The Halifax Story:
It is a Biblical and Message truth and indeed a fact of the Christian walk that sometimes the things we do not want to do are those which we must. Yes, God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. Often we run away into the will of the Lord like Jonah, Moses, Paul and their likes. But “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8 v 28). It is against such a backdrop that the Halifax Bible Believers Fellowship story is being written!
Our ‘Elder’, Brother Raphael Tizora came into the United Kingdom in early 2003 on purely family and personal grounds. Prior to this, he was a ministering Head Deacon who was instrumental in founding several fellowships in the Mashonaland West Province in Zimbabwe. According to Brother Tizora’s testimony, he had never intended to minister while sojourning in UK. He attended services in Bedford before relocating to London Kent where he went to Spoken Word Ministries for a year and a half.
In a display of unconscious faith our precious brother had a burden to visit two Christian family friends in West Yorkshire, who had worked together with our Brother in the service of the Lord while still in Zimbabwe. From September 2005 Brother Raphael would travel from Kent with his family longing to fellowship with Brother Maxwell Zava in Leeds and Brother Meikles Taruvinga in Halifax. Every time he would visit, they would have prayer meetings to encourage one other on this Christian journey.
One of these visits in November 2005 became the turning point when Brothers Meikles and Maxwell approached Brother Raphael during their usual fellowshipping, with a very unusual and totally unexpected proposition. The two precious brothers mentioned their observation for the past months that Brother Raphael and his family had constantly been coming to West Yorkshire every first weekend post month-end. These visits and the subsequent fellowship were reviving and of great impact on the brothers and their families who longed for such church services which they used to have back in Africa. Consequently brothers Maxwell and Meikles pleaded with Brother Raphael to accept that a Church had already been born in Halifax, and to consider formalising this, with one service every first weekend after month-end! This obviously sounded very daunting and overwhelmingly challenging to our precious Brother Tizora, considering the logistical and spiritual responsibilities that came with the proposal. How could there be a Church Fellowship with an Elder some 300 miles away, a Church with one service per month? Besides it took on average of 3-4 hours one way journey from Chatham, Kent to Halifax. This was a costly commitment in every respect! It just did not sound prudent. This did not however imply Brother Raphael could not afford monthly visits; it was the context of those errands which was beyond imagination! The three brothers finally agreed to give the issue over to prayer while maintaining the status quo.
On the 31st of December, 2005 the first service was held under this arrangement; Halifax Bible Believers Fellowship was born unbeknown to these believers. It was God in simplicity yet revealed in humility. For the next three months till March 2006, the fellowship had one service every first weekend of the month-end as the believers continuously watched and prayed over the matter. From April to July 2006 our services were brought to every third weekend with more souls added to the Fellowship. The burden to serve these souls became unbearable for our brother and by the end of July 2006 Brother Raphael announced to the joy of the believers that services were to be fortnightly. It is worth mentioning that up until then we were having house meetings. With time, our precious Brother Taruvinga’s lounge became small and we had to use his kitchen also which was clearly not an ideal arrangement. A much bigger place had to be sought. This was turning into a serious commitment than previously imagined!
It was within this period that our precious Brother Raphael became more desperate for answers from God. He wanted a sure Word of confirmation as he had not yet accepted this growing work in accordance with Ecclesiastes 9 v 10. This scripture had been grinding upon his heart for a while. Was this the best he could do for his God and His children? Brother Tizora was still the song leader, Sunday school teacher and preacher as well yet there was scope for more to be done! But our brother wanted to hear from God before he could take this work any further. God answers a desperate prayer! One Wednesday in March 2007, he went to Church in Mottingham, London having petitioned God to meet up with his request that day. Brother Raphael had been reading his Bible, praying and listening to audio sermons in search of some guidance. The ministering brother on this fateful day concluded his message on “Faith” with this quotation;
59-0712A. TOTAL. DELIVERANCE_ JEFFERSONVILLE. INV-11N-1 SUNDAY
48….When God sends a man to do anything, He completely equips him with everything that he has need of. If God calls a man to be a preacher, He puts something in him to preach with. If He calls him to be a teacher, He puts something in him to teach with. If He calls for him to be a prophet, He puts something in him to see visions and to be a prophet. God always completely equips His man.
As soon as this quotation was read, the veil of confusion melted away and our precious brother purposed in his heart to take a stand and serve the good Lord with his all. That Sunday service in Halifax, it was announced that services would be every week and immediately, it was resolved that a more convenient place of worship be sought. Early May 2007, we secured a place of worship for the growing fellowship. Though there was some significant commitment by this time much could still be done as our precious Brother and his family were still based in Chatham; Kent, where they both had work commitments. Finally on the 4th of September 2009, the family relocated to West Yorkshire where God’s work was and a midweek service was introduced.
With hearts full of thanksgiving therefore Halifax Bible Believers Fellowship would like to celebrate their seventh year anniversary by hosting the August 2013 Convention for the glory the Lord and the joy of His children! After the Lord had prospered David, the king had a desire to appreciate his God by building Him a tabernacle which was fulfilled in Solomon’s day (2 Samuel 7). It has always been the desire of our Prophet to see the churches of the Living God in unity offering sacrifices of praise from their lips Ps 133 & Heb. 13.