Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas & Surfing

Well friends.

MUCH has happened since I last posted on here.

The past 2 weeks have been full of drama practices, youth nights, christmas events and drum lessons.

Drew/Amy Donovan (assistant pastor/youth pastor) left on holiday for 2 weeks. Basically allowing me to take the reigns of the youth program. One thing in particular, organizing, rehearsing, casting and everything else for a Christmas drama for the SURGE drama team to perform at Christmas in Burswood (annual community outreach event) and Night in Bethlehem (this Sun night, Christmas experience). I have never taught a a drama much less been involved in one of importance! This is probably one of the more stressful, stretching experiences I've had since I've been here. I am learning to be faithful with every task that has been given to me and honour God in that. All in all, the drama team did a great job at CIB and everyone laughed and commended the students.

Another thing I got to do these past 2 weeks, I was in charge of leading SURGE (Fri night program) for both weeks. Programming and worship. It was a great experience and built my leadership skills. Great times. Oh and teach some drum lessons. Talk about a "stretching experience"!

These past 2 weeks have probably been some of the busiest I've had since I've been here. God has been incredibly good. I'm really learning to be faithful to Him with the little things.

Yesterday, me, Brent Dongell and some other friends got to go to Marewai beach. I learned how to surf and gargle salt water at the same time! It was a great end to a busy 2 weeks.

Thank you for all the support and prayers! I will keep you posted as best as I can during this busy Christmas seasons!

keep praying.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Psalm 30:11-12

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever. Ps. 30:11-12

That verse is so good!

Ministry is continuing here. I'm really being used in some different ways than before.
SURGE is continuing to grow and I am planning a worship "workshop" of sorts to teach students how to praise God with their instruments and voices. Sometime next week that should be going on and i'll let you know how it goes. I have also been working with the worship leaders at SURGE and developing them and working on leadership within the bands. The kids here are awesome. Very dedicated. I led worship on Fri. night for SURGE and after the message we had about 30 mins. of spontaneous prayer and worship. It was incredible, a very growing experience for the youth group.
I am also working with Viona Schulz (childrens pastor at ECW) in creating a worship band for the children's ministry from the teens at SURGE. We are working through some cutting edge children's music. It's great. Something I've never done before.
Christmas is around the corner and I will play a large role in Christmas in Burswood (christmas community event) by working with the SURGE drama team and directing a Christmas drama which we will also perform at the annual Night In Bethlehem experience here at ECW. Never directed a drama before but it is fun! I have also been practicing and playing on Sun mornings with the existing worship band. I'll be playing drums for both Christmas in Burswood and Night in Bethlehem.

Tonight, I am going to Brett and Kristin Jones' house for some American thanksgiving! I'm excited.

Thank you for continued support and prayer.

keep praying.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What am I doing?

Hello friends!

I'm getting settled in here. Finally hitting some sort of a routine. It's good. I've been doing a lot these past 3 weeks. And by the way, the photo on the left is the view from my room. Pretty cool huh?

The first Sunday I was here I played a song for Communion and I am going to be actively involved in the Sun. morning worship in some way. Drumming, singing and leading some. Also, last Fri night, I led worship for SURGE (the youth program). It was a lot of fun. Sun. night, we had our 2nd preview service for our contemporary service. (one of the primary reasons im here). It was awesome. The theme was silence and being still before Christ. Very powerful.

Also, this past Friday, SURGE attended an area youth rally at Mangere Nazarene Church. It was a great time of connecting with local youth leaders and pastors. I'm excited about working with network of pastors here in Auckland.

I will update again on my home life and things going on for fun but just wanted to give an insight into my ministry thus far. Tonight, I'm leading worship for the youth Surge 4 Word (bible study and youth meeting) and meeting with the team leaders to plan some events. Thank you all for the support.

keep praying.


Friday, October 30, 2009


I am safely in NZ.
Arrived here on Thurs. morning

I got to relax and rest on Thurs and Dad arrived later that afternoon.
Friday morning, the District Conference for Wesleyan Church of NZ began. I went with Jane (my NZ mom) and my Dad to the first sessions. And basically my weekend thus far has been filled with conference sessions and seminars. It's been good. Last night, I got to go to my first Surge night (youth group). First night I was here was a costume party so I stole Simon's (Jane/Richard's son) school uniform. I was later introduced as the intern after fooling all the student's. Good times. But tonight, we are all headed to the evening session of conference. And tomorrow morning, Dad is speaking at ECW and I believe I am playing a song during communion. I feel really scatterbrained so I apologize if this post made little sense!

keep praying.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I am finishing packing and leaving for NZ in a couple hours.

Thank you for all the prayers and support you have given. Keep praying.
I will try and update once I arrive in NZ but until then...thanks again!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It has been a week since I arrived home from Africa.

That trip changed many small things in me.
I learned to:

read the Bible in my spare time
pray often
God has Plan A

Valuable lessons that I hope to keep close to my heart.
Now, 6 days until I leave for my 8 mo. adventure to New Zealand.
I'm starting to get really excited.

Thank you for all the support and prayer that you have given!

keep praying.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day 10 - Rest and Experiences

Watched a movie in the same location it was filmed in.
District 9.

I slept in until 10am. That was awesome. Today was a day of rest. Much needed. After tea time, we went with Bonventure to the Apartheid Museum in Pretoria. I've never experienced anything like that. I don't really know how to describe it. The thousands of injustices and abuses that occurred during that time are unbelievable. I'm glad I got to see it though. After the museum, we drove home and saw 2 car accidents on the highway. Interesting. After arriving home for 5 mins, we left with Jacu, Elska and Bonventure to the Menlyn Mall in Pretoria. We ate at Braza, a local African cuisine restaurant. Highly recommend next time you make your weekly trip to South Africa to eat there. After that, we went to see District 9. I've already seen it but it was totally different seeing it here. I recognized almost every location in the movie. I felt special. I'm going to bed now. This has been an awesome week.

keep praying.


Day 9 - Bulubehzle School

Last day of Hopefest.
Last day waking up at 4:30am.

Today started out the same as the past 2. Waking up at 4:30am. We drove the 2 hrs to Ketalahon and arrived at the school. The staging/location was awesome. Really organic with grass growing out from the old cement stage that was probably built at least 30 yrs. ago. I thought it was really cool. The day went smoothly. The kids payed attention more than any of the schools this week. There were around 2000 kids there that day. We prayed as a group collectively and asked God to bless today and thanked Him for the glory He has shown this past week. At the end of the day around 200 kids made first time commitments to Christ and purity. 200 new beginnings. 200 adoptions. This week has been incredible. At the end of the day we all packed up, said goodbye to the crew, thanked everyone and headed out for the last time. I won't miss waking up at 4:30am but I will miss the experience of life change and authentic worship. I want to carry this with me wherever I go. And prayer is the difference. I saw miracles happen. Real life miracles. I heard the shrieks of demons. I saw the power of the Creator. The final tally?8000 students fed. 1200 commitments to Christ and a pure life. What more could you ask for?

keep praying.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 8 - Fumana High School

I went to the location for the movie "District 9" today.
Cool huh?

Today started at 5am. We crammed 8 people in a 5 seat car today. And drove for almost 2 hrs. Interesting start to an already early morning! We arrived at Fumana High School (expected 2600 students) and began sound checking and preparing for the morning. Around 8am, we got news that the school was holding standardized exams in the room right next to the stage and we could not continue the Hopefest until 1pm (school releases at 2pm) or go from 8:30am - 10am. Bad news. Our now 5 hr. program was being cut to 1.5 hr. We decided quickly to start at 8:30 and go until 10. We began the program, trying our best to condense it too fit in as much as we could and still give an altar call/commitment time. Stressful to say the least. Around 9am, we got word that the school was going to let us continue on with the Hopefest until 2. Great news. We had to take a break from 9-11 to give the exams time to finish. We thanked God for His plan being better than ours. The program continued at 11, the students however were unfocused. As you could imagine 2600 students in 80 deg. sunny weather doesn't work too well to pay attention for that amount of time. Micah and a few other volunteers and I posted ourselves around the students and began to pray and ask God that they open their hearts to the message of salvation being given. When Cyrus gave the altar call, around maybe 90 students came to the front and by the end around 300 students were standing in front receiving new life. Kids were pouring from the sides of the buildings and coming to the front. At the end of the day, around 340 students came to know Christ and commit to a life of purity/abstinence. When I saw this from the stage, tears came to my eyes. I realized that God did not need our program to work miracles. He doesn't need us to lead worship. We have the privilege of taking part in His work. And for that I was thankful. Tomorrow is our last Hopefest. I can't wait to see what God does.

keep praying.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 7 - Soweto High School

I woke up at 4:30am today.
That's enough to make up a post.

We packed up the gear and began the driving to Soweto (about 1.5 hr. away). It was an early morning to say the least. Once we arrived we did the usual sound checks and preparing for 9am to roll around. We kicked off the day w/ "Count Me In". The day went well with exception to one thing, the principal of the school would interrupt and disrupt the set program with his own plans. At one point, he interrupted the music set and began playing "My Country Tis of Thee". Not after long we realized that the Devil was again using spiritual warfare to combat the message of hope that we were there to spread. We began praying and praying. As one of the R4L staff from Zambia, Richman, was giving the commitment time/altar call, the principal again interrupted and began speaking, immediately one of the Hopefest volunteers grabbed me and some of the band and began praying for the altar call time. Students had been leaving and not paying attention to the program but began coming back to the area and coming forward to receive Christ, by the end of Richman's invitation, around 200 students came forward to receive Christ and commit to purity. Another proof of God's power and control in any situation. Times like when a principal interrupts a crucial part of the program, I feel completely helpless, I want to control the situation. God doesn't work that way. He still has brought hundreds of fatherless children, into His arms. Tomorrow, we are going to a school, Katalahon, where we are playing for about 2600 students.

keep praying.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 5 & 6 - Hopefest(s)

The reason I came to South Africa in the first place.

I realize that I didn't post last night and so I am combiningin 2 posts in 1. The first Hopefest was held at Mamelodi High School, about 20 mins. from where we are staying. We left about 6:30am and loaded our gear and supplies for the first day and headed out in 3 vans. We arrived to the school. Students were hanging out their classrooms in anticipation for this event. As we walked in and unloaded and stepped onto the stage for our sound check, I felt their anticipation as well. Excitement. I was almost nervous. We plugged in our guitars and checked monitors. After our sound check, we finished setting up the rest of the equipment and circled up for prayer. Things were chaotic which I expected seeing as we had a team of 40 volunteers/staff preparing to lead 1600 students for 4 hrs. We asked God to control our day and invited His presence to fill our hearts and the students filling the seats. Finally, 9am rolled around. The band took the stage and began "Count Me In", the first song of the first Hopefest in SA ever. As the day went on, things began to go wrong. The program that we spent weeks finalizing, was suddenly falling apart and beginning to run it's own course. I was reminded by Micah that "we have Plan B and God has Plan A". I was skeptical. One of the most memorable parts of the day came when Cyrus Uumfalo, national director for Reach4Life, invited the students to raise their hands and allow the volunteers to pray over them and bless them. It was easily the most moving thing that happened all day. Our music sets went well. The day ended and I have to say, I expected more. After meeting and discussing the day, we acknowledged that the day had been won for Christ regardless of the spiritual warfare that was going on during the Hopefest. At least 200 students came to Christ and committed to a life of purity.

Hopefest #2

The morning started similar. Arriving around 7am at Ribanelaka school and setting up the gear and circling in prayer. The difference to the day was prayer. We prayed collectively around 4 times before we started at 9am. We kicked off the day w/ "Let God Arise" and the students were immediately engaged and focused, a contrast to the day before. Our worship sets went well and the students sang loud. Powerful testimonies were given by students from the school and Lolo and his band celebrated and taught us how to worship God through dancing. I like that idea. As the day ended, Bonventure led the students in a time of commitment and gave an altar call. Around 200 students came up to receive Christ and commit to a life of abstinence and purity. The day went considerably better Day 1. The difference was prayer. God's victory was made evident. And I met a student who looked like Rihanna. And had a Facebook. Cool. Hopefest #3 starts at 5am tomorrow.

keep praying.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 4 - Church

Total church hours attended: 5

Today, we did not sleep in. It was a change. We woke up, had breakfast and then Elska drove us about 45 mins. to Tembisa, where we met Dawn Drenthe and 2 other girls from Branden's church, and then arrived at Emmanuel Wesleyan Church. We walked in to the sound of a middle aged woman fervently preaching (loudly might I add) in Tsonga (native language of Mozambique) and were immediately ushered by a young woman into the very front rows (lawn chairs covered in white sheets) of the small 100 max. capacity church. There were around 25 people there and our team quickly filled their rows. The pastor greeted us as we sat down and shook our hands. Soon after the woman finished her message a group of young adults and teens began to sing. They had one "mutt" drumset and 7 wired microphones and one Roland keyboard. They continued singing simple praise choruses, some in English and some in Tsonga. After about 30 mins. of singing, one of the singers led us in a prayer. Soon after the prayer, the drums started up a type of reggae-esque beat and the singers began dancing a sort of choreographed dance and members of the congregation left their seats and began dancing up front. I thought of true celebration in Jesus and felt as if that was what I was experiencing. I couldn't wipe a smile off my face. I had absolutely no idea what they were saying but I could not stop smiling and almost laughing. I felt their joy. After the dance party was over, the pastor's wife, Pretty, came up and gave a short 10 min. message in Tsonga and some English phrases. After that, ensued more prayer and singing. Their voices filled the room and I wouldn't doubt the neighbors heard as well. More singing ensued and we had a greeting time in which I believe I was hugged by every member of the church. After the singing was over (for then anyway), the pastor walked on stage and asked Dawn and the rest of our team to come up and introduce ourselves. After we went through the whole team, Branden Peterson, introduced himself and explained that he was the music pastor at his church in Texas. After the introductions, the pastor stayed on stage and was accompanied by a young man (mid 20's) who helped lead in the worship earlier, and began to give his message titled "Breaking Your Limitations". He spoke in English while the young man translated into Tsonga. The pastor spoke of God's victory over Satan's plans for our lives and claiming the authority to fulfill Christ's destiny for us. After the 45ish min. message, the worship team took the stage and sang again and the pastor invited those who felt led, to come to the front and receive prayer. He asked if the "music pastor" would come up and pray and bless the people that came to the front, unfortunately, Branden had stepped out of the church for a few mins. and Micah promptly filled his place and led the church in prayer. "Always have a sermon ready". The pastor then went down front and laid hands on each of the people at the altar, some of them fell over, overcome by the Holy Spirit. It was powerful. After about 3 hrs. of worshiping, the pastor closed in prayer and dismissed everyone. After church, we drove back to Pretoria and had lunch at World Hope SA. Pork sandwiches with veggies. Not too bad. After lunch, Solomon (staff member at World Hope SA) and Bonaventure (R4L staff member) and Elska and our team met and finalized the program for the Hopfest on Monday. After the details were laid down, Elska and her family took us to Doxa Deo, the contemporary Afrikaan speaking church about 10 mins. from their house. It was the closest thing to an American church. Something I didn't really expect. We were led by a young man in songs like "Open the Eyes of My Heart" and other familiar tunes. It felt a little bit like home. Most of the people there were students, and very modern dressed. I think I have my fashion for the next year lined up. Anyway! Now we are "home" again and creating the set list for tomorrow. Our 1st Hopefest. I'm beyond excited.

keep praying.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 3 - Mamelodi, Ribelanaka & Freeman

One of the subtle but stark differences from Michigan to SA is the variation of bird sounds in the morning.
That and I woke up to the sound of a chainsaw.

Today started out with some peppermint tea and hanging out around the breakfast table w/ the band and Brandon Petersen (tech/sound for Hopefests, leads worship at Collin Creek Church in TX). Around 1pm, Bonaventure (staff member at R4L SA) picked us up in the R4L VW bus. We certainly draw attention to ourselves for not only being white but driving around in a orange/white bus with "Reach4Life" painted on it. First we went to a house in Mamelodi (suburb south of J'burg) and listened to Lolo's band rehearse. They have about 8 singers, 1 bass player, 1 drummer and Lolo plays keys and sings. They were incredible. Harmonies and everything. They even sang a Kirk Franklin song! Never expected that. While we were listening to them rehearse, one of Bonaventure's friends, Freeman, came up to me and we started talking. His story blew me away. He is 28, and 2 years ago he moved from Mozambique as a result of political problems and oppression. Him and a group of other adults were promised jobs and work opportunities in Johannesburg. After being here 2 years, he still has no job and has instead committed his whole life to serving Reach4Life and telling people of Jesus. He said that at first, he did not want to help w/ R4L. He explained it like this to me: "I was standing at my life and trying to play the piano and I was playing my own song and then Jesus took my hands and taught me how to play His song". I'm not totally sure if that was the best possible analogy to use, but his point got across to me. He also said "Jesus does not want your abilities but your availability." Anyway, after listening to Lolo rehearse, we packed up in the R4L bus and traveled to Ribelanaka High School where are Tuesday Hopefest will be held. It had a huge open courtyard with no trees or shade and supposedly is going to hold up to 1600 students on Tues. After that, we loaded up with petrol and drove to Mamelodi school and checked out the set up. The same as Ribelanaka, lots of sun and no shade. On our way home, Freeman got a call from his pastor telling him to come to the local park to play soccer. Freeman explained that as part of his churches' ministry, that the men started a local soccer club to fellowship with the community. We decided to go and check it out. Their team needed one more person, Freeman invited me to play. It was awesome. Me in jeans and a t-shirt and sandals, greatly outplayed by my African friends. After the game, we traveled back to the World Hope HQ. Elska and her husband, Jacku, put on an awesome meal for us. After dinner, we all sat around talking and sharing songs with each other over an old Ibanez acoustic guitar. Tomorrow, we are visiting a church in Tibesa (the expected service length is 3 hrs.) and meeting with the Hopefest team to finalize details. This brings me to here, sitting at the table listening to music and writing. I am truly blessed to be here.

keep praying.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 2 - Relax

I slept 13 hours straight last night.
It was awesome.

Today, we all slept in. Then shortly after I enjoyed my peppermint tea and toast, the band (Lolo) we are performing with @ Hopefest(s) walked into our kitchen. After going through the line of 10 of them, shaking hands with all of them and learning their names only to forget them at the end of line, we all went outside the World Hope HQ and worked out the staging for the coming week. I did meet the bass player. His name was Lanu. He was 16 and his favorite style of music was jazz and he's been playing bass for a lot longer than me. After ordering pizza for the whole team and a lot of laughs, they left and we headed out with Elska (the host at the World Hope HQ here) to the "mall" look for a firewire cable with no luck. After our trip, we drove out to northern Johannesburg to meet with 3 ladies that are volunteering @ the Hopefests this next week. We picked them up and went to "Spur", a South African steakhouse, and between eating a cheeseburger and listening to High School Musical in the restaraunt, it almost felt like Michigan. After our dinner experience, we traveled up to one of the ladies houses (Dawn Drenthe) and hung out and prayed together. She had a dog named Azerbaijan. Crazy. At any rate, on the ride home, Elska's son, Jesse, taught me some Afrikaans. It was awesome. Tomorrow, we have another relaxation day and are going to Lolo's practice space to rehearse and listen to them perform.

Keep praying.


Thursday, October 1, 2009


Hello all.

I am safely here in Pretoria, SA, just outside of Johannesburg, getting ready to crash for the night @ the World Hope/SA HQ. 2 days of traveling has taken it's "toll" and I'm sore for no reason at all. Our flights all went smoothly and I had more airplane meals than any normal person should have within 24 hrs. I had breakfast in Amsterdam today. Tomorrow morning, we are sleeping in and meeting with the other local artists that will be performing with us at the Hopefests here in SA. We start the Hopefests on Monday but have this weekend to rest and prepare for the coming week. But for now, I am off to bed (it is 6pm ET and midnight here). I think my body is trying to be in both time zones at once. I will try and update this as much as possible these next 2 weeks.

Hope you're all doing well. Keep praying.


Monday, September 28, 2009


I leave for South Africa in 2 days. Wednesday.
Now that is crazy, it seems like months ago when I realized the dream of being able to go could become a reality. Now it's here and I'm excited for a list of things.

Yesterday was my last Sunday @ Journey leading worship. It was awesome and for some reason the sound mix was perfect! Thanks for all the support you have given Journey. It will never be able to be fully re-payed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

First Post

Hello all.

(I will be in Auckland.)

This is my new blog for all things John Gorveatte.
Mainly, this is to keep you updated on what's going on in New Zealand while i'm and the trip to South Africa i'm embarking on this next Wed.
I will try to keep this as current as possible!