THE REVIVAL IN ZULULAND
(A brief report by Dr Peter Hammond, summarizing Erlo Stegen’s ministry.)
Probably no man of God in South Africa since Andrew Murray has had such Revival blessings accompany his ministry as Erlo Stegen. The Revival in Zululand since 1966 has resulted in spectacular conversions of witchdoctors, murderers and people from every walk of life, transformed lives and launched dynamic ministries throughout the world.
When Erlo Stegen was converted he lost all interest in parties, dances and the obsession to make money. The things of the world receded and the promises of the Scripture became very precious. After studying in Bible school, Erlo Stegen preached amongst the Zulus for 12 years and although thousands responded to his calls for public commitment to Christ, he was deeply disappointed in his ministry.
Hunger for Holiness
Erlo Stegen hungered for Holiness and sought the Lord for Revival. He could not reconcile his experience, and those of his converts, with the Biblical standard in the Book of Acts. “The early Church didn’t tolerate sin, they had no room and no time for sin, and dealt with it most severely. We worship God and tolerate sin in our midst!”
Through much Bible study, soul searching, intensive prayer and agony of heart, Erlo Stegen sought the Lord for Revival. It was Christmas 1966, when the Revival broke out at Maphumulo. They were praying in a cow shed when they heard a noise like a great wind. “Everybody was conscious of the presence of God. All I could do was bow down and worship the God of Heaven.” Rev. Erlo Stegen observes: “When I was seeking God for Revival, I expected Him to start with the heathen, instead, He started with the biggest sinner of all – me.” “Revival is not churches filled with people, but people filled with God.” “The Holy Spirit is not recognised through signs and wonders, but by His Holiness.”
Then a witch, who was in charge of a training school for witches, came to the young missionary. She said: “I need Jesus. Can He save me? I am bound with the chains of hell. Can He break these chains?” Erlo Stegen and his co-workers began to sing hymns of victory, of the Risen Christ, the Mighty Victor who has overcome the devil, conquered sin and death, paid the price with His own Blood! As they sang, the woman flung herself on the ground on her hands and knees, and the evil spirits left her. She was transformed and shone like a saint: “Jesus has set me free! Jesus has broken these chains of hell!”.
Soon hundreds of sick, troubled and demon-possessed people came to Rev. Stegen for counsel and prayer. Hardened sinners wept like children. “It was as if the Day of Judgment had dawned. The conviction went so deep that some of them couldn’t believe that Jesus could forgive them. They came with tears and they left with joy. Their lives were changed and all things became new.”
Testimonies of healings, deliverances and transformed lives spread like wild-fire and soon the little Zulu congregation in Maphumulo had to move to a larger location, at what is today called KwaSizabantu (the place where people are helped). Today the Mission has buildings that can house 4,500 people, but it constantly has the problem of too little accommodation. The auditorium at KwaSizabantu Mission can seat 10,000 people. The Mission station is a hive of activity: Intensive farming in hothouses, a vast spring water bottling plant, a Dairy which produces one of South Africa’s most successful dairy products, a bakery, a clinic, a Teacher Training College which provides a four year Degree, Radio Khwezi, one of the largest Christian community radio stations in the country, and the Domino Servite School, which has had the distinction of producing some of the top students in the country.
KwaSizabantu Mission is one of the most extraordinarily successful Mission stations on the continent of Africa. Rev. Erlo Stegen and his team of over 150 missionaries, have established mission stations, schools and congregations throughout South Africa, and as far afield as France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Romania and Russia.
Rev. Erlo Stegen teaches: “The first thing that happens when the Holy Spirit comes into a person’s life is that He convicts that person of sin. There is brokenness. The Word of God comes alive. It smites us and pierces our heart. The Word of God is like a hammer that breaks the rocks into pieces. We cannot worship God and tolerate sin in our midst. We need to get serious with God and His Word.”
Tugela River Valley Mission
On a recent visit to KwaSizabantu Mission, I had the privilege of joining Rev. Erlo Stegen on a visit to their thriving new Mission Outreach at Maqhogo in the Tugela River Valley. We had to descend over 2,500 feet from KwaSizabantu to the valley, which was barely 500 feet above sea level. The dramatic rise in temperature was startling.
The Mission’s impact on the communities and landscape in the valley was astounding. In areas where the local people said that only thorn bushes could grow, Erlo Stegen and his co-workers have successfully planted, and harvested, pineapples, bananas, mangoes, and every kind of vegetable. It was crystal clear where the Mission outreaches were, each was an oasis in the wilderness.
Everywhere we travelled the people warmly welcomed Uncle Erlo with great joy and broad smiles. Their respect and affection for him was overwhelming. The local people told us how Uncle Erlo had provided them with jobs, food, hope and the Gospel. “The government promised us so much, but we got nothing. No roads, no electricity and no plumbing. Now, since Mkhulu (Grandfather) Stegen came our children have enough food, we have work, we have money and we have joy in God.”
Through the initiative and energy of KwaSizabantu missionaries, roads have been repaired, farms irrigated, and much of the wilderness has been turned into a paradise. A Thriving church has already been established in this once witchcraft dominated area.
Best Seller on the Revival in KwaZulu back in Print
A new updated edition of the classic book God Among the Zulus, by Dr Kurt Koch has been published. This inspiring book includes 23 rare colour pictures of the cowshed in Mapumulo where God’s mighty Revival blessings were poured out upon the prayer meeting, pictures of KwaSizabantu Mission in the early 1980s, the first co-workers group, fire services, the KwaSizabantu choir, youth conferences and aerial photographs of the growth of the Mission.
For more information visit webpage: www.ksb.org.za