Nehemia 8:10
"The joy of the Lord
is your strength"

God's Hand In Worst Situations
by Chantel Fourie from South Africa

Well, where do I begin? Maybe I should start right at the beginning. I grew up in a very strict home and went to a Pentecostal church and as a result were taught the right way to live for as long as I could remember. When I was 14, I gave my heart to God and when I was 16, I was baptized and shortly afterwards baptized in the Holy Spirit. I began speaking in tongues and it was just a wonderful time in my life. I had a great group of friends at school who prayed together and just generally encouraged each other to keep on serving the Lord. There was a prophesy that I was going to work for God. As life sometimes goes, I left school and lost contact with those friends, and started mixing with the wrong crowd.

I went to a Technical College as I received a bursary from a Mine to study Electrical Engineering. There I became friends with a guy who shortly afterwards tried to commit suicide. I tried to help him and in the process found out that he was a Satanist who did not want to live his life like that anymore, but the group would not allow him to leave. He had a lot of physical and emotional attacks. I tried to help him out of it, but was not fully prepared for what I was getting into. I had people praying for me but never in my life have I experienced such spiritual attacks. To make a long story short, I ended up trying to commit suicide myself by taking pills. Luckily, God had His hand over me and then I realized what I did and before the pills could do any real damage, I went to my parents for help. It was just before my 21st birthday.

The next couple of years I lived my life drinking, partying and getting into the wrong relationships. Then I landed up in Pietersburg and one Sunday morning I just felt the overwhelming need to go to church. I did not have a car so I walked. I had a general idea where the Full Gospel church was and started walking in that direction. Finally I realized that I was lost and asked somebody for directions, they asked me if it is a "Happy clappy" Church and told me it was just down the road. I am Afrikaans speaking, but when I got to the Church it was an English speaking congregation, but I felt at home immediately and I knew this was where God wanted me. I asked God for His forgiveness and started going to church regularly (which I later found out was the Assemblies of God), although I have not left my old life totally.

I then met Barry and decided to move with him and his brother to Pretoria. I somehow knew that this is the person God send into my life. He was married twice before and was busy getting a divorce from his second wife when I met him, they were already separated for 6 months. I was working as a waitress in Pietersburg and got a job in the same group in Pretoria. I started working on a Monday and Sunday was Mothersday (May 9, 1999). The evening as I was busy cleaning the tables I served, Barry was sitting close by, waiting for me. It was about 11:10, the managers were cashing up some of the other waiters and out of the corner of my eye I saw someone coming in (the doors weren't locked, although they were counting money openly where anyone could see it from the outside), but I did not really pay any attention until I heard some shouting. I switched the vacuum cleaner I was busy with off and saw a man standing with a gun in Barry's neck and telling him to put his hands up and go on his knees. While Barry was busy doing what he was told, the robber panicked for some reason and shot him. He told me to go with him but I refused and thank God he only took the money I made that day and left.

While I tried to stop the blood from Barry's wounds some of the other waiters came, (the robber had left with a huge amount of money). I asked them to phone an ambulance. While the ambulance people were busy with him I got hold of some of my and Barry's family members and asked them to pray. At the hospital they rushed him into surgery immediately and I slept there on a bench. The next day the specialist who operated on Barry told him that God must have had His hand on him, as where the bullet went in and where it went out he was supposed to be dead or at the very least in a wheelchair. He said it looked as if Someone played hockey with the bullet in Barry's body as it was stopped every time before it could do any real damage. I thank God that through all this I was calm and only really went into shock about 2 or 3 days later.

Monday, the morning after Barry got shot, the owners of the Restaurant went back on their word to pay for his medical costs and as a result the hospital told him if he does not pay they will have to send him to the public hospital. Wednesday morning Barry decided he would rather go home and have me look after him than go to the public hospital. He was in so much pain every time I cleaned the wounds, but at that time we didn't have any money for pain medication, we could hardly afford everything we needed to clean the wounds. Luckily a pharmacist close by gave Barry some plasters at cost price.

Sunday morning after the shooting we went to church and I asked the Pastor to pray for Barry. The Pastor and some of the Elders laid their hands on him and the whole congregation prayed for him. We also got engaged that Sunday evening, by this time he was already divorced. A week later when he went to see the Specialist he could not believe his eyes, he said it was a miracle as the wound would normally take about six weeks to start closing up and it was almost healed in 2 weeks time, he could also not believe that Barry drove himself wherever he wanted to go.

But this is not where things ended, God says in His word everything works out for the good for those who believe in Him, and He proved it to us. The new job where Barry had to start on Tuesday told him that unfortunately he can't come to work for them anymore because it was a black person who shot him and as they were going to be the majority of his clients, they did not feel that he would be able to work with them productively. (The job was as a Manager of a Hardware store, it is a big group with lots of potential for growth) Barry started to work with me in the Restaurant while he looked for another job and in October we got married. At the end of that year he got two job offers, the salaries weren't great but it was a start, we prayed about it and Barry decided to take the least paying one, it was almost half the salary of the other one.

For the first year Barry got an increase every month and since then very regularly, God has proven to us over and over again that this is the place He wants us to be. The owner of the company Barry works for bought us the property that was transferred into my name in March and he also bought Barry a brand new vehicle that will be transferred into Barry's name as soon as the company finished paying for it.

God is so faithful, the property was paid for in 2002, but the developer made some mistakes when they proclaimed the subdivisions and when he realised it, he wanted to force us off the property. By that time we have put in lots of money into the place and refused to go. He made promises and lied to many people and most of them sold or cancelled the sales agreements. He has a lot of money and nobody wanted to take him on. He threatened us with court and said that he will take everything we have as he has the money to go to court for years. Many people were praying for us, God gave us the promise that he would fight our battles for us. When he convinced the Homeowners Association where we live to take us to court, we had a 50/50 chance of winning the case but the morning of the court case while our lawyers were in the courtroom they saw an opening in the case, that they haven't seen before and the case was thrown out of court and the Homeowners Association was responsible for the costs. Finally last year after almost 4 years after the property was paid in full, the Developer decided to let the lawyers transfer the property. I still don't know what convinced him, but I thank God for it!

We searched for a very long time until we finally found a church were we believe God wants us in. It is a very small and poor congregation financially, but these people truly love God. We can't go as often a we would like to but we know this is where God wants us to be.

About two months ago we got the Internet and I started writing to some Christian ladies and I felt that there was a need for a group of women who would talk to each other about God and support each other by prayer in everyday life. The next day after I discussed this with Barry (he supports me), I met Jeannie and she offered to help me start my own group and invited me to join her group. I thank God for the doors he has opened for me and that he supplies in all our needs each and every day!

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