region. Everyone came from somewhere to be restored and renewed here. Instead, they have become busy. Busy with the mundane, with the unimportant. What You are looking for is hearts that are abandoned to You, hearts that long for you. Hearts that wants to bathe in Your presence. Hearts that wants to be renewed in You alone.
But no, the people have become too busy. Busy trying to run away from the past, the mistakes, the regrets. Busy with things that You don’t want them to be busy with.
And so the earth no longer groans.
What is that? White chalk, covering the people from head to toes. From shoulder to shoulder, ear to ear. The chalk is a barrier between who they used to be and who they are in You. The chalk is a symbolism of the past, the busyness.
It needs rain; it needs to be washed off.
Can you see it? There are footprints everywhere in the sand. Footprints that are not supposed to be there, footprints that trampled on people’s lives and their identities. Your perfect love casts out all fear, and the waves are coming to wash away the footprints of regret, exhaustion, and striving.
The water is stored up in heaven, with a sail that is blocking it from being released. You will let it come, but it will come softly. It won’t be a devastating downpour, the kind that destroys homes and livelihoods. It will happen gradually. For that’s how the Holy Spirit works with people’s core identities; softly, gently.
The chalk and the footprints need to be removed gently.
The rain will come, it will fall softly and we will taste His faithfulness in the water.
Healing rain is coming with fire… You’re letting it fall and take us higher… Healing rain, we don’t have to be afraid… To be washed, in Your heavenly rain.
This false cloak of identity is now being removed. The past is fading away. When You healed the blind man, he took off his cloak and ran into his future. His cloak was a way of identifying blind men; by shrugging it off, he also shrugged off his past and his blindness. Blindness towards You, blindness towards his heart’s pain.
But now we will see, we will taste and see the goodness of You.
We will remove the cloak of how people looked at us, how people handled us, identified us.
Our identity is now being restored. We are being raised as sons and daughters. You are washing us clean with heavenly rain.
Can you see it? Balloons everywhere. All the colors, all the sizes that there are. You are pulling the string, and look! It’s the sail that carried the water. The balloons are falling, one by one. It is soft, it is tender, it is loving.
Can you feel it? The ground is waking up, it is coming to life again. Fountains of water will now spring forth, the ground will be alive once more.
What is that? There is still time and chance for some to enter into rest, for disobedience has held them back. You are saying, ‘Today, if you hear my voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For You give rest to Your people. You say that anyone who enters God’s rest also needs to rest from their own works… Just as You did from Yours.
Let us, therefore, get a lifestyle of rest, not a season or a day of rest. But a lifestyle of resting in Your presence, working from love and not for love. We are sorry, Lord. We repent from our disobedience and we turn away from the busyness and striving and running away from our heartbreaks.
Freedom will rain in this place, with showers of mercy and grace following the rain. It will fall on every face, for where Your rain is, there is freedom.
Our hearts are still and silent, and we wait upon You. Hot dry winds have carried away our tenderness, once more but no more. I cry for rain… I feel hope in the air and I feel your love everywhere. The water of life is now beginning to fall. It’s starting to rain, and it’s washing away all the pain inside of us.
It is time to step into a new identity, a new cloak of Your royalty. Water will come through closed doors, closed windows, closed hearts. Everything that has shut You out will no longer be able to contain your rain.
We are claiming this area for you, Lord Jesus. We are giving Holy Spirit the permission to come and overwhelm the Kouga area with his majestic and creative presence.
Yes, the darkness covered this area, but the glory of You will now fill it as the waters covers the sea.
We are supernaturally joyful, we are clapping our hands, our hearts are happy. Even the dog in the background is barking for joy, jumping up and down for joy.
There has been a release in the spiritual realm, and we are now expectant of a release in the physical realm. As it is in heaven, so shall it be on earth.
On the ride back home, we are tired but happy. Exhausted, but full of joy.
Yolanda shares with us that in her culture when they greet each other, they don’t say, ‘How are you doing?’ Instead, they say, ‘Wonwabile,’ which means ‘Do you have joy?’ in Xhosa.
And when you reply, you say, ‘Ndonwabile,’ which means, ‘I have joy.’
She also shares a song with us – which I will now share with you here. It is a fitting end to a beautiful spirit-filled day filled with purpose, vision, and joyful expectations of what is yet to come.