Joan Andrews

Joan Andrews

All glory, honour and praise to God for His call upon my life. I thank God for His indescribable love for me and for His keeping power over me!

1995 was a significant year and the beginning of a life-changing experience. I resigned from teaching and my first spinal fusion operation was performed in August.  During the long weeks of recovery, folks came round to pray and encourage me. I spent time reading the Word and listening to Gospel music and messages.

Derrick’s colleague, Barbara Lawler, invited me to a Charismatic Meeting and promised to fetch me when I was well enough. At the first meeting I was surprised to see the believers, raising and clapping hands as they worshipped the Lord. I was a little uncomfortable.  There was a time for testimonies and giving thanks for what the Lord had done. The leader shared from the Bible and encouraged us for the week ahead.  My friend Molly and I and a few others continued to attend the meetings regularly and I made a commitment.

An invitation was extended to receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour and that night I gave my heart to Jesus and accepted Him as Lord and King of my life. I went home filled with an unspeakable joy and great peace. I looked forward to being in the company of people who knew the Word and I treasured every moment. My daughters accompanied me to a few of these meetings and we had much to discuss. Things were different and I had this desire to seek the Lord for direction.

My five siblings and I were raised by God-fearing parents in the Catholic Church. My dad died when I was 11 years old and my mum died in 1994. I married Derrick and he converted to Catholicism. Our four children were baptised and confirmed and three of them were married in thatChurch while our fourth child was married and baptised in a Pentecostal Church.

Every Sunday morning we would go as a family to the Catholic Church, but I had become reluctant to attend.

I previously taught with Esther Bowden from Open Door Assemblies of God and she invited me to a Ladies’ Camp. Elaine Gray, the pastor’s wife, co-ordinated the weekend Camp. She played an important role in my life. I assisted her in Bible Club with the children on a Friday after school.

My heart overflowed with such love for Jesus and I knew that I had to make major changes. My life did not line up with what I was reading in God’s Word. Scriptures like Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” and 1 Corinthians 6:19 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God?”  1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” These Scriptures and many others jumped out at me as I read The Word.

I met Val Yoko who co-ordinated Women of Wisdom and joined that group of ladies every Wednesday.  I asked the Lord to give me the ability to play the guitar and after a few lessons I became part of the praise and worship team. These were amazing days of my life. On the 27 May 1997 I was baptised in water in accordance with the Word of God and filled with the Holy Spirit. We went on a Ladies’ Camp and I was exposed to the amazing power of God available to all who would receive Him as personal Saviour.

The Lord gave me a passion and a deep desire to speak of Him.  In a newsletter from my daughter’s school, I read about mothers who prayed at the school. I became a part of the Mums Who Pray. I met a mum who was part of a team of leaders – Superhuman Club – going into schools with the Gospel.  It operated in the Durban North schools and I approached the principals in our local schools for permission to share the Gospel with the children and to pray at the schools. Together with Marge Martin we would visit the schools every week. God opened doors for the Gospel to be shared to those who would listen.

The Lord led me to a lady, De Gracious, in an informal settlement, who offered a child-care facility for working parents. I asked her if I could come in and spend time with the little ones. We spoke about Jesus and I shared the Good News with them. We sang songs about how Jesus died on the cross to save us. The children called me, Umamawesiginc, ‘lady with a guitar’.  How I praised God for what He was doing. He revealed Himself in the most amazing ways.

I longed to be in a Bible-based church and to hear the preaching of the truth of God’s Word. My Bible became my most prized possession and I would read and highlight Scriptures.

Our youngest daughter was in her last year of school. I waited until she had completed her final examination – November 1999 – before I announced my decision to become part of a Bible- based church. I prayed so hard, and asked God to give me courage to tell my husband about this amazing transformation that was taking place in me, and that I could no longer go to the Catholic Church.  I told our children as well and this was the beginning of another season in our lives.

Only God could have kept us together the way He did.

This was the saddest time of my life, and yet my heart burst with joy and I knew I had to go through with it. I was prepared to forfeit everything, and everyone, to walk this path with my Lord and Saviour. I was convinced that He would see me through it all. I made an appointment with the priest and told him my intentions. I wrote a letter to each of my siblings explaining my decision to leave the church we were raised in and to truly follow Jesus.

I received the hand of fellowship at Open Door Assemblies in 2000 and continued to pray for Derrick and my children to open their hearts to the truth of God’s Word.  I remember clearly, writing in my journal, “Lord Jesus, please lead Derrick to men who will share the unadulterated word of God with him.”

In 2010 Derrick joined a Bible Study at Rosehill Assembly but still went to the Catholic Church on Sundays. He would go to the early service and come back in time for Rosehill Family Service.  It was crazy hectic, BUT GOD…! Derrick became seriously ill and was in and out of hospital. Des Rothman and Tony Robson visited and prayed with him.  When he returned home and recovered well enough, he asked me to drive him to the classes and then fetch him. This became a problem and I decided to sit in with him.

I have never looked back!  Tony and Carol visited us and ministered the saving grace of the Lord Jesus and the Book of Acts. Tony did a Bible Study in our home and we invited family and friends. Derrick was baptised at Rosehill that same year.  I marvelled at how the Lord had answered my prayers and, years down the line, placed both of us in the body of believers at CAOG among men, young and not so young, inspired and filled with the Holy Ghost ministering the very Oracles of God as “Thus saith the Lord.”

What a mighty God He truly is. He answers our prayers in ways we will never understand. I thank Him always for sending amazing people into my life, people who made a godly impact on my life.

He is the God of the impossible!