The River Of Life Story
by Pastor Terry Somerville
Since the late seventies I have had a passion for revival. I'd eat , drink, sleep and pray for revival. Through the eighties we had mighty visitations of God , visions and prophecies of an incredible outpouring to come, strangely there was very little interest from the church. When I came to Campbell River in 1989 to pastor another church this prophetic annointing went ballistic! Apparently Campbell River is on God's map! We started Total Change Ministries for outreach as God called me to help prepare the church for revival.
But while there was such prophetic annointing we experienced horrible trials as well. God was preparing and purging His people and it felt like He started with me. I had been seeking the move rather than the mover, and desperately trying to make it happen but finally I was crying out "Oh God, I'm dead! I'm nothing! This calling is yours! This annointing is yours! All these visions and prophecies are yours! I can't do anything at all!" I know the time and place that Terry Somerville died. Now I understood what it was to be emotionally crippled, unemployed and feeling utterly useless. Never the less but God told us to go to this little Foursquare Church and simply help. It too had died . Hardly anyone was there.
The interim pastor and worship leader were trying pick up the pieces and I could barely cope. But God was healing me, and ultimately called me to pastor there.I knew this had to be the Lord's church, I was done with mine. We knew God wanted to do a whole new work, no baggage and freedom to let God do as He pleased. The Foursquare national office agreed and a new church -"River of Life" was born. In the week before we were to start I gathered some people together for repentence. We repented of our sin and idolatry in church. We repented of our history and this churches history. We humbled ourself and prayed "God this is your church, you do what you want. We have no agenda, we'll do whatever you want. We'll love and minister to whoever you bring. Only you have to do it Lord!"
River of Life Foursquare Church started the last Sunday of June 1993, and the fire fell! All through the summer the Holy Spirit came healing broken hearts with such intensity we literally put boxes of kleenex in every row and had to buy them by the case. Often, during worship, I would see the glory cloud over a section of people, the Lord would give me a word for them, and as I gave it they would fall under the power and healing and deliverance would take place. The Spirit flows like a river in the place. Throughout the fall of 1993 the most needy, the addicts and alcoholics began to show up at the church and get saved , healed and delivered. This is wonderous and powerful! But we had to navigate two unforseen things:
First some though saved, healed and delivered slip back into sin. If they were closely invloved with the church this affected the annointing , but we didn't know what was wrong until the sin was exposed. When we dealt with it God's power returned! Secondly, and worst of all, the religious folks who had come to see the fire at first were offended by those who God was bringing in. Pharisees abound when the Spirit moves! Ultimately I stood my ground. I told them God is doing this and if they didn't like it they were free to find a church they liked. Over the years many have left, some cursing us all the way . It tore my heart apart, but I knew it had to be. God showed us to have a revolving door! We won't co-erce anyone to come, stay or go. They are free in Christ.
By 1994 I'd given up trying to find people who understood this move of God we were experiencing . It was just different and we went with it. In May we heard about the Toronto renewal just as we were helping the Christian Motorcycle Association hold a campout in Campbell River. So we prayed "Lord if there's more happening in Toronto, send it here too!" Boy did He send it! As we led worship from the makeshift stage in the campground , the intensity of the annointing didn't stop. It was drizzling rain and about one hundred people were out in the blackness worshipping. We started hearing noise over the band but couldn't see what was happening, till finally those in the stage lights began laughing and staggering as the Spirit fell on them. Apparently others had fallen under the power hundreds of feet away and were soaking in the rain. On stage our worship leader became so drunk he couldn't play and nearly crashed into the drums. He went off the stage to pray and people fell as he walked towards them. Many were afraid and ran.
The next night was even more intense. A strange thing happen to me. The Spirit of the Lord stood behind me in the form of a man, then walked into me. I shook terribly, and as we prayed with people powerful changes came over them Many people in Campbell River mark that night as a total revolution in their life.As all this was taking place in Campbell River , seven others including three pastors were in Toronto. They returned with much the same experiences, and the interchurch meetings were born in Campbell River.
At River of life the Lord is maturing us and the annointing is changing. It's been a roller coaster church, with real struggles. Scores have been saved (57 last year) in amazing ways including addicts, prostitutes, hit men, people on the verge of suicide , the hopeless. We practice hands on, spiritually intense 1 Cor.12 gift ministry following the leadings of the Spirit. Demons are cast out, sometimes violently. There is a great impartation of gifts of the Spirit as we lay hands on people. There have been many visions as God sets people free. There have been many physical healings including a heart condition (surgery cancelled), knee problem (surgery cancelled), eyes healed (surgery cancelled), deaf ears opened, hepititus B and C healed and liver restored (no trace left in body) A drug addict given two weeks to live was raised from his death bed, stomach conditions healed, bowels healed, a wheelchair bound women now walking, a number of systemic diseases healed etc. God is doing powerful things. The fragrance of the Lord and the wind of the Spirit frequently fills the church. Many times the sound of many waters is heard during the worship! We practice prophetic preaching and worship and find we must contend in spiritual warfare.
Even though we are small in number God has added to our ministry In 1996 evangelist Gregg Hofstad of Nainamo joined us as an adjunct ministry of River of Life. He travels throughout the north and has brought Renewal into many communities in B.C. In January 1997 God blessed us by bringing Ignacio Kessel to River Of Life. Ignacio is from Argentina and was head worship leader and a pastor with Hector Gimenez. He is marrying one of the women in our church this spring. Ignacio has been soaked in revival for ten years and is full of the blessing and power of God. He is available to preach by contacting our church.
Finally, God has shown us prophetically to move in blessing others and that this spring things will really cut loose. The Holy Spirit quickened the fact to me that the lost are God's people. He's want's them. He says over them "those that are called not my people, I will call my people. In the place where they are called not my people, I will call them the children of the living God" Roman 9:25
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